Crossovers are hotter than heck, and the addition of a hybrid to the Rogue’s lineup will certainly broaden its already wide appeal.
What is it?
The Nissan Rogue is a heavy hitter in one of the market’s most popular and competitive segments. Crossovers are quickly replacing sedans as the starting point for many car buyers, and the Rogue is a common stop.
So as Toyota has introduced the RAV4 Hybrid, it makes sense that Nissan would expand the Rogue line with a Hybrid trim. Gas is cheap now, but it won’t always be, and practical-minded crossover buyers would certainly be interested a version that would drink less fuel.
Pricing and trims
As of this October 2016 writing, Nissan has not released pricing for the Rogue Hybrid. RAV4 Hybrid buyers pay about a $4K premium over the non-Hybrid trims, and we’d expect the Rogue Hybrid to align with that, with an entry price of $30K or so.
Rogue Hybrids are available on in the top two Rogue trims, the SV and SL, in either two- or all-wheel drive. Our test car was an SL AWD with an optional paint finish and the SL HEV Premium Package, which includes two unrelated items – a panoramic moonroof, and Forward Emergency Braking (FEB).
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the Rogue highly for crash performance. The Rogue Hybrid SL is the only trim level available with the Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection that helps it earn a Basic rating in front crash prevention; the Hybrid SV trim is excluded from that.
The Rogue Hybrid’s 2.0-liter engine and hybrid battery together produce 176 horsepower, which is six more horsepower than the 2.5-liter four in the standard Rogue.
The EPA says posts a 31 mpg city rating for the tested Rogue Hybrid SL AWD, but I didn’t get that. San Francisco’s hills can kill a vehicle’s mileage, so this should be seen as worst-case, but it was surprising to find a hybrid’s trip computer measuring 14-16 mpg on the daily errand run – sometimes less than half the EPA’s rating.
Again this is an extreme environment, but measured mileage is something to note as you continue your Rogue Hybrid research.
Nissan’s Xtronic CVT transmission is generally adept at managing the hybrid powertrain’s output, though there is a smack of the elastic response that can bedevil hybrids. Again, it’s especially noticeable on SF’s hills, where upward takeoffs result in the engine revving way up and then quickly dropping down once momentum had been achieved.
You learn over time that the Rogue Hybrid has two zones of acceleration – an initial brief period when everything seems to click into place, followed by the delivery of ample power to get you up to speed.
Sport mode, which is placed away from the shifter in a button bank to the driver’s left, is a big help in tightening up the Rogue Hybrid’s response, with quicker giddy-up and less inclination to over-rev.
Ride and handling
The Rogue Hybrid is a fine handler, with decent feel from the steering and controlled body lean. The ride is generally compliant, and overall, the Rogue Hybrid is a comfortable cruiser.
The Rogue Hybrid SL’s front seats are typically Nissan in being soft and supportive. The driver’s seat seems sized for someone who’s 5’10” or so, as my six-foot frame found not so much thigh support, and the lumbar support came in low. But it’s easy to see someone of a slightly smaller frame finding the Rogue Hybrid SL’s driving environment to be just right.
The Rogue Hybrid’s second row – there’s no third row in the Hybrid, the battery occupies that space – is plenty roomy, with the panoramic roof’s intrusion ending just in front of where taller riders’ heads fit.
The rear floor is nearly flat, and the SL trim level includes rear vents.
The Rogue Hybrid pretty much maintains the standard Rogue’s luggage space, with only one cubic foot given up to the Hybrid’s battery when the rear seat is up. Rear seat down expands the 27.3-cubic-foot capacity to 61.2. By comparison, the RAV4 Hybrid has 8.3 cubic feet more with the 2nd row up and 9.4 cubic feet more with it down.
There’s a handy ribbed tray behind the hybrid battery, and its lid is easily detached.
The Rogue Hybrid’s loading floor is just about flat.
Infotainment and controls
The tested Rogue Hybrid SL AWD had the Rogue’s best infotainment setup, with a crisp seven-inch screen operating the navigation and Nissan’s terrific Around View monitor. There’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity, but NissanConnect functions will run certain app services through your phone, like Google online search or TripAdvisor recommendations.
The front console bin is a little tight for a larger smartphone, but it’s grippy enough to keep it from bouncing out.
This Hybrid demonstrates how sound its Rogue roots are, and it’s right in line with what many crossover buyers want.
I’d still lean toward the non-hybrid Rogue. One of the reasons the Rogue sells so well is that it’s a nice balance of nimbleness and comfort. The Rogue Hybrid’s extra powertrain decision-making muddies the standard Rogue’s responses, which are generally consistent and relaxed. And, the Hybrid excludes the Rogue’s optional third row.
There’s still much to like with the Rogue Hybrid, but the standard Rogue just feels better, and that’s the one we’d seek out at our local Nissan dealer.
2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid SL AWD
Base price: TBD
Price as tested: TBD
- Comfortable interior
- Attractive styling
- Top Safety Pick IIHS rating
- Low mileage measurments
- Occasionally elastic hybrid response
- Foward Emergency Braking (FEB) not available on SV trim