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 Rivian R1T is undergoing final testing in Arizona.

Photo courtesy of Rivian

Four new performance testing videos featuring the Rivian R1T all-electric pickup truck have dropped on YouTube. Three of the videos show a specific area of performance while the last wraps it all up showcasing a trail ride. Whether you're an electric vehicle enthusiast, truck fan, or someone who enjoys the road less traveled (or a combination thereof), there's something for everyone.

The first video hones in on the launch performance of the truck. The R1T, like other electric vehicles, has power at all four wheels, giving it instant torque when the driver presses on the accelerator. The wildly wrapped R1T rapidly gains speed as it heads down a dirt path. Watch the video below.

The second video features the R1T drifting around a series of corners at a controlled facility in the Arizona desert. With the dust kicked up, the effect is dramatic. Late last year, Rivian showcased its model's ability to complete a tank turn. The company has already trademarked the phrases "Tank Steer" and "Tank Turn". You can see the drifting video below.

The third video Rivian posted features an off-roading adventure with the R1T speeding down a desert trail. The drive is a test for the dynamics of the vehicle which will have to compete with the suspension and handling capabilities of traditional trucks like the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, Ram 1500, Nissan Titan, Toyota Tundra, and GMC Sierra when it comes to market. Watch the video below.

Rivian says, "Last weekend, we grabbed our cameras and chased a few engineers around the desert as they put the R1T through its paces." The video shows off trail riding, rock climbing, and some on-track driving. Let's be honest, this one is the most exciting - especially the rick climbing bit. You can watch the full video below.

Rivian is looking to start deliveries of the vehicle in 2021. Production was delayed due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

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Audi is adding sport versions of its all-electric SUV to their portfolio.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi models badged with an "S" or "RS" are the sportiest the German automaker offers. Nearly every model in the lineup has such a variant, some more than one. With four-wheels delivering instant power to the pavement, it should serve as no surprise that the company is rolling out sport-tuned versions of their E-Tron and E-Tron Sportback.

The 2021 Audi E-Tron S and E-Tron S Sportback are the first all-electric Audi models to earn that distinction. The models will have there electric motors (one up front and two in the rear) and a battery that combine to produce 496 horsepower and up to 717 pound-feet of torque, which is available for an eight-second boost period.

The battery has a 95-kilowatt hour capacity with 91 percent usability. On a full charge, the Audi e‑tron S and the Audi e‑tron S Sportback can achieve ranges of up to 223 miles and 226 miles (WLTP).

When the car is operating in normal drive mode, just the rear motors are working. The the driver requires more performance, the front one kicks in. There is no mechanical differential in the all-wheel drive SUVs so torque vectoring takes place in just milliseconds at a very high threshold. Other drive modes including "Sport" and "Dynamic".

Each model has been given "S" specific tuning as well as the ability to adjust the height of the SUV. Owners can store up to seven driver profiles.

The profile of the vehicles has changed as part of "S" modifications with wider wheel arches. The E-Tron S Sportback is more aerodynamic than the E-Tron S. Both models have special front and rear bumper with pronounced contours and prominent inlets. A rear diffuser spans nearly the entire width of both bodies. The models have silver and aluminum exterior detailing and mirror housings, respectively.

Digital Matrix LED headlights are an option. The smart lights can project guides onto the road to show a car's position in a lane on a narrow street.

The SUVs' cabins are equipped with dark upholstery and finishes. Electrically adjustable sport seats finished in Nappa leather are available.

The center stack features two touch screens to control traditional infotainment and climate control functionalities. A head-up display is available. Navigation and the latest modular infotainment platform (MIB 3) are standard.

On-sale dates for the U.S. and pricing have yet to be announced.

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