2013 Nissan Rogue S AWD Review: Driving Impressions
We kicked off this review with a mention of how Nissan is able to consistently imbue its automobiles with at least a little spirit, especially when it comes to handling. The 2013 Nissan Rogue certainly drives smaller than it actually is, allowing pilots to pivot the crossover through turns without feeling overly bulky. It would be a stretch to call the crossover athletic, but it's not devoid of life in the way that other affordable suvs can occasionally seem.
Power from the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is adequate, and while acceleration in the upper rev range of the motor tends to peter out, off of the line and around town the Rogue feels reasonably peppy. There are some who dislike the way continuously-variable transmissions peg engine speeds at a fixed rpm instead of regularly shifting gears like a traditional automatic, but aside from occasionally buzzing from under the hood when one's foot is pushed to the floor the unit in the Rogue gave us no reason to complain. Nissan is adept at producing CVT boxes that mesh seamlessly into the driving profile of a particular model, and although the Rogue's might not have been as smooth as it could have been (and also featured a 'Sport' button that had no perceptible change in performance), it certainly worked as well as a standard six-speed automatic would have under similar circumstances.
The all-wheel drive system found in the Nissan Rogue works on the principle of only diverting power away from the front wheels once slippage has been detected, and in the soupy, snowy mess that was Montreal's clean-up from a recent record snowfall we were able to put it to the test time and again. When left in normal operation the Rogue's forward momentum was admirable but at times unruly, which had us dealing with a bit of tail-sliding around corners and steering tug under throttle. In deeper snow, or when starting on an incline, we reached under the dash to push the AWD Lock button, which distributes engine torque more equally front and rear and which was quite useful at keeping us from getting stuck.
We were a bit confused, however, by the unpredictability with which the AWD Lock indicator light would shut off during normal driving. It didn't seem to be related to vehicle speed or the slipperiness of the conditions we were piloting the crossover through - at times the Lock feature would disappear and the Rogue's AWD system would slip back into normal operation. While there certainly must be a formula at work there, it was opaque to us during our week with the Rogue.