What should have been called the Sentra WagonA muscle car guy at heart, it’s always rather difficult for me to jump into anything lacking the rumbling sound of a V8 or even the gentle purr of a smooth inline-6 motor.
It’s no secret that I’m an avid follower of the Nissan brand as a whole. Some may think my interest had sparked from the purchase of my current Maxima, but I’ve enjoyed various products in the Nissan lineup dating back to the days when they came with Datsun emblems on them. I always enjoyed the added sportiness of their product line versus their competitors. However, I suppose it’s about time I experience the “less-sporty” side of Nissan.
My tester this week has been the 2013 Nissan Rogue Special Edition. The Rogue was added to the Canadian market as a successor to the ill-fated X-Trail. This little cute-ute was unveiled on this continent at the North American International Auto Show in the year 2007.
A muscle car guy at heart, it’s always rather difficult for me to jump into anything lacking the rumbling sound of a V8 or even the gentle purr of a smooth V6 motor. This little 2013 Nissan Rogue, equipped with the QR25DE 2.5L 4-cylinder engine shared with the Altima, was anything but quick. I didn’t think I would be able to have any driving enjoyment whatsoever, but then the best possible thing for a driving enthusiast happened; it started to snow. Hard.
Though the Rogue (nearing the end of its model cycle) does have its little lawn mower engine mated to the traditional Nissan CVT that I never look forward to, I have to say it’s done quite well in this application. Though boring when commuting in the dry, the little sport-utility was able to handle the white stuff like a champion. I seemed to be flying with ease around all those slow, snow-fearing drivers that definitely should have stayed home.
Nissan equipped this 2013 Nissan Rogue with aggressive winter tires which made this one of the most fun weeks I’ve had all year. I was so pleased with this combination that I can’t help but rehash how great it was. The all-wheel-drive gave it all the confidence of a cheetah tearing across the country, being stopped by nothing. I have to say, it’s experiences like this that lead to my strong belief in the investment of good, quality winter rubber.
The interior touches of the 2013 Rogue feel straight out of the early 2000s. The entire interior is essentially a slightly (and I do mean minimally) revised version of that in the 2006-2012 Nissan Sentra. It felt dated then, and it feels dated now. Even the horn is shared with the late 90s Maxima. There’s plastic throughout the cockpit, and even though the target market for this small sport-ute probably doesn’t care about much else other than value, it’s hard to justify this level of thrift and cost-cutting for the price.
There are little plastic tabs where buttons on higher-spec Rogues would be, such as heated seats. Even the “intelligent” start involves twisting a plastic piece that mimics the action of actually turning a key. Why not just put a simple button in it like in every other Nissan? The keyless access is one thing Nissan has down pat.
The sound system (with integrated Bluetooth connectivity) works well despite its simplicity, but the first thing I noticed is that Nissan decided to use a proprietary cable for the iPod connection. What’s wrong with a conventional USB port like 90% of other manufacturers, not unlike that of its sibling, the Altima? My iPhone 5-using colleagues have begun to carry around their own USB cables, but they were ultimately disappointed at the inability to plug in and charge with the Rogue.
My Hawkone White tester was priced at just under $30,000; which in my eyes is pretty difficult to stomach. Given the choice in the class, I would put my hard-earned dollars towards something like a Sportage (which, admittedly, I haven’t driven yet) or even the equally-dated Toyota RAV4. For $20,000, the Rogue is great. It’d be a Japanese alternative (albeit slightly smaller) to value-priced domestics such as the Dodge Journey, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. At a combined 10.8L/100km in mostly highway driving though, it’s not awful on gas, either.
Not exactly aimed towards a suave bachelor in his 20s, the Rogue is definitely targeted towards young families. It’s a safe pick, coming from a reputable brand and definitely providing a good alternative vehicle… to the outgoing-model Sentra. Truly speaking though, the Rogue is aging. It’s not necessarily a terrible little SUV; it just feels really, really old. It’s due for a redesign or replacement as early as yesterday, and I’m confident that Nissan won’t drop the ball on that one.
2013 Nissan Rogue Special Edition Gallery