Today we’ll look under the hood and see what the 2011 Nissan Rogue has to offer in the mechanical area.
The Rogue comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine putting out 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. Nissan carries over the drive train used by this crossover since its 2008 model-year introduction. No six-cylinder is available and tomorrow we’ll take the Rogue up into the foothills west of Denver and see how it performs at altitude.
The four-cylinder is mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) complete with an overdrive function and the buyer’s choice of either front or all-wheel drive. This particular tester came with the all-wheel-drive option which is perfect for the snowy climate of Denver.
Nissan has been a pioneer in mainstream application of CVT transmissions in most of its cars and crossovers. A CVT doesn’t shift gears like a conventional automatic transmission. Instead, a segmented belt rides up and down on cone-shaped pulleys to vary the speed ratio between the engine and the drivetrain. It works more efficiently than a traditional automatic, which is why the Rogue equipped with a CVT delivers such good highway mileage.
Fuel economy improves some from last year thanks to the CVT, low-rolling-resistance tires, an underbody tray, and new air deflectors in front of each wheel well. Front-drive models improve 1 highway mpg to 22/28 mpg city/highway; all-wheel-drive models gain 1 mpg in the city, for a 22/26 mpg city/highway rating.
The 2011 Nissan Rogue has a fairy stiff suspension, sharp steering, and is one of the sportiest-driving crossovers in this smaller SUV category. The available AWD gives the Rogue a generous 8.3 inches of ground clearance but its intuitive AWD system isn’t intended for off-roading. For Denver buyers looking for an off-road vehicle there are better choices out there.
The Nissan Rogue basically transfers power between the front and rear wheels to maintain traction on slippery pavement, though it does allow the driver to lock in a 50/50 front-rear torque split for added grip at lower speeds.
The Vehicle Dynamic Control with the standard traction control system improves adhesion on takeoffs, and the Electronic Brake force Distribution with Brake Assist is included to reduce chances of sideways slides. Antilock four-wheel disc brakes for better control in emergency stops also are standard. Maximum towing capacity for the Rogue is 1,500 pounds, adequate for towing a small snowmobile trailer.
Come back Tomorrow and we’ll take the four cylinder Rogue up I-70 and see how it performs at altitude.