When asked to review the 2020 Nissan Rogue, I felt the way I do about most cars out there. I’m happy to! There’s always good and bad to be found in every car and part of the joy is figuring it all out.
Typically I find that I enjoy driving most cars I test. Some are a little underpowered. Some have minor annoyances, like a cup holder that’s too small. Some are just baffling (like the time I couldn’t figure out how to fold the rear seats without consulting the manual).
I even enjoyed the Nissan Rogue a few years ago when I had a chance to spend a week in the Nissan Rogue Hybrid and again when I took a mother-son road trip in the Nissan Rogue Sport. But this Nissan Rogue left me completely underwhelmed. Here’s why.
What’s Good in the 2020 Nissan Rogue
Let’s start with the positive. This is not a horrible car by any means. There’s a reason why you see so many of them on the road. It’s a capable SUV with 70 cubic feet of cargo space with the second row folded flat. It also happens to be Nissan’s best selling vehicle. Perhaps that comes down to price.
Nissan offers three different trim levels – S, SV, SL – all available with FWD or AWD. I drove the mid-range SV AWD model which was well-equipped with safety features and a few extras like motion activated liftgate and remote start engine.
Nissan has a very accessible price point for all trim levels with the S starting at $26,720 and the SL topping out at just about $36,000. The 2020 Nissan Rogue SV AWD that I drive was equipped with premium paint ($395), floor mats ($290) and the Premium Package ($1800). With the destination charge, this vehicle has an MSRP of $31,500. Not bad for a family SUV.
Want to make an average car just a little more exciting? The Rogue is available in 8 beautiful colors with Monarch Orange as a standout for the Premium Paint colors. In fact, I’ve seen a lot of orange Rogues on the road!
Nissan Divide-N-Hide® storage solution
I totally discovered this configurable cargo solution by accident (watch my video to see my discovery!). But I like that it gives you option instead of just a big empty space that doesn’t always work for your latest Costco run.
The EPA fuel economy is estimated at 25 city and 32 highway with and average of 27 mpg. And 27 mpg is what I experienced for my combined driving for the week. That’s actually right on par with most SUVs of this size. And it’s not significantly less than what I got when I test drove the Rogue Hybrid (which might explain why Nissan has discontinued the hybrid for 2020).
What Needs Improvement in the 2020 Nissan Rogue
Again, I’m not saying the Nissan Rogue is a bad car. It’s just a very middle of the road car with a lot of room for improvement. Here are some of my suggestions.
Let me start with one of the most important aspects of any vehicle – the engine. The Rogue has a 170-hp 2.5L 4 cylinder engine. It’s a fine engine. But it’s just that. It’s fine. It’s not grossly underpowered but you definitely won’t get whiplash when you take off. I wouldn’t mind at least an option for a more powerful engine, either through a V6 or a turbo.
This sounds minor but I could swear this power liftgate is the slowest I’ve ever seen. And I never could get the motion-activated liftgate to work. I may have needed an account with NissanConnect Services for that feature.
The Heated Steering Wheel
I’ll go ahead and admit it. Complaining about a heated steering wheel is totally a first world problem but as long as I have the feature, I expect it to work well. It does heat the steering wheel quickly, when turned on. But it has distinct hot spots and some very chilly spots. I think it’s a feature that could be executed a little better.
Stalk? What stalk? Here’s I’m talking about the light stalk on the left side of the steering wheel. This is the stalk you use to turn on your headlights, start and stop your bright lights, and put on your turn signal. And my complaint is that it’s a bit far from the steering wheel.
I know it sounds weird but if you’re on the smaller side, as are many women drivers, your hand span needs to be considered. The span it a bit large and I found myself having to take my hand somewhat off the steering wheel when using it.
Overall Thoughts and My Video Review
Sometimes, you have to see to believe. Although I ran out of daylight when filming this video, you’ll see enough to visualize the things I loved and the things that needed more improvement. As the Nissan Rogue did not change significantly from 2019 to 2020, I suspect there’s a redesign in the works (I’ve even read a rumor that it’s coming in 2021). Let’s hope Nissan makes some changes to make this car more of the standout that it should be.