Tag: crossover utility vehicles.

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.
2022 Infiniti QX55 First Drive Experience

2022 Infiniti QX55 First Drive Experience

The Infiniti lineup has been substantially overdue for a product portfolio refresh. With that in mind, the 2022 Infiniti QX55 was the right vehicle to get the ball rolling. The company introduced their new fastback crossover SUV with a staggered mid-pandemic launch that was both innovative, and at times, tedious. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

In the case of the 2022 Infiniti QX55, reacting in desperation sometimes leads to a masterstroke. Read on as we take a look at this new coupe’-style four-door fastback CUV. We think you’ll like what you see.

Infiniti QX55
The new Infiniti at North Palm Beach Marina.

What moves the 2022 Infiniti QX55?

The Infiniti QX55 is the first Japanese-designed sportback CUV available in North America. Using baasic bones found on the QX50, Infiniti created a design that was pioneered by German automakers and now adopted by others, including the Brits and mid-continent Europeans, it offers a stylish rear hatchback body with four-doors and room for five passengers. Its target audience is younger city dwellers desiring sports car styling with carry-all capabilities. The Infiniti QX55 is manufactured in Mexico.

the 2022 Infiniti QX55 engine
The 2.0-liter VC Turbo inline-4 cylinder engine.

Our slate gray launch vehicle is available with only one engine option. But it is a good one. The award-winning Infiniti 2.0-liter VC-Turbo engine delivers 268 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm and 280 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400-4,800 rpm. Its innovation is in its name: VC stands for variable-compression, and this engine seamlessly alters its compression ratio between 8:1 and 14:1 for improved power and efficiency as necessary. A patented multilink system can vary the piston’s stroke, based on the driver’s needs at any moment. It is mounted within the engine room via an active torque rod mount to dampen any extraneous vibrations from finding their way into the QX55 interior. According to Infiniti, it is the world’s first production variable-compression turbocharged engine.

Intelligent All-Wheel Drive.

The torque from the 2.0-liter finds its way to the pavement via a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with standard steering-wheel-mounted paddle shift levers. Regardless of the trim level you select, your QX55 will be equipped with Infiniti’s Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive system. This “smart” AWD is designed to send up to 50-percent of the available torque to the rear wheels when sensors determine that better grip is needed. The system offers grip on low-friction surfaces or during takeoff. It can also be set to drive the front wheels only.

QX from the Side
The QX55 in profile.

Helping to drive our QX was Infiniti’s optional Direct Adaptive Steering that, through sensors, helps to optimize the steering feel. With this system, the driver can personalize steering modes with a specific feel for each driving style. The system works on an active basis, changing at various speeds for specific maneuverability.

The QX55 uses Active Brake Limited Slip systems to brake individual wheels for better grip but to engage Active Trace Control to brake inside wheels at entry, mid-corner or exit. Think of it as brake-based torque vectoring.

An Infiniti QX55 walkaround.

Origami grille
The origami grille found on the new Infiniti QX55.

Sure the trademarked Infiniti grille is here, looking more spectacular than ever thanks to the ribbon-like detail work that forms the origami-inspired double-arch grille. But something else makes the QX55 stand out: The roofline. Infiniti chief designer Taisuke Nakamura said, “with its unmistakable bold presence and uncompromised looks, thanks to its dramatic roofline, the QX55 is a beacon for style among Infiniti crossovers.”

And it did attract attention. We at Mark Elias Media were surprised at the number of people who approached us to ask about it. What surprised us more were those who actually knew the QX55 was soon to be introduced.

QX55 Monaco red
Zero Gravity seats in Monaco Red.

Inside this new Infiniti, we found a lot to like. Starting with the layout of controls in the driver-oriented cabin. The first thing we notice is the blindingly bright Monaco red interior covering the Infiniti “Zero-Gravity” seats. We like them more than any other for their comfort and fatigue-fighting design.

Trim enhancements in our demonstrator included aluminum bits throughout. They combined with dark maple open-pore wood trim to offer a spectacular counterpoint to the red leather. It’s music to the eyes. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make their way into the Infiniti QX55, allowing the driver to go hand and cable-free.

Music to the ears comes from the Bose Performance Series audio system with 16-speakers. Using Bose’s Centerpoint 2 Technology, the system automatically converts two-channel stereo sound into a surround-sound listening session using software to restore previously compressed digital music. The musical building blocks can be restored to a full concert hall-like experience using advanced digital signal processing.

interior QX
The QX55 Interior.

The second row of the QX55 is no slouch either. Moveable rear seating slides forward or backward up to six inches for more legroom or more cargo room. Speaking of cargo area, there are 26.9 cubic feet of it behind the rear seat. Tumble the second-row seats forward and that area jumps to 54.1 cubic feet.

Behind the wheel of the QX55.

Our QX55 was eager to please thanks to the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and the ‘55’s all-wheel-drive system. Acceleration was brisk but was kept out of the cabin thanks to the acoustic glass featured throughout. The glass received an assist from the specially-stamped floor pans designed to work like baffles in a recording studio, eliminating reverberation through asynchronous harmonics.

Our slate gray example included the available ProPILOT Assist that helps control the QX55 via steering, acceleration, braking and lane-centering features. It’s a step towards autonomous driving but requires a set of hands on the wheel, which tends to cause the fatigue that the assist is supposed to eliminate.

The new Infiniti QX55 offers a refined and engaging look at the future of Infiniti. Our time was brief with this new Slate Gray sled but we eagerly await our next go-round but as the Kinks used to sing, Yeah, you really got me going.

How much will the Infiniti QX55 cost?

Base MSRP for the 2022 Infiniti QX55 is $46,500, rising to $57,050.

The 2022 Kia Sorento is on a tear!

The 2022 Kia Sorento is on a tear!

The 2022 Kia Sorento
The 2022 Kia Sorento EX Hybrid

Now into its fourth-generation, the 2022 Kia Sorento is on the road and ready to grab onto the coattails of success that its larger Telluride sibling has been enjoying as of late. We tested the 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX and the 2022 Kia Sorento SX-Prestige X-Line. They are two of the sharpest looks from Kia’s evolving line of SUV/Crossovers.

And before you go off saying this is just a slight revision, we will stop you. This new Kia is fresh from its entirely new chassis on up and has received a good “seeing-to” that includes four powertrains, one of which is a new PHEV model later this year.

What is the Kia Sorento?

Kia Sorento open hatch
The 2022 Kia Sorento EX Hybrid as viewed from the rear.

The Kia Sorento is a midsize four-door SUV with a hatchback. It can carry up to six passengers with new captain’s chairs or seven with a bench seat. Power comes from an array of engine choices, including a 191 horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder with conventional eight-speed automatic transmission. Other choices include a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four as we saw in our SX-Prestige X-line, with a dual-clutch 8-speed automatic that makes 281 horsepower, and later this year, a plug-in hybrid PHEV option. FWD or optional AWD is up to the buyer’s choice.

2022 Sorento Hybrid
The 2022 Kia Sorento EX Hybrid 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder.

Our Hybrid EX tester was powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a 44-kW electric motor that combines for a total of 227 horsepower. Available in front-wheel-drive only, the hybrid package utilizes a six-speed automatic transmission. The EPA estimates fuel economy of 39 mpg city/35 mpg highway, with 27 mpg combined. That’s not too shabby for a good-sized SUV. Nor was the power: Our secret road course was the perfect venue to let the Sorento get out and strut.

How does the new Sorento look?

The Sorento continues with a new stylized version of the “tiger nose” grille and daytime running lights surrounding the LED headlights. The new “clamshell” style hood wraps over the bodysides. The overall effect gives the Sorento a longer and leaner exterior. Other design cues are here as well, along with the distinctive wave shape at the base of the C-pillars and chrome signatures found below the A-pillars.

Kia Sorento hero2
The 2022 Kia Sorento EX Hybrid

The strengthening of appearances on the new Kia Sorento has helped to toughen it up overall, replacing it with a much stronger, muscular appearance. Some credit goes to its newer and more angular silhouette and assertive styling.

Overall, it’s a clean, aggressive look.

The new Kia Sorento is available in nine trim levels ranging from base LX, S, EX, SX, SX-Prestige, SX-Prestige X-Line, S 1.6 Hybrid, EX 1.6 Hybrid and the soon-to-arrive PHEV model.

How is the 2022 Sorento inside?

Sorento Interior
The 2022 Kia Sorento EX Hybrid Interior front seats.

Inside the 2022 Sorento, buyers will find a glamour-puss of an interior compared to the outgoing model. The by-now ubiquitous 12.3-inch digital gauge display is available that makes the instrumentation jump off the dash. There’s also a 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen display that displays everything from navigation to audio to cellular to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The second row of the Sorento featured more legroom than we were accustomed to in the previous version of this SUV. Credit the additional stretch of 1.4-inches to the wheelbase for that extra backseat floor space. Buyers can select the standard bench seat to haul up to seven passengers, while those opting for the captain’s seats will settle for six. Wireless Qi smartphone charging and an optional 12-speaker Bose sound system help to sweeten the deal.

Desirable options.

Options are few on the new Sorento, with Kia preferring to tuck them into the various trim levels instead. The most desirable option of the bunch would be to pop for the all-wheel-drive system on the base LX model, which includes a snow mode for those in wintry-climate locales. For us, that’s a no-brainer.

Stepping up to the turbocharged EX 2.5T brings with it a panoramic roof with a retractable power sunshade. It’s perfect for those born in the Age of Aquarius. See Google for the lyrics.

Behind the wheel of the new Sorento!

Climbing behind the wheel of the 2022  Kia Sorento EX 1.6 Hybrid (truly a mouthful) was a pleasant surprise for a vehicle that we thought was rather played-out in its last iteration. While that one was tired, this new model is a better-put-together example of what the Kia brand is capable of. It didn’t end there, either. The 1.6-liter turbo/hybrid powertrain displayed pluck at every turn, whether cruising around town or passing the speed demons on the interstate.

Power from the SX-Prestige X-Line’s 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-4 offered up to 281 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. We found it more than sufficient to squeal the wheels, and offered amazing pep for an SUV this size.

At the end of the week though, we were actually sad to see this one go. With a new, ultra-refined interior, sufficient power to pass, and enough technology to save fuel, we found ourselves really enjoying this vehicle, which is a viable alternative for those not needing the added size of its larger Telluride sibling. It gave us a new appreciation for what was once an ungainly duckling that turned into a swan.

2022 Kia Sorento Photo Gallery