Tag: SUV

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 E-Pace AWD First Drive

2018 Jaguar E-Pace AWD First Drive

The concept of Jaguar producing an SUV/CUV is already a foregone conclusion that has been met with great success thanks to its F-Pace. So now it’s the perfect time to broaden the segment with the introduction of the 2018 Jaguar E-Pace. Jaguar-Land Rover flew us to the French island of Corsica, in the Mediterranean, which itself is a combination of Franco-Italian style and culture, to sample this exotic combination of utility and performance.

Jaguar calls the E-Pace a “tweener” and we will, too. Tweener in the sense that just as the F-Pace did not directly match up with such competitors as the Mercedes GLC, and Audi Q5, it actually ends up somewhere in between. The same can be said for the new Jaguar E-Pace. It sits decidedly between the BMW X1 and X3, the Lexus NX and above the Audi Q3 and Mercedes GLA.

But an SUV from a company known for such icons as the D-Type, E-Type and the XJ220 supercar that rocketed to 212.3 mph? It’s called profitability, and with the F-Pace, and now the E-Pace, the brand’s SUV and CUV lineup has nearly doubled company revenue.

A Different Kind Of Cat.

While the F-Pace featured more of a style as found in its Land Rover cousins, the E-Pace is taking advantage of the latest refinements in the Jaguar stable. A front-driver in European versions, we Yanks will receive the all-wheel drive variant with a powerplant from Jaguar’s Ingenium engine series. With two variations, the Core Model and R-Dynamic version, the E-Pace will feature a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 246 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque, or 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, respectively. Essentially identical engines, the more powerful version uses increased turbo boost to add more to its bottom line.

Jaguar E-Pace AWD
Jaguar E-Pace AWD

Transverse mounted, both engines are mated to the widely used ZF 9-speed automatic transmission that functions with a shift lever or steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. While the front wheels offer torque vectoring via the brakes, our R-Dynamic model offered Jaguar’s “Active Driveline” which accelerates the outside rear wheels in a turn with up to 100-percent of the torque going to the rear axle via a wet clutch. It’s the perfect thing for drifting, if you were so inclined!

Our tester included the optional Configurable Dynamics package, which allowed us to tailor the throttle, steering, shift speed and Adaptive Dynamics system, which varied damper ratios according to sensors that “read” the road every 10-milliseconds (0.01-seconds).

The E-Pace rides on the JLR D8 platform that it shares with the Range Rover Evoque and the Land Rover Discovery Sport. Measuring up 12 inches shorter than the F-Pace, it includes an aluminum front clip (fenders, hood), roof and tailgate but adds more high-strength steel than its larger sibling. The steel makes for a more rigid ride, but also increases overall vehicle weight.

Honey, I shrunk the F-Pace.

The new E-Pace appears like its F-Pace big brother that may have spent too much time in the dryer following an intense wash cycle.

Jaguar E-Pace AWD
Jaguar E-Pace AWD

Actually the E-Pace steals some of its big brother’s design cues including the bold grille similar to the other vehicle. LED headlamps and signature J-Blade lighting flows around the outside headlamps for a distinct appearance like no other. The sharp looks continue rearward with “tight haunches” that wrap tightly around, into blade like rear lamps that bring to mind the rear appearance of the F-Type sports car, itself already an icon. Our R-Dynamic model included the full and fixed panoramic roof, which was just enough to allow us to enjoy the surroundings of this Mediterranean sea-based island.

The E-Pace’s interior is conservative, but still all Jaguar. If you have seen and enjoy the controls in F-Type vehicles, then too, you have seen the controls in this E-Pace.

Sport contour bucket seats offered numerous ways to become accommodated in total comfort. A grab bar, similar to the same device inside the F-Type sportscar, allowed a bit of stability for passengers on twisty Corsican mountain roads. But we would offer that despite the fact Jaguar calls this E-Pace a five-passenger vehicle, its backseat was better suited to handling just two extra passengers. As such, we’d call it a four-seater.

Jaguar E-Pace AWD
Jaguar E-Pace AWD

A 10-inch touchscreen display helps to control the Touch Pro infotainment system in handling navigation, audio, telephonic and vehicle controls. Our top shelf R-Dynamic E-Pace was equipped with an available 12.3-inch display that displayed all pertinent controls within our field of view from behind the steering wheel.

And just because, Jaguar has left little details that are what other manufacturers call “Easter Eggs.” You know, those small details designed to amuse the vehicle’s owner. In this case, it’s a Jaguar mother, and her “cub,” representative of the larger F-Pace, and its E-Pace cub. Get it? The outline is seen in several locations around the cabin, waiting to surprise and delight its owner, everywhere it is seen.

Driving Impressions.

The first thing we noticed was the spritely pickup accompanied by an engaging exhaust note from the 2.0-liter inline turbocharged engine. The paddle shift levers offered a great degree of shift control from the 9-speed gearbox. The engine, despite its being only a transverse-mounted inline four-cylinder, is raspy like a turbocharged V6 when pushed hard.

Despite that raspiness when driven in anger, the engine was relaxed at speed, as the gears climbed in the ZF 9-speed. In normal driving modes, its sound managed to keep to a very respectable level rather than going to low rumble or a high-pitched wail. Consider it having a Jekyll and Hyde personality. The sweet sounds from the Meridian Audio system displayed a delicate voicing that allowed you to single out a particular instrument. It became quite soothing after a spirited run through Corsican twisty turns along our sometimes-mountainous routes.

The E-Pace offered great handling with a totally connected feel, which might be antithetical for a semi-tall CUV like this. Credit the new lightweight steel knuckle-based front suspension, which increases camber, and in the process helps minimize understeer. Lighter and greatly refined, it makes for a very responsive steering feel that becomes even stronger in the Dynamic mode. It was enhanced by the active torque vectoring that helped to shorten the length of a curve during aggressive corner cutting.

Taking the Leap(er).

The new Jaguar E-Pace proves once again that good things do indeed come in small packages. Sure, it isn’t the biggest cargo hauler in the segment, nor will it offer three-wide rear seating for a trio of burly man-types, but it will offer lots of fun both on and off-road, with capabilities that will allow you to get wet, dirty, sandy and snowy, too. In other words, this CUV is a “Cub” for all seasons.

Story and Photos by Mark Elias

2018 Jaguar E-Pace R-Dynamic AWD

Base Price: $38,600 (Core E-Pace) $47,250 (R-Dynamic)

 

Specifications:

Type: Five passenger AWD CUV

Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder Ingenium engine series.

Horsepower: 296 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm

Torque: 295 torque @ 1,450-4,500

Transmission: ZF 9-speed Automatic

Length: 173-inches

Width: 78.1-inches

Height: 64.9-inches

Wheelbase: 105.6-inches

Cargo: 24.2-cubic feet, seat up

52.7-cubic feet, seat folded

0-60 mph: 5.9-secs

Top Speed: 151-mph

Fuel Economy: 21 city / 27 highway / 23 combined

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2018 BMW X3 M40i Sport Activity Vehicle

2018 BMW X3 M40i Sport Activity Vehicle

Hauling the mail is an antique slang expression not so much in vogue anymore. Used to imply that an object, or even a person was capable of moving at a high rate of speed, it is a perfectly appropriate expression for the 2018 BMW X3 M40i Sport Activity Vehicle. Now into its third generation, this cargo-toting hot-rod manages to incorporate legendary BMW M technology and the ability to carry five passengers all day.

Refinement, inside and out.

2018 BMW X3 M40i
2018 BMW X3 M40i

With the 2018 version, BMW has taken the newly redesigned base X3 and dragged it through the M high-performance garden, if you will, and the results are impressive. Now longer and wider, it includes a new uprated powerplant that raises above the standard 2.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbocharged engine, Instead, our X3 M40i is powered by a 3.0-liter M-Performance TwinPower Turbocharged engine making 355 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. All that power makes its way to the X3’s intelligent all-wheel-drive system through a sporty eight-speed automatic transmission.

Our X3 M40i rides on the available Adaptive M Suspension that allows the user to select between Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport+ settings as far as engine mapping and shift points are concerned. Drive settings are available that range from Cushy to Ultra Firm. We chose the Sport setting that allowed us to cut a fast corner almost without any body roll. We dug the way the way the X3 went all throaty on us when we placed the setting in Sport or Sport+ for a throaty growl from the black-chrome tailpipe finishers coming out of the rear bumper.

A BMW without the full suite of dynamic driver assists would just not be the ultimate driving machine. Even if it did speak German with a southern accent thanks to having been built at BMW’s Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina. Not to disappoint, this X3 M40i was equipped with dynamic traction control, cornering brake control, dynamic brake control, dry braking function, brake fading compensation, hill descent control, dynamic damper control and dynamic stability control that is networked with the xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

Blue M-Sport brake calipers gave the X3 an extra aggressive appearance that was only improved by 20-inch Pirelli P-Zero performance tires on Orbit wheels.

2018 BMW X3 M40i
2018 BMW X3 M40i

Buyers will likely cross-shop the BMW X3 M40i against the Mercedes-Benz GLC, the Audi Q5 and Cadillac XT5 SUVs.

Interior Design.

The interior of the 2018 BMW X3 M40i features a driver-centric cockpit that is specifically canted towards the tillerman so that all controls are an easy reach from the driver. A new generation of iDrive is here (we’ve come to expect it with every succeeding generation), this time more intuitive than ever, with a finger scroll surface to spell out entries via a finger’s touch. A three-zone climate control feature offers individual climate controls for the driver, passenger and rear seat occupants.

Behind the wheel

With power there as soon as you need it, the 3.0-liter inline turbocharged six offered power that was bountiful and impressive at the same time. Obviously adept at blistering the tires, it managed to tick off 0-60 mph in 4.6-seconds, which BMW says is the fastest in the X3’s segment.

2018 BMW X3 M40i
2018 BMW X3 M40i

Deep Throated. While driving the M40i as intended, we found the auditory note from M-performance exhaust system to be more like a growl. And we weren’t bitchin’ either. Our only wish was that it could be on all the time, rather than just when the engine was pushed.

As we found in Sport mode, the BMW X3 M40i was a firm, but smooth operator. Just as we like it. But that’s the desired characteristic needed when exercising this sport activity vehicle. Torque vectoring through BMW’s Cornering Brake Control, helped shorten the turning radius, allowing for quicker entry and exits from the turns themselves.

The Wrap Up

The 2018 BMW X3 M40i is BMW hollering at the world that just because you need a family hauler doesn’t mean you need to look like a tool in a minivan. In this case, the team from Munich, by way of Spartanburg, will have you looking like the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Story and photos by Mark Elias

2018 BMW X3 M40i

 

Key Specs

Cylinders:                                    6-cylinder inline

Displacement:                            3.0-liters

Power:                                          355 hp @ 5,500-6,500 rpm

Torque:                                        369 lb-ft @ 1,520-4,800 rpm

Fuel System:                              Gas Direct Injection

Fuel:                                            89 Octane

Acceleration:                            0-60mph in 4.6 seconds

Drive Type                                Rear Biased AWD

Gearbox:                                    8-speed M Performance Automatic Transmission

Tire Size:                                   20-inch Pirelli P-Zero

Unladen Weight:                     4,277-pounds

Length:                                      186.1-inches

Width:                                       74.7-inches

Height:                                      66-inches

Wheelbase:                               112.8-inches

Cargo Volume:                         62.7 cubic feet rear seat folded

28.7 cubic feet rear seat up

Fuel Economy:                       20 city / 27 highway / 23 combined

Cd:                                            0.33Cd

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2018 Kia Niro PHEV First Drive

2018 Kia Niro PHEV First Drive

We look for any excuse to travel the world, so when Kelley Blue Book contacted us about driving the new 2018 Kia Niro PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle), on a road trip from Kia headquarters in Irvine to the Golden Gate city of San Francisco, we jumped at the chance. Along the way, we found out what life behind the wheel of a Plug-in Hybrid was really like and were able to do some good for those, who through circumstances beyond their control, found themselves homeless through the forest fires in Ventura California. The New Niro PHEV offered the best of the Gas and Hybrid worlds with plug-in battery power that would carry it approximately 26-miles, and then a gas powered four-cylinder that would help to regenerate more energy to those same cells. Read more about the Kia Niro PHEV at Kelley Blue Book….

2018 Kia Niro PHEV
2018 Kia Niro PHEV

The rules were “there are no rules” so we set out on a journey that took us through the corporate jungle of Irvine, through the urban sprawl of metropolitan Los Angeles, to Fresno and beyond. My driving partner, Dan Frio and I, started calling out through the local Red Cross and Salvation Army offices to find who needed assistance or supplies. In Ventura Strong, a local support group in Ventura County, we found just the people that were in need of our help. After stopping at a local Costco for supplies including more than 440 bottles of water, and numerous cleaning items, we were packed to the gills. There was only enough space for our suitcases directly behind the driver and passenger seats in front. Every other gap and cubbyhole in the Kia Niro was filled.

We found the Channel Island Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in Ventura City, California as our supply drop off point. A majestic building in its own right, the Masons in Ventura had converted the upstairs meeting rooms into small scale department stores for local residents to come through to select clothing free of charge. It was the perfect gesture of helping one’s brother, especially when they had escaped the Ventura fires with literally the shirt on their back. The lodge was a beehive of activity late into the night.

The signs posted around town saying “Thank You, Firefighters” were surely not lost on us.

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