Tag: Crossover

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.

2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium

2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium

Toyota C-HR
Toyota C-HR

The 2018 Toyota C-HR coulda, woulda, shoulda. They say shortly before it appeared in dealerships as a Porsche, the 924 was set to arrive in Volkswagen dealer showrooms. The 2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium follows that same path, in that it was to be introduced as a Scion instead.

No matter though as it now seemingly fits into the edgier family that Toyota has become. One of the smaller Crossovers in the Toyota lineup, it’s a sharply creased, curvy round, futuristic-styled turn on a high-riding (well maybe not very high) hatchback that can answer several needs that maybe you might not have realized to this point.

Limited Power.

Toyota C-HR
Toyota C-HR

The 2018 Toyota C-HR is powered by a singular 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 144 hp and 139 lb-ft of torque. Power is delivered to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). There is no all-wheel-drive option.

Eighteen-inch wheels are standard offerings for this model, with automatic headlights, auto high-beams, and LED daylight running lights. Our two-tone, radiant green and iceberg-painted (turquoise and white?) C-HR is relatively well equipped, although for just a few more shekels, you can have the C-HR XLE Premium instead, which added fog lights, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats (a great idea in Florida!) and driver’s side two-way power lumbar support. Finally, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert complete the package which we think is a better, more complete offering than the base C-HR XLE model.

The interior is a hodge-podge of textures and features that work for the most part. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen before, and features a bit of hard plastic combined with fabric seats and a rather straightforward gear shift selector. This Toyota C-HR has a nice shape and continuity to the dashboard orienting itself towards the driver, although we have a bone to pick with the audio head unit that seems as though it was taken off the shelf from a soon to be out of business car audio installer.

And yes, we know how all you millennial’s like apps. But that doesn’t mean we like to see apps on our in-car entertainment. Instead of burying navigation and other functions within the menu, why not just have a button on the face of the unit that says Navi? Or Maps. You managed to put an icon of a telephone handset on the face of the unit, why not some other shortcuts? Speaking of apps and telephones, at this point in time, the C-HR is still lacking Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

Buyers will likely also check out the Buick Encore, Nissan Juke, and Hyundai Kicks when shopping this segment.

The rear seat is somewhat cavern-like in that shorties will likely fall deep into the seats and not be able to see out the windows. It can comfortably carry two and in a pinch squeeze a third person into the second row but for all intents and purposes we consider the C-HR more of an urban lifestyle vehicle than a suburban kid hauler and utility vehicle. So instead why not just fold down the rear seats and use it as a medium-sized crossover vehicle instead.

Toyota C-HR
Toyota C-HR

The C-HR includes a standard 7.0-inch audio display screen, adaptive cruise control, 10 airbags, dual zone climate control 18-inch wheels and Bluetooth. Step up a few dollars more and get the Premium model with push-button start, keyless entry, a blind spot monitoring system, folding mirrors and heated seats.

Drive Time.

We liked the way the 2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium looks and handles, but not so much how it moves. That is our big fall down in the car overall. We actually like the way the Toyota C-HR handled. It doesn’t have much power, especially when you consider that this non-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine only produces 144 hp and 139 lb-ft of torque. It sends its traction to the front-wheel-drive transaxle via a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which, when judged by a strictly seat-of-the-pants feel, gives the impression that it is both noisy, and slow. Particular moves, while in traffic, need to be planned deliberately, unless you’ve had designs all along on being the hood ornament of the big 18-wheeler that is rapidly filling up your rear-view mirror.

We find there’s an excessively high amount of noise that works its way into the cabin. It’s not that it’s unexpected, but it’s something that seems to be lacking in some of the C-HR’s competition.

Drive with ease and you will all be ok.

 

2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium.

Story and photos by Mark Elias

Cylinders:                                   I4

Displacement:                          2.0-liters

Power:                                        144 hp @ 6100 rpm

Torque:                                      139 lb-ft @ 3,900 rpm

Fuel:                                           Regular

Drive Type                                FWD

Gearbox:                                  CVT

Tire Size:                                  225/50R18

Unladen Weight:                   3,300-pounds

Length:                                    171.2-inches

Width:                                     70.7-inches

Height:                                     61.6-inches

Wheelbase:                              103.9-inches

Cargo Volume:                      19.0 cubic feet rear seat up

36.4 cubic feet rear seat folded

City:                                           27

Highway:                                  31

Combined:                               29

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”117″ gal_title=”2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium”]

 

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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”]