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Wednesday, October 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Autos

2019 Nissan Rogue: Cosmetic upgrades and ample amenities keep crossover competitive

A few weeks ago, we recounted how, in 2017, Toyota’s RAV4 crossover became the country’s best-selling vehicle that’s not a pickup.

RAV sales soared past the 400,000 mark, familiar territory for Ford’s F-150 but a first for a crossover.

We didn’t mention that another small crossover, the Nissan Rogue, followed the RAV4 across the 400,000-unit mark that year.

Two small crossovers topped the sales charts in 2017, a powerful demonstration of the segment’s strength.

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise, then, that the auto industry is pouring resources into small CUVs. Competition is hot and heavy. 

Value proposition

Last fully made over in 2014, the Rogue is a segment veteran. Nissan has kept it fresh with frequent cosmetic updates and an ever-growing roster of amenities. 

As it has aged and its standard features list grown, the Rogue has come to embody value rather than innovation. 

The Rogue is a handsome rig whose gentle curves contrast sharply with more flamboyant rivals. Though less refined than fresher competitors, the Rogue ($25,695) is comfortable, well-equipped and frugal. It packs a healthy amount of useful space into a small footprint. 

The Rogue is available in three gas-powered models and a hybrid ($28,645). A newer subcompact crossover, the Rogue Sport, should not be confused with the original.

Loaded with tech

For 2019, Nissan equips every new Rogue with blind-spot monitoring; forward-collision warning; automated emergency braking, with pedestrian detection; automatic high-beam headlights; lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist. 

The available ProPilot Assist system adds semi-autonomous lane-keeping technology and adaptive cruise control. 

All Rogues get the NissanConnect infotainment system. It’s based on a 7.0-inch touchscreen and offers advanced smartphone integration, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. 

Physical buttons augment the touchscreen, simplifying many key functions, but the menu structure is confusing and lacks a Home screen.

The low-resolution screen feels dated in this high-res world and its low-in-the-dash positioning forces the driver’s eyes down and away from the road.

All Rogues can be equipped with 4G LTE Wi-Fi.

New backseat reminder

This year, the Rogue also joins the growing number of vehicles with backseat reminder systems. They prompt drivers to check the back seats for objects and/or children placed there since the car was last turned off.

One sits tall in the Rogue, yet there’s plenty of head room. Nissan’s NASA-inspired “Zero Gravity” front seats offer abundant support, but not much bolstering. Tall drivers may long for a steering wheel that telescopes another inch or two. 

Four adults will ride comfortably, with enough legroom and headroom for all but the largest passengers. The second-row seats slide and recline and fold to create a flat-floored cargo area with class-leading space. 

Nissan’s Hide-N-Divide cargo storage system allows the cargo floor to be raised and lowered. A pair of underfloor compartments corral loose objects and hide them from sight.

Confident but disengaged

The Rogue isn’t the segment’s most engaging drive, but handles with enough confidence to satisfy all but the most demanding driver. Its compliant suspension produces a ride that minimizes the jolt of rough road surfaces.

Body lean is evident in corners, but the Rogue remains composed until pushed too hard. Mid-corner bumps and undulating road surfaces taken at speed can cause the Rogue to shimmy.

At slower speeds, steering feel is feather-light. It firms up slightly at highway speeds, which contributes to a feeling of stability. The system delivers little feedback.

A 170-horsepower four-cylinder engine powers all Rogues but the hybrid. It’s paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). 

It’s an efficient powertrain — the EPA rates FWD trims at 29 mpg combined (26 city/33 highway) — but it’s noisy and not strong enough to power the Rogue with authority; the CUV runs the 0-60 in 10.1 seconds, slower than any other car in the class.

It’s responsive in traffic but merging into freeway traffic and passing on two-lane roads requires care.

A properly equipped Rogue can tow up to 1,102 pounds.  

Nissan is scheduled to deliver the next-gen Rogue late next year. We’re looking forward to learning what new strategy drives its development.

Questions or comments? Contact Don at don@dadair.com.

2019 Nissan Rogue SL FWD
Vehicle base price: $25,695
Trim level base price: $31,390
As tested: $35,130
Options included a panoramic moonroof; LED headlights; tan leather-appointed seats with quilted leather inserts; premium paint; floor mats with cargo area protector; first-aid kit.
Tow capacity: 1,102 pounds
EPA rating: 29 combined/26 city/33 highway
Regular unleaded fuel specified



Don Adair
Don Adair is a Spokane-based freelance writer.