2014 Nissan Rogue: Portland Road Trip Part 4
January 23, 2015
After driving 1,500 miles in our long-term 2014 Nissan Rogue I turned around and headed home. The trip had taken me from Los Angeles to Nevada City, then to Portland and Seattle and back to Portland again. With about 1,000 miles left in front of me, I split up the remaining distance into two legs: Portland to Sacramento and Sacramento to Los Angeles.
The 600 miles from Portland to Sacramento had several elevation changes and I stopped multiple times for food, so I wasn't setting any records. From Sacramento to Los Angeles, though, was a different story. I was on a self-imposed mission to hit the EPA's highway fuel economy estimate of 32 mpg in the Rogue and I pulled out all the stops, literally.
Portland to Sacramento was a breeze. Light traffic, smooth highways and lots of great scenery.
I arrived in Sacramento after about ten hours on the road, no worse for wear. Even after a long freeway slog, I was comfortable in the Rogue's seat. After a short night in Sacramento, I got up early and headed for the nearest gas station. This is where the hypermiling began.
There's a Shell station in Sacramento that's 1,056 feet from the onramp of Highway 99, close enough to say that this leg of the journey was all highway miles. I filled up the Rogue, double-checked the tire pressure and went south. With the air conditioning off and the tires set to 33 psi, I merged on to the six-lane highway and set cruise control at 62 miles per hour. This was about the slowest I could go without holding up traffic. I settled down in the far-right lane, mentally prepared for the boredom-march back to L.A.
Some elevation gain over the Grapevine brought me down to where traffic slowed to about 55 mph but only for a few minutes. Down the other side, I let the Rogue's speed naturally climb back to 62 mph. After six hours on the road, I pulled up at a Mobil station a block from home and filled the tank.
The trip odometer read 379 miles and the Rogue used 11.558 gallons of fuel. For you non-mathletes, that works out to 32.8 mpg. I'd done it. Huzzah! The on-board computer was a bit more optimistic.
To be clear, this is not the way I like to drive. I was constantly worried about the speed of traffic and I was relentlessly monitoring the road for passing vehicles so I wouldn't get in anyone's way. It was stressful, frustrating and tense. If I had carried any additional passengers, gone one or two miles per hour faster, hit any traffic, or even stopped for lunch, I might've missed my mark. It finally got us past the 32 mpg milestone after nine months with the Rogue, but it just wasn't worth the effort it required.
Over the entire 2,500-mile trip, the Rogue consumed 102 gallons of fuel, averaging 28 mpg, which meets its combined EPA rating. Notably though, 95 percent those miles were on the highway.
A solid week of travel in the Rogue gave me plenty of time to get acquainted with the crossover, but I didn't like what I'd seen. This was my second road trip in the Rogue and while it wasn't a glaring failure in any particular department, there were several foibles along the way that left me disappointed.
Travis Langness, Associate Editor @ 18,846 miles