Drive Time: New Rogue Sport tests Platte River
June 23, 2017
New models of sport utes and crossovers continue to roll our way — from all directions. Remember years back, "It's a fad, it won't last," many analysts were predicting, heh, heh, heh.
Two events this week emphasized the continued importance the industry places on the SUVs and their all-wheel-drive capabilities.
I was out at the Platte River Fort, this side of Kersey, Thursday afternoon and drove the just-introduced Nissan Rogue Sport, with Kurt Rosolowsky, Nissan product planner, as my passenger. The Rogue Sport is a foot shorter and $3,000 less expensive than the standard Rogue, which this year has been the best-selling crossover in the U.S.
Two nights earlier, at the Halcyon Hotel Cherry Creek in Denver, Mark Gillies, manager of product and technology at Volkswagen, was showing off his company's newer and bigger Tiguan SUV. I arrived there for dinner in VW's new Atlas SUV, a three-row competitor and the largest crossover ever for VW. With five SUV crossovers now under its banner, Volkswagen is in the midst of launching a renewed presence in the field. The models are the original Tiguan now called the Tiguan Limited, the enlarged Tiguan, the new Atlas, the year-old Alltrack and the Touareg. Two years ago, VW had only the Touareg and the original Tiguan.
Regarding the new Nissan Rogue Sport, Rosolowsky said, besides its foot-shorter overall length, it has a 2.3-inch shorter wheelbase and is 6 inches shorter in height. It is aimed at drivers 25 to 40, many of whom will be city dwellers.
The Rogue Sport, lesser powered than the original Rogue, is equipped with a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine of 141 horsepower and 147 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to a continuously variable transmission.
As a subcompact, the Rogue Sport will compete with Honda HR-V, Toyota CH-R, Mazda CX-3, Jeep Renegade, Buick Encore, Chevy Trax, Fiat 500X and Subaru Crosstrek.
I drove the countryside around the Platte River Fort and was pleased with the handling of the little Rogue, helped by a multilink independent rear suspension. Performance is somewhat average. It rides almost on a par with the bigger Rogue; it carries an EPA estimate of 24/30. A roomy interior is complemented with cargo space of 22.9 cubic feet with the rear seats in place.
The Rogue Sport SL AWD I drove, finished in palatial ruby, carried a base price of $27,420, including 19-inch wheels, automatic halogen headlamps, fog lights, heated outside mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation and audio voice recognition with 7-inch touchscreen, around-view monitor, heated leather seats.
The addition of power sliding glass moonroof, blind-spot warning, intelligent cruise control and lane-departure warning raised sticker price to $30,965.
While the compact Rogue, introduced by Nissan in 2012, has achieved great sales increases the past three years, VW has been an also-ran among SUVs, with its aged models Tiguan and Touareg far down the list in sales.
VW showrooms in Colorado, in particular, are expected to see a sales rise from the wider gallery of products: Atlas, Touareg, Tiguan, Tiguan Limited and Alltrack.
Wheelbases are 117.3 inches for Atlas, 113.9 for Touareg, 109.9 for the new Tiguan, 103.5 for Alltrack and 102.5 for Tiguan Limited.
The 2018 Atlas V-6 SEL Premium 4Motion carries a sticker price of $49,415. A basic Atlas with front-wheel drive, which is priced $15,000 cheaper, is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine.
Among amenities in the higher-priced edition are 20-inch wheels, power heated side mirrors, power panoramic moonroof, three-zone automatic climate control, heated seats and steering wheel, overhead-view camera, navigation, Fender audio.
Bud Wells, a native of Wray, is a former Page 1 editor of the Denver Post and has reviewed automobiles for the past 40 years. He can be contacted at email@example.com.