By on June 3, 2014

2014-nissan-rogue-14

We’re surrounded by contradiction. Multitasking isn’t and modern conveniences aren’t. The 2014 Nissan Rogue is is the second generation of Nissan’s utterly conventional compact crossover. The Rogue is not what its name says it is, but that’s working better than ever.

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Nissan gave the Rogue a complete makeover for 2014 with styling that aligns with the Altima and Pathfinder. The 2014 Rogue is also larger, with enough interior room for an optional third row. It’s not getting on any bedroom walls with a carried-over 2.5 liter four cylinder engine and new CVT as its only powertrain. As banal as the Rogue may be, buyers are excited. The new  Rogue is outdoing last year’s model, now called the Rogue Select, by more than 25%. That’s 20,000 vehicles.

The 2014 Rogue is gaining on the leaders, climbing the sales charts faster than the rest of the top five crossover classmates. It’s the fifth best-selling car in the class, just ahead of the also-new Jeep Cherokee. Derek and I have a running bet over Rogue and Cherokee sales, and he’s probably going to win. While the Cherokee made a big splash when introduced, the quieter Rogue has the lead by about 15,000 units. The cheeky Jeep has gained lately, and it’s a neck and neck battle for monthly numbers. I may win yet, but it’d take a disastrous month or two of Rogue sales for that to happen. While personality will get you a lot of press, conformity will get you customers.

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Sometimes you don’t need to cause a revolution. The 2014 Rogue is a solid execution all-around, and it does offer some unique, useful features to keep driving sales after the new wears off. There’s three rows of seats, a folding front passenger seat, the slick Around-View Monitor system, though not all the good stuff is standard. The engine is torquey, if not exactly refined. When you make it work hard, a lot of sound booms through the firewall. Some more noise insulation would go a long way to refining the impression, because there’s nothing wrong with the way the powertrain works. Even the CVT is pretty well sorted. The strangest behavior I noted is how the transmission ratchets its variable ratios up during hard acceleration, and most people never, ever floor it.

The most noticeable thing about the CVT is its stepless nature, and that’s a positive. The second most noticeable thing is its contribution to fuel efficiency. The engine loafs on the highway and the window sticker of the AWD model I drove says you can expect 32 mpg, with city economy coming in at 25 mpg. Credit the computing power behind the XTronic, which adapts to driving style and calls on other sensors within the vehicle to determine whether the car is climbing a hill, zipping down the highway or on a windy secondary road. The transmission control unit chooses from an array of available patterns, and that’s how the XTronic CVT manages to please most drivers without totally offending the discerning tastes of automotive journalists. Yes, that’s a joke. One nice touch is the smooth way the transmission will automatically select a lower gear ratio for engine braking when you back off the accelerator. Internal upgrades to the transmission reduce friction and with the new software to tell the hardware what to do, only Honda can match Nissan’s CVTs.

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The optional all-wheel drive system is an occasional-use affair. Rogues with AWD remain a front-wheeling proposition until things get slippery. It’s perfect for the way most people want AWD: seamless, unobtrusive, and automatic. Let’s face it, any Rogue that goes off road is probably doing it accidentally. There’s a locking function to the AWD system, good for situations where you can’t wait for the power to transfer from front to back, such as getting un-stuck.

The impression from behind the wheel is much improved over the first generation. The earlier car was fine, but only fine. The 2014 Rogue feels much more solid structurally, with grown-up suspension tuning that won’t give you internal bleeding. Weight gain has been kept in check by the use of lightweight materials for the hood and liftgate, among other measures, and that contributes to the lack of bobbing around. It’s not interested in any of the antisocial behavior you might call fun, but at least they got the steering weight right. There’s no feedback, though. The interior materials are on par with what you’ll find inside the Jeep Cherokee. That means it’s better than the RAV4 and CR-V. The SL is pretty loaded, feeling like it has more in common with an Infiniti than it does a Versa.

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The $32,395 bottom line of the Rogue SL AWD I spent a week is also closer to Infiniti territory. That’s not inexpensive, so what do you get for your money?

The 2.5 liter and CVT are de rigeur, and there were 18” alloy wheels, LED running lights, foglamps, automatic headlamps, heated exterior mirrors with LED turn signal repeaters, privacy glass, rear wiper, and a very slow power liftgate among the highlights of the Cayenne Red test car. The tester also had the SL Premium Package, a $1,900 basket of excellent LED headlights, overly-sensitive Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Forward Collision Warning and Moving Object Detection.

Other SL-trim highlights include leather seating, power-adjustable driver’s seat and NissanConnect system with 7” touchscreen, Navigation, and voice recognition. Bose Audio is also part of the SL’s deal. For under $33K, you’re getting a lot of equipment, and there’s just as much cargo space in the Rogue as there is in the segment-leader CR-V. More, in fact, with the second row seats still in use (39.3 cubic feet in the Rogue vs. 37.2 in the CR-V.) Fold the seats and Honda has almost one cubic foot more, but the flip side of that is the 126 cubic feet of passenger volume when you get the three-row Family Package, which my test car was not equipped with. A two-row Rogue has 105.8 cubic feet of space for people, also just edging the CR-V.

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With the 2014 Rogue, Nissan studiously took a tape measure to the competition. That’s not what you’d expect a rogue (small “r”) to do. They could have made the bodyshell from Plutonium and called it the Pillage, buyers would still like it. It’s hard not to like something that’s so full of cupholders, cubbie holes and cushy touches, and it’s got more personality than the RAV4 or CR-V. The driver’s choice in this class is still the Mazda CX-5, which loses pretty hard to the Rogue on paper.

The Rogue is a traditional SUV gone rational. Those hoary old truck-based things were truly contradictory. Four-bys being used as family cars. At least the Rogue is comfortable in its skin, which keeps everyone else equally comfortable within that skin.

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36 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2014 Nissan Rogue...”


  • avatar

    When I get in a Nissan or Honda or Toyota, it makes me wonder how people attack American cars for being soul-less plasticy econoboxes.

    The two things I like about Nissan are the interior space and the styling – and sometimes the powertrain (Maxima), but their interiors are horribly bland and the spaciousness feels devoid of luxury.

  • avatar
    Ooshley

    As a Rogue it might be a step-up on the previous generation, but as a 3rd gen X-Trail, it’s remained static or gone backwards in all but looks.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Why,oh, *why* does every CUV manufacturer kick the back end of the beltline upward to form a tiny trapezoid for the rearmost window, thus diminishing visibility there even more than anything necessary for roll-over compliance?

    Why? People still have to back out of parking rows, most without anything more than a narrow rearview camera, if that.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      I’ll play devil’s advocate:
      1) improved sound insulation
      2) lighter. This is a guess. Is “body” lighter per unit of exterior area than is greenhouse? I would guess yes.
      3) reduced strain on HVAC
      4) the upward sweep is reminiscent of a California rake, which ‘Merica seems to like

      But yeah, I agree with you. I personally don’t agree with the fourth point, and the first three offer only incremental improvements. Furthermore, those incremental improvements come at the cost of visibility. But that’s why we have cameras, apparently [sigh].

    • 0 avatar
      crtfour

      Amen! In addition to decreased visibility, in my opinion the upkick just doesn’t look good. I don’t think it’s a styling trend that’s going to age very well down the road.

  • avatar
    Macca

    We purchased a ’14 Rogue SL FWD in December as our family car – so far we love it. We wanted a CUV with a refined ride with useful passenger and cargo space. I’ll apologize in advance for my glowing praise for this car – someone call me out if I step into Encore/Trifecta-tune fanboi territory.

    What isn’t entirely conveyed in this review (which I realize is a ‘capsule’ review) is the Rogue’s refinement on the road. Cruising on the highway at 65 to 70 MPH you’re in the 69 dB range (yes, I measured) which is veritably hushed when you’re coming from a compact car. Around town in the 40 MPH range it’s nearly silent. Even the $23k base model conveys a sense of refinement well above its bracket. The upgraded stereo is quite nice (surprising for Bose) but the Rogue’s benefits from not having the low frequencies attenuated by road noise.

    As was mentioned, the 2.5L gets loud and buzzy over 4k RPMs, which undermines the otherwise refined ride – but this kind of maneuver is rarely necessary with the CVT. It comfortably gets up to speed, somewhat deceptively, well under 3k RPMs. With mostly short-trip semi-urban driving ours is averaging 26 MPG over the first 6 months. We’ve pegged it out to around 34 MPG on a few highway trips. That’s far better than my 600lb-lighter ’08 Mazda3 2.3L can muster.

    Our favorite feature is the Divide-N-Hide® cargo system in the ‘trunk’. Silly name aside, it provides an adjustable/variable load floor with two portions that can be alternately positioned as shelves. We put the big floor up as a high shelf, slide the stroller underneath and still have a ton of space for groceries and such. Yes, groceries. It’s simple but goes a long way to make all that space useful. In other CUVs you just have to pile stuff up as there’s no shelving to speak of with quite a bit of vertical space.

    My other favorite features are the LED headlamps (on the SL trim) and the around-view monitor feature. The LEDs are ridiculously bright, enough to make factory HIDs seem dim. The around-view provides a bird’s-eye view all around the car – it really is a nice parking feature.

    It’s not remotely sporty, but man I enjoy driving this thing. I have a 370Z if that restores any of my anonymous e-cred (doubtful, as the B&B have the Z pegged as an overweight failure) but I can’t deny how much I like driving our Rogue. Nissan knocked it out of the park with the 2nd gen Rogue and the sales numbers are telling.

    /sales pitch

  • avatar
    carguy

    “only Honda can match Nissan’s CVTs”

    I would disagree. Not only is the trash-talking between JATCO and Nissan and indicator of deep seated problems but all of their CVTs that I have ever driven were painfully slow to respond and some made an unpleasant whining noise. I would say that in the race for CVT supremacy that Honda and Subaru are actually leading Nissan by some distance.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Too bad you didn’t test the three row model. My wife is a charter member of Mothers Against Minivan/Wagon (MAMW – ma’am wh). I don’t need to put adults in the back row but if an 7 year old is OK back there them I’m OK.

    Luggage you say? That’s what the roof rack and watertight roof carriers are for.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I never understood the point of the Rogue, other than a last-minute entry into the compact segment. I guess it’s for people too poor for the Murano, and not radical enough for the Juke. I do remember when this came out, they announced they targeted single women under 35 who intend to buy in FWD guise.

    For the review, I see lots of opportunities here for some more paragraph organization.

    You mentioned the Rogue has an optional third row now. Then you say it’s got a third row, then you say third row is optional, then finally “which my test car was not equipped with.”

    Perfect opportunity for paragraph organization, outlining at the beginning what it does or doesn’t have!

    We talk CVT, sales, features, CVT, AWD, ride comfort, CVT, features.

    • 0 avatar
      Macca

      “I guess it’s for people too poor for the Murano, and not radical enough for the Juke…”

      A bit of an oversimplification there.

      I can’t speak for others, but for our purchase decision, we wanted a two-row CUV for our growing family. The outgoing Murano has less total cargo space (-6 cu.ft) and less ‘trunk’ space behind the second row (-8 cu.ft) than the 2nd gen Rogue. The larger exterior Murano also has 1.6” less rear seat legroom. If you’re attempting to squeeze in a rear-facing infant seat, you’ll understand that rear seat spaciousness is a must.

      Also, our Rogue SL premium MSRPs a couple grand more than a base Murano, so there’s some price overlap here.

      The main selling point for the Murano is the 3.5L VQ V6, which is nice, but that doesn’t even register for my wife. The Murano’s highway MPGs don’t even match the Rogue’s city rating.

      As for the Juke, it’s a great little car, but it’s no family hauler. The Juke has 34 cu.ft total cargo space to the Rogue’s 70 and only 10 cu.ft in the ‘trunk’ to the Rogue’s 40. Not to mention a decidedly un-child seat friendly 32” rear seat legroom to the Rogue’s 38”.

      “I never understood the point of the Rogue…”

      Hmmm, this doesn’t seem tough.

      Murano = midsize CUV (with a compact interior…)
      Rogue = compact CUV
      Juke = subcompact CUV.

      Toyota and Honda have enjoyed strong sales with their RAV4 and CR-V and Nissan wanted in on that segment in 2007. If anything, the Murano is the odd man out, as it has fairly bulky midsize exterior dimensions with a tight interior and is priced well out of the compact CUV bracket. It’s akin to a budget priced FX, essentially, which is great, but it’s not going to compete well with ~$24k RAV4s and CR-Vs. Now with a car-based Pathfinder, the Murano is especially hard to justify – surprising they’re keeping it on with only ~11k sold per month. Much like the Maxima has effectively been replaced by the Altima and pushed into Infiniti territory (similar to the Avalon vs ES350 pricing).

      The new Rogue is selling around 20k units a month – toe to toe with the redesigned RAV4. Seems like a decent explanation of its existence. Even the first gen had become Nissan’s second best-selling vehicle.

      As for the Juke, it sparked the subcompact CUV segment, one which Honda is scrambling to enter (Vezel) and Jeep will enter with the Renegade, which looks like an awesome little CUV.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Thank you for the well thought out reply. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of the Murano. I drove one for a week in 2011 and it was tight, bouncy, lacked power with the CVT, and had a very underwhelming interior. The Maxima is too expensive and too old, and smaller than the Altima, which is all most people see (despite the difference in driving dynamics).

        I suppose when you’re buying in the compact class, the differences in small amounts of cargo room make big carrying differences.

    • 0 avatar
      TheyBeRollin

      What I never understood about the Rogue is what they thought was wrong with the Qashqai. Why the bubblier body? Why the lack of transmission choices? Is this really what Americans want?

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Dan is right, but the reality is that these cars are wagons. Just don’t tell the ladies.

    My mom has the older one, and it’s a great car for a non car person. Plenty of room. More would be luxury for most buyers.

    The only real issue is rear visibility, as Kenmore pointed out. I would recommend the last model because you can get them dirt cheap. I think they may still be making them for fleets?

    And one more thing for the author. The CUV off road meme is over. If you want to make those jokes, make them right or just let it go. Does the AWD even look different on the Rogue? People aren’t buying a rogue to look butch. If they get AWD it’s either being over cautious or because they realize that due to snow or a muddy road, they actually can benefit from AWD.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yes they are wagons (spoiler alert) I just bought a very clean gently used 2010 Highlander V6 AWD because let’s be serious, it is a 270 hp AWD Camry Wagon with 5 speed shift-able auto. The back seat is bigger than the American barges I grew up on and the rear seat is tolerable for children.

      But my wife thinks it’s an SUV and I smile at my wagon. Don’t worry I’ve still got the 1967 Mustang to “be cool.”

  • avatar
    ect

    We test drove a Rogue in December 2012. It positively defined boring. No personality, no performance. You could fall asleep at the wheel from the sheer dullness of it.

    Compared to other CUV’s we drove (Sportage, Tiguan, Escape) it was only memorable for being something you’d want to forget. As quickly as humanly possible.

    • 0 avatar
      Macca

      Cool story. This review is for the 2nd-gen Rogue, a new model for 2014. It carries over the same engine, but uses the latest-gen CVT from Jatco (boring) and is more refined than the 1st gen (perhaps even more boring) but also a few tenths of a second slower to 60 mph.

      Interestingly, when tested against 8 other compact CUVs by Car & Driver in 2008, the first-gen Rogue was considered the “sportiest” (relative term, perhaps “least sleep inducing” is more appropriate) with the fastest 0-60 & quarter mile of the bunch and finished third overall behind the obvious leaders, RAV4 and CR-V.

      Just as an example, the 1st gen Rogue posted an 8.3 second 0-60 and 16.4 second quarter mile @ 88 mph. The Tiguan? 8.0 seconds to 60 and 16.3 sec qtr mi @ 88 mph. 2013 Sportage EX? 9.3 sec to 60 and 17.3 sec qtr mi @ 82 mph. 2013 Escape SEL? 9.1 sec to 60 and 16.9 sec qtr mi @ 81 mph. (All times from C&D)

      No doubt all three of those above examples offered better interiors, fresher styling and certainly may have had better steering or had transmissions that felt better to you, but the car you describe doesn’t really match reality when it comes to actual tested specs.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I remain very impressed with the new gen, and wonder how Nissan can get this so right and the Pathfinder so wrong. The Pathfinder just looks so…lumpy. I was next to one today at a light an marveled at the brutal cut lines from a 3/4 view.

    But Nissan is like that…Altima, Rogue, Versa, hit….Maxima, Pathfinder, Cube, miss.

    Glad you love yours Macca!

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    “The 2.5 liter and CVT are de rigeur, and there were 18” alloy wheels, LED running lights, foglamps, automatic headlamps, heated exterior mirrors with LED turn signal repeaters, privacy glass, rear wiper, and a very slow power liftgate among the highlights of the Cayenne Red test car.”

    Are these the items that are standard on all trims, because that is a sad list in the context of “what do you get for over $32k?” An unrefined NA four cylinder? 18″ wheels impress no one these days. The LED running lights are tacky. Foglamps should be a given on any car over $20k, if for no other reason than avoiding the placeholders. Heated exterior mirrors should be standard or a cheap standalone option ($100?) on all cars – that’s a safety feature in cold climates. I hope you are joking by including a rear wiper in the features list – are there any hatchbacks/CUVs that don’t have one?

    I assume you need the SL trim before you have access to the SL premium package? Too bad if that’s the case, because there is some useful stuff in that package; however, I don’t personally see any value in the “highlights” of the prerequisite SL trim (nav, bose).

    As is often the case with volume sellers, the lower trims probably make more sense.

    • 0 avatar
      Macca

      I know this will come across as fanboi defense of the Rogue – but it is more in defense of the ~$30k I4 CUV. If you’re going to take Nissan to task for the options stratification on the Rogue, realize that they’re just following the playbook drawn up by Toyota, Honda and many others (you should take a look at what isn’t standard on a ‘luxurious’ German car).

      Re: Rogue options:

      1. I4 (however unrefined) – Toyota did away with the V6 option on the RAV4 and the 2.4L is the sole engine for the CR-V, both of which top out over $30k. As does the Escape, which offers three different I4s.
      2. As for the options that don’t impress anyone (or you) – I’m not sure what to say other than you should try configuring just about any car that starts in the low $20k range. That includes midsize sedans and compact CUVs. Wheel covers, no fogs and non-heated outside mirrors are “de rigeur” across the manufacturers, whether you think they should be standard or not.
      3. 18” rims impress no one. Perhaps, but you can’t get 18” rims on any CR-V (tops out at 17” and 16” steel is base) and 18s are the top level option on the RAV4 as well (17” standard). You can get 19s on the Escape however!
      4. Fog lights are standard kit on the Rogue SL trim only, which MSRPs for $28,280. Fog lights are a mid-level EX feature on the CR-V ($25,220) and also mid-level XLE kit on the RAV4 ($27,260).
      5. Yes, you have to get the SL to get SL Premium package, which adds 1) panoramic moonroof (insert requisite curmudgeonly complaint here: “rabble rabble moonroofs suck”), 2) LED headlights (not the DRLs, mind you, but bonafide bi-level LED projectors. “What’s so wrong with sealed beam halogens? Rabble rabble”), and 4) the quartet of safety nannies (which I rather enjoy).
      6. You can opt for the SV Premium package on the one-step-down SV trim, which adds 7” touchscreen nav (I know, I know), Sirius XM traffic, the amazing (truly) around view monitor, power liftgate, the safety monitors and *wait for it* heated outside mirrors – this package runs $1,420 on a SV which MSRPs $24,490.
      7. So you can get your heated outside mirrors on a $25,910 version of the Rogue. They come on the XLE RAV4 (mid trim) and only on the highest EX-L trim CR-V ($27,870). So fogs come at a higher cost than the segment leaders and heated outside mirrors come easier, it’s a give and take.

      “As is often the case with volume sellers, the lower trims probably make more sense.”

      It just depends on your definition of “makes sense.” Optioning up any car ratchets up the asking price, most cars in this price range have about a $7k swing from base to fully loaded. Whether or not that “makes sense” to you as the consumer is a personal choice. I’m just glad these options are available as it allows for difference in opinion. Evidently there is a market for a ~$30k compact CUV, clearly to the chagrin of the B&B.

      • 0 avatar
        Winston Braithwaite

        Thanks for all your heavy lifting here in the comments, Macca.

        Clearly those Nissan checks are clearing well! ;)

        • 0 avatar
          Macca

          Trust me, I fully realize what this looks like!

          I will point out, that if anyone has the stomach to read my novel-length posts, I’ve never so much as uttered that the Rogue is “best in class” nor that it is “best for everyone” because I’m certain it’s not. I don’t think anyone could go wrong with just about any compact CUV. In fact, my #1 choice was the CX-5, but this being my wife’s car, I deferred to her preference.

          Where I take umbrage is with lapses in logic, and I hope to offer a measure of common sense. Calling out Nissan for not offering heated mirrors or some such feature on the base model is asinine, just as it would be levied against GM, Ford or Toyota.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            I’m not sure why you are so fixated on the heated mirrors. It isn’t that I expect heated mirrors on the base model, it’s that I don’t think anyone should be impressed by it at $32k. Furthermore, wanting heated mirrors cheap or standard on all cars is more of a general rant – I realize not everything has them.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            If you are hoping that people will respond to logic, keep hoping. Most of them won’t respond here. OTOH, you will get plenty of barbs for your trouble.

            If most people were logical you wouldn’t see advertisements like the one where the couple wants to eliminate any car choice that doesn’t have x and y as standard. Of course it doesn’t matter if anything is standard to a logical buyer. The logical buyer wants the best value for him at the lowest price for him and isn’t concerned with checking boxes to get what he wants. Experienced buyers know that some options are standard because often enough, you can’t find a car with out an option you don’t want to pay for anyway.

            Those commercials persist because the marketers have crap product to push and they need the biggest idiots to come to the lot to buy it. And, it works.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        1) Honda makes great NA I4s, and the escape offers a significantly more powerful turbo4 on the Titanium. The Rogue’s engine is less refined than Honda’s and noticeably weaker than what Ford offers (and probably less refined than that too, knowing Nissan).
        2) At least with compact and midsize sedans, most of the options I want are found for $25k or less, including fog lights and heated mirrors. Try building a Focus.
        3) 17s are probably better suited to a CUV anyway. That said, the 18″ wheels were phrased as a desirable option and a value add for your $32k on the Rogue. Mazda3s has 18s, GTIs and Focus STs have 18s for less money, a Mazda6 can get 19s. Large wheels are everywhere.
        4)$28k to get fog lights is indeed disappointing.
        5)No argument here, I did state that I thought the SL premium package was attractive, and Winston didn’t mention the moonroof. I do like moonroofs (provided they are larger than a mail slot and start far enough forward to matter).It just sucks that you have to take the SL package (with lots I’m not all that interested in) to get to it. Nissan isn’t the first manufacturer to disappoint me with their equipment packaging, and they won’t be the last. Doesn’t mean I am letting them off the hook for it.
        6)The SV package sounds like a better deal, and is exactly what I mean by lower trim levels making more sense.
        6)

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        “I know this will come across as fanboi defense of the Rogue – but it is more in defense of the ~$30k I4 CUV.”

        The big problem with the $30k I4 CUV is the $35k V6 Acura RDX. I don’t love the RDX for various decontenting reasons (no figgin’ HIDS? douches!) but faced with a $33k 185hp I4 Nissan and a $35k 270hp V6 Acura, the choice is easy. I’ll sacrifice some toys for Powwwaahhhh! and a snobby-wife-pleasing (don’t act like you don’t have the same problem, guys!) badge.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    To me, every one of these compact CUV’s scream “middle aged woman”.

  • avatar
    timcc23

    Comparing these small CUVs, the Rogue actually offers a pretty competitive package for a family car. A lot of this is due to it being the most recent offering. It’s very roomy inside and fully loaded with the SL trim you get good features like LED lights, panoramic roof, and around view monitor. There cargo storage system in the back is legit. It’s not fun to drive, but for hauling a family of four and all of their stuff, it works. I, too, am struck at how expensive these small CUVs are compared to midsize sedans and other vehicles. In most instances, a sedan still seems the best way to go, but Americans and young mothers in general have been brainwashed that they need a SUV. Unfortunately, the NHTSA front crash test results were mediocre, which is a real downfall for a family car.

    • 0 avatar
      Macca

      Interesting about the NHTSA results. In March the IIHS named the Rogue to it’s highest rating of a “top safety pick+” and a 4/5 in the front crash test versus 3/5 from the NHTSA. Obviously methodology/criteria are different, but interesting nonetheless.

      http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2014/04/2014-nissan-rogue-earns-nhtsa-four-star-overall-safety-rating.html

      As far as being “brainwashed that they need an SUV” – I do agree there’s an element of group think in vehicle choice, but there’s clearly some practicality in the elevated ride height (loading stuff/child seats without stooping over) and increased interior cargo height of a CUV vs a sedan.

      Certainly a sedan would work in many situations – no doubt about that – but infant seats are gargantuan, strollers are often quite bulky, and the CUV form factor accommodates much of this with greater ease.

      CUVs are the modern wagon, save for diminished driving dynamics from elevated CG and reduced rearward visibility from exaggerated Hofmeister kinks. Of course, the B&B likes to act like every wagon in history was a V70R, even though I was partially raised in a ’80s Country Squire – the pinnacle of sport wagons.

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