In November of last year, I had the chance of participating in an epic road trip with the team at Nissan for a 4,000 km-long test drive of the Altima and Rogue across the United States on Route 66. This year, almost day for day, I did things a little differently and headed North towards La Belle Province on board the 2016 Nissan Rogue, to find out that my opinion of the crossover hasn’t changed one bit.
In fact, I was faced with the challenge of redefining my concept of a good road trip vehicle. Until you have actually taken on the road for a few days, you have the romantic idea that a sports car or a convertible is the ideal road trip vehicle. But then you realize that there is more to it than what they show in the movies. Being on the road for a few days also requires space for the constant packing and unpacking, comfort and ideally, fuel economy. And those are the points I ended up giving to the Rogue: despite not being the dreamy ride you like to picture yourself in, it still provided plenty of driving perks.
I was excited to get to renew the experience with the most recent model-year of the Rogue on the road to Montreal and back. For 2016, the crossover received a few minor upgrades, it does however keep the same design introduced two years ago.
The 2016 Rogue now boasts the NissanConnect technology, available through SiriusXM Satellite Radio, as well Apple smartphone connectivity through Siri EyesFree. I did get to superficially explore these upgrades, using the voice activated commands and having the system read my English text messages in a robotic voice (and the French ones in funny gibberish). However, my phone is Android and I didn’t get to benefit from the full EyesFree experience. The infotainment remains efficient, pairing with your personal device is easy and navigation is a convenience that always proves to be less of a luxury and more of a neccessity.
The interior materials feel really nice, there is no mistake: and sitting in the top-of-the-line trim level, priced at $35,000, enriched with soft materials and leather accents, it’s a joy. Music enthusiasts will be glad to know that the SL Premium trim also gets you a Bose audio system.
The Rogue provides seating for five grown up passengers, with the possibility of boosting that number to seven when the Tech Package is added. Behind the second row of seats, the crossover offers a 1,112-litres of cargo volume, ample space for a Costco visit with my big-spender dad.
On the road, the 2016 Nissan Rogue is just as I remembered it; comfortable, quiet, efficient. The 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine feels capable and the accelerations is more effective than expected, turning the Rogue into a great cruiser. The CVT doesn’t feel as bad in this crossover as it does in certain other models from the lineup. Fuel economy is reasonable, considering other same-size vehicles can do a lot worse. I averaged about 9.6L/100km.
Thanks to its AWD capability, a year ago, wandering off the beaten paths into the Arizona desert landscape was easy and worry free. This time around, though the city of Montreal is famous for its asteroid impact site-like potholes, offroading wasn’t quite an option. But with the impending white doom (or what I like to call snow), there was a certain security in the knowledge that the Rogue could still get you there. Having lived in Montreal for most of my life, I know how quickly the weather can change and how practical the all-wheel drive can be.
I have to admit that I’ve developed a soft spot for the 2016 Nissan Rogue. Overall, the vehicle is a great middle ground option and the plentiful current generation models I’ve seen on the road is a testimony to that. It offers good fuel economy for the segment and good cargo space while remaining accessible and comfortable to drive.
Photographs by Sabrina Giacomini and Nissan Canada