Archive for the ‘rogue’ Tag

Nissan Rogue Hybrid Might Migrate to the U.S.

A Nissan Rogue hybrid? Sounds like a vehicle that would win the blessing of Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, who is known to be very bullish on battery electric cars taking over the industry. Lending more specific credence to the rumor, a Japanese engineer just told Automotive News that Nissan may give us a Rogue hybrid. Are your electrons getting excited, crossover buyers?

The suggestion comes from Nobusuke Toukura, chief engineer for the new X-Trail Hybrid, the overseas Rogue built on the same platform, which was just introduced in Japan last week. When we asked Nissan USA about the prospect, the company wouldn’t confirm Toukura’s claim outright, but did say that it would like to add more hybrids beyond the Pathfinder Hybrid to its lineup. Since the Rogue is Nissan’s second best-selling model and Toyota has just unwrapped the RAV4 Hybrid, a Rogue hybrid seems like a no-brainer. From a production standpoint, a Rogue hybrid would be easy to add to the Smyrna, Tennessee line that already rolls out Rogues and Pathfinders.

Like the Pathfinder Hybrid, the X-Trail Hybrid eschews the typical two-motor setup—a generator to charge its lithium-ion battery and a traction motor to put down the power—and instead employs two electronic clutches that perform both duties, with one separating the engine and the motor. On the X-Trail Hybrid, Nissan pairs a 40-hp electric motor with a 2.0-liter 145-hp four-cylinder, optional all-wheel drive, and claims 47 mpg on Japan’s highly unrealistic JC08 cycle. It’s hard to say how that combo would do in EPA testing but at the very least we could expect a significantly higher rating than the Pathfinder Hybrid’s 25/27 mpg city/highway.

Even with gas prices in a welcome lull, Nissan needs volume to become noticed in this space, and the future hybridized GT-R is not going to do it. The last-gen Altima Hybrid, which used a Toyota-licensed powertrain, was short-lived, relatively inefficient, and only available in 10 states. And while the Nissan Leaf leads the plug-in market, the automaker sells the fewest hybrids of all its competitors. Combined with its three Infiniti models (Q50, QX60, and Q70), Nissan sold fewer than 8000 hybrids in 2014. Ford shipped more than 9.5 times that number. Even Subaru, which offers only the XV Crosstrek Hybrid, managed to outsell Nissan and Infiniti in its very first year. Get to it, Ghosn.

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Nissan’s Smart Rearview Mirror is Like X-Ray Vision

Engineers have outfitted a Rogue crossover vehicle with this system, which consists of a 1.2 megapixel wide-angle camera and a special LCD screen. Nissan spokesman Steve Diehlman said standard rear-view mirrors provide roughly a 17-degree sight line but, that this system here is a 48-degree field of vision.

Cleverly the camera is mounted inside the vehicle where it peers through the back window. In this location it’s free from dirt and weather, plus the wiper keeps the glass clean, another win. The Rogue’s four other imaging sensors, which provide video feeds for the Around View Monitor, are mounted outside where they’re exposed to nature. Additionally Diehlman said this camera provides “the same perspective you get from a regular rear-view mirror” because it’s mounted at essentially the same height.

Other automakers offer similar mirror-mounted screens, though they’re usually tied in with a vehicle’s backup sensors. You put it in reverse and a small video pops up in the rear-view mirror allowing you to see a bit of what’s behind you. Nissan has taken this idea one step farther by turning the entire mirror into a screen.

In Theory
In normal driving, “It functions just like a regular mirror,” Diehlman said. But by flipping the dimmer switch you can activate the rear-mounted camera. The video feed is then displayed on the entire surface of the mirror giving the driver a broad field of vision.

To make it useful in as many situations as possible Diehlman said, “It auto dims and brightens,” noting that it can adjust in less than two seconds, which is ideal if you’re traveling through a tunnel on a sunny day. He also said, “Headlamp glare at night has been greatly minimized,” as has glare on the mirror’s surface.

Of course drivers can also manually adjust the screen’s brightness, plus they can tilt and zoom the image to get exactly the view they want.

This technology is ideal for situations where aft visibility is hampered. Headrests keep getting bigger and roof pillars fatter, when you throw tall passengers or bulky cargo into the mix your view of things out back can be completely cut off. The Smart Rearview Mirror would be ideal in vehicles like the GT-R or 370Z where sightlines are compromised. Of course Nissan’s NV commercial vans might be an even better application since some of them have no back glass at all.

In Practice
A bundle of helium-filled balloons stuffed in the Rogue’s cargo area completely blocked rearward visibility; it was like trying to see through a brick wall at the bottom of a coal mine around midnight during the winter solstice. But a simple flick of the dimmer switched the rear-mounted camera on and broadcast an unobstructed, wide-angle image right to the mirror.

Of course you can keep it on while you’re driving, though it takes a little getting used to because there are no pillars or hatch components framing the image (or reflections of back-seat passengers), which is something most drivers are probably used to seeing. But after a few miles you adjust and really start to appreciate the unobstructed view.

Another unexpected aspect of the Smart Rearview Mirror is that when the video screen is on, the image doesn’t change as you move the mirror, which at first is a little odd. If you want to make sure you don’t have any broccoli bits between your bicuspids you’ll have to switch the camera off.

Legislation, Confrontation and Availability
As with other electronic features you’d expect the government to throw its two cents in but surprisingly with this system Diehlman said Nissan doesn’t expect the technology to be hampered by government safety regulations. He mentioned that all kinds of regulations apply to exterior mirrors. Because of this he said that replacing them with cameras is a “much more difficult road to travel.”

As for availability Nissan plans to sell the Smart Rearview Mirror in the U.S. within two years. But it won’t be limited to high-end models. Diehlman said, “The goal is to have it offered across the whole line.” Presumably that spans the chasm between the Versa sedan and GT-R supercar.

Before this technology arrives in America it’s “going to be available in Japan this summer on X-Trail and Elgrand,” Diehlman said. Nissan is offering it as a dealer-installed option. It’s priced at 60,000 yen, which is just about $590. They decided to go this route instead of putting it in at the factory because it’s much simpler than making a running change on the assembly line.

For American customers pricing and availability of the Smart Rearview Mirror has not been announced at this time, but Diehlamn said the price will be very reasonable.

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2014 Compact SUV Comparison: Nissan Rogue

We’re not going to tell you our 2014 Compact SUV Comparison Test ended up in a six-way tie for 1st, but each member in our gang of six had plenty to recommend it — a happy truth that we discovered during two long days of driving along the desert highways from Irvine, California, to Phoenix, Arizona, and through the mountain roads that constitute “the long way home” from Phoenix back to Irvine. Our group included three segment leaders — the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 — as well as the three new-for-2014 contenders in the field, the Jeep Cherokee, Subaru Forester and Nissan Rogue.

At $32,395, the 2014 Nissan Rogue SL with all-wheel drive slotted in as the most expensive car in our field, but not by that long a shot overall. And besides, the 2-row Rogue SUV (really, you don’t want the 3rd-row penalty-box option) came lovely and loaded with leather seats, touch-screen navigation, streaming Bluetooth audio and the genius of Nissan’s Around View Monitor — the city dweller’s parking dream come true. Its 170-horsepower 4-cylinder engine was also the group’s EPA fuel-economy leader, sipping just 26 mpg in the city and 33 on the open road.

Some of us loved the Rogue exterior, some loved the Nissan SUV’s interior, but everybody liked both. Likewise, driving the new Rogue posed no challenges whatsoever. While not the most powerful compact SUV available, the Nissan never felt out of place, either on the highway or in the mountains. Its continuously variable transmission played its role in helping to dispense the 4-cylinder engine’s power to all four wheels.

Besides styling, the 2014 Nissan Rogue SUV’s star turn rests in its utility. There’s good room in the second row, made even more useful by split/fold-down seats that slide fore and aft for added comfort and room. In 2-row form, the new Rogue’s generous rear cargo space gets an added boost in smart-design points from its Divide-N-Hide Cargo System. Divide-N-Hide uses removable floor panels to both give you access to extra storage beneath the panels and — more to the innovative-design point — use the panels to create a second tier of storage space above the floor. In the end, stylish design and features like this are what made the Rogue the coolest compact SUV in our group.

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Nissan Takes 2014 Rogue Shoppers on Cinematic “Detour” with New Google Maps-Based Virtual Test Drive

NASHVILLE – Nissan today launched “The Detour,” an exciting virtual driving adventure in support of the ongoing rollout of the all-new 2014 Nissan Rogue compact SUV. Available now at, The Detour utilizes Google® Street View, Google® Maps and Google® Satellite API – along with Hollywood-style digital effects and a soundtrack from recording artist M.I.A. – to create a custom test drive experience starting from anywhere around the world.

“Recent studies show that new car buyers today spend nearly twice as much time researching their purchases online than at dealerships – more clicking than kicking the tires, so to speak. So why not bring the two together with an informative and enjoyable test drive in buyers’ own neighborhoods?” said Jon Brancheau, vice president, Nissan Marketing Communications & Media, Nissan North America, Inc. “The new Rogue is off to an amazing start since it was introduced last fall and we expect The Detour to direct a lot of traffic from the website straight to local Nissan dealerships.”

The Detour was created by Critical Mass, Nissan’s lead digital agency, and brings together software from Google®, the talents of Academy Award-winning director of photography Guillermo Navarro, digital production and creative technology from Unit9, and digital effects from Digital Domain/Mothership, an Academy Award-winning digital production company. Together, the partners solved the tricky technical challenges of rendering a photo-real vehicle in real-time as commuters travel their personalized routes and more. The virtual test drive’s soundtrack, worthy of a blockbuster trailer, features M.I.A.’s new single “YALA,” which is available for download on

Critical Mass Executive Creative Director Steve Savic explained, “Since driving the new Nissan Rogue is so exciting, we put people in the action by allowing them to take a drive on their very own street. But we couldn’t shoot the car on every road in the world, so we turned to Google® Street View to give us our set. Working on ‘The Detour’ was like creating an action scene on the most unconventional location ever.”

Optimized for desktops, tablets and smartphones, the virtual test drivers start their cinematic action-adventure by entering their point of origin and destination address or using their current location from the browser settings.

From the driveway to the interstate highways, there are an infinite number of journeys to experience from the driver’s seat of the Rogue. At the end of each drive, users can find their local dealership and schedule a test drive, download the soundtrack on, or invite people to try it out by sharing the site and using the hashtag #TakeTheDetour.

For tablet and smartphone users, one swipe of the finger launches the Rogue into mid-air, all based on the user’s current location. To explore further, the site offers some pre-programmed routes around familiar U.S. destinations such as Chicago, Seattle, New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and South Florida.

The Detour experience will be supplemented by an online media buy, including homepage takeovers on MSN and Yahoo! and promotion on Nissan’s social media channels.

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2014 Nissan Rogue SUV

A Svelte Redesign for Nissan’s Compact Crossover

We were positive the snazzy SUV coming up behind us on a rural road outside Nashville was an expensive luxury SUV. The boomerang-shaped LED lights shimmering off the front end looked striking, but it took us a beat to realize what it was.

It wasn’t some high-dollar sport-ute, but rather the same vehicle we were driving: the redesigned, and now built-in-Tennessee, 2014 Nissan Rogue. More than just a new face, this new compact crossover has been upgraded from top to bottom.

With an all-new body, clever interior packaging and some pretty superb fuel mileage claims, the new Rogue will offer an honest challenge to the segment-leading Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. The fact that the Rogue looks so good on the outside is just another reason to take a second look.

A French and Japanese Collaboration
Although this second-gen Rogue is all-new, dimensionally it’s very similar to the old version. The 106.5-inch wheelbase is only 0.6 inch longer than the outgoing model, while overall length is actually 1 inch shorter. Width is up by 1.5 inches while height has increased slightly, too.

While the original Rogue was based on a platform shared with Nissan’s Sentra sedan, the new Rogue uses a structure called the Common Module Family (CMF), an architecture developed with its corporate partner Renault. “We took the best of Nissan and Renault’s C segments and melded them together,” said Carla Bailo, senior vice president of R&D at Nissan Americas.

Besides shared efficiencies at play here, clever interior packaging allowed Nissan to offer a third-row option for the new Rogue, something its archrivals from Honda and Toyota don’t have.

Taro Ueda, vice president of Nissan Design America, said the key word for the Rogue’s new styling was “Biokinetic Synchronicity.” That’s two words, but who’s counting. Strange Japanese-isms aside, Ueda said they needed to bring the Rogue more in line with Nissan’s new brand identity, so now it looks like a mini Pathfinder.

How It Gets 33 MPG on the Highway
But while the 2014 Nissan Rogue has a fancy new Euro-esque architecture and svelte body, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood produces the same 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque as the previous version. It still isn’t direct-injected and it’s still mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Sounds familiar, but there is some new stuff going on under the hood. The compression ratio was raised from 9.6:1 to 10.0, while the engine now features both intake and exhaust variable valve timing. The new-generation Xtronic CVT, just as with the new Altima, was made considerably more efficient. Nissan engineers also incorporated “direct-step” logic to simulate shifts at higher rpm, per customer feedback.

Put it all together and Nissan says the Rogue’s fuel economy has been raised by 18 percent despite its larger size and extra 100 pounds of weight. Official estimates for the front-drive Rogue are 28 combined/26 city/33 highway, while the all-wheel-drive version should deliver 25 city/32 highway. This puts the new Rogue at the same level as the class-leading 2014 Mazda CX-5.

Does It Drive as Well As It Looks?
Driving around the not-so-mean streets of Nashville, the Rogue’s MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension provided a quiet and comfortable ride. Good sound-deadening and hum-free all-season tires on 17-inch alloy wheels kept road noise to perfectly acceptable levels while smoothing bumps nicely (slightly less so with the standard 18s on the top-level SL).

Point the heftily weighted electric steering toward the open road, peg the right pedal and you’re suddenly reminded it has a CVT. At half throttle and above the transmission winds the four-cylinder out incessantly, which only serves to highlight that the engine can get slightly thrashy at high revs. Of course, the benefit to this high-rpm running is that the Rogue is no slouch in acceleration. For now all Nissan would tell us is that they expect it to be “a tick quicker than the previous Rogue.” We hit 60 mph in 8.6 seconds with the last Rogue we tested.

But the CVT’s preferred modus operandi is to bring the revs as low as possible for fuel economy purposes. It lugs the engine so much at lower speeds that some bad vibrations make their way into the cabin. Pressing the Sport button raises the revs slightly, but you’ll forsake the mileage benefits.

New for 2014, all Rogues come with what Nissan calls Active Trace Control and Active Ride Control. The trace control (which can be turned off) automatically applies brakes to various wheels in an effort to keep the Rogue on the intended line you’re taking. Basically the system attempts to curb understeer both on corner entry and exit, which is especially helpful in wet conditions. We fiddled with it on a wet skid pad and while it’s not dramatic, you notice the difference when it’s not on.

The purpose of the ride control system is to reduce the Rogue’s body motions. It adds throttle and/or brakes depending on the situation to minimize bobbing over big bumps. It only comes into play at speeds above 25 mph and, as with the trace control, most owners will never know it’s there.

The Upgraded Interior Won’t Go Unnoticed
It’s hard not to be impressed with the 2014 Nissan Rogue’s fabulous new interior. With a high degree of soft-touch materials, it has a notably upmarket look and feel. We particularly appreciated the well-padded door and center armrests, although the center console cupholders allow water bottles to just flop around.

There are large, easy-to-read analog gauges, straightforward climate controls and even the base S front-drive model ($23,350 with $860 destination, $24,340 for the S AWD) comes with a 5-inch display screen, a back-up camera and Bluetooth. In the case of the Premium package-equipped SV AWD we spent most of our time driving ($27,860), it had a 7-inch touchscreen with navigation, power tailgate, blind spot and lane departure warning, moving object detection and Nissan’s Around View Monitor.

The NASA-inspired “zero gravity” front seats are superb and the 40/20/40-split rear seats have padding in all the right places. Even the middle seat is livable. Other improvements include a folding center armrest, 9 inches of fore/aft seat travel plus reclining seatbacks, though the behind-the-shoulder lever position is awkward to reach when sitting. The rear doors now open a whopping 77 degrees, which makes hopping in and out a breeze.

Is the Third Row Worth It?
Only the S and SV models have the option of a third row. It’s called the Family package ($1,190 S, $940 SV) and it also adds run-flat tires since there’s less room for a spare. Why no third row for the top-level SL? Nissan says it already has a $30,000-plus three-row crossover, called the Pathfinder.

Nissan openly admits the cramped third row is just an “occasional seat” best suited for children, but this describes most third-row accommodations in vehicles of this size. Of course, cargo room suffers with that third row in place as there’s only 9.4 cubic feet available. Fold both rows down and the Rogue opens up to offer 70 cubic feet of total space.

Stick with the two-row Rogue and you get the benefit of Nissan’s new Divide-N-Hide cargo system. This rather ingenious two-piece cargo compartmentalization offers 18 configurations. It allows you to separate out wet and dirty boots and clothes, hold groceries in place and even offers a three-tiered shelving system, if you include the underfloor storage.

The Bottom Line
If you like the idea of a sporty compact SUV, the 2014 Nissan Rogue isn’t for you. Try the 2014 Ford Escape instead.

The Rogue is all about no-fuss transportation from A to B, and it delivers on that promise as well as anything in the class. In the process it offers flawless usability, competitive mileage numbers and a first-rate interior. In other words, it does all the things a compact crossover should. Oh, and it doesn’t look half-bad either.

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Nissan Rogue adds third row for 2014

Nissan unveiled the grown-up-looking Rogue SUV at the Frankfurt motor show on Tuesday. The second-best-selling vehicle in Nissan’s lineup will sticker for $23,350 when it goes on sale in November.

Every Rogue will come with Nissan’s 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine making 170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. The company’s continuously variable transmission is also standard, as are four-wheel disc brakes. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional. The Rogue rides on the jointly developed Nissan/Renault Common Module Family platform architecture, scheduled to be offered in 190 countries.

“There is growing demand for compact SUVs around the world due to their user-friendly combination of right-sized exteriors, flexible interior utility and low environmental impact,” said Fred Diaz, divisional vice president of sales and marketing, Nissan North America. “By sharing development costs, while adapting powertrains, designs and equipment offerings for each specific region, Nissan has been able to add features and technologies while keeping prices affordable.”

For 2014 the Rogue will offer three-row, seven-passenger seating as well as the “Divide and Hide” cargo system that provides 18 different variations between cargo and passenger space.

Optional extras include navigation, Nissan’s Around View monitor, blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning and forward-collision warning.

Fuel economy is rated at 33 mph highway for front-wheel drive models, which is an 18 percent improvement over last year. The base all-wheel-drive Rogue costs $24,700, and the most expensive model will sticker for $30,280.

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2014 Nissan Rogue

The 2014 Nissan Rogue / X-Trail was unveiled Tuesday at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show with a more aggressive exterior and an interior aimed at providing more utility and comfort. Nissan also announced pricing on the 2014 Rogue compact crossover for the U.S.: A 2014 Nissan Rogue S will start at $23,350, including destination when it goes on sale in November. All-wheel drive is available on every 2014 Rogue trim from the S to the SV and SL, at a cost of $1350.

Nissan Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn introduced the line, which will offer seating for seven, including a sliding second-row seat. Cargo area is easily created by folding the third row flat when necessary.

Ghosn, who said the X-Trail (it will still be badged as the Rogue in the U.S.) will present “class-leading levels of value, performance, and style,” also said that powertrain efficiencies mean the crossover will get 20 percent better fuel economy than the models it replaces. It will also earn Nissan’s blue “Pure Drive” badge. The 2013 Nissan Rogue gets an EPA-rated 22-23/27-28 mpg city/highway, and Nissan is targeting 33 mpg highway for the 2014 model.

Nissan announced in an accompanying release that the 2014 Rogue will start at $23,350 for the S front-drive model. That represents a price increase of over $2000 compared to the outgoing model. The top of the line will be the all-wheel-drive 2014 Rogue SL, which has a base price of $30,280. The tech available in the Rogue includes NissanConnect with navigation and apps, around-view monitor with moving-object detection, blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, and full LED headlights.

The Rogue will be powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque, the latter a number Nissan cites as being best-in-class.

The exterior has definitely been retuned toward more aggressive front- and back-ends, with LED daytime running lights surrounding the available LED headlights. Muscular ridges around the wheel wells give the Rogue more of a sport-ute appearance rather than the around-town family vehicle many use it as.

Inside, Ghosn said people would find “unexpected comfort and quietness” due to soft-touch materials and engineering focus on NVH.

The NASA-influenced high-comfort driver seat design that debuted in the 2013 Nissan Altima will be picked up for the X-Trail.

The X-Trail / Rogue will be built at nine different plants around the world.

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