Nissan introduced its redesigned 2014 Rogue compact crossover at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany, and said the vehicle will go into production in mid-October at the automaker’s Tennessee factory.In a surprise move, the new Rogue will offer the option of a third row of seating, allowing it to accommodate up to seven passengers. That puts it ahead of most of its competitors, which like the previous Rogue are designed for just five people.When the new Rogue goes on sale late this year, prices will begin at $22,490 (plus $860 freight) for the base S model with front-wheel drive, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission. The S with all-wheel drive will be $23,840.The midlevel SV model will start at $24,230 with front drive, and $25,580 with all-wheel drive. The top model, the SL, will list for $28,070 with front drive, and $29,420 with all-wheel drive.Also a surprise: Nissan says it will continue to sell the previous Rogue model, renamed the Rogue Select, as a 2014 model, available in January. It will have a lower starting price, under $20,000, and will be sold alongside the new version.Nissan originally introduced the Rogue for the 2008 model year, and until now, the vehicle had been produced in Japan for the U.S. market. This is its second generation, and it fits into the Nissan crossover lineup below the midsize, five-passenger Murano and the full-size, seven-passenger Pathfinder. The Pathfinder also is made in Smyrna, while Nissan is moving production of the Murano from Japan to its plant in Canton, Miss.In June, Nissan began hiring 900 new workers for the Rogue, the second new vehicle added to the factory near Nashville this year. In January, the plant began making the North American version of the Leaf all-electric car.The Rogue is the second-best-selling vehicle in Nissan’s U.S. lineup, behind the Altima, which also is produced in Smyrna, as well as in the Canton plant. Through August, Nissan had sold 113,316 of the Rogue this year, up 16 percent for the year – and that is the outgoing model.All Rogues will be powered by the 2.5-liter engine, rated at 170 horsepower and 175 foot-pounds of torque, and all will come with the continuously variable transmission.Front-drive models are expected to have EPA fuel economy ratings of 26 mpg city/33 highway/28 combined.The third row of seating can be added to the S model with the Family Package for $1,190, and to the SV for $940, Nissan said.With the expanded capacity will come the new Rogue EZ Flex seating system, Nissan says. This feature allows every seat except the driver’s to be folded down easily to increase cargo space. There is up to 70 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded. The front passenger seat can fold to the rear, allowing long items such as two-by-fours or ladders to be carried with the 40/20/40-split second seat and 50/50 split third-row bench seat folded.The second-row seat, which has 37.9 inches of legroom, can slide forward or backward, with a nine inch range of movement. Rear doors have a wider opening for easier entry and exit. The tailgate lifts up in one piece.A new Divide ‘n Hide cargo system has 18 different cargo/seating configurations for the two-row models. They include “out-of-sight storage and a lower deck to handle taller items,” the company says.Interior space is optimized by the Rogue’s slightly longer wheelbase (0.6 inches) and its short front and rear overhangs, with the wheels pushed to the four corners. The new model is 1.2 inches higher, giving it more headroom.Exterior features include halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, body-color mirrors with integrated turn signals, and a rear spoiler. Optional are self-leveling LED headlights, fog lights, privacy glass, roof rails, heated outside mirrors, and a power liftgate.A new, optional power panoramic moon roof has a front panel that slides and tilts. The rear panel is fixed. When the front panel is opened, it slides under the second panel.Among available tech features are NissanConnect with Navigation and apps, Nissan’s nifty Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection; Blind Spot Warning; Lane Departure Warning; and Forward Collision Warning.Like those in the redesigned 2013 Altima, the new Rogue’s front bucket seats use a “zero gravity” design, which Nissan says is designed to provide “continuous support from the pelvis to the chest, helping reduce fatigue over long periods behind the wheel.”Available are Quick Comfort heated front seats, which “are designed to immediately begin warming the body parts that are most sensitive to heat, such as the thighs and hips,” Nissan says.There is a six-way adjustable driver’s seat (power and lumbar support optional), while the passenger seat is four-way adjustable. Storage is provided throughout the cabin. There are six front storage areas, five within reach of the driver), two front cupholders and two front bottle holders.Also standard are electroluminescent gauges; a front center console; power door locks with automatic locking; power windows with one-touch up/down for the driver; a five-inch color display for the driver-information system; air conditioning with micro filter and adjustable second-row vents; AM/FM/CD audio system, with four speakers, USB port, Bluetooth audio streaming, and auxiliary input jack; LED map lights; rearview monitor; and Bluetooth phone connection with Hands-free Text Messaging Assistant.The Rogue comes with a four-wheel independent suspension, electric power steering, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, electronic stability control with traction control, and Hill Start Assist. The optional all-wheel drive includes Hill Descent Control.Available are dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seats, and a premium Bose audio system with nine speakers.S models come with 17-inch steel wheels and 225/65R17 all-season tires; SV versions get 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; and SL models have 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 225/60R18 all-season tires.Standard safety features include front seat-mounted side air bags; roof-mounted side-curtain air bags with rollover sensors front and rear; and the LATCH system for child-safety seats. Child-safe rear door locks are included, along with an anti-theft alarm and tire-pressure monitoring with Nissan’s Easy Fill Tire Alert system.Exterior color choices are Midnight Jade, Saharan Sun, Brilliant Silver, Gun Metallic, Super Black, Cayenne Red, Moonlight White and Graphite Blue. Interior colors are Charcoal and Almond.
The automotive columns of G. Chambers Williams III have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 1994. Contact him at email@example.com .