2014 Nissan Rogue

We’ve been test-driving CUVs lately, so I thought I’d comment on some.

Nissan have had some problems with CVT reliability–a few years ago, they had to increase the warranty to ten years due to CVT failures–but claim to have resolved them. That was one black mark against the Rogue, but the reviews were good enough to make it worth a look.

One thing I immediately noticed on sitting in the passenger seat was that it feels small, and not in a good way. The exterior is a similar size to competitive CUVs, but the interior feels cramped, as though they’ve concentrated on exterior styling over interior comfort. Other than size, the interior does feel more modern than the Honda CR-V, and more up-market than the Subaru Forester.

The top-down camera is kind of neat, but only available on the high-end models. On the mid-range SV model, you have to buy the optional third row of seats–suitable only for dwarves–or it’s available on the top of the range SL model with two rows. Since it is a feature I haven’t seen on any competitor, I don’t really understand why they make it such an expensive option or force you to buy the extra row of seats if you want it in a cheaper model.

The cargo storage is well thought out, with dividers that allow you to temporarily create shelves or split the cargo space to prevent items rolling around. I wish other CUV manufacturers would do something similar. On the subject of the third row of seats, they do fold into the floor to give more cargo space, but that costs you the spare wheel.

However, on the road, it’s not so good. Ride has the usual CUV faults, and, at times, I found myself wondering whether I would actually make it around the corner I’d entered. Acceleration feels slow, and the CVT is loud and monotonous when accelerating, though not too bad when you reach a constant speed.

Visibility is so-so, not hard to see out the front, but the tiny rear quarter windows were blocked by the rear headrests, leaving a substantial blindspot. The rear-view camera helps with parking, but not with lane changes. I believe lane-change monitoring is available as an option, but glass is more reliable.

What really put us off, however, were the seats. Most of the reviews I read mentioned how comfortable they are, so I was suprised that they seemed uncomfortable within a few minutes of sitting down. A longer drive didn’t make them feel any better, and I couldn’t imagine driving in them for hours on the highway.

So, overall, one CUV that gets good reviews but doesn’t seem as good in real life. It does seem well-equipped for the price, and if you’re the right size and shape for the seats, it’s probably a good deal. Unfortunately, not for us.

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