Family Road Trip, Driving Impressions - 2014 Nissan Rogue SL AWD Long-Term Road Test

2014 Nissan Rogue SL AWD Long-Term Road Test

2014 Nissan Rogue: Family Road Trip, Driving Impressions

April 25, 2014

2014 Nissan Rogue

This is the second update about a recent family road trip I took in our 2014 Nissan Rogue. In the first I covered the Rogue's cargo-carrying abilities. Following are opinions on how the Rouge fared for comfort and performance on the road.

Typically, on trips like this I'll hear complaints from my family about being uncomfortable, too hot, too cold or just too close to each other. But at least on this trip everybody seemed fine. The front seats are comfortable for long durations and the rear seat vents, while not overly powerful, did at least help out with getting airflow back to my kids sitting in back. Occasionally my two-year-old would kick the back of my seat. I had slid the rear seats up to increase the amount of available cargo space. That got annoying. But overall the Rogue's got a nice amount of interior space.

I like the way the Rogue drove on the highway as well. It tracked straight, requiring little steering correction, and the ride quality was pretty smooth. Wind and road noise were subdued, and the Rouge did seem pretty quiet when we were cruising along. Headlight performance, thanks to the LEDs, was crisp and bright.

Then there's the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission. Sigh. Honestly, I've got mixed feelings about the whole thing. We've already tallied a fair number of updates on this subject. Most recently, Dan Frio called it a deal breaker. Here's my take: For normal acceleration and cruising, the CVT is fine. I rarely notice its inherent CVT qualities. It keeps the engine quiet and gets the job done. It's nice to have on hilly terrain, too.

But when I needed to quickly get on the gas for some power, say to pass or deal with quickly changing traffic, the Rogue's powertrain became a liability. In situations like this, it felt slow and sounded distractingly noisy. There was little I could do to manage the engine as there's just the overdrive-off button, which is only useful at higher speeds, or the Low gear mode, which zings the engine unnecessarily right up near redline.

Overall, though, the Rogue was nice to have on this trip. For a family of four, it was the right size, and it did well on the important stuff. As of this writing, I hadn't yet officially calculated fuel mileage, but based on the in-car gauge I'm guessing I got right around the EPA average of 28 mpg.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 3,823 miles


  • great writeup, it is nice having a list of things to test out on a test drive.

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    Sounds like the CVT/engine calibration could be improved upon, but a 2.5 is not exactly a big motor in 3500lbs+ of SUV loaded for a vacation. You would likely have to cane it for certain maneuvers regardless of what transmission were fitted.

  • marmotking marmotking Posts:

    Rouge x 2 eh? Well, it is red. If Nissan ever builds (pretty unlikely) a GT-R-ified version, á la the Juke-R, they can call it the Eau Rogue. |||| On a more serious note, nice post, telling us proles useful things and all. As has been mentioned by others, I too wonder to what degree the Inside Line staff has been spoiled by vehicles with prodigious power-to-weight ratios and DCTs? I'm thinking of recommending the Rogue as a candidate to replace dad's sorry old Tracker, but I think I'm going to have to experience the CVT for myself to confirm the reality of its purported inadequacies. It seemed a sure recommendation until this post, Mr. Romans seems to be writing on a rational wavelength.

  • cotak cotak Posts:

    Always the issues with the CVT, which I think are more in your heads than anything else. To put it mildly the Nissan 2.5 doesn't really have the guts to make it really fast. And it's torque curve really punish it when you try to get going in a hurry. One suspect if you were running the Murano with the v6 and the CVT it might feel different.

  • emajor emajor Posts:

    I'm wondering if any CUV with the base four cylinder engine would have performed better in passing maneuvers. Rav4, CRV, Forester, Escape, they are all 9-second cars saddled by hefty curb weights. Regardless of transmission, there's only so much engine to work with.

  • twmark twmark Posts:

    Boy, I wish diesel was cheaper than regular in my area

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