Driving Impressions: 2018.5 Nissan Rogue Sport FWDBy: Mark Moskowitz MD
Mid-year model introductions once carried incredible clout. Ford, a company which decried annual change in its early years, is responsible for some of the most memorable half year cars. The most famous may have been the 64 ½ Mustang. The half year designate was not touted by ads. Neither was the preceding year's famous introduction of fastback styling on the mid-year Galaxies. But the half year monikers have stuck. Worth mention is Ford's mid 1968 introduction of the 428 Cobra Jet Package.
GM, credited with popularizing annual model change, brought attention to their pony cars, Camaro and Firebird, with dramatic styling changes and a February 1970 introduction. There are many more; even Jetta had a far from memorable announced and delivered mid-year styling change in 1999.
Our subject car, the 2018.5 Nissan Rogue Sport was introduced in the spring. New year models are typically introduced in the late summer or fall. Confused? I'll try to help. In 1980, the Department of Transportation mandated a 17-digit VIN; the tenth character would designate the model year and a manufacturer could designate its model as of the following year as early as January 1 of the year before. Restated: at the earliest, a 2018 model could have been sold in January of 2017. I know of no rules for mid-year models. A search for truth usually will end on the door jamb, where actual month and year of manufacture are clearly displayed on the FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard) label.
The raison d'être for the Rogue Sport's mid-year re-introduction is safety. All models, the base S, the SV and SL now come equipped with Automatic Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
I tested the top of the line Rogue Sport SL FWD https://www.conceptcarz.com/a22683/driving-impressions-nissan-rogue-sport.aspx
one year ago. At that time, the above were part of the Premium Package which also included a 'moonroof', High Beam Assist and LED headlights; the combination of features added $2280 to the SL base price of $26070. Another $570 would net you Intelligent Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning and Prevention. Total before destination charges: $28920. Intelligent Cruise Control is now standard on the SL (optional on the SV) and the aforementioned remaining features are now combined in the new Premium Package; a comparable 2018.5 SL now costs $29180.
Nissan offered a Rogue Sport SV FWD for this year's test. Sport means short in Nissan-speak. Our model at 172.4 inches measures 12.1 inches less than the standard Rogue. Fortunately, little has changed and I remain impressed with the compact SUV's roomy and comfortable seating, its multi-link suspension aided handling and its storage capacity in front where slots, spaces and compartments abound and in back where a fold down rear seat enlarges a 20 cubic foot space to 53.3 cubic feet.
While I would like a few more horses than the 147 listed, a year's experience with a multitude of non-performance compacts and subcompacts finds the Rogue Sport as responsive as most and able to produce a respectable 0-60mph time of 9.7 seconds.
Picking a few nits: The base model (S) deserves better than a five-inch touch screen placed below the vents. The front storage tray is too small for the largest cell phone to lay flat.
I endorse Nissan's mandating safety advances ahead of their being regulated and charging a relative pittance more. Need to save a bit of money? Omit that moonroof, LED headlights and leather seating and add the Technology Package and the SV closely matches the SL for $3000 less.
I continue to recommend the Rogue Sport; it's seven inches longer than the standard of a subcompact SUV (the group to which it is most commonly compared) but seems comparably priced when similarly equipped. It offers more room, 32 mpg on the highway, big doors for entry, similar agility, a panoramic view out front and plenty of visibility in back leading one to ask why not Rogue Sport?