REVIEW: 2018 Nissan Rogue SL AWD – Important Mid-Cycle Changes To Nissan’s Most Important Vehicle

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Nissan made some key changes to the popular Rogue in 2018 shoppers will want to consider.

What is it? 

The Rogue is Nissan’s best-selling automobile in the United States. This “compact” crossover is a roomy, comfortable family vehicle that can be outfitted with many luxury features.

Pricing and trims

The base Nissan Rogue S trim starts at about $27,000 with AWD. The SV AWD starts at about $28,000 adds features like keyless entry and a motion-activated tailgate (you swipe your foot under the rear and it opens up). We tested the top-trim SL with the Premium and Platinum packages that brought the price to $35,040. This range is right in line with the other two top-selling crossovers, the Toyota RAV4 AWD and the Honda CR-V AWD.

Safety

When tested in 2017, the Nissan Roge was an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus-rated vehicle. That rating is dependant upon the Rogue being equipped with automatic emergency braking that is only available on the SL trim. Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are now standard.

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The Drive

Nissan uses a normally-aspirated, four-cylinder engine in conjunction with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). CVTs work great in daily driver vehicles and Nissan has long been the leader in this type of transmission. The Rogue SL AWD was smooth and quiet. There is ample power in the Roge, but be prepared to pin the power pedal once in a while in normal driving such as highway merges to keep up. The optional Sports and Eco modes adjust the transmission mapping to give the driver options.

Our Rogue SL AWD featured Nissan’s new Pro Pilot semi-autonomous driver assist technology. The most important of Nissan’s additions to the Rogue for 2018, this system requires a driver to have her hands on the wheel at all times but takes over control of the speed and lane centering of the vehicle. It reduces fatigue on long trips and makes driving on the highway in light traffic easier. During our highway rides, the system worked well, keeping the vehicle centered in the lane. It takes just a few moments to adapt to using it and operation is simple and straightforward.

The 2018 Rogue SL AWD is surprisingly compliant over bumps. Its 19″ low-profile tires look like they will spoil the ride, but they do not. We found that even on broken up secondary roads the Rogue SL AWD was comfortable. Turn-in is typical for a family vehicle and braking is predictable.

Seating

The biggest deletion from the Rogue features list for 2018 is the elimination of the optional third-row of seating. This is a shame. Many young families appreciate third-row compact jump seats that can pop up when an unexpected soccer carpool presents itself, or when Gran and Grandad join the family for a local dinner out (they get the middle row). The option was there for 2017, so hopefully, it will return.

Our Rogue SL had leather seats with an attractive design. The driver’s seat was power adjustable. Tall drivers may wish for a bit more bottom seat angle to support one’s thighs, but overall comfort is good. The passenger’s seat was manually adjusted. Up front, the heated seats were welcome on our winter drives and the heated steering wheel was one of the surprise features we did not expect, but enjoyed using.  Second-row seats are adjustable for leg room and incline.

Cargo

Nissan went all out in the cargo area of the 2018 Nissan Rogue. There is a two-level storage system called Divide-N-Hide we loved. It can be configured many different ways and the panels feel sturdy and are covered with a carpet material that feels of high quality. Under it all, Nissan places a compact spare tire.

Infotainment and controls

Nissan’s Rogue SL AWD has an easy to use touch-screen interface we found very intuitive. Pairing a phone is simple and the menu logic is very easy to learn. Best of all, the steering wheel controls mean that once you set your favorite stations, you rarely have to tap the screen. To avoid fingerprints, Nissan puts common selections along the sides as buttons.

Overall

There is a reason why the 2018 Rogue is Nissan’s top-selling automobile. The Rogue is the perfect family vehicle and enjoyable as a commuter car. Those looking for luxury features like advanced driver aids, panoramic sunroof, premium leather seating, and a heated steering wheel will find it in the top-trim SL AWD. The Nissan Rogue is an easy vehicle to love, and shoppers looking for a two-row compact crossover should put it at the top of their list of considerations.

 

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John Goreham

John Goreham