WASHINGTON — When I last drove the 2013 Nissan Rogue right before it was redesigned, I called it “a cost effective way to get into a crossover” but it fell short of the competition. One year and a redesign have really changed that.
The 2015 Nissan Rogue is bigger than before and you can even add an optional third row to give you seven seats. But that third row isn’t available on the top-of-the-line SL trim level I drove.
If you choose the SL, you get a Divide N Hide cargo system though. It allows you to build separate levels of cargo area with a shelving system. Dividing up the cargo area helps things not get crushed — a bag with eggs and bread will be spared from a sliding milk jug, if they’re separated by this cool feature.
The larger size also helps with the rest of the interior as well. There is more room for passengers both in the front and back. This is really where the 2015 Rogue shines. The materials are nicer than before. The heated leather front seats are very comfortable and the rear seats not only slide, they also recline.
The power rear lift gate is a welcome feature in the small crossover class, as well. The interior of the Rogue is nicer than the larger Pathfinder I drove recently. The $32,000 price tag for a fully-loaded AWD SL costs much less that the Pathfinder, too.
The exterior of the Rogue looks a bit more grown-up. The styling is fresh and there are bulging fenders to convey the larger look. It still isn’t a huge crossover making it easy to maneuver on city streets.
Driving the Rogue is a pleasant experience as long as you’re not in a huge hurry. With just 170hp from the 2.5l four cylinder engine, it’s not a speed demon. There is enough power in most situations.
Also, the Rogue uses a CVT transmission that lets the engine groan when you call for all the power, but it’s a better transmission than before.
One of the advantages of a CVT is better fuel economy with 25 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined. I could only manage 24 mpg over a week and 155 miles of mixed driving.
Some cool tech features come along with the ride, including NAV with a 7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth with hands-free text messaging assistant and a nifty around view monitor, allowing a 360 degree view around the Rouge.
Also, my tester was equipped with the $1,990 SL premium package which adds a large panoramic sunroof and safety features such as lane departure, blind spot warning and forward collision warning with moving object detection.
The new 2015 Nissan Rogue is now better equipped to compete in the small crossover segment. It’s larger than the previous Rogue. But this time, the interior is vastly improved and includes more tech features consumers are demanding in smaller crossovers now. With a starting price of around $23,000, the 2015 Nissan Rogue offers a seat for most budgets.
Editor’s note: Mike Parris is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association. The vehicles are provided by STI, FMI or Event Solutions for the purpose of this review.