By Tony Swan, Contributing Editor
Based on Nissan's popular Sentra sedan, the 2014 Nissan Rogue is a compact SUV designed to stand out from the competition by way of its sleek carlike styling, class-exclusive in-vehicle technology, and a new 3rd-row seat option. Similar to the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, the Nissan Rogue is powered by a thrifty 4-cylinder engine, offers an available all-wheel-drive (AWD) system and starts under $24,000. The 2014 Rogue is also one of the only vehicles in the segment to feature a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which enhances fuel economy. By incorporating a satisfying blend of SUV, sedan and wagon DNA, the versatile 5-passenger Nissan Rogue can accommodate a wide variety of unique uses. That's why we named it one of the 10 Best SUVs Under $25,000 for 2014.
If you prefer fluid lines to the boxy look of traditional SUVs, the 2014 Nissan Rogue continues to be a design trend-setter. Strong fuel economy, affordable pricing and the option of seats for seven combine to make the Rogue one of the most appealing small SUVs on the market.
If you believe practicality and power shouldn't be mutually exclusive, the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 all offer more muscle, plus conventional automatic transmissions as well as some manual gearboxes. Also, while the Rogue's comparatively low starting price looks attractive, most competitors offer additional standard equipment for a marginal price increase.
Redesigned inside and out, the Rogue is all-new for 2014. The wheelbase has been stretched just over a half-inch, width and height have increased, and increased volume allows the option of a very snug 3rd-row seat. A new Divide `n Hide Cargo System provides 18 storage variations in 5-passenger models.
Driving Impressions Although the efficiency of the Rogue's 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine has been enhanced for 2014, contributing to improved fuel economy ratings, power continues to be relatively modest compared to some of...the powerplants available in this class. Acceleration is adequate in ordinary driving, but a little tepid in passing situations and on steep uphills. The Xtronic CVT has artificial steps programmed into its operation, simulating conventional transmission shifts, though there are still hints of CVT wheezing under full throttle. On the other hand, the Rogue's dynamics are a pleasant surprise. Body motion is well controlled, the electric-assist power steering is accurate, with good feedback, and ride quality is supple. SUVs aren't the kind of vehicles that inspire back-road excursions just for the fun of driving, but the 2014 Rogue acquits itself better than many when the pavement gets kinky, and also responds briskly in emergency maneuvers.
AROUND VIEW MONITOR
Ordinarily, keeping your head on a swivel is the best way to maneuver a car in tight confines. Using a series of external cameras to create a composite view of surrounding, the Nissan Rogue's available Around View Monitor lets you see everything, including moving objects – without the swivel.
DIVIDE 'N HIDE CARGO SYSTEM
Securing odds and ends, including groceries, is always a challenge, and the Rogue's new storage option answers the challenge with an ingenious system that can be configured to accommodate all sorts of small to medium cargo. New for 2014, the system provides 18 possible variations. Unfortunately, it's limited to 5-passenger models.
The interior of the 2014 Rogue is typically Nissan, with attractively illuminated instrumentation, quality materials, lots of soft-touch surfaces, and a tempting list of infotainment and connectivity features. The front seats – heated and leather-clad in SL models – are supportive and comfortable. Front-seat legroom and headroom are good for tall drivers, and rear-seat legroom has expanded. Nissan refers to the 3rd-row perch as "occasional seating," and it's very tight. On the other hand, wider rear door openings improve access to the Rogue's nether regions. Storage space is ample and includes a slick new cargo system option in 5-passenger models.Exterior
The Rogue's 2014 makeover extends to its foundations, shared with the Nissan Sentra Sedan. The wheelbase has been lengthened by just over a half-inch, while overall length shrinks by a similar amount, reducing front and rear overhangs. Expanded width plus a taller profile gives the 2014 sportier proportions, while side panel sculpting lends a more sophisticated look. In addition to attractive styling, the 2014 Rogue also represents a significant gain in aerodynamic efficiency, with a coefficient of drag value (Cd) of 0.33 versus 0.36 for the 2013 model, contributing to a significant improvement in EPA fuel economy ratings.
For 2014, the basic Nissan Rogue S includes a multi-information display, 60/40-split rear seatbacks, a handy under-floor storage compartment, and a 4-speaker audio system with an auxiliary audio port. SV models add a power-adjustable driver's seat, premium fabric seating surfaces and a 6-speaker audio system with a 5.0-inch full color display and a USB port for portable music systems. A standard tilt/telescoping steering wheel lets you fine tune your driving position even closer to ideal. Standard safety equipment is comparable to most other small SUVs, but not exceptional.
With the majority of its feature content bundled into packages, including an expanded array of electronic safety features, the main individual options available for the 2014 Nissan Rogue are an enlarged panoramic moonroof, 7-passenger seating, Bluetooth, and all-wheel drive. S models offer a Special Edition Package comprised of 16-inch alloy wheels, a mid-grade audio system and a rear backup camera. Available on SV trims, the SL Package includes 18-inch alloys, navigation, a 9-speaker Bose premium audio system, Nissan's exclusive Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection, and leather seats.
The 2014 Nissan Rogue is powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine matched to an Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) that is well-suited for everyday driving. For those who need a vehicle that can tackle a variety of driving conditions and road surfaces, opting for all-wheel drive extracts only a minimal reduction in fuel economy.
170 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
175 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/33 mpg (front-wheel drive), 25/32 mpg (AWD)
A base front-wheel-drive 2014 Nissan Rogue S has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $23,350. The pricing ladder includes two more rungs, culminating with the SL ($28,930). Add $1,350 for all-wheel drive with all trim levels. Comparably-equipped Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage models are slightly less expensive, while the 2014 Toyota RAV4 and the 2014 Honda CR-V share a similar pricing structure with the Rogue. Our Fair Purchase Price located at the bottom of this page shows what consumers in your area are paying for their Nissan Rogues, so be sure to give it a look before heading to the dealership. Over time, the Rogue is expected to retain better resale values than the Ford Escape, but lag behind the Tucson, Sportage, RAV4 and CR-V.