Nov 242017
 

At Latino Traffic Report (LTR), the chance for a back-to-back comparison of automotive competitors is rare, but sometimes, lightning strikes. Such was the case with the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2017 Nissan Rogue. Sharing a similar shade of exterior paint (Cajun Red and Palatial Ruby, respectively), they looked like brothers from another mother, but they were not. They were rivals that distinguished themselves in several ways.

Testaments to the increasing popularity of the small SUV segment, both models are top sellers for their brands. Equinox sales have reached nearly two million units since its launch and it is Chevrolet’s second-best selling vehicle overall, after the Silverado. Similarly, new sales records designate the Rogue as Nissan’s top-selling vehicle in the United States.

The two were nimble for city driving but the redesigned Equinox, also lighter by 400 pounds, felt much smaller compared to the outgoing model. It arrived in the mid-range LT trim as opposed to the Rogue, which came in the top-of-the-line SL AWD trim.

Under the hood, the Equinox offers three engine choices, all turbos—a 1.5-liter, 2.0-liter, and a 1.6-liter turbo diesel (a segment exclusive). I drove the 2.0-liter with 252 horsepower and 260 lb.–ft. of torque.

Rogue SL seats

The Rogue can be equipped with a choice of two four-cylinder engines, a 2.0-liter on the hybrid or a 2.5-liter matched to the Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission with Sport and Eco mode switches. I drove the latter that produced 170 horses and 175 lb.–ft. of torque, giving the Equinox the power advantage. The Rogue, however, should have been more fuel efficient, with an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy rating of 25/32 mpg compared to the Equinox’s 22/29 mpg rating. But I averaged 25.4 mpg with the Rogue and 26.7 mpg with the Equinox.

Equinox LT seats.

An SUV earns its stripes with utility, beginning with seating and cargo capacity. Both offer seating for five but the Rogue can also seat seven on lower trim levels with an optional third row. On the test model, the heated, two-tone leather seats elevated the Rogue’s interior, while the Equinox had quilted cloth seats. Both have 60/40 split second-row seats that fold flat. Inside, the Equinox there’s up to 63.5 cubic feet of maximum cargo space with the second row folded but the advantage goes to the Rogue with 70 cu. ft. of cargo room.

These family vehicles are not without safety innovations. Both SUVs equip all trim levels with rearview cameras but the Rogue tops that with its optional and innovative around view monitor on the SL trim. For the 2018 model year, a blind spot monitor will be standard on the Rogue but not on current models.

Rogue dash.

Chevy, however, offers its own signature safety technology, starting with Teen Driver (standard) that allows parents to set controls in order to encourage safe driving habits, even when they are not in the vehicle. The optional and improved Safety Alert seat on the test Equinox buzzed the left or right upper thigh as a warning and the available Rear Seat Reminder, also on the test model, pinged when the ignition was turned off to remind me to check the back seat before locking the SUV.

Equinox dash.

The standard MyLink infotainment system on the Equinox that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, can be matched to a standard seven- or an available eight-inch-diagonal color touchscreen, included on the test model via the Sun and Infotainment Package ($1,995). Other convenience features included cruise control, air conditioning, and keyless start. The Confidence and Convenience Package ($1,945) added a power liftgate, heated front seats, and side blind zone alert.

Nissan Connect with Navigation was included on the Rogue SL along with a seven-inch display, Nissan Voice Recognition for navigation and audio, and a motion activated tailgate. The SL Premium Package ($2,020) added a panoramic sunroof, and the Platinum Package ($770) added intelligent cruise control, among other features.

Available in four trim levels, and FWD or all wheel drive (AWD) combinations, pricing for the next-generation 2018 Equinox starts at $24,525. The as-tested price came to $34,375. The Rogue comes with three trims as well as a hybrid and the all-new Rogue Sport and a choice of FWD or AWD. Pricing starts at $24,795. The as-tested pricing came to $31,365.

Sí The Equinox included innovative safety technology like Teen Safety, OnStar, and Rear Seat Reminder.

The Rogue offered better value, with seating versatility, five or seven, as well as convenience technology like a power liftgate, plus a blind spot monitor that will soon be standard.

No: Important safety technology, like a blind spot monitor, was unavailable on the base trim levels of the Equinox.

The Rogue was less fuel-efficient than expected.

 

 

Jan 152017
 

It’s a happy coincidence when the name of your product matches that of a blockbuster movie. So it is with Nissan Rogue and Rogue One, the latest tale from the Star Wars franchise. Nissan recently launched the refreshed 2017 Rogue, all-new Rogue Hybrid, and Sentra SR Turbo in Greensboro, Georgia and Latino Traffic Report was there.

Impressive fuel economy from an all-new hybrid version—the first ever for Rogue— and enhanced technology and versatility should help the crossover utility vehicle (CUV) remain the top-selling Nissan model, while the new SR Turbo trim for the Sentra adds sportiness to the lineup.

Efforts to refresh the Rogue include a new front fascia with integrated fog lamps, and bumper. It now features the Nissan signature “V-Motion” grille and revised headlights with LED signature Daytime Running Lights and LED boomerang signature taillights in the rear. A new rear bumper and chrome-trim side door moldings complete the freshened appearance.

Versatility improves on the CUV with wide opening (77 degrees) rear doors for easier entry and exit to the rear passenger space. Available technology, like a new Motion-Activated Liftgate, uses a kick sensor system to open and close the tailgate. It’s standard on Rogue SL and available on Rogue SR as part of the SR Premium Package.

Refreshing changes continue on the inside with a new D-shaped steering wheel and leather-booted sport-mode shifter. Premium options like a heated steering wheel, memory for driver’s seats and mirror, and remote engine start are also now available, giving the Rogue a more premium look and feel.

It comes with two rows of seating for five but a third row can be added (except on the hybrid version) to expand seating to seven. Nissan’s innovative EZ Flex Seating System allows every seat except the driver’s to fold down—the front passenger seat folds rearwards—expanding versatility as well as cargo room to 70 cubic feet. But the Rogue’s configurability doesn’t end there. It also offers the Divide-N-Hide Cargo System that provides eighteen adjustable variations (two-row models only, not available with Rogue Hybrid) between the cargo and occupant areas.

Standard safety features include a RearView monitor, remote keyless entry, traction control, and Vehicle Dynamic Control. The available Rogue Safety Shield expands that list, adding a blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, Intelligent Cruise Control, and Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection.

As mentioned, the new gasoline-electric hybrid version offers an additional powertrain option to the standard 170-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. Fuel economy on the all-new hybrid should reach 33 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city, 35 mpg on the highway, dropping slightly on all-wheel-drive (AWD) models. On the test drive, we achieved an average of 34.6 mpg.

This compares to the expected city/highway fuel economy for the non-hybrid of 26/33 mpg, and 25/32 mpg on AWD models.

Pricing for the 2017 Rogue starts at $24,760.

Nissan introduced a limited edition of the Rogue with a Star Wars theme and branding at the LA Auto Show in November and partnered with Lucasfilm Ltd for a fully integrated marketing campaign. The additions and improvements on the 2017 version, including the all-new hybrid, should continue to grab attention, even after the blockbuster comes out on DVD.

2017 Sentra SR Turbo

For an added treat, Nissan also revealed a new, sporty trim level for the 2017 Sentra, the SR Turbo. The best news is that it comes with a responsive six-speed manual transmission that put a smile on my face as I drove it on a quick route in Greensboro. For those who can’t drive a manual, an Xtronic transmission is also available.

The SR’s four-cylinder, 1.6-liter Direct Injection Gasoline turbo engine with 188 horses also improves performance. Enhancements to the suspension, front brakes, and electric power steering complete the driving experience.

Like the base model Sentra S, the SR base model lacks options. The next level, SV trim, can be upgraded, but only the highest trims, SR and SL, can be upgraded with premium packages that bring features like leather-appointed seating, a Bose Premium audio system with eight speakers, Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Pricing for the 2017 Sentra SR Turbo starts at $17,855.

 

Sep 152016
 

2016-09-09-munoz

What better location is there for revealing a new vehicle than a parking garage? Set against the backdrop of the Miami skyline, the 2017 Rogue made its worldwide debut atop just such a location. Nissan took this opportunity last week at the forty-sixth annual Miami International Auto Show press preview, where the 2017 Sentra SR Turbo was also revealed.

Introduced by Executive Vice President Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and Chairman, Nissan North America, Inc., José Muñoz (pictured above), the all-new Rogue competes in the compact SUV segment and now reflects Nissan’s design DNA as well as a more upscale interior. New convenience features on the Rogue include an available Motion-Activated Liftgate, the available Nissan Safety Shield technologies, and the first-ever Rogue Hybrid.

2017 Sentra SR Turbo

2017 Sentra SR Turbo

Hecho en México, the newest Sentra in the lineup brings a sporty option to a segment that tends to lack appeal beyond the price and fuel efficiency. Powered by a 1.6-liter Direct Injection Gasoline turbocharged engine, both the SR manual and Xtronic versions will have the same starting price, under $22,000 and the ability to upgrade. The SR will also offer important safety features, like a blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert, even on the six-speed manual version, unlike the Sentra base model, also a six-speed manual, which is sold practically as-is.

Both models should appeal to Latino car buyers who will be integral to their success.

“Nissan is one of the top automotive brands with Hispanic buyers and multicultural buyers in general, fueling Nissan’s current strong sales growth nationwide,” said Muñoz. “Sales to the Hispanic community represent a full 21 percent of Nissan’s total sales, well above the industry average.”

2016-09-10-pink-beetle

#PinkBeetle

Other interesting reveals included the #PinkBeetle, Volkswagen’s special edition of the 2017 Beetle, offered in a hardtop or convertible version, that will also serve as a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness. As the name implies, its exterior paint is a translucent pink or Fresh Fuchsia Metallic. The Pink Agenda will auction the first model for FAB-U-WISH, a non-profit initiated by breast cancer survivor Giuliana Rancic. Bidding takes place online at Charitybuzz.com/vwpinkbeetle through September 22, 2016.

Genesis G90

Genesis G90

Hyundai’s new luxury brand, Genesis, launched one its first models, the G90, last month. The G90 also received the Best Luxury Sedan Award at the auto show from  Ruedas ESPN. Only the second luxury brand to launch this century, Genesis will continue to do what Hyundai does best, offer more equipment and services than its competitors. Most impressive is the suite of safety features that come standard on the G90 but that still remain options on brands like Audi, BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz, namely a blind spot monitor, lane keep assist, and a multi-view camera.

ar017_054gu86lhmv5m6dligiu8dr83ncsf4gFinally, the Southern Automotive Media Association (SAMA) ended the day with its award ceremony, naming the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio (left) premium midsize sedan the Star of the Show.