2014 Nissan Rogue: Family Road Trip, Driving Impressions
April 25, 2014
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