Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

More Space in a Small Package

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

More Space in a Small Package

Article excerpt

Three rows and the truth: 2014 Toyota Highlander vs. 2014 Nissan Rogue vs. 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe.

This week: 2014 Nissan Rogue SV AWD.

Price: $29,285 as tested (including $1,420 for the SV premium package and $940 for the SV Family package). The base for this trim level is $25,840, and the Rogue starts at $22,790.

Marketer's pitch: "There's Rogue, and then there's the rest."

Conventional wisdom: liked the "upscale look and feel; great fuel economy; optional third-row seating; advanced safety options; versatile interior storage" but not the "uninspired handling; no optional engine upgrade."

Reality: A bargain compared to the Highlander, but worth the savings?

Family units? Everyone, it seems, hates the hapless minivan, so automakers have devised countless ways to move people in ostensibly cooler ways than the practical boxes with sliding doors. Last week, I wrote about the new Toyota Highlander; this week comes the revamped Nissan Rogue. It gets a new look for 2014, but also an optional third row. People who liked the old, smaller Rogue can still opt for the Rogue Select.

Hilarity enSues: A Sturgis Family reunion of sorts around Memorial Day gave me the perfect excuse to put the Rogue through its paces. As we moved from restaurant to Grandma's house to an outing for ice cream, family members switched in an out of their respective riding positions more than once.

The onus of the third row fell upon Sturgis Kid 3.0 and the Sturgis Kids' Aunt Sue 1.0, the shortest members of the clan. Climbing in and out of the vehicle took quite a while, which gave me time to stop laughing and compose myself for the trip. This is definitely not a replacement for the Highlander.

Rough rider: This Nissan goes a little Rogue over bumpy roads. In fact, some rough roads (which we also call "Pennsylvania") that normally have no harmful effects in the cars I drive set my CDs skipping in the Rogue.

Up to speed: The acceleration from the 2. …

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