Tag: AWD

Roguish behavior: The 2021 Nissan Rogue

Roguish behavior: The 2021 Nissan Rogue

It’s one of Nissan’s most important vehicles. The 2021 Nissan Rogue is the long-overdue replacement for this best-seller, and with the competition that exists in the segment, Nissan couldn’t afford another swing and a miss. As a prime vehicle in the super-competitive compact crossover SUV range, it needs to bring its A-game every time. Did they do that with the 2021 Rogue? Follow along as Mark Elias Media Services takes a look.

Nissan Rogue right side
The 2021 Nissan Rogue at the Lake Worth Lagoon.

What’s the Nissan Rogue got? Where’s it going?

The all-new 2021 Rogue takes a more grown-up approach to the compact crossover segment. Gone are the cutesy-curvy front end. Instead, Nissan has pulled out all the stops because, well, there is no crying in baseball.

The new 2021 Nissan Rogue is a four-door, five-passenger hatchback compact crossover utility vehicle. That’s a damn mouthful when it comes to describing the Rogue. It fits between the Nissan Kicks and the Nissan Murano. Segment-wise, it competes against such establishment stalwarts as the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V and Volkswagen Tiguan.

2.5-liter engine
The 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder powering the 2021 Nissan Rogue.

The new Rogue is motivated by Nissan’s bread and butter 2.5-liter inline-4 cylinder engine that now produces 181 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 181 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpm. That’s an 11 horsepower increase and six lb-ft of torque. It’s not an incredible increase, but it is sufficient to give a substantial boost over the previous version. There’s also talk from Nissan of an upcoming turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine as an alternative, but no intro date has been discussed.

drivers side
From the Driver’s side: the 2021 Nissan Rogue interior.

The Rogue is available with front or all-wheel-drive using Nissan’s proven continually variable transmission (CVT), which has been tweaked, making it both livelier in the performance category and more stingy when it comes to fuel economy. The AWD system includes a central hydraulic clutch that accelerates power delivery as needed to the rear wheels for a torque-vectoring effect. There are five driver-selectable modes, including Standard, Eco, Sport, Off-road and Snow, that will allow the Rogue to take you almost everywhere.

But how does it look?

Nissan front
Nearly head-on: the 2021 Nissan Rogue.

In a phrase, the Nissan Rogue appears “grown-up.” Featuring a block-like aesthetic, the Rogue features the “two-box” arrangement that makes good use of the Nissan V-Motion grille and floating roof. More upright than before, it still has a certain sleekness that is helped by active grille shutters, front air curtains and flush underbody panels that help trim up the air channeling underneath the vehicle. They all do their part to lower the Rogue’s drag coefficient, improving it by five percent.

The front of the Rogue can be a bit deceiving. Let us explain: The “cool-looking” lights at the point where the hood and fenders come together are not the headlights at all. Instead, they are the daylight runners. What looks like turn indicators are the actual headlights just below. Crazy, those Nissan designers are.

What about inside the Rogue?

Zero Gravity
The 2021 Nissan Rogue’s Zero Gravity seats.

We’re in outer space! At least that’s how we feel with the NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seats in the Rogue. Comfortable and supportive, they allowed us to travel for a while without fatigue. The backseat area has grown to include a few more inches of knee and headroom. The electronic gearshift lever has opened up more space underneath, allowing storage for sunglasses, phone cords and other personal effects. Finally, the cupholders at each door of the Rogue can now accommodate large 32-oz. bottles.  We see a lot of bathroom stops in your family’s future.

The new Rogue is flush with desirable features from the S model with premium cloth interior to its Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-equipped 8-inch touchscreen. Step above to the Rogue SV with an 8-way power seat, surround-view camera, NissanConnect remote services, 6-speaker audio system and in-car Wi-Fi.

Nissan’s ProPilot Assist with adaptive cruise control lane keep assist is available on the Rogue SL and standard on the Rogue Platinum. The Rogue’s key safety features include;

  • Standard blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
  • Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode.

Finally, new for 2021, the Nissan Rogue Platinum is equipped with premium features like quilted semi-aniline leather upholstery, a 12.3-inch digital display, a nine-inch touchscreen with navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Qi phone charging.

All-wheel-drive is available on any Rogue trim level for a reasonable $1,400.

Is the new Rogue right for me?

The new 2021 Nissan Rogue gets the ball rolling again following a long period of dormancy. We have always been fans of the brand, and hated to see it languish while other manufacturers pressed on. With the appearance of the new Rogue, it is clear a new captain is steering the ship. The Rogue is evidence of smooth sailing ahead.

2021 Nissan Rogue

Words and Photos by Mark Elias

2021 Nissan Rogue Specifications and Photo Gallery

 2021 Nissan Rogue
Popular Powertrains 
Engine2.5-liter inline-4
Horsepower181 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque181 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm
TransmissionCVT
Fuel Economy28mpg (25city, 32 hwy)
Also AvailableAWD, 1.5 Turbo 3-cyl
Specs 
Warranty3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty5 years or 60,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating4-star
Max Seating Capacity5
Wheelbase106.5 inches
Overall Length 183 inches
Width72.4 inches
Height 66.5 inches
Turning Diameter35.4 inches
Headroom, Front 41.1 feet
Headroom, Rear 39.2 inches
Legroom, Front 41.5 inches
Legroom, Rear38.5 inches
Shoulder Room, Front57.1 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 55.9 inches
EPA Passenger Volume105.4 inches
Cargo Capacity (2nd row/1st row) 36.5/74.1 cu. ft.
2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake
2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake

We won’t go out a limb to say the SUV is dead. But we will take a gamble and say that the station wagon, er, shooting-brake, like our 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD, is making a comeback. And for us fans of sports wagons, this rebirth hasn’t come a moment too soon. Walks through dealership service departments show the majority of vehicles on the road and in for service are SUV or crossover-based in nature, with one car for every 10 SUVs on the lift.

But just what is a shooting brake, you ask? It’s a term that was popular in 19th-century Britain. Used by the “sporting set,” it was the name given to carriages and later motorcars that were outfitted to carry shooting parties, along with their long guns, hunting dogs and hopefully, game upon their return. In the case of our Jaguar, the company has modified the name from shooting-to Sportbrake, in a nod to those enthusiast drivers who choose to haul cargo, while at the same time, hauling ass.

Along the way, the Tata-owned brand has joined Mercedes-Benz with their E-Wagon and Volvo with their V90 in bringing an SUV/CUV alternative to this side of the big pond. In they process, the Jaguar also happens to best both of its rivals in terms of  performance and looks.

Power

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake
2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake

Power for this Jaguar XF Sportbrake comes from the same 3.0-liter 380-horsepower supercharged V6 that finds its way into the Jaguar F type and other brands throughout the Jaguar-Land Rover (JLR) lineup. With ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. It is equipped with Jaguar’s all-wheel-drive system for added grip, and with Intelligent Driveline Dynamics (IDD) to assist with cutting corners in a torque vectoring sort of fashion, while at the same time, helping to make the AWD system offer a more rear-drive style of response.

A lead sled, this wagon is. Self-leveling Integral-Link air suspension levels out the heaviest of loads while the adaptive dynamics with configurable dynamics help to retune the grip and vehicle on the fly. Still at the end of the day, it’s every bit as stout as the XF sedan. Our Jaguar Sportbrake was equipped with intelligent driveline dynamics, which is a form of torque vectoring. The system also allows power to shift back and forth from front to rear to provide the best of both worlds : All-wheel drive from start to rear wheel drive while cruising. Surprisingly at 116.5 inches, it handles very similarly to its sedan sibling,

Stylistically Speaking

The 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD as we tested it featured a gorgeously finished interior with two ebony-colored thrones in the front with adjustable lumbar, heating and ventilation. The dashboard featured a totally configurable screen in the instrument pod then measured out to 12.3-inches diagonally. To its right, was a 10-inch center stack display with the controls for navigation, climate, audio and Bluetooth, in addition to the car’s systems settings. This jag even included an activity key for active lifestylers who bike and swim but don’t want to worry about getting a key fob wet during those activities

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake
2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake

The roof featured a full-length panoramic sunroof which really opened up the inside appearance which was a good thing with all this black leather that we found ourselves surrounded by. A one-piece polymer rear hatch help the Sportbrake shed some rear weight and maintain a 50:50 weight balance.

The entire rear area is what we would call cavernous, going from 31.7-cubic feet behind the rear seat to 69.7 once the 40:20:40 split rear seats are folded forward.

If this Jaguar XF had a shortcoming, it’s in the controls. We have become tired already, of the submersible drive selector knob that raises to greet you once the ignition switch has been fired. But that’s just a minor quibble that hopefully will be excised with the next generation.

0-60 in 5.3 secs

Our time behind the wheel in the 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD had us feeling like the leaper in the cage, because in addition to having a gorgeous red metallic finish with black enameled alloy wheels that would naturally attract attention, we were getting stared at because we were driving what people essentially knew to be a station wagon.

But, oh what a station wagon.

Power from the 3.0 Liter supercharged V6 came on at a relatively rapid pace as the supercharger wound up. It did manage to kick us back into our black leather-covered seats which we actually wished were tan hides rather than the ebony that our car was equipped with. But it was obvious Jaguar designers were capitalizing on a blackout theme, so there you go.

As equipped, this Jag with its integral-Link suspension featured automatic load leveling that manage to keep its composure regardless of what we were carrying. The adaptive dynamics dampers manage to “Read the road,” while we attempted to cut corners around our favorite driving loop. The results were a station wagon, er, shooting brake that behaves like its sedan sibling.

We still never tire do of being able to throw the transmission into manual (M) mode for some paddle-shifting hijinks that had us pretending we were a former Jaguar F1 driver, even though they haven’t existed for sometime now. But we can still dream.

Of course, we think the brand knows this will be a niche vehicle because everyone is still Jonesed about their Crossovers- and Sport Utility Vehicles, but at the same time, when you buy in to the Sportbrake as an owner, you are joining an impossibly exclusive club, that can compete with the Germans, and without apologies, at that.

To which we say, “I think I can hang with you brothers for a while.”

Story and photos by Mark Elias

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD

Base MSRP:   $70,450         As tested: $84,815.

Includes:  Firenze Red paint, $565; Black Exterior Package, $360; Technology Package, $3,265; Driver Assistance Package, $3,495; Comfort and Convenience Package, $1,805; Premium Interior Upgrade Package, $2,860; 20-inch Wheels, $1,020; Destination fee, $995.

 

Key Specs

Cylinders:                     V6

Displacement:              3.0-liters

Power:                           380 hp @ 6,500 rpm

Torque:                         332 lb-ft

Fuel System:                direct injection/supercharged

Fuel:                               premium

Acceleration:                0-60mph in 5.3 seconds

Drive Type                    AWD

Gearbox:                       ZF 8-speed automatic

Unladen Weight:        4,045-pounds

Length:                          195-inches

Width:                           82.3-inches

Height:                          57.8-inches

Wheelbase:                   116.5-inches

Cargo Volume:             69.7-cubic feet rear seat folded

31.7-cubic feet rear seat up

 

City:                                18

Highway:                       25

Combined:                    21

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”105″ gal_title=”2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD”]

2017 Mazda CX5 Grand Touring AWD

2017 Mazda CX5 Grand Touring AWD

2017 Mazda CX5 Grand Touring AWD
2017 Mazda CX5 Grand Touring AWD

We have been a fan of the brand for many years, even to the point that we have a 2016 Mazda6 as our personal vehicle of choice. We jumped, naturally, at the chance to test out the 2017 Mazda CX5 Grand Touring AWD for a week.

What we found surprised us, in a good way, with a vehicle that is perfect for urban and suburban dwellers alike. Apparently more than 1 million CX5 owners worldwide, agree.

As competitive as the compact crossover segment is, Mazda designers sought to differentiate the CX5 from the competitors, namely the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. That’s where their “refined toughness” ethos came in play.

Mazda claims it’s all-new from the ground up and one of the first new Mazdas to reveal the firm’s KODO design language. It’s more refined than the 2016 model, but it’s not obvious until you have the two model years side by side. At that point, it is clear that lines are crisper, rakes are statelier and brightwork is uh, more bright throughout.

2017 Mazda CX5 Grand Touring AWD
2017 Mazda CX5 Grand Touring AWD

Power for the CX5 comes from the brand’s ever-present 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G four-cylinder engine. A stout four-banger, it manages 187 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. Power is delivered to the Mazda All-Wheel-Drive system by a 6-speed Skyactiv-Drive sport mode automatic transmission. Mazda claims the CX5 is the US-debut for the firm’s G-Vectoring control, which is their name for torque vectoring.

The new interior features more in the way of creature comforts throughout. As everyone is connected one way or another, there are enough USB ports to charge up the electronics section of your local Best Buy. Rear outboard seats are equipped with heating elements to keep the cheeks nice and warm, and in an effort to one up airline seating, the CX5 offers rear seat reclines of 24 and 28 degrees. Match that, Delta Airlines, with your so-called Comfort+ seating!

2017 Mazda CX5 Grand Touring AWD
2017 Mazda CX5 Grand Touring AWD

In the front seat area, the 10-speaker Bose premium audio system takes advantage of the Mazda’s new, quieter interior. Where we think the interior falls down is in the area of display and user interface of the center console controls. While the multi-function commander control is all nifty and functional, it is used to operate a system that seems tired and at east two generations behind what other vehicles offer today. We agree the seven-inch display is an update over the generation it replaces, but think that a simple software upgrade will bring this new Mazda CX5 up to contemporary standards that are possessed by their competitors.

Behind The Wheel.

The Mazda 2.5-liter four cylinder has proven itself time and again as a prime piece of motive power, delivering enough oomph to get out of its own way whenever needed. This version is no different. Delivery to the road was nice and easy thanks to the 6-speed automatic transmission, that although the company has eschewed the Zoom-Zoom motto of the past, still managed to deliver in a rapid and sure-footed manner. We just wonder, though, how easy it would be to massage the new turbocharged version of the new 2.5-liter into this engine room. Now that would be fun!

G-Vectoring is a new process that instead of applying brake pressure to help the CX5 through a turn, manages to produce less spark, which downgrades the power to accomplish the same feat. The six-speed gearbox didn’t miss a beat, and although some of the competition has moved on to seven- and eight-speed gearboxes, we found this slusher up to the task. The new, quieter interior enabled us to arrive relaxed and refreshed following an excursion in the mind-numbing South Florida traffic. Combine that with the sporting attitude that seems to make its way into every Mazda, and it turns out we liked the ride and feel of the 2017 Mazda CX5 Grand Touring AWD even more.

Mazda is truly an amazing company. Just because they don’t have the type of R&D money that other manufacturers do, it’s always exciting for us to see a smaller company making more from less.

Story and Photos by Mark Elias.

2017 Mazda CX5 Grand Touring AWD

Base Price: $30,695. Price as tested: $33,785.

Includes: Cargo Mats, $70; Retractable Cargo Cover, $250; Premium Package, $1,830; Destination, $940.

Specifications

Configuration: Five-Passenger Compact CUV

Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder

Power: 187 horsepower, 185 lb-ft torque

Transmission: 6-speed Sport Mode Automatic

Drive: AWD

Curb weight: 3,655-pounds

Wheelbase: 106.2-inches

Overall Length: 179.1-inches

Width: 72.5-inches

Height: 66.1-inches

Ground Clearance:    7.6-inches

Cargo:

Seats up: 30.9-cubic feet

Seats down: 59.6-cubic feet

Towing Capacity: 2,000-pounds

Mileage: 23-city 29-highway, 26 average mpg.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”85″ gal_title=”2017 Mazda CX5 Grand Touring AWD”]

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD
2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

Missile-like in its appearance, the 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD is quietly showing that there’s still a lot of game in Gothenburg (Göteborg), Sweden. Now the proverbial last man standing in Swedish auto manufacturers, they continue apace with solid and actually surprising new vehicles.

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country
2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country

The Swedish Auto Industry has been through some upheavals over the last ten years. Saab, formerly based up the road in Trollhattan, is no more, with the remains (carcass) surviving as the National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) electric carmaker.

Regardless, now under the auspices of Gheely Motors, the China-based parent company of Volvo is taking names and letting the world know that it is no longer necessary to use the words Volvo and conservative in the same sentence.

Everything old is new again

Although SUVs and crossovers are the big movers and shakers in dealership showrooms, Volvo, now the quirkiest Scandinavian on the Swedish automotive mantelpiece following the exit of Saab from the auto industry, has quietly and profoundly moved in with designs that are practical and sexy at the same time. Your honor, may we present exhibit A, the Volvo V90 Cross Country?

Tell It Like It Is.

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country
2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country

Research commissioned by Volvo Cars has told them the people want to spend time pursuing outdoor activities and such with their vehicles. But what about those of us who just think that a station wagon with extended off-roading capabilities are cool? Could this be the vehicle for us?

It just might be. The 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD is powered by Volvo’s in-line four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with eight speed automatic gearbox and a full-time all-wheel-drive system. We have enjoyed this proud engine in several other Volvo vehicles through the years. Energy checks in at 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft torque. This super- and turbocharged engine, pushes the 4,200-pounder to a 0 to 60 time of 6.0-seconds.

Our tester is outfitted essentially like the standard Volvo V90, but that it rides with an additional 2.3-Inches of ground clearance (8.3-inches) over the standard 6.0-inches found on the regular V90. Available in one trim level, ours was equipped with a premium load leveling air suspension system ($1,200).

Rearranging The Furniture.

Scooped out like a cantaloupe, the grille of the Volvo V90 features the new face of Volvo, complete with the trademark “Ironmark.” Slitty looking LED style headlamps tart up the V90’s peepers for a more aggressive look, which is completed with the silvered skidplate treatment at the front and rear of the Cross Country. We don’t think they are functional skids; and it would be sacrilege to subject such a good looker to those kinds of off-pavement abuses. Along the sides, enhanced body cladding gives off a more utilitarian look into the capabilities this off-roading wagon possesses.

As good as the exterior of the Volvo V90 appears, the inside is plenty fresh as well. While most vehicles feature what the youngsters call landscape-oriented central displays, the V90’s in-dash display flips things on its side to orient itself in a Portrait position. Dark walnut wood inlays set off the two-tone interior, which includes brushed aluminum, leather, rubber and plastic, and helps to enhance the acoustic qualities of the Bowers and Wilkins premium audio system.

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country
2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country

The 10-way power front seats with Nappa ventilated leather offered an infinite number of adjustments and an aggressively lovely back massage to keep us refreshed while at speed. Rear seat outboard passengers get to take advantage of heated seating surfaces during the two days of Florida winters.

Looking skyward reveals to us what is possibly the largest sunroof in automobiledom. And then, in another apparent Swedish fetish, Volvo has adopted the Saab penchant for placing the vehicle’s ignition switch, just to the rear of the V90’s shift lever.

Behind the wheel

Color us impressed with the V90 Cross Country’s T6 engine. At 316 hp, it did not seem to struggle at all in pulling this 4,200-pound “station wagon” whether we were taking off from a stop light or accelerating on the Interstate. Power seemed evenly split amongst all four wheels depending on the traction needs that on-board sensors monitored along the way.

The ride quality in the Volvo V 90 Cross Country puts it on the same footing with offerings from Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Jaguar. A plush quiet ride clearly bore this out, with a floaty feeling that might have been enhanced by the extra cost Premium Air Suspension, which also serves as a load leveler when the V90 is fully laden. The Volvo engineers, through their spectacular tuning abilities, have managed to make this “Wagon” more Cocoon than Conestoga.

Story and photos by Mark Elias

 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

Base MSRP: $55,300. As tested: $69,440.

Includes: Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound system, $3,200; HUD $900; 20-inch alloy wheels, $800; Premium Air Suspension, $1,200; Destination fee, $995.

Key Specs

Cylinders:                                    4-cylinders

Displacement:                            2.0-liter Supercharged and Turbocharged

Power:                                          316 hp @ 5,700 rpm

Torque:                                        295 lb-ft @ 2,200-5,400 rpm

Fuel System:                               Gasoline Direct Injection

Fuel:                                              Premium

Acceleration:                               0-60 mph in 6 seconds

Drive Type                                   Transverse AWD

Gearbox:                                       8-speed Automatic Transmission

Unladen Weight:                        4,221-pounds

Length:                                         194.4-inches

Width:                                           75.9-inches

Height:                                          60.8-inches

Wheelbase:                                   115.8-inches

Cargo Volume:                             53.9-cubic feet, rear seat up

City:                                                22

Highway:                                       30

Combined:                                    25

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”80″ gal_title=”2017 Volvo V90 AWD”]

 

 

 

 

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport – First Drive

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport – First Drive

NissanUSA’s headquarter city of Nashville is one of the fastest growing cities in America. Official estimates state that around 85 and as many as 100 new residents move to the city each day. Many of them will become urban dwellers, and Nissan thinks they are the perfect customers for the 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport.

The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport in Nashville.

Billed as a “right-sized” vehicle for Millennials and others, they may be on to something. The newest member of the Nissan Rogue family, the Rogue Sport joins its slightly larger sibling in a quest for total CUV world domination. With sales figures otherwise starting to slump, the Rogue family is a bright spot in the lineup with sales of 27,400 units, which was an increase of 18-percent in April 2017, alone.

Built for City Service.

The five-passenger Rogue Sport shares a platform with its larger garage mate, although it now rides lower, has a 2.3 inch-shorter wheelbase, and 12.1-inch less overall length than its big brother Rogue. The net result is a vehicle that is easier to move, maneuver, and park within a city center than many other CUVs in service today.

The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport is available in three trim levels ranging from base S, mid-level SV and top-shelf SL trims. All of the vehicles made available to us by Nissan were of the SL variant, which is what we will base our report on. Likely competition will come from the Honda C-RV, Chevrolet Trax and Mazda CX3.

Power comes from a 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine that utilizes direct-injection to feed the four pots in the mill. This small-but-somewhat-mighty four banger produces 141 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque. It is mated to an Xtronic continuously variable transmission that is also equipped with a standard Eco Mode option for increased fuel economy.

Nissan Rogue Sport’s 2.0-liter engine.

In its standard configuration, the Rogue Sport is equipped as a front wheel drive (FWD) vehicle. Buyers in the Snowbelt regions can opt for Nissan’s intuitive all-wheel drive system (AWD), which provides an all-wheel-drive bias at launch, which then reverts back towards the front wheels, again in an effort to save fuel. This compact CUV rides on a MacPherson-style independent front suspension and a multilink independent rear kit equipped with a 19mm stabilizer bar.

My SL tester was equipped with nearly every available item included in Nissan’s Platinum package. That’s in addition to heated seatbacks, 19-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, heated outside mirrors, seats and steering wheel and leather wrapped shift knob. Available safety features included blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, forward emergency braking, lane departure warning, and prevention, intelligent cruise control and forward emergency braking with pedestrian protection.

Interior decorating.

Smartly appointed inside, the Rogue Sport featured a new “only as needed” interior design that was spacious and efficient at the same time. Featuring nothing truly frivolous, it seemed that everything was in its place and within a short arm’s length reach of the driver’s seat. We quickly found comfort in the six-way power adjustable driver’s seat, and thought the rear seat offered adequate legroom, if even for just a short while. Fold the rear seats down and you will quickly realize up to 61.1-cubic feet of storage space.

The Nissan Rogue Sport’s Interior.

Our SL variant was zooted out with everything from leather seating to a sunroof and six-speaker AM/FM/SiriusXM audio system. With more cars opting for larger screens, we felt the 5.0-inch color display monitor that also serves to show the available Around View Monitoring system with Moving Object Detection, was just a touch on the smallish side. While not featuring Apple CarPlay, our Rogue Sport was equipped with Siri Eyes Free, which we think of as the next best thing.

But not all was perfect inside. We would deduct a couple of points for the low-powered (1mA) single USB connection at the base of the center stack, seeing that the first move most people make after buckling up is to plug in their phone charging cable. If the driver gets first dibs, the rest of the passengers are all odd men- or women out. Even then, and owing to the low amperage rating of the USB port, the amount of charge realized may be very low. In other words, it takes longer than usual to charge an iPhone battery. As always, YMMV.

Drivetime.

Ergonomically speaking, the 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport fit drivers ranging from a big guy and a small girl to everything else in between. Power was adequate for most urban driving situations, which saw us stop and start with such frequency we felt we were delivering the US Mail. We can see most buyers will be urban dwellers, and this is where the safety features of the Rogue Sport will really shine, especially some of those like the Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian detection.

Rogue Sport in the City

Acceleration was adequate in the sense that everyone buying the Sport knows it’s not a speed demon. Instead like a Slo-Poke All-Day Sucker, it’s an all-day steady cruiser that offered good road feel while negotiating both city and country drives. In highway situations, even with the low-profile sport tires, I felt the ride of the Rogue Sport displayed extreme poise, while offering little in the way of road noise-a feature that really surprised me. So quiet on the highway, we only heard the engine and the CVT transmission when we kicked it down a notch to pass slower moving traffic. Nissan officials tell us the ride becomes even quieter with the taller sidewalls of the 17-inch wheels.

Don’t even think of doing any serious off-roading in the Nissan Rogue Sport. It’s just not that kind of beast. Instead figure it will do everything to take you through the urban jungle and back. And that’s just what most people want in a compact CUV these days.

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

Story and Photos by Mark Elias. Additional Photos by Nissan USA.

Rogue Sport S FWD $21,420 USD
Rogue Sport SV FWD $23,020 USD
Rogue Sport SL FWD $26,070 USD
Rogue Sport S AWD $22,770 USD
Rogue Sport SV AWD $24,370 USD
Rogue Sport SL AWD $27,420 USD
   

 

Key Specs

Cylinders:                                    I-4

Displacement:                            2.0-liter

Power:                                          141 hp @ 6,000 rpm

Torque:                                         147 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm

Fuel System:                                Petrol Direct Injection

Fuel:                                               Regular

Drive Type                                    FWD or available All-Wheel-Drive

Gearbox:                                       Xtronic With Eco Mode Switch

Tire Size:                                       19-inch

Length:                                          172.4-inches

Width:                                           72.3-inches

Height:                                          63.3-inches

Wheelbase:                                   104.2-inches

 

AWD                  FWD

City:                                             24                        25

Highway:                                    30                        32

Combined:                                  27                        28

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”22″ gal_title=”2017 Nissan Rogue Sport”]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label

2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label

2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label

Testing a Lincoln with a Concierge.

Story and photos by Mark Elias

 Inside the 2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label AWD, a driver and passengers will feel as though they are being well coddled with an abundance of creature comforts that do their part to make them feel as though they really belong.

Really.

Since it’s not the flagship of the line, the MKZ can coast a little bit, as far as the heavy lifting is concerned. That’s all better left for its Lincoln Continental big brother. Still, Lincoln saw fit to upgrade the MKZ’s grillwork to bring it in line with the Conti’s front opening. Now in its second generation, the MKZ has been on the market for around four years. It is built in Hermosillo, Mexico, using the Ford CD4 platform, which it shares with the Ford Fusion in North America, and the Ford Mondeo in other markets around the world.

Think of it as someone wearing a dark suit to a black tie optional dinner party. You will still not feel underdressed.

The 2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T is available in four trim levels ranging from base Premiere, mid-level Select, high-zoot Reserve and ultra-luxe Black Label versions. Power comes in three flavors, starting with a standard 2.0-liter, 245-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. Next up is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas/electric hybrid combination, with 188-horsepower, that the EPA says is good for 40 mpg combined.

Finally, a twin-turbocharged aluminum-blocked 3.0-liter V6 is on offer that can be had with 350-horsepower (FWD) or 400-horsepower (AWD) depending on your drive configuration. In the case of our AWD version, the EPA says to expect 20 mpg. We’d say they are about right. All are coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. Plenty quick, the twin-turbo V6, which shares parentage with the Ford 2.7-liter V6, is good for a zero to 60 romp in 4.8-seconds.

Black Label.

Of the four trim levels, our Black Label version shares trim found in the top-shelf Reserve version, including a 20-speaker Revel Ultima audio system and an upgraded leather interior that includes heated and ventilated front seats, with massage, FTW (!). Above our heads was a faux suede headliner. It also includes mobile showroom, remote vehicle delivery, pickup and drop off of your car when servicing is required and an extended premium service plan. Our Black Label was equipped with 19-inch Michelin Primacy radials, but truth be told, we think the overall look of the MKZ deserved a set of 20-inch tires, at least, to fill out the wheel wells.

Lincoln’s Sync 3 connectivity system has been revised to offer traditional buttons and dials rather than the rather awkward touch-sensitive systems of the past. The new voice activated navigation system offers pinch-to-zoom and swipe functions for more responsive control.

The multi-contour seating had us in a comfortable spot for the long haul. The only thing that seemed to disturb us was the merlot-based interior hue that seemed a bit out of place. Perhaps a case of Maranello tan would be more appropriate, at least in the case of our pearlized white metallic exterior finish was concerned.

The rear seat was comfortable enough for three passengers of the not-so-large persuasion, although we did hear of some discomfort from our middle passenger. Perhaps it was because of the armrest / ski pass-through as a backrest feature, or the performance Michelin tires that skinned our 19-inch alloy wheels. And besides, is the ski pass-through really necessary? From a practical standpoint, the MKZ is most likely the last car we would expect to find on the slopes near Vail and Jackson Hole.

We do think, however that the slab-sidedness of the MKZ is like a visiting relative, in the sense that it is just on the verge of overstaying its welcome.

Drive time.

We found the MKZ’s 3.0-liter twin-turbo pulled like a bat out of hell, quickly dispensing with most challengers during stoplight flash bang excursions. Ride quality was generally good, but there was a distinct drone that seemed to come from the tires that caused a louder than normal hum to appear. Road surfaces seemed to embellish it further, with it simply disappearing on pristine surfaces.

Handling was as though the MKZ was substantially lighter than the scale would have you believe. Our vectored AWD system even managed to shorten the turning radius when rounding a corner at a higher than average speed. It’s here that we found our driving nirvana. Compared to an Acura TLX, and Lexus ES350, the 2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label is definitely in the hunt.

2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label AWD

Base MSRP: $49,560. As tested: $61,765.

Includes: 3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6, $4,000; Panoramic Roof, $1,795; Technology Package, $2,395; Climate Package, $695; Destination, $925.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”15″ gal_title=”2017 Lincoln MKZ 3.0T Black Label AWD”]