2017 Nissan Rogue Review: Use the force of the tie-in
Star Wars mania is in full force (pardon the pun) ever since Disney bought the rights to Lucasfilm back in 2012. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story recently hit $1 billion at the box office, and we now know the title of Episode VIII ("The Last Jedi").
With that overwhelming popularity comes the inevitable brand tie-ins. While fans of the series are growing up, they're no longer happy just with action figures and replica light sabers. For the Star Wars enthusiast who's really dedicated, there's the 2017 Nissan Rogue: Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition.
The Rogue One Edition is a model in SV trim with all-wheel drive, with a healthy dose of Star Wars paraphernalia, from exterior badges and decals, to interior, erm, badges and decals.
The interior strikes back. The Rogue sees a lot of changes for the 2017 model year, and that very much includes the interior. The new centre console, trim finishers, and shifter help make this a very nice place in which to sit. I'm not convinced it really needs a flat-bottom steering wheel, but it does nothing to take away from the experience. Everything feels nice to the touch, and while it may not all look terribly exciting, the ergonomics are off the charts. A pleasure to get into the driver's seat every day.
As eye-catching as Darth Vader himself. Full disclosure: I love all-black vehicles, so I'm a little biased. The Nissan Rogue One comes in either black or white - mirroring the look of the iconic Sith or a storm trooper, respectively - and my tester is decked out in the former. The Star Wars upgrade adds black exterior finishers, black door handles, black roof rails, black wheels, and more. The Rogue was already a handsome SUV, but these add-ons give it a decidedly sinister look.
Peppy, though the engine is no hypermatter reactor. All Rogue's - special edition or otherwise - are powered by a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine, which is good for 170-horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. Mated to a continuously variable transmission, the powertrain is eager, though not particularly thrilling. The Rogue got up to speed anytime I mashed the throttle (there's no elaborate way of accelerating in this vehicle), whether I needed to pass on the highway, or just wanted to feel like I was in an X-Wing. It got the job done.
More spacious than the inside of an exogorth. In this segment, it's rare for a vehicle to offer three rows of seating, but the Rogue does just that. My test vehicle doesn't have one, which actually works better for me, as it means I can focus on carrying cargo, and not flipping seats up and down. The second row seats, meanwhile, are large and comfortable, and you feel like you're sitting in a movie theatre while in them. The front row seats are also, unsurprisingly, pleasing to be in.
You want how many credits for this? Justifying the price is the biggest issue with the Rogue One Edition. The regular Rogue SV AWD has an MSRP of $29,848, while the Star Wars version (which includes the $1,300 Moonroof Package) costs $33,998. I'm having a hard time understanding how all the extras add up to nearly $3,000, but hey - I'm no marketing guy. Things like the Rebel Alliance/Galactic Empire cup holder inserts feel like they could be designed by my 10-year-old nephew, and I'm equally unimpressed with the Star Wars-branded floor mats and kick plates, as well as the exterior decals (I found numerous Star Wars car decals on eBay for anywhere from $3-$35). You really, REALLY have to be a fan to consider this vehicle.
Handles like a Star Destroyer. Okay, it's really not that bad. But as I alluded to earlier, the Rogue doesn't exhibit the most exciting driving dynamics - something that's admittedly all-too-common in this segment. The suspension feels a little tight, so you feel it when travelling over broken pavement, for instance, but it doesn't seem to translate into a more captivating driving experience.