The Rogue is Nissan’s top-selling model in Canada, and once again in 2019 it’s not difficult to find the reasons why. Try as we might it’s difficult to find much fault with this mature product, which also offers buyers the option of a semi-autonomous driving system, ProPilot Assist. That system is available as an option in lower trims, and as standard equipment in the top-end SL Platinum version we drove for this review.
Perhaps the most valuable contribution of ProPilot Assist is to allow drivers to acclimatize themselves to the assisted-driving concept and its technologies instead of being thrown suddenly into the deep end of the pool with the more-evolved self-driving systems that Nissan and others are planning to introduce in the coming years.
The Rogue meets expectations
The Rogue gots it latest big update in 2017, adopting a new larger, U-shaped front grille. Our tester for the week, an SL Platinum, benefits from several exterior elements that enhance the SUV’s appearance, elevating it above the humdrum norm of the genre. What is at base a nondescript compact utility model without much character becomes something quite a bit more attractive.
The SL Platinum gets LED headlights and rear lights that add some flair to the model. And while the base Rogue rides on standard 17-inch alloys, the SL Platinum is fitted with sharp-looking 19-inch alloy wheels.
As with its exterior, the Rogue comes with a rather pleasing interior. Several colour schemes are available but the Reserve Platinum one, which includes caramel-coloured leather accents, really adds an element of high-end.
You find caramel on the elbow rests, the front passenger-side dash and of course the seats, which for extra measure are bordered with contrasting black leather for a striking and even sporty look. These kind of details help elevate the Rogue SL to a level of finishing largely unmatched in the segment.
The quilted leather seats are heated, and the manufacturer calls them zero-gravity, which means they’re conceived to provide excellent support and reduce fatigue on longer trips. Indeed. For added comfort and convenience, Nissan has included a smart key that allows users to program into memory their preferred seat position.
The steering wheel and gear shifter are both leather-wrapped as well. Also found in this most uppity of Rogues are automatic dual-zone climate control and a panoramic sunroof that adds even more of an open-air feel to an already spacious interior.
Available for audiophiles is a 9-speaker premium Bose system, and the central 9.0-inch touchscreen accesses the NissanConnect system and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
In back, the rear bench is very welcoming for passengers, right down to the cup holder-fitted central armrest, which allows for sliding in longer objects via the trunk between the seats.
Unfortunately, those passengers do have to make do without heated seats. Maybe next time around for the high-end Rogue...
Further back, cargo capacity is above-average at 1,112 litres, and an even more-impressive 1,982 litres when the rear seats are folded down.
ProPilot Assist: Worth it?
The SL Platinum version of the Rogue comes standard with this semi-autonomous drive assist system that still requires that the driver keep their hands on the wheel. Or one, anyways.
It’s important to understand that while this system gives the Rogue the technical ability to drive autonomously, without intervention, drivers must still keep their hands on the wheel, for safety reasons. One potentially beneficial result of this is that motorists who are otherwise reticent about self-driving technologies may be more apt to dip their toes into these daunting waters.
So what does ProPilot Assist do? In fact, the system is designed to guide and protect drivers and their passengers more than it is to take over driving duties – although it can do that, in certain specific circumstances. For example, the Rogue can drive itself on a single lane on the highway, keeping an even distance from vehicles in front of it and staying in its lane.
As well as the system works at cruising speed and even when traffic gets heavier, it does need clear lane markings on the road surface to work from. For example, the system can be fooled on a highway with two lanes as it might follow the most visible lane marking.
ProPilot Assist is a less-complex system than the ones found in several luxury vehicles, but it does the job – even though there are clearly still refinements to be made. And in terms of drive assistance and safety, it’s certainly a useful set of functions to have. The question then is, is it worth the extra cost? (remember it’s an option on lower models of the Rogue). Frankly, each buyer will have to supply their own answer to that question…
Under the hood of the 2019 Rogue sits a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine delivering 170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. This unit works in concert with a CVT unit that is competent enough within the limits of the format, and with an all-wheel-drive system (optional on lower versions, standard on the SL Platinum) that makes for worry-free driving on snow and ice and permits at least some mild off-roading for this primarily urban SUV.
The 4-cylinder mill performs adequately, no question, but it’s also true that some rivals in the segment now offer truly off-road worthy drivetrains – for example the Subaru Forester with its X-mode.
On the road
No miracles should be expected either in terms of the driving experience in daily use. This is an SUV and in particular a trim that’s designed first and foremost with comfort and refinement in mind, not pulse-raising performance.
That said, I found the drive to be quite smooth and acceleration to be lively but not rough. The 2019 Rogue handles well and is an able curve-taker. It’s not sporty in its behaviour, but nor is it lumbering or boat-like. That its chassis is relatively rigid makes for pleasing agility. What’s more, the braking is crisp and powerful.
In terms of consumption, the new Rogue falls into the satisfactory category, with official numbers of 9.6L/100 km (city) and 7.5L/100 km (highway).
The entry-level Rogue S starts at $26,798 when equipped with front-wheel drive. Adding AWD brings the cost up to $28,998. Next up is the SV with FWD, priced at $29,098, and the all-wheel-drive version, which costs $31,298. Sitting up top is the SL with AWD and the ProPilot Assist system, which comes priced at $37,398.
The SL Platinum version of the 2019 Nissan Rogue squarely targets consumers who want refinement and can live without sporty driving. The SUV is really well-equipped and its interior environment is high-end and relatively quiet. While nothing to get excited about, the performances delivered by the powertrain are sufficient for those who aren’t too demanding.
Nissan also continues its efforts to democratize new semi-autonomous-drive technologies as it paves the way for more-evolved systems to come. These include functions that allow for multi-lane autonomous driving and intersection autonomy, which Nissan hopes to have ready for 2020.
- Premium interior
- Standard ProPilot Assist in SL trim
- Good handling and smooth ride
- Ample cargo space
We like less
- Lack of sportiness
- No heated seats in back