Behind The Wheel

2020 Nissan Rogue Review: The ageing yet comfy crossover still has a lot to like

The Nissan Rogue is the third best-selling SUV in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Despite being long in the tooth, the Nissan Rogue was America's third best-selling new SUV in 2019. A weeklong test drive proved that despite not being as rugged as the Toyota RAV4 or having as much cargo space as the Honda CR-V, the Rogue is still a formidable choice for buyers.

It's a compact SUV, meaning it has room for adults in both rows of seating. It's a size up from the Nissan Kicks and Rogue Sport, but below the Nissan Pathfinder and Armada. The Rogue is similarly proportioned to the Nissan Murano. However, the Rogue is marketed as a more budget-friendly model.

2020 Nissan Rogue The Rogue's design falls into line with the other vehicles in the Nissan lineup.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

On the outside, the Rogue doesn't look dated. Its sculpted design still plays well with the rest of the Nissan lineup. That's a bit of the beauty of having a stable of front ends all with similar grille and headlight designs.

Inside, there are numerous wins. The Rogue has an updated D-shape steering wheel, unlike the Armada and Pathfinder. Its surfaces are covered in appealing materials that are pleasing to the fingertips and look plush- something that Nissan typically excels at.

Nissan has equipped the Rogue with comfortable seats that are spacious enough for adults in both rows. Sitting all day in the Rogue while on a road trip does not create any posterior fatigue.

Each new Rogue comes standard with a 7-inch infotainment touch screen that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Navigation and NissanConnect services are available on higher trim levels. The system isn't as high-tech as some on the market, but it works very well for the average customer.

2020 Nissan Rogue Nissan has made ProPilot Assist technology available on higher trim levels of the model.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Rogue has enough cargo space for everything from a Costco run to carpool pickup to a family road trip.

Rogue's steering is engaging yet relaxed. The car parks easily and navigates the highway with aplomb. Driving the Rogue is relatively effortless.

Where the compact SUV falters is with its Xtronic transmission. The transmission is noisy, and it features what is commonly referred to as a "rubber banding" effect. Rogue's 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is powerful enough for its class though it's not anything more than competent.

Nissan Safety Shield 360 is standard on Rogue SV and above models. The suite of safety and driver assistance technology includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, lane departure warning, radar-based blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and high beam assist. ProPilot Assist is a great add-on for buyers and includes lane centering technology among other features.

2020 Nissan Rogue The Rogue features a divide and hide shelf for easy storage.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Rogue isn't the newest model out there, but for the average customer, it checks many of their boxes. It is a true crossover, riding low and delivering a sedan-like drive quality. Nissan makes it easy to like the Rogue, despite its age.

The 2020 Nissan Rogue is on sale now and starts at $25,300.

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The 2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo is joining the company’s lineup

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

The decision to add a turbocharged engine variant to the Mazda3 was met with praise for those who like getting in a little more excitement behind the wheel. Now It has been announced that the Mazda3's crossover counterpart, the CX-30 is getting the same treatment.

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 will be available with a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque when the tank is filled with 93 octane fuel. The performance drops to 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque when owners fill up with 87 octane. Engines with the turbo-four also get standard all-wheel drive.

2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo The body styling is pretty much the same as the rest of the Mazda CX-30 lineup, but it does have unique wheels and other attributes.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

To accommodate the new engine option, Mazda has not had to change the outward appearance of the model In earnest but does add some highlights including 18-inch black aluminum alloy wheels, larger tailpipes, gloss black door mirrors and a "TURBO" badge on the liftgate.

As the most premium Mazda CX-30 model, it comes with a frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror, black upper dash and chrome finishes. The features list includes a Bose 12-speaker audio system and an 8.8-inch infotainment screen..

The CX-30 2.5 Turbo, as the models with the engine will be known. Also comes equipped with Smart City Brake Support Reverse and rear cross-traffic braking technologies that can sense a vehicle coming into the lane of travel when reversing, warn the driver, and apply the brakes in order to possibly avoid a collision. Additional available safety technologies include a 360-degree view monitor, Active Drive Display, traffic sign recognition, and adaptation front lighting.

2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo The CX-30 debuted just last year.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo is scheduled to go on sale by the end of 2020. Specific packaging and pricing details will be announced in the coming months

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Volkswagen has chosen a name for its new SUV.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The forthcoming new Volkswagen SUV will be called the Taos after the town in New Mexico. The name was chosen to specifically appeal to North American customers, who are the target market for the SUV, which Will slot below the Tiguan in the VW lineup.

“We're thrilled to announce the name for the newest member of the Volkswagen family," said Hein Schafer, Senior Vice President for Product Marketing and Strategy, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "It was important to choose a name that really embodied the nature of the car and the town of Taos, New Mexico was a perfect fit. It's a small city that offers big things—from outdoor adventure to arts and design and great cuisine."

Taos New Mexico Taos, New Mexico is the namesake for a forthcoming Volkswagen model.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

"We are excited that Volkswagen has named their sport utility vehicle after the town of Taos," said Taos Mayor Dan Barrone. "It's a great opportunity for our community to share its rich history and culture alongside Volkswagen with its unique and rich history and culture."

Taos, New Mexico is a thriving small town of 6,000 people. It has a 400-year history and a 1,000-year-old Native American community just a few miles from the center fo town. Artists and skiers flock to the city, which is noted for its stunning landscapes.

Incidentally, Taos was also home to John Muir, an engineer turned mechanic, and author of "How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step procedures for the Compleat Idiot." First published in 1969, and illustrated by local artist Peter Aschwanden, this counter-culture guide to Volkswagen repairs quickly developed a popular following. The book, started in Muir's Taos shop, has helped keep countless VW models running, from Beetles and Buses to Type 3 and Type 4 models.

Volkswagen promises that the new Taos “will offer great value, excellent fuel economy, and great packaging, as well as advanced infotainment and driver-assistance features”.

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos will be revealed on October 13.

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