Rogue rounds out the exceptional lineup of Nissan SUVs and crossovers

In the summer of 2014, we drove the Nissan Pathfinder on a long road trip from Washington to California loaded with camping gear for the Redwoods, and it performed beyond expectations. Recently we wrote about the Nissan Murano and its superb capabilities as both a classy city drive and a genuine off-roader, and now it’s the Rogue that rounds out our Nissan experience for the year. While we missed it in 2015, the Nissan Xterra has topped our annual SUV/crossover list twice, and several times we’ve called it “the most genuine SUV; what a sport utility is truly about.”

But we were certainly not disappointed with the 2015 Rogue SV AWD, and it will be a top player on our list for this year. Our tester provided us with some of the most comfortable seats we’ve experienced all year - car, truck, or SUV. Inspired by NASA, Nissan calls the heated front seats Zero Gravity & Quick Comfort. The EZFlex Seating System provides 40/20/40 folding and reclining seats and very roomy second row seating space (overall passenger volume is 105.8 inches). Call them what you will, they are worth a long road trip.

Combine the comfy seats with an exceptional Intuitive AWD system, Active Ride Control (automatically applies brakes and adjusts torque on bumpy surfaces for smoother ride), solid independent front and rear suspensions, 17-inch all-season tires, speed-sensitive electric power steering, plus a coefficient drag of just .033 for reduced wind resistance and the Rogue is a delight to drive.

Our SV model, the middle trim level of three Rogue offerings, was powered by a 2.5-L DOHC I-4 engine that produced a respectable 170 HP, and with its Xtronic CVT transmission provided all the power we needed plus overall fuel economy ratings of 28 MPG (25/city and 32/highway with AWD). Add to that up to 70.0 cubic feet of Divide-N-Hide cargo space with 18 storage configurations, and this rocks our boat.

Other likeable features on tested Rogue included Hill Start Assist and Hill Decent Control, Vehicle Dynamic Control, traction control, Active Trace Control (automatically engages inner and outer brakes when cornering) Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Warning system, Lane Departure Warning, Moving Object Detection, Rear View Monitor, plus enough technology with NissanConnect to satisfy the Geek Squad.

While our Rogue SV had a MSRP of $25,840, a premium package with navigation, heated outside mirrors, Around View Monitor, and other goodies added another $1,590. Still, well under $30,000 for a vehicle that has dynamic safety elements, amazing comfort, and superior handling characteristics.

 

Subaru Impreza wagon surprisingly usable vehicle

Our recently tested 2015 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport five-door wagon did indeed surprise us as it was a usable vehicle for transport and handled better than expected. While we’re fans of sister vehicles such as the Outback and Forester, we have not tested the Impreza for some time and it is a sturdy member of a family of vehicles that keeps setting U.S. sales records.

A proven 2.0-L Subaru Boxer engine, a horizontally opposed DOHC powers the Impreza wagon in combo with a Lineartronic continuously variable automatic transmission. Not overly powerful, but it worked well and EPA/DOT fuel ratings are 31 MPG overall (27/city and 36/highway). We experienced 31.5 overall.

Available in both a four-door sedan and the hatchback wagon, the Impreza has improved front styling for 2015, upgraded trim, a quieter cabin, and a new infotainment system. While in an option package on our tester, we did have Subaru’s EyeSight Driver-Assist System that has two cameras to monitor traffic and alert drivers to potential collisions, applies brakes if needed, and alerts drivers to lane departures and sways. This is an excellent system and not as obnoxious as some systems.

What we like a lot on the Impreza is its symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, a Subaru trademark. It applies power to all wheels simultaneously and when needed sends power to the wheels with the best traction. It’s combined with Vehicle Dynamic Control and Electronic Brake-force Distribution, so we’ll take this system, and the Impreza, on any snowy or slippery roads with confidence.

Another pleasant feature on the Impreza is Subaru’s STARLINK in-vehicle technology system with Pandora app, smart phone connectivity, and entertainment system on a seven-inch screen. We had an optional navigation system, which worked well.

The Impreza has a 5-Star overall safety crash rating, an All-Weather Package that includes heated seats, roof rails and fog lamps, rear-view camera, and lots more as standard equipment. Our wagon had a MSRP of $23,295 and with options was just over $26,000.

 

 

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.