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Looking to be Number One: 2018 Nissan Rogue Test Drive Review

Take out full-size truck sales, and the list of best-selling vehicles in the U.S. is dominated by cars and crossovers. In fact, if you take out the top three sellers in the U.S. (the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado and RAM truck lineup, which all factor in fleet sales), the battle for the top sales spot last year was determined by a mere 4,084 units, with the Toyota RAV4 edging out the Nissan Rogue. The Rogue’s sales include last year’s addition of the all-new Rogue Sport and Rogue Hybrid models helping to give Nissan a solid compact crossover lineup, and the Rogue’s rise to the top should continue with the recent introduction of class-leading technology.

Nissan’s advanced ProPilot Assist systems was introduced on the 2018 Nissan Rogue, and it is already spreading to other Nissan products like the redesigned 2018 LEAF. ProPilot Assist is a semi-autonomous, hands-on driver assistance technology intended for highway use, so to experience this new system, we recently spent some extended seat time in a fully loaded 2018 Nissan Rogue SL AWD racking up more than 1,300 miles of mostly highway driving – a situation right up ProPilot Assist’s alley.

2018 Nissan Rogue Exterior

Following last year’s updated styling, the 2018 Nissan Rogue carries over with no visual changes. Rogue models with ProPilot Assist have a slightly different badge up front, which hides the radar sensor for the system. The 2017 model year design tweaks center around the front end thanks to a bolder version of Nissan’s signature V-motion grille that now cuts further into the front fascia giving the front end more visual impact. The new headlights complement the enlarged grille and LED daytime running lights are standard, and this tester came with the optional LED headlights. Changes to the rear end were limited to reworked LED taillights and a more sculpted rear fascia.

This tester came in the almost-purplish Caspian Blue hue, and it was also equipped with the Platinum Package (required for the ProPilot Assist) that brings the two-tone, 19-inch V-spoke wheels. Overall, the 2018 Nissan Rogue does a good job of standing out from blander crossovers without getting too crazy like the Jeep Cherokee.

2018 Nissan Rogue Interior

With so many options in this segment, the 2018 Nissan Rogue is such a popular choice because of its interior. From comfort to design to luxury, Nissan sweated every detail of the Rogue’s interior starting with the ultra-comfortable, NASA-inspired Zero Gravity front seats. These provide ample support and surprising comfort on long drives, while the back seats have no problem accommodating three adult passenger. Making sure to include plenty of utility, the EZ Flex Seating System is Nissan’s way of saying that the back seats and front passenger seat fold down flat for maximum cargo capacity, and the Divide-N-Hide Cargo System creates 18 different ways to balance passenger comfort and cargo space including an adjustable cargo area load floor. With the rear seats up, the Rogue can handle 39.3 cubic feet of cargo, and folding the rear seats down opens up 70 cubic feet of space; with the front seat folded, Nissan says that the Rogue’s cabin can swallow an eight-foot ladder.

As the top trim level, the 2018 Nissan Rogue SL is already quite luxurious with features like leather seats, a heated steering wheel, nine-speaker Bose audio with seven-inch touch screen display and NissanConnect with Navigation. This tester heaped on even more high-end touches with the Premium, Platinum and Platinum Reserve packages that brought tan, quilted seats, a massive panoramic moonroof and an electric parking brake. Aside from the new ProPilot Assist option, the only other key change made to the 2018 Rogue is that the NissanConnect infotainment system – featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – now comes standard.

2018 Nissan Rogue Powertrain

Each of the three 2018 Nissan Rogue models – Rogue, Rogue Hybrid and Rogue Sport – sport different powertrain configurations, and the standard Rogue model gets a 2.5-liter four-cylinder rated at 170 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. Mated to Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable transmission, the Rogue has no problem delivering an engaging and efficient driving experience. Official EPA-rated fuel economy estimates for the Rogue AWD are 25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway**, which only represent a 1-mpg hit compared to the front-drive Rogue.

Compared to the Rogue Sport I drove last year, the slightly larger Rogue feels better planted on the road. Now that might be due to the Intuitive AWD system or the added size and weight, but the Rogue handled more confidently. More importantly, the cabin was  noticeably quieter at highway speeds, a big improvement given that excessive road noise was my biggest complaint about the Rogue Sport. Finally, the Rogue might not be a rugged SUV, but the driver-selectable AWD Lock and 8.4 inches of ground clearance means that if you need to do some light off-roading, you can.

2018 Nissan Rogue Safety

All 2018 Nissan Rogue crossovers come with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking allowing it to receive a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a four-star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Stepping up to the SL trim level brings even more safety content like Automatic Emergency Braking w/Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Lane Intervention, Intelligent Around View Monitor and Intelligent Cruise Control.

The most important piece of safety technology found on the 2018 Rogue is, of course, ProPilot Assist. Nissan calls it a semi-autonomous feature, but rather than think of it as something that is self driving, it’s better just to look at it as an improved implementation of current lane departure and adaptive cruise control technology. It only works on limited-access highways with the driver’s hands on the wheel, and it is as easy to use as any of today’s adaptive cruise control systems. All of the information is clearly displayed on the digital display of the instrument cluster.

To turn the system on, just press the blue shield button on the steering wheel and set the speed. If you take your hands off the wheel, the Rogue flashes lights and makes noises like a pinball machine to alert the driver; if that still doesn’t work, it activates the hazard lights and slowly brings the crossover to a stop. While driving, the steering inputs are relatively smooth and feel more like a gentle crosswind rather than intrusive automation. Over the course of my long road trip, the use of ProPilot Assist was easy and intuitive. I even drove through light rain without any problems with the system’s activation, although it does turn off automatically when the windshield wipers are in low or high modes.

2018 Nissan Rogue Overall

With such a small margin between the Rogue and the RAV4 in terms of sales, the addition of ProPilot Assist on the 2018 Nissan Rogue could be all that it takes for Nissan’s best-selling crossover to also become the nation’s best-selling crossover. The only downside is that this innovative technology is only available as an option – albeit an affordable one – on the most expensive version of the Rogue.

Priced starting at $24,800*, the 2018 Rogue packs in a lot of content for not a lot of money, and even stepping up to the SL trim level keeps things in check with a base price to $31,180*. Ticking all of the option boxes left this SL AWD Platinum Reserve tester with a still-affordable as-tested price of $36,250.

Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Nissan dealership and test drive the 2018 Nissan Rogue today!

*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2018 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

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