Best forFamilies who want the versatility of an SUV but the size and manoeuvrability of a sedan
Top BenefitsIntelligent all-wheel drive (only activates when you need it), good fuel economy, flexible cargo space
ConsiderationsSome double strollers may not fit in the rear cargo space, legroom is a bit tight in the second row
Bottom lineThe Nissan Rogue boasts a comfortable ride with great fuel economy, and it can grow with your family. It has more storage capacity and options than other crossovers in its class and lets you haul stuff other crossovers may not. Plus, the top trim level comes in at under $40,000, which is hard to find in this segment.
Having a growing family means the stuff you need to haul around is growing as well. Your vehicle needs to easily fit a stroller (or two!), diaper bag, maybe a scooter or bike—and then there’s all those things you’d need to load up for a day at the beach or a week-long camping trip. You also want something that’s roomy and comfortable for everyone, rates super-high in safety and is fun to drive. The Nissan Rogue hits the mark with its mix of SUV utility, sedan size and great fuel economy considering the all wheel drive on-demand availability.
We put the Nissan Rogue through its paces and also arranged loans for three families so they could get behind the wheel and give us their feedback on everyday use. Our testers loved the ability to fit a boat load of stuff in this crossover and they liked how well it handled on the road. Both our parent testers and editors were impressed with the Rogue’s drivability, safety features, convenience, entertainment system and a whole bunch of other things families are looking for in a vehicle.
Safety is always a big consideration when parents are shopping for a vehicle. Most vehicles today come with a lot of airbags, and the Rogue is no exception, with front, side and roof-mounted curtain air bags that activate depending on the circumstance.
Every trim includes forward collision warning and emergency braking, blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert. To put it plainly, these features are going to help you prevent accidents, ranging from crashes with other vehicles to accidentally backing over a child you can’t see behind the vehicle. The SL Platinum edition, adds emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane intervention, moving object detection and intelligent cruise control. If you want any of these features, the only way to get them is to buy the SL Platinum edition, as they aren’t available as add-ons for other trims.
Intelligent cruise control is a particularly handy feature you’ll probably find yourself using regularly. It works by monitoring how close you are to the vehicle in front of you, automatically slowing down as needed until there’s ample space between you and the vehicle ahead, and then accelerating to get back to your set cruise-control speed. In other words, you won’t need to hit the brakes to slow down if someone pulls out in front of you, and then accelerate and set cruise control again.
Comfort is key when you’re on the road a lot, and our parent testers found the front seats cozy enough that a passenger could probably fall asleep. The driver’s seat features lumbar support—a big plus if you have a long commute or your family often heads to out-of-town tournaments—and both front seats feel more like a nice armchair than the firmer padding and side bolsters you’d find in sportier vehicles. The rear seating is equally comfy, with plenty of cushioning. Our editors did, however, find that the headrests angle forward in a way that may push your head forward slightly, which can be a tad uncomfortable for some people.
Legroom also plays a big part in comfort, and while the front passenger has loads of room to stretch out (even with a tote bag on the floor), rear passengers will find the space a little tighter, but still plenty comfortable. (It’s worth noting that crossover SUVs generally sacrifice either a bit of legroom or cargo space due to their smaller frame, so this is pretty typical.)
The Rogue we tested came with the optional dual zone climate control, which lets the driver and front passenger separately adjust heating and AC levels for the left and right side of the vehicle. Perhaps more importantly, heated seats for the driver and front passenger come standard in every trim level, while a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel is an option on the SV edition and standard on the SL Platinum edition. While rear passengers don’t have their own climate controls, AC vents mounted on the back of the front centre console do allow them to adjust how much cooled air is blowing on them in warmer months.
Not to be underestimated, the cup holder situation in the Nissan Rogue is solid—families scored it highly for the number and accessibility of cup holders. There are two cup holders located between the front seats as well as a bottle holder on the inside front door panels. Backseat passengers are also taken care of with deep cup holders in each door. Plus, if you only have one or two rear passengers, the middle seat back pulls down to reveal two large, rounded cup holders, perfect for drinks and snacks.
Ride also factors in big when it comes to overall comfort, especially if you have a car-sick-prone kid. The Rogue’s suspension is well-tuned to be comfortable and soft without feeling like you’re on a boat. All trim models have the same engine and transmission, so the ride is pretty much the same, unless you opt for the 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Bumps in the road will be more pronounced and noticeably harsher than if you have the smaller 17-inch wheels.
When you’re buying a crossover, you’re looking for generous cargo space—it’s a big reason why parents upgrade from their pre-kids coupe (or, in some cases, buy their first vehicle ever). One of the great things about the Nissan Rogue is you can fold down individual seats to get over 18 cargo and occupant area configurations. The seats are easy to pull down (including the front passenger seat) but require a bit of heft to put back into position.
Families who tested the vehicle had no problem fitting all their stuff—from groceries to sports gear. If you have a baby or toddler, you’re going to need enough room for a stroller. We were able to get a full-size stroller (the UppaBaby Vista) in the Rogue, but it was a tight fit and there wasn’t much room left for groceries or other things you might need to stow in the back. And if you have a side-by-side double stroller, it likely isn’t going to fit, despite your best efforts.
One of the things we love about the Rogue is its optional automatic rear liftgate. By swiping your foot under the rear license plate, the liftgate opens without the need to push a button on the key fob or grab a handle—a life-saver if you’re holding a toddler in one arm and groceries in another. The liftgate is automated, meaning it opens and closes on its own, without the need for you to haul it up or down (a major plus after a C-section or if you’ve strained your back). You can close the liftgate by pushing button on the door itself or pressing a button on the key fob.
Both the highway and city fuel economy numbers on the Rogue are impressive. The front wheel drive Rogue is rated to get you 7.0 litres per 100 kilometres on the highway, and 9.2 L per 100 km in the city. If you opt for an all-wheel drive model, you’ll use just a touch more fuel at 7.4 L per 100 km on the highway, and 9.7 L per 100 km in the city. Real-world driving might end up using a bit more fuel, but the manufacturer’s rating is a good indicator. With a 55-litre fuel tank, you should be able to travel more than 500 km.
The Rogue comes in several trim levels, but they all have the same engine and transmission, so they handle the same. Our parent testers really liked getting behind the wheel of the Rogue. It has one of the longest wheel bases (the distance between the centre of the front and rear wheels) among crossovers, so it should feel larger, but our editors and parent testers said it was a breeze to navigate around tight corners and down narrow streets.
One of the things we especially love about the Nissan Rogue is its transmission. It has a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which is a system that does away with the need for the engine to change gears so you won’t feel that small pause in acceleration or hear your engine get a touch louder when braking. Because there are no gears, you don’t feel the vehicle shift, so it makes for a smoother ride and also gives you better fuel economy. The Rogue also keeps fuel consumption lower by functioning as a front wheel drive vehicle most of the time, and automatically shifting to all wheel drive only when needed. So for example, when it detects one of the wheels slipping as you’re pulling away from a stop on a slippery patch, the transmission redistributes torque to all four wheels to keep the vehicle moving forward. One of our testers noticed this—and really appreciated it—when they were travelling to a weekend hockey tournament.
The Nissan Rogue also has a really small blindspot. (We measured this by having one person in the driver’s seat and a second person stand behind the vehicle with their hand held out. The person behind the Rogue moved out from the side of the vehicle until the driver could see the hand in the rear-view mirror.) On the road, we had great visibility all around the Rogue, giving our editors confidence when changing lanes on the highway and navigating parking lots. Our testers were also big fans of the virtual 360-degree birds-eye-view the Rogue provides when parking. Cameras on the exterior of the vehicle make backing-up and parallel parking a breeze.
If more than one person is going to be driving your family vehicle, the Rogue’s memory seat feature eliminates the frustration of slipping behind the wheel only to discover the driver’s seat has been moved since you were last in it. Setting your position is super-simple, and the push of a button returns your seat to where you like it.
Let’s be frank: car seat installation is often difficult. The Rogue, like most crossovers, sacrifices some space in the back seat in favour of rear cargo and front seat space. This, combined with a low roof, means you’ll definitely feel a little cramped for space if you’re installing a car seat—but that’s pretty common in a lot of vehicles. Our editors found that the anchors for the UAS/LATCH installation are set quite deep in the seat, which can add a little challenge to your efforts. On the plus side, the rear doors on the Rogue open to an impressive 77 degrees (90 degrees would be sticking straight out from the vehicle), so there’s plenty of clearance around the door when you’re getting to car seat into the vehicle—a big plus if you have a convertible car seat that’s on the large or heavy side.
The interior of the Nissan Rogue strikes a great balance between a minimalist, clean design and one cluttered with a lot of buttons. Details like contrasted stitching add a touch of style, and a huge moon roof (standard on the SL Platinum trim, optional on the SV trim, but not available on the base S trim) brings a little bit of outside in while making the interior feel bigger than it is. Our testers unanimously agreed the Rogue felt like a quality vehicle: The materials felt solid, there weren’t any reports of rattles from behind the dashboard and the doors made a pleasurable “thud” when closed.
The Rogue we tested came with leather-appointed seats (a mix of genuine leather and artificial leather), which we find easier to clean than fabric seats. But if you want leather, you’ll have to opt for the SL Platinum or SL Platinum Propilot Assist edition; you can’t get leather seats as an add-on in the S or SV trim.
Speaking of cleaning, every parent knows that mid-ride snacks mean crumbs will find their way into all the crevices and onto the floors. The Rogue comes with carpet floor mats, which make washing and vacuuming a bit of a chore. But if you’re really concerned about this, all-season rubber mats will only set you back $159—well worth it for the ability to quickly hose them down should your kid spill something sticky or, worse, get sick.
The seven-inch colour touchscreen on the console is brightly lit and allows you to access a bevy of options (though it's important to note that this isn't available on the base model). The home screen is customizable, too, so all the all the features you regularly use can be positioned on the main screen without having to go into submenus.
Seamless, effortless connectivity between your smartphone and your vehicle’s entertainment system is what everyone wants, and the Nissan Rogue delivers. Setting up the Bluetooth connection is super simple, and while you can connect multiple devices, you’ll only be able to use one at a time with the entertainment system. (For example, if your partner is streaming music from their phone, you won’t be able to take hands-free calls on your phone through the system.) The last phone connected will be the one it searches for first the next time you start up the Rogue.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to control the entertainment system from the rear seats, which means if you let the rear passengers dictate what comes out of the speakers through one of their phones, you’re going to become quite familiar with the steering wheel mounted controls and make use of the touchscreen quite often to change tracks or the volume. On the plus side, the Rogue has steering-wheel-mounted audio controls to change between audio source, skip tracks and change the volume.
The Nissan Rogue also includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which incorporate several of your phone’s features, like getting directions, having text messages read to you and using voice commands to play music through the entertainment system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto virtually take the place of the often-proprietary infotainment systems manufacturers have been putting in vehicles for decades. While the Rogue offers its own navigation and hands-free phone capabilities, if you have an Apple or Android phone, you’ll probably find yourself favouring the app over the built-in system.
Price and budget are a big factor when families are buying a vehicle. The Nissan Rogue’s base price of $26,148 is competitive with the least expensive crossovers out there, and the top trim SL Platinum Propilot Assist edition (starting at $38,593) is priced well below many competitors’ top offerings. Packed with family-friendly features, fuel-saving technologies and a range of safety features, you’re getting a lot for a very competitive price.
Our testers were really impressed with the Nissan Rogue—including, notably, one parent who’s been behind the wheel of many rental cars and told us the Rogue is now among her favourites. All of the families who tried out the Rogue gave it very good ratings across the board for quality, ease of use and value. Parents praised the ability to configure the cargo area, and families fit well in this crossover. Its primary purpose is a mode of transportation and our testers agreed driving the Nissan Rogue was a treat. The ride was comfortable, the blind spot warning system made them feel more confident changing lanes at highway speed, and they found the steering wheel light and easy to turn. Our parent testers unanimously felt the Nissan Rogue should receive the Today’s Parent Approved seal and none of them would hesitate recommending this vehicle to other families. The Rogue would make it to the top of their shopping lists if they were buying a car, and we can’t help but agree.