Tag: sports 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.
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

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.

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