2020 Nissan Rogue SV AWD Review

The sleepy crossover that sells like it's woke


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Handsome exterior styling, comfortable seats, as safe as the day is long.
Negatives: Boring as stink to drive, the responsiveness of a sloth on Benadryl, subpar ergonomics, an infotainment system that's horribly dated and hard to use.
Bottom Line: The Rogue is appealing to so many because it really is the everyman's crossover. Too bad it elicits zero excitement in the driving department. It's practical, easy on the eyes, and comfy. And that's really about it.
The Nissan Rogue small crossover continues to light up the sales charts, although it's no longer the top seller (that spot has been taken by the new Toyota RAV4). We last drove the 2017 model, and it's received some updates since then including driver assist technology and new available packages, but it's remained largely unchanged. We weren't especially thrilled by the Rogue a few years ago, and our expectations weren't very high this time around, as a result. The Rogue is good transportation, but we are always looking for more. We drove the near top trim SV AWD for a week to see if our minds could be changed. Read on for our full review.
 

Driving Experience

5

 

There was a time when 170 horsepower seemed like a lot, but that was about two decades ago. The Rogue's mediocre 170 horses lose out when combined with the continuously variable transmission and lame steering. It's honestly one of the dullest crossovers we've ever driven.

Ride Quality: The Rogue manages its on road ride well. It's compliant and comfortable but not the least bit engaging in terms of road feel. If you like it soft, the Rogue has your number.

Acceleration: Throttle response and acceleration sluggish, and the CVT contributes to the lackluster 0-60 time of 9 seconds. It's not just actually slow, it feels even slower.

Braking: The brake pedal has good progression but lacks feel. There's quite a bit of nose dive under hard braking.

Steering: The steering is devoid of any feel, and it's not very responsive. It's one of the least pleasurable steering setups we've experienced.

Handling: Just like the rest of the driving experience in the Rogue, there's a lot of disappointment. The body roll is excessive, and it's not ready to take on anything in the way of curves.

Technology

4.8

 

Nissan's in-car tech is pretty awful. It's just painful to use, uninspiring to look at, and the controls are too small. You'll find better systems of cars that cost $10K less.

Infotainment System: The 7-inch screen looks crappy with dull graphics and lackluster responsiveness. It feels like it was designed 10 years ago. Wait. Maybe it was.

Controls: Yes, there are physical controls for audio, nav, and climate, but they're not especially easy to use or large enough to operate well while driving. Plus, they just look cheap.

Styling

8.3

 

The Rogue is handsome, that's for sure. It's well proportioned, and the design isn't as radical as the rather busy and more expensive Murano. It's no wonder people flock to it. The interior, sadly, does not match the exterior.

Front: The V-Motion grille is prominent and handsome, and the front fascia is one of Nissan's better versions.

Rear: The V-shaped taillights provide just the right amount of visual drama without going overboard.

Profile: The side view has the right amount of curves and creases. It's also well-proportioned, and the racy-looking alloy wheels add sportiness. How can a crossover that looks this good drive so badly?

Cabin: We really don't like the interior of the Rogue when it comes to looks. The seat fabric looks cheap, the ergo sucks, and the center stack is 10 years old.

Comfort

7.2

 

The Rogue is pretty comfortable, but it gets betrayed by crappy cloth seats that don't do the actual seat design justice. There's good room for adults, as well, but it's easy to get distracted by a lot of cheap materials in the cabin.

Front Seats: There's no leather in the SV (you have to upgrade to SL), and the seats could use more cushioning. There is, however, good head and legroom for front occupants.

Rear Seats: Decent headroom and legroom make it good for adults, and the sliding track and the ability to recline help maximize the space and comfort.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The Rogue provides a decently quiet experience on the road, but the engine can get noisy when it's pushed.

Visibility: The Rogue's pillars aren't overly thick, providing good outward visibility that's aided by the 360 camera when spaces get tight.

Climate: The climate control system's peration is smooth and responsive, and we had no trouble getting heating or cooling going.

Safety

9

 

The Rogue's set of standard safety features is excellent, and it even includes Automatic Emergency Braking, a great feature at the price point. It also does well in crash tests.

IIHS Rating: The Rogue gets a near top score but loses out due to the poor headlights. It scores a Top Safety Pick, which means owners should take comfort in its overall safety.

Standard Tech: The SV comes with Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Lane Intervention, High Beam Assist, Rear Automatic Braking, and a Rear Sonar System.

Optional Tech: Our tester had full speed adaptive cruise control, ProPILOT Assist, and a 360 camera.

Storage/Cargo

8

 

The Rogue makes use of its 2-row configuration (the 3-Row SL is not so great) and uses Nissan’s excellent Divide-N-Hide cargo system that adjusts the floor level and provides additional storage options.

Storage Space: There are easy-to reach options like the center tray, center armrest, and door pockets. They're decent but not large.

Cargo Room: The space behind row two is 32 cubic feet, and the Rogue provides 70 cubic feet with the seats folded flat. It's solid for the segment, and the load floor is flat.

Fuel Economy

7

 

What you lose in driving fun with the CVT, you gain in efficiency. We drove somewhat conservatively and had no trouble meeting the EPA ratings. For those who want good gas mileage and zero driving fun, we serve you up the Rogue.

Observed: 26.2 MPG.

Distance Driven: 123 miles.

Audio

5.4

 

The audio system has six speakers in stock mode, and it's not especially appealing. Sound was acceptable but not impressive, by any means. It needs an upgrade badly.



Aside from its exterior styling, fuel efficiency, safety, and occupant space, there's not much to get excited about with the Rogue. The name is purely ironic because it's about as mainstream as a crossover can get. Commuters in need of affordability, AWD, safety, and space won't get their feathers ruffled by the Rogue's lack of driving fun. We hope it gets a power bump in the next generation, as well as a much-improved steering setup and infotainment technology. We think the Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4, and the Hyundai Tucson are far better choices in just about every area.
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