- Smooth highway ride
- Optional third-row seating
- User-friendly tech options
- Upscale look and feel
- Versatile interior storage
- Tepid and noisy acceleration
- CVT is slow to respond
- Forgettable driving experience
- Compromised visibility
In an increasingly crowded compact crossover segment, the 2016 Nissan Rogue is a family-oriented model that certainly has some likable aspects. Most notable, perhaps, is its ability to seat up to seven passengers with the available third-row seat, which is quite uncommon among compact models. Upscale interior materials and design give the cabin a classy vibe, while available features like keyless entry and ignition and a surround-view camera system strike an upscale, high-tech chord. The interior also has a practical side, with up to 70 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seatbacks folded down, a number that bests a number of competitors.
The 2016 Nissan Rogue is one of the roomier models in the compact crossover segment.
The Rogue also has its share of downsides, though. If you're just looking for a value-rich crossover with a smooth ride, this Nissan is bound to satisfy. But if you want any degree of driver engagement, you won't find it here. That's partly why the Rogue fell to a "C" rating in our evaluation: Its mandatory four-cylinder engine provides loud but otherwise forgettable acceleration, its continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is relatively unresponsive, and its handling, while safe and secure, isn't the least bit engaging. Even putting performance-related concerns aside, the Rogue's rearward visibility is poor, and we've found its lofty EPA fuel economy ratings hard to replicate in real-world driving.
Accordingly, we suggest checking out some of the Rogue's competitors before making up your mind. The Mazda CX-5, for example, offers the fun-to-drive personality that the Rogue lacks, while the Honda CR-V is superior for all-around competence. For stronger acceleration, the Subaru Forester, fitted with its optional turbocharged engine, would be a better way to go, as would a V6-equipped Jeep Cherokee. If a reasonably sized three-row crossover is what you want, the Kia Sorento is a great choice, albeit a little more expensive one. Overall, the 2016 Nissan Rogue doesn't do much to stand out among this group, but it's still worth a look if space and comfort are priorities.
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2016
The SL trim adds an emergency telematics system called NissanConnect Services, while other newly available features include Siri Eyes Free and an enhanced collision mitigation system with automatic braking. Also, an Appearance package for the base S trim dresses up the exterior a bit.
TRIMS & EQUIPMENT
The 2016 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 2016 Nissan Rogue offers a high-quality interior with a number of desirable features and options.
Standard equipment on the S includes 17-inch steel wheels, LED running lights, remote keyless entry, air-conditioning with rear vents, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 40/20/40-split rear seat (folds, slides and reclines), cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a trip computer, a 5-inch central display, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, a USB port and an auxiliary input jack.
An optional Appearance package for the S trim adds roof rails, rear privacy glass, integrated turn signals for the side mirrors and chrome exterior door handles.
The SV starts with those items and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, a six-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), NissanConnect smartphone app integration and a six-speaker sound system.
The SL gets standard 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated mirrors, a power liftgate, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a 360-degree parking camera system (Around View), a 7-inch touchscreen display, a navigation system, voice controls, NissanConnect emergency telematics (powered by Sirius/XM), Siri Eyes Free (for iPhones) and an eight-speaker Bose audio system with a six-CD changer.
Additional options start with the Family package (S and SV), which adds the third-row seat and run-flat tires (deleting the spare tire), along with rear privacy glass for the S model.
The SV Premium package adds the SL's standard heated mirrors, power liftgate, heated front seats, navigation system, bigger touchscreen and Around View camera system, and it also includes a blind-spot monitor, lane-departure warning, forward collision alert, "moving object detection" (in conjunction with the 360-degree parking camera) and Siri Eyes Free.
The SL Premium package consists of LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof and the safety features from the SV Premium package, adding automatic emergency braking to the forward collision mitigation system.
The panoramic sunroof is a stand-alone option on the SV trim.
INTERIOR & SAFETY
One of the Rogue's key strengths is its interior. There are lots of soft-touch materials, generously padded armrests and a 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 (though front legroom may be insufficient for taller drivers).
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 stick with the standard two-row configuration, 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. 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 fold-flat front passenger seat also allows you to squeeze in long items and still close the liftgate.
Unfortunately, the Rogue's rear visibility is compromised, making it difficult to maneuver in tight spaces. The standard rearview camera helps, though, as does the available Around View system.
The Rogue comes standard with four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags (for all three rows when equipped), a rearview camera and hill-start assist. All-wheel-drive models add 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 (with automatic emergency braking on SL) and the Around View camera system. The latter (standard on SL and optional on SV) 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 a moving object enters a camera's view.
Also standard on SL, but unavailable on the other trims, is NissanConnect Services, an emergency telematics system powered by Sirius/XM. Features include geo-fencing (allowing speed, curfew and boundary limits to be activated for untrusted drivers), automatic collision notification, emergency assistance and stolen vehicle locating. Note that a Sirius/XM subscription (sold separately) is required to enable these services.
In government crash tests, the 2016 Nissan Rogue received four out of five possible stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for frontal crash protection and five stars for side crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has also tested the Rogue. Here, the Rogue received the highest possible rating of "Good" in both the small-overlap and moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact tests. It also received a "Good" score in the side-impact, roof strength and whiplash protection (seat and head restraint design) tests.
During Edmunds track testing, a Rogue SL AWD came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet, an average performance for this segment, but considerably longer than the last CR-V (119 feet) and Ford Escape (115 feet) we tested.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
Powering the 2016 Nissan Rogue is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. A CVT is standard, as is front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available as an option.
In Edmunds testing, a Rogue SL AWD hit 60 mph in an unremarkable 9.3 seconds.
The EPA estimates that front-wheel-drive models will return 28 mpg combined (26 city/33 highway), while all-wheel-drive versions return 28 mpg combined (25 city/32 highway). These are strong numbers, but we've found them difficult to replicate in real-world testing. An all-wheel-drive Rogue managed only 25 mpg during a year-long 20,000-mile test at Edmunds.com.
The 2016 Nissan Rogue's four-cylinder engine's specs are fine, but real-world acceleration and mpg suffer.
When you're just commuting around town, the 2016 Nissan Rogue performs adequately enough. Also, the Rogue's engine, wind and road noise levels are hushed enough to make long road trips enjoyable. But stepping hard on the gas pedal brings a noisy drone into the cabin, as the CVT keeps the engine rpm high. Even when you're wringing it out, acceleration is subpar, so highway passing or merging maneuvers require some forethought, especially with a full load of passengers or cargo.
The Nissan Rogue is pleasant enough around town, but lackluster engine performance and handling diminish its overall appeal.
The Rogue's suspension is definitely set up to favor a smooth ride over sharp handling. The ride gets a bit firmer with the SL's standard 18-inch wheels, but comfort remains the order of the day. The downside is that the Rogue feels ponderous when going around turns and does little to engage the driver.
With its comfortable ride and roomy interior, the 2016 Nissan Rogue is a pleasant enough small crossover SUV. But subpar performance holds it back from being a truly desirable choice.