When it came time to drive the brand new 2014 Nissan Rogue, I was the logical choice for the test. And to make things a little more interesting, I decided to bring along my mother's 2011 Nissan Rogue SV AWD for a direct comparison.
Bigger (but not) and bolder, this new Rogue is set to keep model loyalty high while also bringing in a whole new host of buyers in the market for a functional, stylish CUV (with a possible third row available).
What is a Nissan Rogue?
The Rogue first appeared in 2007 as a replacement for Nissan's X-Trail model in Canada. A compact crossover, the Rogue offered an affordable option to the Murano, with optional AWD models available and a decent amount of cargo and passenger space. The Rogue is entering its second generation with this 2014 model, with its first facelift and the same engine, transmission and drivetrain as the previous model.
2014 Nissan Rogue Price and Specs
As with the previous generation, this new Nissan Rogue is offered in three trim levels, FWD or AWD, and there are two packages available as well (Family Tech Package/Premium Package). At the bottom of the Rogue ladder sits the base, FWD Rogue S for $23,498. Head right up to the top and you've for the SL AWD with Premium Package for $33,098.
In terms of mechanicals, the 2014 Nissan Rogue houses the same engine (2.5L 4-cylinder good for 170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque) and transmission (Xtronic CVT) as the outgoing model. However, Nissan did add some creature-comfort features like a panoramic sunroof and an optional third row that turns the Rogue into a seven-seater when needed.
Of note; Nissan made the 2014 Rogue taller, wider and with a longer wheelbase, but managed to shorten the length (while making it "third-rowable", as well). They also managed to squeeze even better gas mileage out of exactly the same engine and transmission through improved components and mapping of the CVT.
Driving the 2014 Nissan Rogue
I've spent the past three years driving my mother's 2011 Nissan Rogue often. I've never been impressed with it, rather dislike the CVT's performance, and was always left wanting more from the AWD system in the winter. So, this 2014 Nissan Rogue had some serious impressing to do when I got behind the wheel.
Now, I've not completely changed my opinion on the Rogue, but I'll give Nissan props for making some definite improvements in areas that were lacking in the previous gen.
While the CVT remains, it was a little less intrusive than my mother's version (read: not as obnoxious under heavier acceleration). However, it is a shame they couldn't squeeze a bit more power into the Rogue as it's still a bit of slowpoke. Steering is much tighter and more precise than the previous model, which is great and makes the vehicle feel that much more solid and responsive on twistier roads.
In terms of the AWD system, it is the same 70/30 split found in the outgoing model with an AWD Lock option that turns off when you exceed 40km/hr. I was pleasantly surprised with the 2014 Nissan Rogue's improved torque-splitting technology and something they call "Active Trace Control" that will automatically engage your inner or outer brakes to keep you in line when cornering.
The 2014 Nissan Rogue is not a sporty vehicle to drive (Nissan gave us the JUKE to get our sport CUV yahoos out), but it is a pleasantly comfortable vehicle that will surely impress those in the market for just such a car.
Inside and Out of the 2014 Nissan Rogue
Here's where I have to give serious kudos to Nissan; they did a great job on the redesign of this particular compact crossover. The Rogue finally has a look that's all its own, while still maintaining its Nissan look and roots with elements that carry over from the rest of the family lineup.
Instead of a bulbous, almond-y shape, this new Rogue is much more angular and masculine, with a stubby front nose and edgy rear. They checked all the right boxes with the new exterior look.
Step inside the 2014 Nissan Rogue and those checks continue; soft touch materials, redesigned centre stack, and a new 5" TFT colour screen in the gauge cluster (available on all models) ensure this new Rogue is as forward-thinking as it is looking.
Now, that optional third row is a nifty trick the 2014 Nissan Rogue has up its sleeve, however, it's not exactly a use-everyday-option.
Comparing the 2014 Nissan Rogue
While my main goal was comparing the new Rogue to the old (because 40% of all Rogue owners will buy another Rogue, and it has the second-highest customer loyalty in their lineup), it has much stiffer competition than just itself in the brand new Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5.
Is the Rogue better? Yes and no. The 2014 Nissan Rogue has some great attributes and will appeal to a specific customer in the market for a vehicle that will save them money at the pumps and still offer up a comfortable, good-looking and reliable ride.