Oh the weather outside looks frightful … oh, wait … never mind, I think we’re good. Nissan took away all our excuses for leaving the house with a little snow-scampering surprise at the 2016 Montreal International Auto Show, proving that crossover owners really need not fear winter’s wrath. Unveiling what it calls “a new icon for Nissan’s winter-ready crossover family,” Nissan’s Rogue Warrior comes fully equipped with a complete snow track system, specialized suspension, and tons of attitude. Appropriately named, this rambunctious rendition of Nissan’s No. 1-selling product in Canada has been transformed into something that is part SUV and part snowmobile, as it sits on a set of heavy-duty snow tracks that measure 30 inches in height, 48 inches in length, and 15 inches across.
Joni Paiva, president of Nissan Canada Inc., seems pretty ecstatic about this unorthodox creation, proclaiming that “The Rogue Warrior symbolizes the essence of our popular crossover and sport utility vehicle family, while also reminding show goers what Nissan is all about — being bold, pushing the limits, and exciting capability that’s anchored in quality.”
Modified entirely under contract by Quebec-based tuning shop Motorsports in Action (MIA), the Rogue Warrior comes equipped with a Dominator track system from American Track Truck, along with a completely overhauled suspension setup in order to host the CUV’s new rollers. A set of custom snow guards and some minor body modifications were also brought into play to make room for the tracks, but outside of that, the Rogue remains pretty much stock. This means that the Rogue’s clever Xtronic transmission is still completely bone stock, as is the CUV’s all-wheel drive system — a strong testament to how intuitive this setup really is.
All of this snow-bound insanity came to life courtesy of the Rogue’s reign as the best-selling Nissan vehicle in Canada, as annual sales of 35,841 units last year proved it had grown in popularity by 24.3% over 2014. This was surely due to a redesign for the 2014 model year, and to a series of new ad campaigns marketing this fact, which culminated with 25 consecutive months of Nissan record sales.
According to Nissan’s press release, the Rogue Warrior “has the ability to perform in a variety of environments, but is specifically designed to handle snowy conditions,” in case you were confused. Reaching speeds of up to 62 miles per hour and scaling 45-degree grade embankments in the snow without issue, the official CUV of winter certainly has its selling points, especially when 23 inches of additional ground clearance offers additional peace of mind.
What really surprises us about this setup is that the stock Xtronic transmission and drivetrain are still in place on this thing. Once matched to the snow track system, the production Rogue’s Xtronic transmission and its lack of fixed ratios offers an advantage Nissan calls “always being in the right gear at the right time, notably in extreme snowy conditions.” By having a wider gear ratio range, a vehicle can then utilize stronger starts from a standstill, and having a “D-Step” shift pattern encourages more rapid shifts during full throttle. According to Nissan, driving conditions and driving tendencies are electronically transmitted to the Xtronic Control Unit in order for it to select the best transmission pattern for the current terrain, even when it is heavily covered in snow and ice.
Once complete and armed with a “Conquer All Conditions” mantra, Nissan went about beating the bushes for an experienced driver that had an affinity for snow, all while making sure that the vehicle would be responsibly maintained. After some deliberation, the 2015 Micra Cup champion Olivier Bédard was chosen.
“I am eager for show goers to see the Rogue Warrior — an extension of our successful ‘Conquer All Conditions’ marketing crusade, and in the form of a visually spectacular vehicle which also serves as a mascot to the AWD-Nissan vehicles,” concludes Nissan of Canada’s president Paiva. So now the only question remaining is what do we have to do to get our hands on one of these bad boys? Oh, hold the phone … look, it’s snowing.