2014 Nissan Rogue SL AWD Review

It may be far from rogue, but the Rogue is a fine crossover.

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August 15, 2014

2014 Nissan Rogue SL AWD Review

Like the minivans they're supposed to be cooler than, crossovers are virtually impossible to tell apart, but Nissan has done a commendable job using angles, lines, and contours to give some character to what is otherwise just another bland crossover.

The Rogue that never goes rogue.
Nissan, like a certain former Vice Presidential candidate, mistook the word 'rogue' to mean 'independent,' when it actually means 'uncontrollable,' which is a very different concept, and not one that any car company should want people to associate with their products (doesn't anyone remember the Gremlin?).

But the name doesn't seem to be hurting Nissan's crossover, which continues to be among Nissan's top sellers. And why not? The Rogue is a stylish, comfortable, and extremely well outfitted vehicle.

Nissan has all but perfected the chiseled, muscle-bound 'tough car' look. All of Nissan's vehicles have an aggressive stance and a bulky build, although all that does get softened a bit for the Rogue (you don't want to be too rogue, now do you?).

There's only so much you can do with a crossover, however - like the minivans they are supposed to be cooler than, crossovers are virtually impossible to tell apart - but Nissan has done a commendable job using angles, lines, and contours to give some character and sportiness to what is otherwise just another bland suburban mall-crawler.

The interior is also extremely stylish, and so well appointed it almost feels more like an Infiniti, especially fully kitted-out with the panoramic sunroof, 7-inch infotainment screen, and heated leather seats, not to mention every safety feature under the sun.

One of the most impressive features is the Rogue's unique 'Divide-N-Hide' system, which features hidden storage, as well as two moveable and reconfigurable shelves that seem ideal for keeping delicate cargo safe.

Unfortunately, the shelves themselves feel a tad cheap, and the removable plastic handles like to remove themselves when you try to use them as handles, which is what we in the automotive press like to call a design flaw.

On the road, the Rogue is really rather impressive &emdash; for a crossover. That's no small caveat, however. Crossovers aren't built for the race track, or for driving fast on the freeway, for that matter. So it's hardly worth mentioning that the driving experience offered by the Rogue, while definitely more car-like than other crossovers, is still best described as 'car-like,' which basically means it's bad, but it could be worse. It's a comfortable ride, it's adequately powered, and it handles well at speed. Perfectly fine for the average driver, if a bit of a snooze for enthusiasts.

Overall, the Rogue is much improved over the previous model, in terms of options and design. It's a sensible vehicle for people who frequently fill the back of their car with stuff, especially if they need to keep some stuff separate from other stuff.

If your idea of a crazy escapade involves packing the kids in the car and heading to Disneyland, it's hard to think of better car for the money. But despite its charms, the Rogue never rises above its grocery-getter roots. But really, what's wrong with that?

It's not like you're actually going to go rogue in the thing. That would be crazy.

2014 Nissan Rogue Specs & Prices

Engine: 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated inline-four

Transmission: Continuously variable

Drivetrain Layout: Front engine, all-wheel drive

Power Output: 170 hp / 175 lb-ft

Fuel Economy (mpg): 25 city / 32 highway

Price (base): $29,420

Price (as tested): $32,395 (includes $860 destination charge)

Available Features: SL Premium Package: Power panoramic moonroof, LED headlights with auto levelizer, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, moving object detection.


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