• 2018 Nissan Rogue: Piloting Nissan’s Best-Selling, Semi-Autonomous Crossover [Review]


    2018 Nissan Rogue SL
    [Photo: TFLcar]

    The 2018 Nissan Rogue is one of the most mainstream crossovers out there, but it has one feature that makes it stand out from the pack.

    Back in 2007, Nissan designed a crossover that slotted below their popular Murano. They called it the “Rogue”, and that’s a great name for a car. To my mind, the best car names are those that evoke some sort of emotional response. Think Rogue, and you imagine a car that’s a bit of a scoundrel. A maverick. A hooligan, perhaps – something with a sense of youthful athleticism and vigor. The marketing team struck a nerve with the name, but the 2018 Nissan Rogue is by no means a scoundrel.

    Quite the contrary, actually. The Rogue is about as mainstream a car as you can get in this class. It’s pleasing to the eye without being over the top. the car is reasonably comfortable, particularly on long journeys. It’s well-equipped – especially in top SL trim, such as the car I tested. While the Rogue is well-mannered in pretty much everything it does, it doesn’t necessarily stand out for the pack, save for one new feature.

    Piloting the 2018 Nissan Rogue

    For the 2018 model year, Nissan has introduced their ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous system as an option on the new Rogue. As part of the company’s Intelligent Mobility program, ProPilot Assist comprises a suite of driver assist features meant to help drivers out in town and on highway journeys. The system focuses on three main components of your drive: speed, steering, and braking.

    2018 Nissan Rogue
    [Photo: Nissan]

    How to use ProPilot Assist

    Nissan keeps its driver assist systems ready to use at any given moment. Fortunately, they’ve also made the ProPilot suite easy to engage through a button on the steering wheel.

    Next to the cruise control buttons, there’s a button inexplicably split into an upper and lower half (you can’t press the top part). Press the blue button, and you activate ProPilot Assist. After that, you just set the cruise control, and away you go. You can adjust the following distance to a car in front by pushing the button to the left of the cruise control switches.

    When ProPilot is active, it engages the Intelligent Cruise Control, so it will keep you at a set distance to a car in front. In addition to automatically braking, it will set off again from a complete stop if you come up to a traffic light, for example. It uses Steering Assist to keep you in your lane, and primes the Automatic Emergency Braking System through a series of warnings and in the event it needs to stop in a hurry.

    2018 Nissan Rogue
    [Photo: Nissan]

    Controlling speed

    The Intelligent Cruise Control, as with most of these adaptive cruise control systems, worked well on long, monotonous stretches when I tested it. When the car does come to a complete stop, however, it does take a few seconds to start moving again. I often found myself tapping the accelerator to start moving when I became too impatient, as did the motorists behind me.

    It steers itself – sort of

    If you’re not used to these semi-autonomous systems, it can feel a bit weird at first. The car senses the lanes on either side and makes minute adjustments to try and keep the car centered in the lane. I felt it moved toward whichever line it could see better, as the minute adjustments ping-ponged the car from one side to the other in a lane.

    It did keep me in my lane, but there were times I felt it was edging a bit too close to one side or the other. Mind you, it may have felt that way because I’m not entirely used to a car doing my steering for me. Fortunately, if you still want to steer yourself, you can turn Steering Assist off with the push of a button.

    2018 Nissan Rogue
    [Photo: Nissan]

    Braking from the pack

    Naturally, the system keeps vigilant when activated. It uses the brakes, when necessary, to keep you at a set distance from other cars. That works fine, as does the Automatic Emergency Braking, as I unfortunately had to discover driving in downtown Denver traffic. A word of warning, however – the system makes you keep your hands on the wheel. It will warn you when you don’t, and it will disengage the system if you continue to disobey the warnings.

    Performance

    The 2018 Nissan Rogue makes its power from a naturally-aspirated, 2.5-liter inline-four. It makes 170 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 175 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 RPM. The engine is sufficient for commuter duty, but it’s no barnstormer. You really have to work the engine to get anything out of it, since the torque comes higher in the rev range.

    There are three letters holding this car back from embodying the mischievous character its name suggests: C – V – T. While it makes the Rogue easy to drive, I experienced the typical rubber-banding acceleration symbolic of CVTs, which blunted the overall driving experience. Between 2,000 and 3,000 RPM, I also noticed the transmission emitted more noise and vibration than at any other point in the rev band. Acceleration lags behind its turbocharged rivals like the Honda CR-V and Chevy Equinox, particularly a mile above sea level.

    The all-wheel drive system kicks in when necessary, and it does work very well. It kept the Rogue reassuringly planted around corners, even on eco-friendly Bridgestone Ecopia tires.

    2018 Nissan Rogue
    [Photo: TFLcar]

    Comfort and Convenience

    The 2018 Nissan Rogue comes in three trim levels: S, SV, and SL, each available with all-wheel drive. If you spring for the SL, you get a fair amoung of standard equipment. Nissan’s ProPilot Assist comes standard on this trim level. You also get a 7-inch infotainment system with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay support and NissanConnect. On the comfort side, you get an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat, heated front and passenger seats, a heated steering wheel, and Active Ride Control. Intelligent Auto Headlights, LED taillights, LED daytime running lights and fog lights all come standard.

    If you want to make your way down the options list, you can equip a few extra packages. For $1,820, there’s the Premium Package, which includes LED headlights and a panoramic moonroof. For $790, you can fit your Rogue SL with 19-inch wheels, an electronic parking brake, and ProPilot Assist through the Platinum Package. This particular car also had the “Platinum Reserve Interior” – a $250 option that added the tan leather seats with quilted leather inserts. If you want floor mats, a cargo area mat, and a first-aid kit, that’ll be $275. All in, this Rogue costs $36,520, including destination charges.

    The front and rear seats are fairly well-padded, and they’re comfortable for longer trips. The rear seats also slide and recline for a bit of added convenience. The Rogue also features a power liftgate. What’s better, you can activate it by waving your foot under the bumper, as you can in the Ford Escape.

    TFLcar’s Take

    The 2018 Nissan Rogue is a good-looking, spacious, comfortable, easy-to-use crossover. Its popularity makes sense, since its character traits appeal it to a wide range of people. Nissan’s ProPilot Assist system works well. You can also just take control of the steering yourself, if you prefer. The Rogue gets reasonable fuel economy – I averaged about 27 MPG in mixed driving. It has good on-road manners, but its performance isn’t particularly inspired. If you’re looking for the roundest of good all-rounders, the Rogue should be on your list.

    To see just how the Rogue does handle a bit of adventure, check out the video below! Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow on YouTube for more news, views, and real-world, semi-autonomous crossover reviews.

    SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Nissan Rogue SL AWD

    On Sale: Now
    Base MSRP: $31,180
    Price as Tested: $36,520 (including destinations charges)
    Engine: 2.5-liter, naturally-aspirated inline-4
    Drivetrain (Layout): Front engine, all-wheel drive
    Horsepower: 170 hp @ 6,000 RPM
    Torque: 175 lb-ft @ 4,400 RPM
    Transmission: Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) w/ Sport and Eco Mode switches
    Suspension: Front: Independent strut w/ coil springs

    Rear: Independent multi-link

    Brakes: Front: 11.65-inch vented rotor

    Rear: 11.5-inch vented rotor

    ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, G-sensor (AWD models)

    Tires: Bridgestone Ecopia P225/55/R19 all-season
    Fuel capacity: 14.5 gallons
    Fuel economy (EPA): 25 City/32 Highway/27 Combined MPG
    Drag Coefficient: 0.336

    Dimensions:

    Wheelbase: 106.5 inches
    Length:  184.5 inches
    Width: 72.4 inches
    Height:  68.5 inches (w/ roof rack)
    Turning Circle: 37.6 feet
    Curb Weight: 3,541 pounds
    Cargo Volume: Seats up: 39.3 cubic feet

    Seats folded: 70.0 cubic feet

    Zach Butler
    Zach Butler
    Zach is a writer and Managing Editor for TFLcar. He has held a lifelong passion for cars, with a particular interest in hot hatchbacks and off-road rigs. Born and raised in Colorado, Zach holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Colorado State University, and is based in Boulder, Colorado.
    https://tflcar.com
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