By on June 19, 2014

1_Rogue_front

Behold the 2014 Nissan… wait, haven’t we covered the redesigned Rogue already?

Indeed, Winston recently offered a solid writeup on the top-trim Rogue SL with all-wheel-drive, and his findings were largely positive. What if you are on a budget though? How enjoyable is Nissan’s mainstream compact crossover when the heated leather seating, Bose stereo and touchscreen navigation system aren’t included? Sounds like a review of the more mainstream SV trim is in order.

In truth, I owed Derek this review several weeks back. Why so late? Part of the blame can be attributed to a unicorn hunt.

Allow me to explain. The Rogue (182.3” long, 106.5” wheelbase) is now one of the largest entries in the compact crossover class. That length enabled Nissan to add an optional third row to the lower two trim levels. Judging from Nissan’s specs, the Dodge Caravan and other affordable seven-seaters have little to worry about – the Rogue’s third row looks especially low and tight. I can’t say for sure though. Despite monitoring inventory for six weeks, I never got managed to sit in one.

Eventually, I settled for a two-row SV. As previously mentioned, the SV’s seats are cloth, the speakers lack Bose logos and touching the radio display just smudges it. There is still plenty of kit included for $25,350 (MSRP and destination) though – privacy glass, roof rails, Bluetooth, a rear camera, dual zone temperature control, a proximity key and power mirrors, windows, locks and driver’s seat are all included. The only feature I’d really miss out of the SL is the genuinely useful Around View Monitor. It’s hard to go back to the SV’s admittedly-competent rear camera. Some shoppers may also miss the touchscreen radio and fog lights many competitors now offer on their mid-level trims, but most of the content matches up well.

2_Rogue_profile

SV buyers won’t be awash in toys, but they do get one of the more upscale exteriors in the class. I’ll leave the detailed stylistic analysis to the professionals, but I do find the front LEDs to be a bit much in that typical Nissan way. I’d still pick the redesigned Rogue over its predecessor, but yesteryear’s style lives on as the 2014 Rogue Select for those who disagree.

3_Rogue_schnoz

I can’t imagine anyone would maintain their preference for the previous model after driving them back to back though. Neither is remotely sporty, but the redesigned Rogue improves where it counts in the class – fuel efficiency is up, noise is down and the overall drive is easygoing but not mushy.

Nissan used a carryover 2.5 liter inline four-cylinder engine across all trims, but it is better utilized by the new CVT. I don’t have any experience with Honda’s Earth Dreams CVTs, but this is the best cog-free automatic I’ve experienced so far. EPA ratings of 26 mpg city/33 highway/28 combined for FWD units don’t hurt either.

The electric power steering was also a pleasant surprise. The rack is two-finger light at parking lot speeds but firms up nicely on the open road. I might have even imagined a few tingles of feedback. My only real critique of the drive is that, like the previous generation, the new Rogue exhibits moderate body flex and loses its composure over rough pavement. Crash performance is also a bit curious – the Rogue was an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus but scored only three stars in the NHSTA frontal test (four stars overall).

4_Rogue_IP

As with all crossovers these days, the real story is the interior. Nissan’s redesign is much flashier than before, but the initial impression doesn’t quite hold up. Material quality is generally improved, but many of the surfaces are still undeniably cheap. Still, the second-row slides, modern touches abound and folding the rear seats yield a very competitive 70 cubic feet of space. Nissan also touts their “Divide-N-Hide” configurable tray. It felt a bit like an answer seeking a question, but I’m sure some consumers will love it.

So far, the redesign has been a commercial success. Inventory turnover is currently high, and sales have been brisk since launch. Being that this is Nissan’s second most popular vehicle, it had better sell well though. According to Timothy Cain’s data on goodcarbadcar.net, US Rogue sales have increased every year since introduction. With 84,236 reported sales in five months, 2014 is on track to continue the trend.

Is this marketplace success deserved? As an enthusiast, I never paid much attention to the previous generation. My wife, though, had as strong a girly crush on Gen 1 as I’ve ever seen her develop for a vehicle. Gen 2 just increased the attraction, so the updated Rogue became an immediate frontrunner in our search for a new vehicle. We tested the Rogue twice but ultimately walked away. Why? The sportier drive of some competitors was a small factor (she’s a keeper!). However…

TrueDelta indicates that the 2013 updates for the Altima and Pathfinder were both relatively rough affairs by modern standards. Unfortunately, my tested Rogue also had a few teething issues that seem common in Nissan forums. The passenger door trim refused to stay aligned, the upper tray of the center console frequently did not release, the accelerator offered a surprising amount of vibration and plastic flashing along the lower portion of the center console gave me a nice scuff on one leg. None of these are major issues, but they were enough to dissuade us from becoming Nissan’s beta testers.

Quality issues aside, Nissan has a solid formula here. I didn’t buy one with my own money, but shoppers interested in space and efficiency would do well to consider the 2014 Rogue in any trim level.

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33 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2014 Nissan Rogue SV FWD...”


  • avatar

    I don’t understand why Nissan’s, Honda and Toyota’s newest cars have such poorly crafted interiors. Makes me wonder why people poke at American cars so much. Hyundai’s interiors are so much better.

    I was at Nissan car shopping with a friend and we tested the Altima and Rogue. The Bose speakers SUCK and it amazes me that they heavily advertise them. They are better than generic speakers, but they aren’t as good as Kickers, Harman Kardon or Rockford Fosgate.

    the seats aren’t that great either.

    And the prices???

    You could get way better deals than that.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “I don’t understand why Nissan’s, Honda and Toyota’s newest cars have such poorly crafted interiors”

      Because if the car doesn’t break and the interior doesn’t fall apart, they really don’t care.

      Put it this way: GM’s or Chrysler’s interiors in the late-90s/early-00s were awful, but not appreciably worse than Toyota’s. The difference between a Corolla and Cavalier/Neon was that the Corolla wouldn’t break. Not spending money matters in these segments.

      Another example: MkIV VWs had very nice, soft-touch material. It didn’t do you much good when a) it fell apart like wet cardboard in it’s third year, and b) the ignition coil packs and window regulators did the same.

      These aren’t luxury cars; the buyers are all about TCO. Toyota has Lexus for people who really, really care about interiors and are willing to pay for the premium.

      • 0 avatar

        The past is past. Before the LX platform, I never would have even considered a “Chrysler”.
        The new GM and Chrysler are considerably different than the old ones.
        Cadillac is BETTER than BMW now.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          Yes, but this isn’t the market Cadillac plays in, or even that of the LX/LY cars.

          This is the market of the Dart, Journey, Orlando, or Equinox. Buyers in this space have very different priorities and don’t really care about differences in materials quality.

          People here care about mileage and reliability. If the car is a little worse in the interior and misses a few features but has a solid decade’s worth of red circles in Consumer Reports, that’s what matters.

        • 0 avatar
          slow kills

          If you’ve seen the recent JD Powers thing, I’d question why you’re lumping GM in with the Chrysler. The former is up, the latter not.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    My son-in-law’s father just bought his wife a Nissan Rogue – silver, of course. Still has temp plates on it, and it has had computer issues and other glitches. Not sure if they’ll keep it or demand another one, or if the glitches will be taken care of and they’ll be very happy with it.

    They were taking it back to the dealer again a few days ago, so I’m waiting to hear the news; good, bad or indifferent. Hope it gets straightened out, because it seems like a pretty nice vehicle.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Seems like that rare and awesome thing; a Japanese clunker. Is Nissan becoming the Dodge of nippon no kuruma?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Rather more the Pontiac. Heck, the Maxima (and the Altima, before they neutered it) is pretty much an American Grand Prix GTP.

      • 0 avatar
        Eiriksmal

        It’s funny you mention that. There’s one guy on the largest Maxima community (forums.maxima.org) that, indeed, switched from a Maxima to a Grand Prix GTP a few years ago. I thought it was an odd choice, but maybe they’re more closely aligned than I thought?

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I have been calling it that for years. Although the Maxima has 2 aces up its sleeve that the Pontiac didn’t. Well, 2 and a half. 1 was that gem of an engine in the VQ. Whether it was the butter smooth 3.0 or the brutal, ballistic 3.5…. it totally defined the car. The 3800 was OK but kind of sounded like ass. 2 was the interior. Roomy, decent quality, kind of good looking. I love the dash of the 95-99 in fully equipped models. Black leather with the white SE gauges and the automatic climate control…. it’s a nice place to be, even today. The half was the option of a manual transmission, though to be blunt the early 5 speed boxes were so bad their only saving grace was full controllability and the better spaced + higher number ratios. Until the G35 came out the VQ was an engine in search of a worthy chassis. The Maxima is a beastly highway eater though.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      My perceptions based solely on localized anecdotal evidence and observations are that as Mitsubishi has faded into irrelevant obscurity Nissan has taken their place. Not as the no-interest/pay later financing center, but as the attractor of credit criminals and underclass individuals who overload their cars with people and junk while neglecting basic items like inflating tires and cleaning windows so as to be at least translucent. It seems every late-model Nissan already looks abused. I can only think of two new-ish Nissans that look nice and they both belong to the same house…a silver Maxima and silver Quest. I think the problem is that even when they’re in good condition and well-detailed, they still look like a pile of dog crap.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    I see these everywhere now, so there must be something good about them. I drove a previous generation Rouge once that belonged to a co-worker. It was awful…. terribly cheap interior, road noise, and totally unrefined sounding engine. That was enough to turn me off of the Rogue completely.

    As was mentioned earlier by someone else, I also don’t understand why American cars are ragged on so much. In the last 6 months I’ve had a Fusion and Altima as rentals and I’d take the Fusion any day.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Mom has 2012. She takes excellent care of it, and does very few miles. It’s a very plain, no option version we got for 19k. I saw 2013′s advertised for as low as 17,500. That’s why these sell, they are a bargain. Nice ride, as quiet as the competition, does everything expected and they will drop the price to keep cranking them out. At the time, the Asian competitors were not dealing.

    It’s a pretty simple machine that I assume is cheap to make, but is certainly cheap to buy. It doesn’t seem like a cheap vehicle. It’s just plain. Really plain. I had a Corolla loaner the other day. It was loaded with options. Not a bad car, but it wasn’t nearly as much car for the money. I wonder if a lot of people don’t look at lesser cars, option them up, and then compare to a base Rogue and swap their purchase plans.

  • avatar
    wmba

    The British division of Nissan claims to have designed the Qashqai, the slightly shorter version of this Rogue with otherwise identical styling, which is selling like crazy in Europe, the only Japanese vehicle that really sells well over there. They also claim the Juke’s styling.

    However, although the dash and interior of the Qashqai looks identical to this Rogue in pix, it may well be made of better materials, at least judging from reviews which normally diss Japanese interiors. The price is much higher as well, it has at least 3 engine choices including diesel, and no sign of the 2.5l 4-banger or CVT.

    The North American version just seems to be as cheap as cheap can be.

  • avatar
    Carfan94

    The back of it looks like a 2nd Generation Lexus RX. Nissan don’t you think it’s a bit late to be copying the 2004 RX 330?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Other than the clear-lensed (Altezza-style) lights that are angled downard (which has been done by many other models), I don’t see it. It doesn’t look like a second-gen RX to me.

      You know what? On second thought, I do see it. What really solidifies the resemblance is the fact that the Rogue–albeit by a different tactic—has no visible metal on either side of the rear windshield, so it blends into the sides of the car seamlessly…just as how the 2nd-gen RX had a wraparound rear windshield.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Like the overall exterior design but otherwise haven’t really been impressed by any reviews. If you need a third row you better go midsize or full size depending on the age of your children. If you only need two rows, the Mazda CX-5 seems like a better value to me.

    Daniel, I’m guessing the 3 row model has been hard to find because when I visit the Nissan “Build Your Own” it appears that the 3rd row is only available on higher trim levels and isn’t a cheap option.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel Latini

      Of the 91 Rogues within 100 miles of me, only 4 have the 3rd row (and none are at the closest two dealers). The option is only available on the S and SV trims anyway – SL is excluded. It is a relatively pricey addition, but making the seats standard would probably invite the wrong comparisons.

  • avatar
    turboprius

    My family bought a 2008 Rogue right when the 2009s were coming out. It’s an SL, with the only major options being the Bose, the sunroof, and the fog lights. No bluetooth, leather, heated seats, or anything like that.

    It’s fabulous. The Bose speakers are impressive (I love Bose now because of this), the seats feel like plush mattresses, and the AC is extremely cold, even without rear vents. The backseat doesn’t move or recline, but an average sized family would have plenty of room. It’s kind of tight for me now, but there aren’t firm pads on the backs of the front seats, so you can push your legs in. My dad and I are 6’4″, and we have good headroom, even with the sunroof, and great front legroom with 36+ inch inseams. My family has taken some long trips in it, and we could store everything we needed just fine.

    The TCM had to be replaced at 66K miles, but that’s been the only major problem. I’d still suggest a 2009-2013 because a lot of people haven’t been as lucky as us with the transmission, or maybe a 2014 Select if you’re on a budget. The CVT whines, but that’s expected, and it still gets over 20 MPG. Our Rogue, with FWD, survived a 20 something mile commute in the ice storm back in January, and made it home just fine. Didn’t have to be abandoned somewhere on the road.

    I wanted my parents to buy a CR-V, but I’m glad they didn’t. This is probably my personal favorite small crossover of the late-2000′s. I’m looking forward to driving it, and it may become my first car, which excites me even more.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The interior is not at all impressive! Passenger side vent design makes it look like it fell out of the housing already. No real trim across the dash anywhere.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I did not know that people actually purchased the Rogue. Nissan somehow sold 160K of them last year though. The more you know I suppose.

  • avatar
    suspekt

    The CRV is the king. Probably the best car “dollar for dollar” in the whole world. I’m not even exaggerating.

    When you really take a long hard look at everything the average Joe needs a car to do, the CRV delivers.

    When people ask me what car they should buy NEW, I always point them to 2:
    1A. Toyota Prius
    1B. Honda CRV

    Of course family composition, towing ability, climate etc etc play a role in all of this but I sincerely believe the above 2 cars deliver what most families really need.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    When I was living in Japan I saw that the Nissan models were significantly different from the models that are manufactured here. Ever since Nissan started manufacturing in Smyrna Tennessee I have noticed the significant decline in quality. I owned a Maxima SE that was made in Japan and it had a great interior that was rock solid with nice materials. Production in Tennessee is not helping Nissan. The front dash is made by Kantus, a Japanese transplant in TN as well. They’re obviously not helping Nissan with high quality dashes like they do in Japan.

    The Rogue looks much better than before but I too worry about the interior build and quality.

    • 0 avatar
      Point Given

      You are exactly right. I’ve been in sales with Nissan since 04. Seen the difference in product quality decrease over the years as production was moved stateside.

      I’ve been to the Canton Miss. plant twice and both times came away with the impression that the workers aren’t particularly engaged in making a high quality product. Seems more like a ho-hum make it through the day place. have to admit the leadership that I met there was quite gung ho/rah rah though. Maybe the difference between 100k/year and 14 bucks an hour.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Akebono once said something like “The Japanese give you exactly what you deserve; nothing more or less.”

      Maybe that’s the philosophy coming out of Smyrna.


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