Nissan’s Rogue is one of the more venerable vehicles that it sells here in the States. It was designed and redesigned as a purpose-built crossover to break the grip on the market held by the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, and in that aspect, it has succeeded in at least making what was once a natural decision more difficult.
In our own experience with it, we found it to be more than capable in the segment it plays it. It has everyday usability and driving dynamics that even petrol-heads won’t tire of. As a result, they’re also immensely popular.
But earlier this year, Toyota made a quiet announcement that upped the ante not just for the Rogue, but for the segment: It confirmed plans to release a hybrid RAV4, adding a dose of superior fuel economy in the segment that could probably have used it the most. Not to be outdone, it seems the Rogue is about to follow suit.
In addition to the electrified model, Nissan’s also discussing the European Qashqai model to the States, which looks like a smaller Rogue (it’s about 10 inches shorter and 2 inches narrower). It would therefore slot between the Rogue and the Juke; it would compete more with Subaru’s Crosstrek than Subaru’s Forester, for instance.
The hybrid model makers perfect sense for Nissan, especially after it laid the larger Pathfinder hybrid to rest earlier this year. Though it added considerably to its price tag, the Pathfinder hybrid didn’t add as much fuel economy, making it a harder sell. But a Rogue that manages mileage in the mid- to high-30s for around $30,000 would likely sell considerably well.
Autoblog notes it’s important to take this news with a grain of salt though — rumors circulated earlier this year about a hybrid Rogue materializing, though they sputtered out with no further word from the company.
Demand for the Rogue has been deservedly hot, and Nissan will be increasing its output of the crossover to help fill dealer lots. All told, Nissan will be able to sell around 300,000 a year, up from about 150,000 just two years ago. A source for Automotive News told the publication that the Rogue Select — which is really just the first generation Rogue — will be put out to pasture to accommodate the incoming Qashqai, which will like take on the Rogue name as well.
“We haven’t hit the ceiling yet. We have more opportunity there if we can get our dealers more,” Fred Diaz, Nissan senior vice president for U.S. sales and marketing, told AN, regarding Rogue sales. A smaller model and a hybrid would help the company do just that.
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