Functional SUV and wagon offer genuine ride, handling, and cargo hauling
Every now and then we test a vehicle that just seems to fit most every need we have and is simply a comfortable and pleasurable unit to drive. We found that in our recent test of the 2018.5 Nissan Rogue Sport SL FWD model, a compact SUV that handled well and provided us an excellent driving experience.
A Guide Automotive Consumer “Best Buy Award” winner, the Sport was also a contender for the 2018 Motor Trend SUV of the Year.
Our SL tester, the top of three offerings, was powered by a 2.0-L DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine that afforded us sufficient capability for on- and off-road driving. It’s paired with an effortless Xtronic CVT automatic transmission with a manual shift mode for added usability. Fuel ratings are an exceptional 28 MPG/overall (25/city and 32/highway) and we reaped just over 29 MPG during our weeklong test.
Beyond fuel economy we liked how the Rogue Sport fit our comfort needs with leather appointed seats (8-way power driver’s seat) and roominess for all passengers. In addition to seat comfort, there was plentiful cargo space (53.0 cubic feet with rear seats down), and the suspension (front independent and rear multilink) was pleasant. The ride quality was improved with 19-inch tires (17-inch are standard on other models).
The interior of the Rogue Sport is loaded with standard equipment and creature comforts and it’s both usable and smart. Our likes include a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel with tilt/telescope, dual zone climate control, Intelligent Cruise Control, and all that the NissanConnect with Navigation system offers from navigation voice guidance to mobile app connection.
Other very useful standards on the Sport SL are the Intelligent Around View Monitor, fog lamps, heated outside mirrors, automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, Hill Start Assist, and much more. We did have a $1,990 option package that included a power sliding moonroof, LED high- and low-beam headlamps, lane departure warning, and more.
All said, what makes the Rogue Sport fun to drive is its comfort, maneuverability, solid ride, and very genuine handling characteristics. All this for under $30,000 even with our option package (a base Rogue starts at about $22,000). That equates to a lot of vehicle with a multitude of equipment for a very competitive price in our book.
Alltrack has much to offer from handling and hauling
Another fun vehicle is the 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack TSI SE 4MOTION, a smaller wagon that is also loaded with standard equipment at a more than fair price.
Our tester actually was quite peppy with its 1.8-L TSI DOHC four-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection. With a reactive six-speed manual transmission (automatics are optional) fuel ratings are 24 MPG overall (21/city and 30/highway). With lots of highway driving, we captured almost 29 MPG for our test week.
The 4MOTION all-wheel drive system is one of our favorites as it’s available with manual or automatic transmissions, truly provides proper torque value between front and rear wheels, and the system can send torque to just the rear axle when needed for optimum stability and control. Match that to an outstanding electromechanical power steering system with variable assistance and handling is amazing.
While the Alltrack is an enjoyable on-road vehicle, it’s magnificent off-road. It has a 6.9 inch ground clearance (highest in the Golf lineup), the 4MOTION AWD plus electronic stability control, off-road driving mode, Anti-Slip Regulation, 17-inch all-season tires, front and rear roll bars, rugged bumper design, and an available three gauge Off-Road Monitor that defines altitude, steering angle, and direction with its compass.
The middle of three trims, the Alltrack SE offers most everything we desired with no options. Included are heated front seats, heated outside mirrors, panoramic sunroof with silver roof rails, LED and Halogen lighting, fog lamps, an Integrated Crash Response System, rearview camera, Forward Collision Warning & Autonomous Emergency Braking system, and more.
We found the interior on the Alltrack SE to be generally comfortable with easy to use instrumentation, and quite attractive with its ambient lighting, stainless steel pedal cluster, V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. There is also a generous 30.4 cubic feet of cargo space that we utilized to its fullest.
Tech is not overlooked on the Alltrack as it has the Volkswagen Car-Net App-Connect, USB ports, a Composition Media eight-inch touchscreen sound system, and multi-function display, among its offerings.
Our tester had more than ample equipment, a 5-Star NHTSA safety score, an excellent four-wheel independent suspension, and useful tech for $29,765. No options - just drive!