A can't-lose idea | 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid First Drive

It is perhaps fitting that Nissan has linked up with Lucasfilm to create the Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition Rogue crossover. Not because that collaboration makes any sense beyond the shared words, but because both companies have shown that they can take a good idea and miss on the execution. It was that way with Episode I: A Phantom Menace and the same is true for the 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid.

Okay, maybe we're not as big of fans of Nissan's compact crossover as we are of the Star Wars franchise, but the standard Rogue is plenty competent and is now more competitive with a refresh for 2017. That's why the new hybrid model – a first for this compact crossover – had us expecting a welcome addition to the lineup. It seemed like a can't-lose proposition, but instead it has us thinking more of the pod races, midichlorians, and wooden acting that dragged down the highly anticipated Star Wars reboot.

The Rogue Hybrid's stats aren't the problem. Nissan paired a 141-horsepower, 144-pound-foot 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder with a 30-kilowatt electric motor for net output of 176 hp. That's more power than the 2.5-liter gas-only model. It sounds great on paper.

The two-clutch hybrid system sounds nice, too. Fitting one clutch between the engine and the electric motor and another between the motor and the Xtronic continuously variable transmission lets the engine shut down during highway driving and while coasting. In the gas engine's stead, the electric motor and the quick-charging lithium-ion battery pick up the slack and yield improved fuel economy. Read more...

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08 Jan 2017

By Brandon Turkus