Aligning with Nissan’s declaration of 2016 as the “Year of the Truck” and confirming market trends toward crossovers and away from sedans, in October the Nissan Rogue officially hopped past the Altima as the company’s best-selling vehicle so far this year. Perhaps more significant is that the Rogue is vying with the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4 for top sales honors in its segment. The Rogue’s success rests in its intriguing styling in a sea of bland-looking crossovers and a size advantage over most competitors. For 2017, Nissan added a hybrid version and gave the Rogue—all-new in 2014—refreshed styling and interior appointments.
The two-row version we tested landed at $35,290, toward the high end of the Rogue spectrum, due to its premium features. The front-wheel-drive Rogue S starts at $24,760, and adding all-wheel drive tacks on $1350. Stepping up past the midrange SV to our test car’s SL trim level adds $6140. Our example also had three option packages—Premium, Platinum, and Platinum Reserve—dressing it with a full array of safety technology (adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and prevention, automated emergency braking, pedestrian detection), 19-inch aluminum wheels, a panoramic sunroof, and a leather-lined interior, inflating the bottom line another $3040. It’s possible to spend more on a Rogue, but not much more—Nissan said the hybrid would be on sale “by the end of 2016,” but the company has yet to announce pricing. We expect it to square up against the Toyota RAV4 hybrid, in the $29,000 to $35,000 range.
The 2017 nonhybrid Rogue update was mostly superficial but brings a more upscale vibe. Its face was restructured to bolster the V-Motion design theme, the head- and taillamps were reworked, and more chrome accents were added. The rear liftgate now offers motion-activated opening, and 19-inch wheels appear on the options list. In the cabin, a flat-bottomed and optionally heated steering wheel was adopted, the shift knob was redesigned with a leather boot, the center stack was redesigned, and a few of the dashboard and door accents have new finishes. Nissan also took advantage of a made-to-be opportunity by launching the new model in conjunction with the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Storyfilm with a Rogue: Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition package ($1990). Featured in a commercial alongside AT-ACTs and TIE fighters, the limited-edition package atop the SV trim level adds black trim, Galactic Empire and Rebel Alliance logos, and Star Wars–branded doorsills. Oh, and buyers also get a Death Trooper helmet.
Sales success and high-profile co-branding aside, we’re not big fans of the Rogue’s mundane driving experience. The 10Best Trucks–winning Honda CR-V, all-new this year, leads segment sales, with the Mazda CX-5 and the Ford Escape also among our favorites. The Rogue is narrowly outselling the also-refreshed-for-2017 Ford, but it isn’t the behind-the-wheel experience that fuels its sales surge. It inspires little enthusiasm, and its nonconformist exterior belies a mundane dynamic personality. Call it the rebel appliance. Complete review on www.caranddriver.com, by Michael Simari