Base Price: $24,800
Price as tested: $36,915
This week, we’re behind the wheel of the 2018 Nissan Rogue, the larger sibling of the all-new Rogue Sport we tested earlier this year. Rogue is not only Nissan’s best-selling smaller SUV vehicle, it is the overall best seller as consumers move away more and more from sedans to SUVs.
Our test drive Rogue arrived in upper-class SL trim with All Wheel Drive (AWD) mechanicals. Notable up front is that all 2018 Rogue models, from S to SL, now come standard with automatic emergency braking assuring all Nissan consumers that you are receiving some of the best high-tech safety items as standard fare.
Available in three versions including S, SV and top line SL, Rogue is a Smyrna, Tennessee, built small to mid-size sport utility that starts at just $24,800 for the S front wheel drive. The AWD S starts at $26,150 and then jumps up to Rogue SV FWD at $26.020; SV AWD at $27,370; SL FWD at $31,180 and our top class tester SL AWD at $32,410.
Debuting in 2008, this second generation Rogue features a slightly longer wheelbase (105.9 versus 106.5), better interior dimensions, more cargo space (maximum is up by over 10 cu. ft.) and comfortable yet sporty suspension. Nissan moved production of the new generation Rogue from Japan to Tennessee in 2013, adding 900 jobs to the Tennessee workforce which now totals over 7,000 at the plant.
Each and every Rogue comes powered by a 2.5-liter 170-horsepower inline four-cylinder that delivers 175 lb. ft. of torque. The engine transfers power through an Xtronic continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that now has a manual “Sport Mode” shifter. Fuel mileage is very good as the front drive delivers 26 city and 33 highway while the AWD is just one less MPG at 25 and 32, respectively. These EPA fuel mileage number are five better than the previous generation (2008 to 2012) models we tested thanks to better engine fuel management, an ECO (Economy) mode selection, and all-new underbody aerodynamic additions that improves aerodynamic drag coefficient by up by 10 percent.
Outside, Rogue’s design is a blend of smooth lines and aerodynamic touches that please most every consumer demographic. Other reasons for the model’s success are Consumer Reports magazine overall “Small SUV” recommendations again for 2018 and accompanying perfect or near perfect owner reliability ratings.
Enhancements for 2018 include the addition of available Pilot Assist technology, which provides assisted steering, braking and acceleration during single lane highway driving. This option is part of a $790 Platinum Package option our tester featured, and is highly recommended. Along with Pro Pilot you will receive 19-inch alloy wheels and an electronic parking brake. Also new for 2018 is Nissan Connect with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. This is an upgrade to all models, along with a fifth USB port inside the console.
If you buy an SL grade or better, you’ll find standard Intelligent Cruise on 2018 models, along with lane departure, pedestrian detection, lane intervention, and automatic emergency braking. This is a good reason to start with an SL Rogue, as our 4x4 tester started with a base price of $32,410. We’ve always praised Rogue’s larger front doors for ease of entry and its top flight safety enhancements.
As for the safety enhancements, Nissan continues to add extra protection into every model from advanced airbag technology, chassis sturdiness and class exclusive “Around View” safety cameras. Add in a $1,820 Premium Package that adds a power moonroof and LED headlights, Premium Paint for $395, floor mats and cargo cover for $250 and a Premium Reserve Interior for $250, and you end up with a retail of $36,915 with $915 delivery included.
Inside, our two-tone premium leather interior offers convenience and multi-task opportunities thanks to up to 70 cu. ft. of cargo space available depending seat configuration. Rogue also offers excellent visibility and comfortable quick control heated seating. Instrumentation is good and second row passengers are more comfortable thanks to the new generation’s better head and legroom.
Standard SL features include Halogen headlights, power touch liftgate, all powers, dual zone climate, fog lights, Nissan Connect navigation with seven inch display, four wheel discs with ABS, heated outside mirrors, 18-inch tires on lightweight alloys, Sirius/XM, Bose Premium Audio with nine speakers, Bluetooth, and much more. Your dealer will explain all features and models.
Nissan’s technical initiatives show up in a fine-tuned independent suspension and automatic AWD drive system. Rogue provides excellent traction on snow covered roads which we tested in the past during snowstorms although this year it rained just about every day of our test during our summer review week. Additionally, Rogue’s Vehicle Dynamic Control, traction control and other electronic assisted enhancements make for an enjoyable driving experience regardless of weather conditions.
Important numbers include a 106.5-inch wheelbase, 3,659 lb. curb weight, from 39.3 to 70 cu. ft. of cargo space with seats up, 1,100 lb. maximum tow capacity and a 14.5-gallon fuel tank.
It’s worth a visit to your Nissan dealer if you are shopping the crowded small to mid-size SUV/Crossover market, and recommend the Rogue SL model as your initial entry point thanks to all the standard safety for 2018.
In summary, with 2019 models not that far away, leftover Rogues and those certified used with 7,500 to 15,000 miles offer outstanding values.
Likes: Looks, reliability reviews, splendid interior, enhanced safety.
Dislikes: Noisy engine, some safety items unavailable on entry S, pricey moon roof option.
— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media.