2017 Nissan Rogue Driving Impressions

The Rogue will accelerate from zero to sixty in about eight seconds, a lengthy process, the engine with a noisy and early halt in progress at end of its powerband. Needless to say, it’s less satisfying than the turbocharged fours of the Ford Escape EcoBoost and Hyundai Santa Fe. The Rogue has an Eco mode that dulls the throttle and keeps the engine from revving high.

The CVT is programmed to imitate an automatic transmission with gears, and it’s quick and smooth, although nothing like that of the outstanding Subaru Forester.

Rogue’s calm and composed ride is a strong point. It’s quite comfortable on the independent suspension, not too firm, as the tall all-season tires absorb freeway roughness.

The steering and handling lacks the vivid feedback of a Mazda CX-5 or Ford Escape. The Rogue doesn’t wander over grooved concrete, and it responds smoothly, but it’s kind of slow and not very communicative.

Nissan is clever in how the Rogue uses its stability control, by cutting the throttle to smooth bumps (preventing surging over them, like coasting over speed bumps), and braking the inside front wheel to sharpen cornering lines by rotating the car. You can’t consciously feel these things, but you can feel the more comfortable results.

As for the Hybrid, it’s a bit quicker despite being heavier. It uses its 0.8-kwh lithium-ion battery pack to start the vehicle via one of its two clutches. The second clutch couples the battery and a 30-kw electric motor to the gas engine through the CVT.

Nissan says it can go for two miles at 25 mph on electric power, but we have our doubts in the real world, as we found it quite difficult to roll on battery power alone. Only if you give it a teensy amount of throttle, like maybe 10 percent. In any case, the hybrid delivers more power and better fuel economy than does the standard engine.

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