Nissan has endowed its best-selling model, the Rogue compact crossover, with a host of new features for 2018. Chief among them are ProPILOT Assist advanced driver assistance technology and NissanConnect integrated audio, navigation and communication with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay entertainment systems.
ProPILOT Assist helps drivers stay the course by keeping the car centered in its lane, navigating stop-and-go traffic, keeping a set speed, and maintaining a set distance from the vehicle in front of it. Nissan emphasizes that the system is a hands-on — not self-driving — feature. It cannot be left unattended. Driver vigilance with hands on the wheel is still required and the system isn’t capable of driving safely all by itself.
ProPILOT Assist is a major move toward having self-driving Nissans in the future.
Assorted existing safety and convenience features are also added to some Rogue models for 2018, and several option packages have been revised.
The third row seat option offered on the previous version has gone missing, leaving Rogue with a maximum carrying capacity of five people. This is not a deal-breaking loss, since the two-passenger third row didn’t have a lot to offer in the way of room or comfort.
There are three trim levels of the 2018 Rogue, all with a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive: S, SV and SL. Base pricing for the S model starts at $25,775 including a $975 destination charge.
My tester was the SL model with all-wheel drive. It comes standard with an impressive, inclusive list of safety, comfort and convenience equipment.
All models have a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 170 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. It is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Fuel economy ratings are 26/33/29 mpg (city/highway/combined) with front-wheel drive, and 25/32/27 mpg with all-wheel drive.
Engine performance is decent, but some turbocharging would come in handy. Under ordinary circumstances the engine does well, but there are some issues when the driver demands strong acceleration. It’s not so much that Rogue’s response is weak, it’s that the revving engine emits a tenor tone. A tenor tone is magnificent in an Italian opera singer, but a car engine should be bass or at least baritone.
Rogue’s exterior design is subtle, not attention-seeking. That’s not an undesirable thing for a compact crossover. There’s some flamboyance on the inside, enough to qualify it as above average in attractiveness for its class. The interior also provides a goodly amount of room and comfort, and a civilized ride with an acceptable amount of road noise. Rear seat legroom is an inviting 37.9 inches.
The rear cargo area provides up to 70 cubic feet with second row seats folded. The flat load floor has two removable panels under which there is hidden stowage space, and a retractable cargo cover is available as a $190 option. I’m a big fan of cargo covers and would ordinarily go for that option, but Rogue’s cargo area is very well concealed, so only the most afflicted break-in paranoiacs will be worried without a cover.
2018 NISSAN ROGUE SL AWD
Base price, including destination charge: $33,115
Price as driven: $36,230
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.