The Nissan Rogue is the best-selling model in Nissan’s lineup. With the popularity of crossovers, this isn’t a title the Rogue is likely to give up any time soon. Nissan is working to ensure the vehicle’s continued success with several big changes on the 2018 model. Some are good and some are bad, but overall, they add to its appeal.
This is a two-row, five-passenger crossover with plenty of room for the family. Last year, there was an optional third row, but Nissan eliminated that option for the 2018 model year. This is a big negative for larger families or those who often end up toting around other kids in carpools.
The reality of third rows is that they’re tight, uncomfortable spaces in all but the largest of vehicles. In the Rogue, the third row was tricky to access and tougher still for adults who found themselves having to climb back there and take a seat. The Rogue is best for five passengers, and Nissan offers larger SUVs that are better suited to bigger families.
Power comes from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque paired to continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is optional across the lineup. The Rogue gets top marks for its CVT, which is remarkably quiet without the drone typical with these transmissions. It maintains that quiet even under hard acceleration and nicely avoids sounding strained or overworked.
The Rogue’s power could use a little help. It’s fine driving around the city and on rural roads, but the engine isn’t quite powerful enough to easily merge into highway traffic. During our time driving the vehicle, we had to mash the pedal quite hard to get the desired response on the highway and found it particularly challenging to pass other cars at speed.
Handling, however, is very good as the Rogue has a sedan-like feel. It’s smooth and comfortable even over the roughest road conditions, including the snowy, icy mess on the roads this winter. Our test model was equipped with all-wheel drive, and it made short work of poorly plowed highways and rutted side roads.
New this year is available ProPilot Assist technology, which is a glimpse of the autonomous future. It operates at the touch of a button on the steering wheel. Press the button and set your driving speed with Intelligent Cruise Control, then the system manages the steering, speed, and braking. It can even take the vehicle all the way down to a complete stop, making rush-hour traffic much less of a headache.
It’s not fully autonomous, however, and requires hands on the wheel at all times. To make sure you’re paying attention, it flashes a visual warning followed by an increasingly urgent audible warning to keep your hands on the wheel. Ignore these warnings and the system taps the brakes, eventually flipping on the hazards and bringing you to a complete stop.
The interior is a comfortable place to pass the time, especially for those in the front seats, which are supportive and firm without getting stiff, even after hours behind the wheel. The second row offers plenty of room for two, and even three adults can sit comfortably for shorter drives.
The NissanConnect infotainment system features a 7-inch color touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are new this year. Nissan also tucked an additional USB port into the center console storage, making it easier for everyone to stay connected.
The 2018 Nissan Rogue continues to be a solid crossover offering with the latest technology and a comfortable interior. It’s available now in three trim levels starting with the base S at $24,800 followed by the SV at $26,020. The Rogue SL tops the lineup with a starting price of $31,180.