When looking for a Nissan dealer, Orange County car-buyers are displaying a clear appreciation for what I consider to be one of the most undervalued automakers out there. A divisive statement, I know… But I’ve always been caught off-guard by the appreciable qualities of Nissan’s offerings in recent years, complete with iconic styling, exemplary comfort, intelligent incorporation of worthwhile tech and confident performance. What’s not to like?
So when a drive to Knots Berry Farm with my (fast-approaching fourteen years-of-age) daughter, and the ‘windshield time’ that comes with it, provided ample opportunity for diverse conversation I was not surprised when she voiced her appreciation of the Nissan Rogue. Having a father who reports on the automotive industry (let alone one who comes from a long line of mechanics and garage-dwelling truck drivers) means that she has to put up with a lot of car-talk on the highway. And while she’s never really been one to turn a wrench by choice, she did inherit a base-level appreciation of the automotive landscape. That, combined with the knowledge that she’ll be taking a Driver Education class within two years is all the motivation she needed to start jotting down her list of dream vehicles; a list that the Rogue sits atop of.
Now, there might be some of you out there that are thinking, “That guy’s not going to buy his kid a damn Rogue, is he?” Rest assured, I have no intention of buying my kid any car – let alone a new (or even recent) model year offering. But we have a well-established history of discussing goal-setting. In the first-grade, she made the rookie mistake of asking for a brand new iPad (about two weeks after Christmas). I told her to ‘get saving’, and ‘get saving’ she did. Eleven months later, I marched her into the Apple Store with over $500 that she had earned at seven years of age and, when the Apple Genius (is that what they call them) approached me, I suggested he talk to her because that’s who his customer was. So what’s the harm in discussing the Rogue a little, even if it’s simply to fuel the undercurrent of motivation?
Let’s Get the Basics Out of the Way
The Rogue has been available for more than a handful of model years here in the states, and it would be hard not to give credit where it’s due in terms of the continual improvement that we’ve seen in it. While I might never have counted myself among fans of the Sentra sedan that it was originally based upon, I certainly liked it better than such so-called competitors as the boxier RAV4, CR-V, and Escape. So that fact that we have a few appreciable model years to choose from suddenly makes one seem more accessible.
From a father’s point-of-view, I’m shocked about how much I’m in favor of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder powertrain (mostly because I’d be damned if I’d ever choose to drive one myself). But I do appreciate the fact that it’s a consistent and reliable engine build with a smooth-shifting CVT, and a powertrain unlikely to offer aggressive acceleration. And with electric-power assisted steering, and a car-like drive, it feels like it would be a good fit for her. Plus, we’re talking about the 2011 Rogue here. After five years, there’s bound to be some half-decent depreciation right?
As a guy who knows a little bit about a lot of things, I’ve seen a fair number of vehicles depreciate up to 63% after five years of ownership. “There’s our in, right there,” I thought to myself. Figuring around a $20,000 price tag for a 2013 Rogue, it should only be worth about $7,400 these days. Still, way more than I’d want my daughter to dish out for her first vehicle (and we haven’t even factored in dealer markup), but it keeps the conversation going. And that’s when she hits me with this gem.
“But the old one’s don’t look nice.”
And even though I didn’t mean to reply with, “No shit” I stand by it as one of those important moments when you get to snap a kid back to reality. I mean, my first car was a 1983 Dodge Charger (those of you who understand the automotive pitfall that 80’s Daytona-like Chargers were, understand my pain). Bottom-line, you can’t always get what you want kids… But wanting something out of your reach provides great motivation to chase your goals. So, fine, let’s talk about the new Rogue a little bit.
With seating for five, the 2019 Rogue is priced to start around $25,020 MSRP and is available in both front, and Intelligent AWD variants of the S, SV, SL with some hybrid versions of each sprinkled in for good measure. So, right off the bat, we have a mainstream vehicle that’s relatively affordable, has the option of increased all-season dependability and some potential in terms of sustainability. Great start, right?
(Still) equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, the Rogue churns out about 170 hp making it a perfectly suitable option for either a less-adventurous or less-seasoned driver. And with that being a primary concern, the Rogue has an extensive lease of safety features, including Advanced Driver Assistive technologies such as (i) Blind Spot Warning (ii) Intelligent Lane Intervention (iii) Emergency Braking with Pedestrian attention and (iv) Rear Traffic Alert, among others. In addition, a thorough array of airbags minimize the risk of collision-based injury from all sides.
Now, it’s worth pointing out that the entire paragraph was shared with me by my daughter – and not pulled from my own knowledge. Suffice to say that she might be pleading her case and, if that’s what she’s up to, I applaud her safety-centric approach.
But off the record, let’s talk infotainment. I’d never have this conversation with her simply due to the fact that I don’t want her focused on sound systems or smartphone connectivity. Sure, Bluetooth is important – hands-free phone use is a must – but the fact that one can also stream audio in the same capacity, aligns well with both of our respective priorities. There’s illuminated steering wheel-mounted audio controls which discourages unwelcome distractions, as well as speed-sensitive volume control to do the same. That said, tech-friendly without being a risk to safety? Those are all pluses in my book.
So, all in all, Nissan’s doing great things with both the Rogue and the rest of the lineup. It’s hard to argue the appeal, and I can see the Rogue is an ideal car for someone like my daughter.
“See?” she pleads. “The Rogue isn’t just super cute. It’s a really good, safe car. You should totally consider letting me get one in a few years.”
“Sounds good,” I said. “Keep your eye out for new features being introduced in 2025, and start saving now.”
Considering the Rogue?
Can’t say I blame you. While I may not be the biggest fan of crossovers in general, it certainly ranks among the better designed, and better-equipped offerings out there. And if you own – or manage – a reputable business able to employ teenage workers, well, we’re only a few months away from a work permit, and I have a strong candidate deserving of your consideration. She has goals, damn it.