By Frank S. Washington
Special to The Mississippi Link
GREENSBORO, Ga., – Nissan expects the Rogue, its midsize crossover vehicle, to become the company’s top seller soon. And to give it a push, the automaker restyled it and added a hybrid to the lineup.
In the front, the 2017 Nissan Rogue got a new front fascia, integrated fog lamps, bumper and it got Nissan’s signature V-Motion grille. What’s more, the LED daytime running lights were revamped.
There was a new bumper in the rear too. LED boomerang taillights were added and new chrome trim side door moldings were included in the restyle. The Rogue can be equipped with 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels.
Engineers have implemented a couple of good ideas. The rear doors open wide, 77 degrees making it easier to get in and out of the 2017 Rogue. An automatic opening tailgate was added. Standard on the SL trim line and available on the SV trim line, we stuck our foot under the rear bumper and the tailgate opened. With the push of a button, it closed.
The sideview mirrors were heated and body-colored. They also had optional integrated turn signals. There was a rear spoiler, tinted glass and roof rails. The panoramic roof’s front panel would slide under the fixed rear panel when opened.
The interior was really nice. Materials were soft touch all over; the top half of the dash as well as the lower half was tactilely pleasing. The door panels were soft touch as well and there was real stitching. The crossover got a new D-shaped steering wheel that could be heated. It was easy to grip and the vehicle was easy to drive.
There was a leather-booted sport-mode shifter, memory for the driver’s seat and mirror, and remote engine start. The interior featured new door and instrument panel finishes, new shift knob design, revised center console and console lid and new seat fabric. Also new was a Platinum Reserve Interior Package (available on Rogue SL) highlighted by premium tan leather-appointed seats with special quilted leather inserts. We didn’t get a chance to road test a Rogue with this package.
But no matter the trim package, every 2017 Nissan Rogue was powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that made 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. Mated to what Nissan has branded an Xtronic continuously variable transmission with standard sport and eco modes.
Nissan estimated the combination to get 26 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg combined. That’s for front-wheel-drive models. For all wheel drive Rogues, the estimate was 25 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg combined.
The new Rogue Hybrid utilizes Nissan’s advanced Intelligent Dual Clutch system. It uses a compact Lithium-ion battery and electric motor to provide supplementary power through its one-motor/two-clutch system.
The two clutches engage and disengage the electric motor. The first clutch is a dry clutch installed between the 4-cylinder engine and the electric motor, where the torque converter would normally be, and the second is between the electric motor and Xtronic transmission. The high-output lithium-ion battery is able to charge/discharge quickly, which contributes to high-speed, precise control of the electric motor and optimum clutch control, and in combination enabled smooth start and quick shift changes.
That’s what Nissan said. The result was that the hybrid didn’t have that sluggishness, especially at low speeds, that is associated with hybrids.
The advanced 2.0-liter gasoline engine is rated at 141 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque. The electric motor is rated at 40 horsepower, with net system horsepower is estimated at 176 hp. The system also included an Idle Start/Stop feature and an Intelligent Regenerative Braking system.
Estimated fuel economy for the hybrid was 33 mpg in the city, 35 mpg on the highway and 34 mpg combined for the front-wheel drive model. The all-wheel drive version of the 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid was 31 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 33 mpg combined.
There was very little difference in the sheet metal of the gasoline and gas/electric models of the Rogue, except for a hybrid badge on the tailgate. However, the hybrid cannot be equipped with 3rd row seats because the Lithium-ion battery is stored where the third row would go.
The hybrid cannot be equipped with the Rogue’s “Divide-N-Hide”® Cargo System either; it provides 18 adjustable variations between the cargo and occupant areas. It is only available on two-row gasoline trim lines. However, to compensate, the hybrid does have a storage space under the rear cargo area.
There were slight differences in driving dynamics too. The hybrid seemed a little quicker under hard acceleration. And the steering was a bit stiffer. That may have been due to the hybrid’s low rolling resistance tires that minimized wasted energy and improved fuel efficiency. Approximately five percent to 15 percent of the fuel consumed by a typical car may be used to overcome rolling resistance. Most hybrids have this type of tire.
Overall, both gas and hybrid Rogues were quiet, smooth and reacted to driver input quickly. There didn’t seem to be much difference in the suspension even though the hybrid was about 200 lbs. heavier. Noise, vibration and harshness had been improved, that is to say sound and vibrations had been reduced. There was very little wind noise. The hybrid was so quiet you could hear when the pavement switched from asphalt to aggregate.
The seats were great; we shut off the lane departure warning system. Sightlines were good. Stylists made the interior look wide and expansive by lowering the side vents. The central vent was narrow and on top of the center stack which was more control center than stack. It left an uncluttered interior.
The gas powered 2017 Nissan Rogue is available in three trim levels: S, SV and SL. The Hybrid has two trim levels: SV and SL. Depending on the trim level, the Rogue can be equipped with a bunch of stuff.
There’s connected technology and smartphone integration features. There’s voice recognition, navigation, satellite radio and a seven-inch color touch screen. What Nissan is branding as the Rogue Safety Shield is comprised of blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning and lane departure prevention. It can also be equipped with intelligent cruise control and emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
The 2017 gasoline powered Nissan Rogue goes on sale in November. The hybrid goes on sale at the end of December. Prices start at $23,820 for the gasoline engine Rogue, plus a $940 freight charge.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.