Posts tagged crossover
When I was offered the chance to drive and review the new 2014 Nissan Rogue for the Morrie’s Automotive Group Blog, I was a little apprehensive at first. You see, the previous generation didn’t really offer much to get excited about with its bland styling and lackluster features. Over the last few years, Nissan has made a really strong commitment to updating and improving their entire vehicle lineup with more exciting vehicles with more modern features. And with that in mind, I drove over to Morrie’s Brooklyn Park Nissan and picked up a 2014 Nissan Rogue SL AWD in Super Black with an Almond tan leather interior and carrying a sticker price of $30,625.
For those that don’t know, the SL trim level comes standard with just about everything you could want in a small crossover. While there is a $1,900 Premium package that includes a panoramic moonroof, LED headlights, and safety features like blind spot warning, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and moving object detection, the standard Rogue SL still has a lot of standard features to offer. The two-stage heated seats were especially nice during this recent cold snap and I also really enjoyed using the 7” touchscreen navigation system. From a safety aspect, one feature that really sets the Rogue apart from its competition – which includes the Mazda CX-5, Ford Escape, Honda CRV and Toyota Rav4 – is the Around-View Monitor. By utilizing 4 cameras around the vehicle – one in the front grille, one integrated into the hatch door, and one under each mirror – a bird’s eye view of the Rogue’s surroundings can be displayed on the screen making it a piece of cake to park the Rogue in tight parking spots.
One of the most impressive technology features in the 2014 Rogue is the latest NissanConnect 2 infotainment system with NissanConnect Apps. The apps are somewhat limited at the moment to Google local search, Facebook, hands-free text messaging assistant, and internet radio options such as Pandora and iHeartRadio but plenty more will be trickling out soon. For now, Rogue owners will just have to keep looking forward to Twitter, Trip Advisor, and Yelp, as well as more internet radio options like Stitcher, TuneIn, and Slacker Radio. Add to that a wide range of location-based services provided by SiriusXM’s Travel Link like traffic and weather information, nearby fuel prices, stocks and movie listings and it’s not hard for the driver to always be connected.
One minor gripe, however, was that Nissan took it upon themselves to disable any of the services that require typing on the touchscreen while driving. It makes sense from a safety standpoint but there were occasionally times when I was in the middle of searching for something on Google at a stoplight when it turned green and I’d have to wait until I stopped again to finish. Luckily, most of the features allow the driver to use voice commands to get around the touchscreen lockout.
Speaking of driving, the Rogue has everything you need to get through these snowy Minnesota winters. I was particularly impressed by the intuitive all-wheel drive system that only sends power to the rear wheels when slip is detected and spends the rest of the time driving only the front wheels for better fuel economy. Along with the AWD, the Rogue features hill start assist and hill descent control, meaning that you’ll never have to worry about getting stuck while trying to go up or down a slippery slope again. At the heart of the drivetrain is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder making 170-hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. The engine is surprisingly zippy but it felt harsh at times and the continuously variable transmission (CVT) took some of the fun out of driving it. I guess that’s the price to pay for the claimed best-in-class fuel economy of 33 MPG though. That being said, I averaged about 24 MPG during my time with the Rogue which included a 60/40 mix of city and highway driving.
It’s also worth mentioning that the suspension tuning was relatively firm which made for pretty sporty handling through the corners but it could be a bit harsh when going over potholes and cracked pavement. Luckily, the seats are soft and supportive, which helped to soak up most of the roughness transferred through the suspension. At least the interior stayed pretty quiet at speed. Both road and wind noise were kept to a minimum as far as I could tell.
Looking back at the three strongest points offered by the 2014 Nissan Rogue, I’d have to say I was most impressed by its technology which allows the driver to easily stay on top of their connected life while on the go. Personally, I also feel that Nissan really hit it out of the park in the looks department; this new Rogue has muscular, chiseled body lines and an aggressive, angry nose that is accented perfectly with LED daytime running lights along the bottom of the headlights. It’s distinctive and marks a huge improvement over the soft, bland styling of the previous model. Lastly, the Rogue offers a huge amount of room and storage space for the passengers. Even with a 6-foot tall driver, there was still plenty of room for rear seat passengers as well as a huge trunk area that could easily swallow up a couple of dogs or some camping gear. If you were like me and never really considered the Rogue to be much of a contender in the small crossover segment, I can promise you that the 2014 Rogue is worth a second look.
Guest blog post written by: Alex Bellus – a well-known automotive photographer in the Twin Cities area and a frequent attendee of MN C&C at the Automotorplex. He is an Automotive Analyst for IHS Automotive and has a wide range of automotive knowledge. Keep your eye out for his next Blog Post where he will highlight another popular new vehicle!
I realize it’s not quite winter yet and personally I’m not hauling kids to soccer practice or anything, but having an SUV for the evening was certainly a welcomed change. Something about jumping up into this SUV rather than fall down to the ground into my old car, gives you a feeling of comfort and security. I was able to borrow a 2013 Santa Fe Sport 2.0T AWD (with the Leather & Premium Package) for the evening and I soon realized just how great it was. There were a couple things I noticed that I really enjoyed right away that I haven’t really given much thought to until I was actually using some of these features.
The available back-up camera that comes in the Leather & Premium Package is a 4.3” touchscreen color display and really makes life a whole lot easier. I feel like that, paired with the standard Bluetooth system is something once you have it, it would be tough to give up. Low and behold, I took the Santa Fe on Friday the 13th and was just waiting for something bad to arise and it never happened. Like I mentioned, it has the hidden sense of security until you actually realize how safe this Santa Fe Sport is. Vehicle Stability Management, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control all on top of Anti-lock brakes, these things are the platform from what safety is built on. I just felt like the more and more I drove around, the more I didn’t want to bring it back.
Not to mention Hyundai’s reliability factor and America’s best warranty a 10-year, 100,000 miles power train warranty (trumped by our Morrie’s Lifetime Power Train Warranty) and a 5-year, 60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper warranty.
So you’re probably saying, “What about space and room for all of my stuff?” Yes, I actually do need to haul my kids to hockey and soccer practice. Just behind the front seats alone there is 71.5 cubic feet of cargo space, which in real life terms means, in fact, you will be able to haul the kids around and all their junk no problem (I meant gear and bags…). The rear seats which are heated also with the leather package, conveniently fold almost flat on either side or just the middle can fold flat if you need room for the hockey sticks and still put all the bags in the back. I was starting to think that the more time I spent in the Santa Fe Sport, the more I could really get used to all this space behind me. I ended up at the grocery store and it was almost embarrassing how much more I could have gotten away with buying and fitting in the back.
So, on a final note, if you haven’t checked out the Santa Fe Sport (or the larger 7-passenger Santa Fe) for your next vehicle, I think you owe it to yourself to stop by Morrie’s and give it a test drive. Between the streaming bluetooth music, the perfectly placed buttons on the steering wheel or the quiet and comfort interior, this vehicle really showed it’s a strong competitor for any SUV buyer.
Adam Karon is a Marketing Manager in the Twin Cities and constantly on the move. We were happy to be able to provide him with a Hyundai Santa Fe for the night so he could get a feel for the convenience, safety and comfort this crossover has to offer.