Quiet Best Seller:

2015 Nissan Rogue has a dis­tinct up­scale feel.

The Washington Post Sunday - - AUTOMOTIVE -

Re­view­ing the monthly new car sales sta­tis­tics (you didn’t think be­ing an auto jour­nal­ists didn’t mean just driv­ing new ve­hi­cles, did you), we ran across an in­ter­est­ing fact. While not nearly as high pro­file as its Ja­panese brethren, Nissan has two of the ten best selling cars in the US – the Nissan Al­tima and the Nissan Rogue. While we’ve con­stantly seen Al­tima TV ads, we’ve no­ticed no Rogue advertising. So when we re­ceived a 2015 Nissan Rogue we were quite ea­ger to learn why the ve­hi­cle is so pop­u­lar.

The Rogue is Nissan’s en­try in the cross over SUV mar­ket. It has the rugged look of an off-road ve­hi­cle, the util­ity and ver­sa­til­ity of a pick-up truck, and the ride and han­dling of a front wheel drive car. For all prac­ti­cal pur­poses, these cross over SUVs have be­come the 21st cen­tury sta­tion wagon.

Re­designed last year, the Rogue’s ex­te­rior now has a bold front-end look that gives the ve­hi­cle a “tough” look. This at­trac­tive, bold front-end de­sign smoothly flows in to the side and rear which has an up­scale, “In­finiti –like” flair. This at­trac­tive new de­sign gives the 2015 Rogue a “time­less” look. With rea­son­able care, the 2015 Rogue will al­ways look fresh and new.

The Rogue’s com­pact ex­te­rior di­men­sions be­lies it’s roomy in­te­rior. Whether trans­port­ing our daugh­ter and her dance team, friends to run er­rands, or SLUG­Gers, our pas­sen­gers com­mented on the amount of room within our test Rogue. And as with it’s Ja­panese ri­vals, the Rouge can be equipped with a fold­ing third row seat. We sus­pect that the third row seat­ing may be re­served for kids and small adults.

But the Rogue’s rel­a­tive low height and big doors made it quite easy to en­ter and exit the ve­hi­cle. Even our largest pas­sen­gers didn’t feel as it they re­quired some ob­tuse origami-like con­tor­tions to en­ter or exit the Rogue.

Once in­side, it was clear the Nissan and In­finiti de­sign­ers have been col­lab­o­rat­ing. When we re­ceive an eval­u­a­tion ve­hi­cle that is equipped with cloth uphol­stery, the in­te­rior tends to have a “rental car” like vibe. Be­cause of the in­te­rior ma­te­ri­als, at­trac­tive de­sign, fit and fin­ish, and re­fine­ment, the Rogue has a dis­tinct up­scale feel, even with the cloth uphol­stery.

The seat­ing height and large green­house gives the driver out­stand­ing vis­i­bil­ity. We found our­selves zip­ping through a num­ber of un­der­ground Washington DC Metro are un­der­ground park­ing garages. Par­al­lel park­ing the Rogue was also a breeze.

The large, cube-like cargo area came in very handy for our weekly “box big” ware­house store trips. With a rel­a­tively low lift over height, we found that the Rogue was quite handy for car­ry­ing the bulky, “get ready for sum­mer” pur­chases from the ware­house stores.

Equipped with a 170 horse­power, 175 foot pounds of torque, 2.5-liter four-cylin­der en­gine and a unique con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion, our test ve­hi­cle yielded smooth, quick ac­cel­er­a­tion as well as out­stand­ing fuel econ­omy. Dur­ing our test pe­riod, we av­er­aged 28 miles per gallon, us­ing reg­u­lar grade ga­so­line. By the way, a con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion is an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion that uses sys­tem of pul­leys and belts rather than gears. The ben­e­fit is smoother shift­ing.

And while the Rogue can be or­dered with all wheel drive we found that our front wheel drive test ve­hi­cle per­formed quite well over a num­ber of dif­fer­ent road con­di­tioned. We al­ways felt con­fi­dent driv­ing this ve­hi­cle, even when we were driv­ing through a num­ber of the re­cent thun­der­storms.

Af­ter we re­viewed the Mon­roney la­beled, it be­came clear why the Rogue is a best seller. Equipped with nav­i­ga­tion, satel­lite ra­dio, Blue­tooth, power lift gate, heated seats, power doors, seats, and locks, and mov­ing ob­ject de­tec­tion, our test ve­hi­cle re­tailed for well un­der $30,000.

A closer re­view of the new ve­hi­cle sales sta­tis­tics shows that the mar­ket is fa­vor­ing cross­over SUVs and trucks over the tra­di­tional sedan. The Nissan Rogue is a prime ex­am­ple of why this trend is hap­pen­ing. It’s ve­hi­cle that has at­tributes that ap­peals to buy­ers of all ages. Be­cause the mar­ket has found the Rogue to be a very at­trac­tive cross­over SUV, it needs no ad­vers­ing to at­tract buy­ers.

Nissan has shown that they can make a re­ally good four wheel drive SUV. The Nissan Pathfinder con­tin­ues to be one of the ore pop­u­lar com­pact four-wheel drive SUVs. And hav­ing re­cently eval­u­ated the Nissan Al­tima, there’s good rea­son why this ve­hi­cle is a best seller. For the re­designed Rogue, it seems as if Nissan com­bined the best of the Pathfinder and the best of the Al­tima to cre­ate an at­trac­tive, ver­sa­tile, and af­ford­able cross­over SUV. Af­ter a week in the 2015 Rogue, we can see why it has be­come one of the best selling ve­hi­cles in the US.

“Be­cause of the in­te­rior ma­te­ri­als, at­trac­tive de­sign, fit and fin­ish, and re­fine­ment, the Rogue has a dis­tinct up­scale feel, even with the cloth uphol­stery.”

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