There was a time when your day could not start without it. A time when the soul satisfying ‘plop’ you heard meant all was right with the world and you could now go about your business.
I’m talking of course about the newspaper. For many years the only way I could start my day was after I had read the newspaper; and that could only come after the delivery person had actually delivered it. Thus the ‘plop’, the sound made when that newspaper hit the driveway.
Rarely was the day that the ‘plop’ wasn’t heard. On those infrequent occasions, it felt as though the world had upended; the Apocalypse had arrived. Had could I go out into the great big, bad, world uninformed? Unarmed; not knowing if the Yankees had lost, what heinous crimes had been committed while I slept, or how Bloom County was getting along.
When I worked for an actual newspaper some held me in a higher esteem than say the mailman, or the guy who mowed your lawn. Especially the person who actually delivered my newspaper. The person who would wait for me to come out and retrieve it just to talk about, the newspaper. All while I stood there wearing whatever I had slept in, clothes I would never be caught dead in outside my house, yet was. Towards the end, it became sort of a game; I would wait until the creepy white van, leaning to one side with the weight of the newspapers and of the delivery person, drove out of sight before I would head out racing in hopes that they would not turn around and come back, which actually happened on a few occasions.
Those days came to an end eventually. Thanks to Steve Jobs, the I-Phone, and Al Gore’s Internet, time marched out and left newspapers behind. They’re still around of course, but most of the world has moved on.
It didn’t happen overnight. It took a few years, but now many of us who once began the day with a ‘plop’ on our driveway have embraced the new technology that allows us to keep up with the world, and start our day already well informed. And stay informed rather than waiting until the next day.
The same sort of transformation is happening with the way we get around. More and more the once mighty car is being replaced with the SUV. Cars, like the newspaper, are becoming rarer and rarer. Drivers today want to be higher off the road, have more room to carry stuff and, if the need arises, go off the pavement.
And it’s all thanks in part to Nissan. They’ve been full on in the SUV market for over a decade. With its mighty Armada (pun intended), Murano, Pathfinder and Rogue, Nissan has been in the thick of the SUV market, and part of that transformation. For 2017 it added another player; the Rogue Sport. And they sent me one for a recent week.
The Rogue Sport (Europeans call it the Qashqai) has been on the overseas market for four years. It’s now available in the US of A. It has a 2.3-inch shorter wheelbase and a 12.1-inch shorter overall length than Rogue, and you can’t get a third row like the Rogue. Instead what you get is a similar setup, layout, feel and look. It’s among the smaller of the SUVs, larger than a crossover, but officially designated as a 4-door hatchback.
There are three levels: S, SV and SL. The basic S has, well, basic amenities and a 5-inch center console screen. There are some niceties such as a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone, satellite radio and streaming audio. The SV and SL get upgrades such as a hands-free liftgate, duel zone climate control, 17-inch wheels as opposed to 16-inch, automatic headlights keyless entry and ignition, and a six-way power drivers seat.
The SL has 19-inch wheels, leather upholstery, a 7-inch touchscreen, a surround-view camera system, and a navigation system. Available option packages add a sunroof, LED headlights, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert with the SL Premium package and adaptive cruise control with forward collision mitigation and pedestrian detection along with lane departure warning and lane keeping assist with the SL Platinum package.
Front wheel drive is standard, All wheel optional.
Under the hood, all trims get a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine with 141 horsepower and147 pound-feet of torque with power delivered through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
My tester for the week was the SL with the Premium and Platinum package which topped out at just under $30,000.
For those looking for something sporty, the Rogue Sport might disappoint. That’s because the Sport in the Rogue Sport has more to do with the look than with the drive. 0-60 in 9 seconds is a bit uninspiring, although with the shorter wheelbase the drive is a bit livelier than its larger cousin. However, the addition of a turbocharger would be a welcomed addition.
Nissan also put its CVT in this model. Although it does mimic traditional automatic shifting, somewhat, there is still the wind up getting to speed that I personally find annoying. Put the Xtronic transmission with the D-Step Logic found in the Juke and get rid of the CVT which has felt a bit outdated for several years and it might help a great deal.
Lest you think I don’t like the Rogue Sport, let me add that of all the smaller SUVs I have tried in recent years, this Sport is the most comfortable. It has enough room inside to seat five adults without being too confining, and with the rear seats folded down, has more space.
Sitting still it looks better than most others on the outside, and while the lack of actual ‘Sport’ is annoying, the power is fully capable of getting the job done.
The Rogue is the bestselling Nissan vehicle in America and among the top 10 of all sellers. There is no reason why this new Sport variant won’t be right there with it.
Once the transformation is complete and the mighty car is no more, we can look to vehicles like the Rogue to show why. Like the technology that means we don’t hear the ‘plop’ on the driveway anymore, the Rogue will be among the reasons that we won’t see cars there either.
At least I won’t have to worry about being caught outside in the clothes I slept in.
The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport
MSRP (as tested): $29,755
Engine: Inline 2.0 4-cylinder, 141 horsepower @6000 rpm, 147 lb-ft torque @4400 rpm
Transmission (all wheel drive): continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with manual shift mode
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 25 city, 32 highway, 28 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested, mixed conditions): 26 mpg
Length, Overall (in): 172.4
Width, Max w/o mirrors (in): 72.3
Height, Overall (in): 63.3
Base Curb Weight (lbs): 3415
Passenger Capacity: 5
Passenger Volume (cu. ft.): 96
Front Head Room (in): 39.6
Front Leg Room (in): 42.8
Front Shoulder Room (in): 56.6
Front Hip Room (in): 53.4
Second Head Room (in): 38.3
Second Leg Room (in): 33.4
Second Shoulder Room (in): 55.7
Second Hip Room (in): 46.9
Cargo Volume to Seat 1 (cu. ft.): 53.3
Cargo Volume to Seat 2 (cu. ft.): 19.9
Cargo Volume to Seat 3 (cu. ft.): 19.9
Basic Miles/km 36,000
Basic Years 3
Corrosion Miles/km Unlimited
Corrosion Years 5
Drivetrain Miles/km 60,000
Drivetrain Years 5
Roadside Assistance Miles/km 36,000
Roadside Assistance Years 3
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