The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport extends the Rogue brand down to the subcompact crossover market and gives Nissan a chance to sell a half-million Rogues in the next year. For $2,400 less than the compact Rogue, you get a vehicle that drives pleasantly, rides quietly, stands a foot shorter and 5 inches lower, gives up significant back seat space, and gets about the same gas mileage. The junior Rogue has a lot of safety equipment standard, but you have to jump to the costliest trim line, SL, then add two options packages, to get the safest Rogue Sport.
The subcompact crossover market is hot-hot-hot, up 25 percent in 2016, but still only one-fifth the size of the compact sport utility crossover segment. So this is a good market to get into. In this segment, Nissan already has the niche Nissan Juke. Regardless, sales of the less polished Juke fell from 38,000 in 2013 to just under 20,000 in 2016. Enter the Nissan Rogue Sport, on sale May 11.
Nissan Rogue Sport here, Nissan Qashqai elsewhere
The Rogue Sport is new in the US. Worldwide, it has been offered since 2006 and the second generation dates to 2013, mostly under the name Qashqai, leading to more than a few references to “sounds like cash cow.” From the side, the small and smaller Rogues look similar, differing mostly by the Sport’s sharper side creases, the lower roofline that sweeps lower at the tailgate, and the shorter area aft of the rear door of the Rogue Sport. Inside, the front seats and dash look similar. The second row is notably tighter, with 4 inches less legroom. The cargo area is a bit smaller and there’s no third seating row — a good thing since the Rogue’s third row is snug and suited more for smaller children.
Driving impressions of Rogue Sport
In a day driving an early-production, top-of-the-line Rogue Sport SL with all-wheel-drive, the signature Monarch Orange paint job, and both options packages — meaning lots of driver assists — I was impressed in around-town driving and also on interstates. In town, the subcompact size was a bonus, the surround view monitor (Around View in Nissan terminology) made it easy to get into parking spots, and the Divide-N-Hide movable partitions in the cargo bay helped keep purchases upright. The partitions let you hide things under the load floor, or by turning them vertically, create multiple partitions for grocery bags.
Cruising on the interstate, the Rogue Sport was quiet, as the adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, and lane departure warning / lane keep assist watched over me. The warning alerts for BSD and LDW were chimes, not haptic feedback (steering wheel vibration), but they weren’t excessively loud in testing.
On our early-production test car, the lane departure warning part worked fine, but neither my drive partner nor I could enable lane keep assist (lane departure prevention in Nissan terminology) via the steering wheel button, at least not on the car we drove. A suggestion for Nissan and others with on/off features indicated by icons or acronyms: Many GM cars have a verbose indicator such as “Lane departure warning on.” Hard to misunderstand that feedback.
Adaptive cruise worked well at speed, but its older design means it disengages below 20 mph, which is annoying when you’re caught in stop-and-go highway traffic. Nissan says it is developing full-range ACC, but has not announced a date for introduction.
The Rogue Sport capably traced the curvy back country roads of Tennessee capably. On two-lane highways, the engine did not have enough power to allow for confidence-inspiring passing except on long straight stretches. 0-60 mph times are probably closer to 9 than 8 seconds. In comparison, a Honda CR-V with its turbocharged engine gets there in about 7.5 seconds.
We rode in comfort in the front seats, driver more so with power adjustments including lumbar support. As indicated above, the back seats are not ideal for day-long drives with two adults back there. My co-driver and I took turns sharing the car’s lone USB port to keep our phones charged.
At day’s end, I found the Rogue Sport a more-than-adequate small crossover for people willing to swap roominess for in-town maneuverability, but not willing to give up on creature comforts or driver assists.
Rogue Sport trim walk
The Rogue Sport follows the Nissan nomenclature for its three trim lines: the basic S, the midgrade SV (a $1,600 price bump), and premium SL ($3,050 bump). There is one engine, a 141-hp four-cylinder with gasoline direction injection (GDI) coupled to a Nissan Xtronic continuously variable transmission. Front-drive is standard and all-wheel-drive is $1,600 extra. Nissan expects a slight majority of sales to be all-wheel-drive.
Rogue Sport S lists at $22,360 (including the $940 freight charge). The S Appearance Package, $570, replaces the 16-inch steel wheels with 17-inch alloys and 60-series tires. The driver’s seat is six-way manually adjustable; the passenger seat (all trim lines) is four-way manually adjustable. Audio includes an AM/FM/CD head unit, satellite radio, one USB jack, one aux-in jack, and four speakers. Premium paint is $395. This is the lowest-selling trim line. It exists for fleet sales, for those looking at basic transportation, and for advertising purposes showing low prices.
Rogue Sport SV lists at $23,960. On the Rogue, this is the most popular trim line, and Nissan expects same for the Rogue Sport. The SV standard gear includes the 17-inch alloys, dual-zone AC with automatic temperature control, Nissan’s Intelligent Key (remote), six not four audio speakers, auto on/off headlamps, a roof rack, the Divide-N-Hide cargo storage system, and LED turn signals on the outside mirrors. The driver’s seat offers a six-way power adjustment with lumbar support.
The SV All-Weather Package, $920, comprises heated front seats, remote engine start, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, fog lamps, and heated outside mirrors.
The SV Premium Package, $1,500 plus the required All-Weather Package, provides several driver assists: blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and Nissan’s four-camera Around View Monitor (surround vision) with moving object detection. It also includes a 7-inch color touch screen, navigation, Nissan Connect smartphone-based telematics, and satellite radio-based traffic and travel services.
Rogue Sport SL lists at $27,100. Rogue Sport SL models include navigation, Nissan Connect, mobile apps, Around View Monitor, heated front leather seats, 19-inch wheels with 225/45-19 tires, fog lamps, heated outside mirrors, and a leather steering wheel and shifter.
The SL Premium Package, $2,280, combines convenience and driver assist items: forward emergency braking, blind spot detection, LED low- and high-beam headlamps, automatic high beams, and rear cross traffic alert, plus a power moonroof.
The SL Platinum Package, $570, provides adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, and forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
Audio and navigation: room for improvement
Five years ago, Nissan was a hero to car buyers by offering navigation for as little as $500 extra. Even now when some automakers are cleaning up the center stack by getting rid of buttons in favor of touch-screen-only interfaces, Nissan offers buttons that directly access the infotainment features. Also, satellite radio is standard on all trim lines. As is a CD player.
An 8-inch center stack display would be better than 7, but in small vehicles that hasn’t happened yet. Nissan continues to keep buttons next to the display to directly access the map, navigation input, phone, audio, and apps. Also, HVAC has separate knobs and its own small display, which most customers prefer.
The unbranded audio on the Rogue Sport sounded more than adequate coming from the six speakers. That’s the good news.
1 USB jack, 1 CD player. Why not 2 and 0?
The mixed news is that Nissan is uncompetitive on infotainment. On all trim lines, there is just one USB jack — this at a time when two up front is a near-standard and two more in the second row is not uncommon. The money that would have funded a half-dozen integrated USB jacks went instead to life support for the CD player, a 35-year-old technology. For a car that targets millennials, a CD player is an anachronism. Regarding USB, Nissan told us, “Through extensive research of the target Rogue Sport customer, we found that one charge/data port is sufficient to meet the daily needs of the majority of people.” Nissan says an add-on USB module will be offered for about $80 plus a half-hour of shop time (roughly $50-$60).
Also MIA is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Nissan is doing a cautious, top-down rollout of Apple CarPlay so far on the flagship 2017 Nissan Maxima. It’s also part of an intriguing (read: doesn’t happen that often) midyear refresh to the 2017.5 Nissan Murano, which added Apple CarPlay; no mention of Android Auto.
As for navigation, it worked adequately, but screen updates felt slow at times and (not unique to Nissan). Voice recognition missed more than a few commands spoken by me and a co-driver. The color multi-information display between speedometer and tachometer gives navigation instructions, a nice touch that is becoming common in the industry.
Should you buy?
The growing class of subcompact crossover SUVs includes mainstream vehicles such as the Rogue Sport, Honda HR-V, Buick Encore, and Mazda CX-3; small off-and-on-roaders such as the Jeep Renegade (responsible for much of the 25 percent run-up in segment sales last year); and boxy successors to the Scion xB such as the Kia Soul.
The Nissan Juke needed help in this category because it’s short on ride quality and interior space; its saving grace is a powerful (188 hp-215 hp) turbocharged engine. The Rogue Sport is more polished and the interior competes well in the subcategory of compact SUVs-made-smaller.
The Rogue Sport’s strongest competition comes from the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, Buick Encore, and Subaru Crosstrek. The CX-3 handles well, gets good mileage, and is a bit snug inside. The HR-V is roomy and well-finished. But the center stack Display Audio infotainment system can be annoying, and the extra 11 hp on the HR-V is challenged by the extra 350-400 pounds.
The Buick Encore is the Chevrolet Trax taken upscale, with good reliability. It’s offset by the category’s two recurring problems: an underpowered engine (except Enclave Sport Touring) and a snug cockpit. The Subaru Crosstrek has a big interior, attractive price, and superior all-wheel-drive, but it’s a bit noisy and isn’t quite on par with the Jeep Renegade as a serious off-road vehicle.
Be sure to cross-shop, because there are significant differences among these vehicles. Within this class of subcompact crossovers where there’s no clear winner, the Nissan Rogue Sport is a realistic option. If you’re leaning toward the Rogue Sport, look at the Nissan Rogue as well, especially if you’re carrying adults in the second row or if you have a bunch of small kids and need that third row of seating. While the Rogue Sport SV will likely be the best-selling trim line, if you want the most complete driver assistance, you’ll need Rogue Sport SL with both options packages. If not, get the Rogue Sport SV with the premium package.
Source : www.extremetech.com