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REVIEW
From Edmunds.com
2014 Nissan  Rogue Picture
PROS
  • Upscale look and feel
  • Great fuel economy
  • Optional third-row seating
  • Advanced safety options
  • Versatile interior storage
CONS
  • Uninspired handling
  • No optional engine upgrade

As small crossovers go, the Nissan Rogue is a relative newcomer. The original model debuted just six years ago, and for 2014, Nissan has rolled out version 2.0 of the Rogue. In general, we thought pretty highly of the first-generation Nissan Rogue, praising its style, driving dynamics and cabin quality relative to the competition. Nissan is, of course, hoping to keep its upward momentum going on the fully redesigned model. In addition to offering better fuel economy, an available third-row seat and more technology features, the 2014 Nissan Rogue remedies some of the key deficiencies on the original version.

One of our criticisms of last year's Rogue concerned its modest 59.7-cubic-foot cargo capacity. The 2014 Rogue can swallow a class-competitive 70 cubes, and an innovative "Divide-N-Hide" configurable rear storage system is available. We also noted that the second-row seat didn't slide or recline in earlier Nissan Rogues, but this year it does both, with a useful 40/20/40-split configuration thrown in for good measure. Even better, Nissan added an optional third-row seat, a particularly shrewd move given that the Toyota RAV4 no longer offers one. Remarkably, all of this was accomplished without major increases to the Rogue's overall size or weight.

Under the hood of the 2014 Rogue, things are more familiar. Nissan's compact crossover carries on with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (generating 170 horsepower) and a revised continuously variable transmission (CVT). This powertrain manages to provide satisfactory performance along with excellent fuel economy. With a 28 mpg combined EPA estimate even with all-wheel drive, the Rogue is one of the most frugal non-hybrid small crossovers you can buy.

Despite the 2014 Nissan Rogue's improvements, there are rival crossovers that outdo it in specific areas. If you want more power, for example, the Rogue's got nothing for you, but the 2014 Kia Sorento boasts a robust V6 as well as a third-row seat of its own. Another mild disappointment is the new Rogue's softened suspension, which yields tepid handling compared to the sporty and similarly fuel-efficient 2014 Mazda CX-5. You might also consider a trip to your Hyundai dealer, where the two-row 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport promises superior performance and a unique sense of style.

Here's the genius of the redesigned Nissan Rogue, though: It may not be the best at everything, but its broader range of talents seems destined to draw more interest than ever before. Most compact-crossover shoppers will want to give the 2014 Rogue a look.

WHAT'S NEW FOR 2014

The Rogue has been fully redesigned for 2014.

2014 Nissan  Rogue Picture

TRIMS & EQUIPMENT

The 2014 Nissan Rogue is a compact crossover offered in three trim levels: S, SV and SL. Two-row seating is standard, while a third-row seat is available on S and SV models.

The S starts with 17-inch steel wheels, LED running lights, power mirrors with LED turn signal indicators, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning with rear climate vents, a 5-inch color infotainment display, a rearview camera, a height-adjustable driver seat, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a four-speaker sound system with iPod/USB connectivity and an auxiliary audio input.

The SV adds 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, rear privacy glass, keyless entry/ignition, a six-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), dual-zone automatic climate control, NissanConnect smartphone integration (including Pandora, Facebook and Twitter preparation) and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio.

The SL gets standard 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated mirrors, roof rails, leather upholstery, heated front seats, voice controls, a 360-degree parking camera system (Around View), a 7-inch touchscreen display, a navigation system and a nine-speaker Bose audio system.

Options are mainly grouped into packages. The Family package adds the third-row seat and run-flat tires (deleting the spare tire) to either the S or SV trim, along with rear privacy glass for the S. The SV Premium package adds the SL's standard navigation system and 360-degree camera system, and also contributes heated mirrors, a power liftgate, a blind-spot warning system, a lane-departure warning system, a forward collision warning system and "moving object detection" (in conjunction with the 360-degree parking cameras). The SL Premium package features LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof and the safety features from the SV Premium package. The panoramic sunroof is a stand-alone option on the SV.

2014 Nissan  Rogue Picture

INTERIOR & SAFETY

The 2014 Rogue's interior is notable for its soft-touch materials, generously padded armrests and mature, almost elegant dashboard layout. As on the Altima sedan, Nissan says the Rogue's front seats are a NASA-inspired "zero gravity" design, and yes, they're quite comfortable. The second-row seats are split 40/20/40 for greater versatility and feature a full 9 inches of fore/aft travel, with reclining seatbacks for further adjustability and comfort. Although the cramped optional third-row seat is only for small children, that's true of any comparably sized crossover, and the third row gives the Rogue a competitive advantage over most direct rivals.

If you opt for a two-row Rogue, you'll enjoy a useful cargo dividing system, which includes an adjustable rear cargo area with storage compartments, multilevel shelving capability and a claimed 18 different cargo-carrying configurations. The three-row models aren't eligible for it, though. Cargo space dwindles to 9.4 cubic feet behind the third row, but both rear seating rows fold flat to open up the Rogue's maximum 70-cubic-foot hauling capacity, which is one of the bigger capacities you'll find in this class.

The Rogue comes standard with stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, a rearview camera and hill-start assist. The all-wheel-drive system adds hill descent control.

Optional safety features (bundled in packages) include a blind-spot warning system, a lane-departure warning system, a forward collision warning system and the Around View camera system. The latter (standard on the SL) provides a top-down 360-degree view of the Rogue's surroundings when parking, and it can be upgraded with a warning system that notifies you when moving objects enter the camera system's view.

During Edmunds track testing, a Rogue SL AWD came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet, an average performance for this segment.

In government crash tests, the 2014 Nissan Rogue earned a rating of four out of five stars overall, with three stars in frontal tests, five stars in side tests, and four stars in rollover testing. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2014 Rogue a top rating of "Good" in all crash tests, including small and moderate front overlap, side tests, roof strength, and head and seat restraints.

2014 Nissan  Rogue Picture

PERFORMANCE & HANDLING

The 2014 Nissan Rogue is motivated by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 170 hp and 175 pound-feet of torque. A CVT is standard, as is front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional. In Edmunds testing, a Rogue SL AWD hit 60 mph in 9.3 seconds. That's about average for a compact crossover with the base engine.

Rogues with front-wheel drive return a laudable 28 mpg combined (26 mpg city/33 mpg highway), according to the EPA. Adding all-wheel drive nets the same 28 mpg combined (25 mpg city/32 mpg highway).

Although its acceleration won't shove you back into the seat, the Rogue can get out of its own way when it needs to. Flooring the gas pedal brings a noticeable growl from the engine as the CVT maintains a constant high engine rpm. Some drivers might also take issue with a minor resonance in the cabin while cruising along, something we noted in our 2014 Nissan Rogue rating. But overall the Rogue's engine, wind and road noise levels are hushed enough to make long road trips enjoyable, and it's hard to complain too much when you're earning 28 mpg combined.

Unquestionably, the 2014 Nissan Rogue's suspension is tuned for comfort. The ride gets a bit firmer with the SL's standard 18-inch wheels, but smooth and supple remains the order of the day. Fun to drive? Not exactly. The Mazda CX-5 easily retains its title on this front. But for daily driving, the Rogue's relaxed and mostly quiet demeanor is likely to hit the sweet spot for the majority of shoppers. This is a compact crossover that drives more like a midsize one, as families on a budget will be pleased to discover.

VERDICT

With its excellent fuel economy, premium character and available three-row seating, the all-new 2014 Nissan Rogue is an excellent choice for shoppers desiring a comfortable and functional small crossover SUV.

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