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2020 Nissan Rogue: It prizes functionality over frivolity

2020 Nissan Rogue: It prizes functionality over frivolity

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Dan Wiese is a freelance automotive writer. He is a regular contributor for Brand Ave. Studios and to AAA Midwest Traveler magazine's online Web Bonus.

2020 Nissan Rogue

With an infinitely reconfigurable interior, Rogue is remarkably versatile at hauling passengers and/or cargo. Photo provided by Nissan

In the 2020 Nissan Rogue, there's good news and bad news for crossover buyers.

The bad news is the base price for 2020 is up, even though the vehicle hasn't changed a whit. The good news is the base price is up only a little, and the vehicle hasn't changed a whit.

There's a reason Rogue is Nissan's best-selling U.S. nameplate, not to mention perennially being one of the best-selling crossovers in America. It knows what crossover buyers really want: practicality over pizzazz and functionality over frivolity.

Offered since 2014 in this second-generation iteration, Rogue in 2018 was endowed with significant enhancements, followed in 2019 with notably upgraded safety improvements. Ergo, this guy -- whose base price for 2020 bumps $600 in S and SV trims, $400 in SL guise -- understandably feels comfortable resting on its considerable laurels in 2020.

Offered with front- or all-wheel drive, Rogue is a two-row, five-passenger crossover available in S, SV and SL trims. (It's not to be confused with the subcompact Rogue Sport, a different vehicle altogether.)

We drove a 2020 SV AWD and found it handier than a universal remote, thanks to an interior with a roomy back seat, fold-flat capability for every seat (save the driver's), a 40/20/40-split rear seatback that enables lots of hauling configurations, and a cargo bay whose floor is reconfigurable to three levels.

The only powertrain -- a 2.5-liter, 170-hp four-cylinder that's mated to a CVT automatic -- is not the stuff of checkered-flag fantasy. Off-line acceleration is adequate but, with that CVT, Rogue plays its hand early, so plan at-speed accelerations in advance. Rogue delivered to us 31 mpg in a 60-mile interstate junket.

2020 Nissan Rogue 2

Photo provided by Nissan

Clearly more concerned with security than velocity, Rogue offers as standard equipment such hand-wringing safety sentries as Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Lane Intervention, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection and High Beam Assist.

Another item of passenger bubble wrap, which can make Rogue feel like a nanny whose hair bun is wrapped a tad too tightly, is the optional ProPILOT Assist, which was included in our SV's $1,800 Premium Pkg.

ProPILOT blends stop-start capable smart cruise control with lane-keep assist to help the driver stay centered in a highway traffic lane. It's designed, Nissan says, to aid the driver in "steering, braking and accelerating during single-lane highway driving." It is not, Nissan emphatically points out, a self-driving feature.

To Rogue's human driver, that becomes abundantly clear in about 10 seconds.

The driver's hands must be on the wheel at all times. Should the driver provoke the system by removing hands from the wheel, ProPILOT gets progressively -- and aggressively -- more irate: After about 10 seconds of hands-free driving, the system displays a take-control warning in the gauge pod. Ignore that and, 5 seconds later, you get a flashing warning and beeping. Hands still AWOL from the wheel? The beep quickens, the flashing increases and the system, while sounding an interior siren, blips the brakes to slow the car.

So behave!

ProPILOT is impressive but, as aggressive as its steering interventions are, it gets annoying. Ultimately, we disabled it, and appreciated Rogue's charms much more.

2020 Nissan Rogue 3

Photo provided by Nissan

Inside, room is fine up front and remarkably spacious in back. And the all-black decor in our SV was hip.

Also appreciated were the knobs for radio volume and tuning, the logical and sensible touch screen display and -- standard on our SV -- the "Motion Activated Liftgate": Just swing your foot under the rear bumper and the tailgate opens.

The Nissan Rogue may boast less-than-visceral driving characteristics, but it's endlessly concerned with making life easier, more convenient and more secure. Throw in a still-affordable base price of $26,395, and it's awfully hard to dislike this guy. Last year, more than 300,000 crossover buyers agreed.


This content was produced by Brand Ave. Studios. The news and editorial departments of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had no role in its creation or display. For more information about Brand Ave. Studios, contact tgriffin@stltoday.com.

Dan Wiese is a freelance automotive writer. He is a regular contributor for Brand Ave. Studios and to AAA Midwest Traveler magazine's online Web Bonus.

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