2014 Nissan Rogue: Nice, But CVT Is a Deal Breaker
April 14, 2014
I spent a few days in our new 2014 Nissan Rogue. It's a nice, roomy crossover that's comfortable with plenty of space for a small family and their things (and relocating their things). It's got a power liftgate. Once used, you'll never want to lift a slab of glass and steel by yourself again.
But the CVT is not one of the Rogue's flattering features. In traffic and around town, it delivers the classic rubber band sensation that requires delicate throttle inputs and out-thinking the transmission logic simply to sustain a smooth ride. And the Rogue isn't available without it.
People smarter than I can articulate why CVTs tend to work better with large engines. I just know that they do. The CVT matched to the 3.5-liter V6 in our former long-term Nissan Quest, for example, worked great. That van's seamless power delivery was one of its defining features.
Not so the Rogue. The gear selector stalk includes an "overdrive" lockout button, which for our purposes we'll rename push-to-pass. You need to get friendly with this button to extract any swift sauce from the Rogue. All that could be forgiven if the Rogue delivered exceptional fuel economy. But we're 3,000 miles into this test and we've yet to near the EPA-rated 28 combined MPG. We're hanging around in the low 22's combined.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 3,100 miles