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2015 Nissan Rogue: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader November 2014

Offered last year as an entirely new model, the 2015 Nissan Rogue has taken the market by storm and has proven to be a game changer for Nissan. The Rogue goes head-to-head with such giants as the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape by offering great value, great features and something none of these competitors offer: an available third-row seat.

Nissan hopes that the Rogue's fresh styling, bright color palette and upscale interior will be enough to draw customers back to the brand, but if that's not enough, features such as an available Bose audio system, a panoramic sunroof and a power rear lift gate might just do the trick.

How does the all-new Rogue measure up? We've spent some time in the latest Rogue, and we think that Nissan has taken a familiar, once mediocre, model and transformed it into one of the shining stars of the compact-crossover world.

What's New for 2015?

For 2015, the Nissan Rogue gains an Eco mode for its continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), while heated cloth seats are added to the SV Premium package.

What We Like

Handsome styling; competitive pricing; lots of available technology; third-row option is nice

What We Don't

Needs larger available engine; no third row in top trim level; slightly noisy inside

How Much?

$23,650-$32,500

Fuel Economy

The 2015 Rogue is only offered with one engine: a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder. That powerplant, in turn, only comes with one transmission: a continuously variable automatic. Fuel economy stands at 26 miles per gallon in the city and 33 mpg on the highway for the front-wheel-drive base model or 25 mpg city/32 mpg hwy with all-wheel drive.

Standard Features & Options

The Rogue is offered with three trim levels. There's a base-level model called the Rogue S, a midlevel Rogue SV and an upscale Rogue SL.

Shoppers who pick the Rogue S ($23,650) get a 5-inch touchscreen display, power accessories, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, and an AM/FM stereo with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port for music.

Next up is the Rogue SV ($25,350), which adds dual-zone automatic climate control, 17-in alloy wheels, keyless access with push-button starting, a power driver's seat with power lumbar support, satellite radio, an improved sound system, automatic headlights and tinted windows.

Finally, there's the Rogue SL ($29,140), which adds a Bose sound system, leather upholstery, Nissan's NissanConnect infotainment system with navigation, a power lift gate, a larger touchscreen, heated seats, 18-in wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and Nissan's Around View Monitor, which provides a full image around the vehicle when reversing.

Major options include a panoramic sunroof (on SV and SL models), third-row seating (on S and SV models), heated cloth seats (SV Premium package), and a litany of safety features such as a blind spot monitoring system, a lane-departure warning system and a forward-collision warning system. All-wheel drive is optional on all three models.

Safety

The 2015 Nissan Rogue comes standard with a long list of safety equipment, including 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, side-curtain airbags, a reversing camera, traction control and daytime running lights. Options include automatic headlights, Nissan's helpful Around View Monitor, a blind spot monitoring system and a lane-departure warning system.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2015 Rogue four out of five stars in its overall crash-test evaluation, earning four stars in the front crash test, five in the side-impact test and four stars in the rollover test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety had not yet rated the 2015 iteration of the Rogue as of this writing, but with a Top Safety Pick+ designation for the 2014 model, it's likely that the Rogue would generate similarly solid results this time around.

Behind the Wheel

On the road, the Rogue quickly impresses. While noise from the CVT and the road can be a little loud, such complaints are forgotten when you consider the Rogue's smooth ride, easy maneuverability and good visibility. While those traits won't win the Rogue any awards for excitement, they're among the most important when you're searching for a compact SUV. Also excellent is its interior room, though the third row is, of course, only intended for the smallest among us.

Inside the Rogue, the interior materials certainly impress. While most rivals don't bother to conceal inexpensive touches, the Rogue offers high-end stitching and leather where you might expect to find plastic. That's even true on the base-level Rogue S, which certainly boasts a higher-quality interior than entry-level versions of most rival small crossovers.

Our biggest complaint behind the wheel? The Rogue should simply be faster, and that's not just the opinion of a car enthusiast who enjoys strong acceleration. Today's Rogue is larger than the older 2013 model (sold now as the Rogue Select), and that version never really felt spry. A V6, such as Nissan's excellent 3.5-liter unit found in the Pathfinder, would do wonders, but Nissan may worry that drivers would never consider the Pathfinder if the Rogue offered such an engine.

Other Cars to Consider

Ford Escape -- Among the Rogue's newest rivals, the Escape boasts a version for everyone. There's a standard model, a fuel-saving model and a more powerful model. The Escape's interior is among the nicer in the segment, though the Rogue boasts more tech and that all-important third row. The Escape's past recall history is also a concern.

Honda CR-V -- The CR-V has been significantly updated for 2015 and now offers slightly better fuel economy than the Rogue and more hp, too. The CR-V also offers adaptive cruise control, but it doesn't offer a high-end audio option or panoramic sunroof.

Used Toyota RAV4 -- A used RAV4 offers a third-row seat option and an available V6 engine. The 2009-2012 RAV4 holds its value well and has an excellent reputation for reliability and durability.

Used Hyundai Santa Fe -- The 2008-2012 Santa Fe also offers the choice between 4- and 6-cylinder engines, plus it comes with a longer warranty. If you purchase a certified pre-owned Santa Fe, Hyundai will reactivate the original 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

AutoTrader's Advice

The Rogue is an excellent compact SUV, and it's hard to go wrong with any of its appealing trim levels. Our favorite is a Rogue SV with some options. The upscale SL includes a few too many features that aren't necessary, and with those features comes a huge jump in price.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Nissan Rogue: New Car Review - Autotrader