It’s been an interesting winter around our family. Aside from the normal snow, wind and ice, this year we were treated to the anxiety of having a teenager driving to school in inclement conditions. We had lengthy discussions about being a defensive driver and provided tips for safe teenage driving. We talked about the pitfalls and unpredictability of bad roads and noted that even the best drivers can have problems. We recommended that she allow room to prevent the worst case scenario should someone hit a patch of ice or not be able to stop at a stoplight. She erred on the side of caution and would ask for a ride to school if she didn’t feel the roads were appropriate for her experience level and I’m proud of her for having that presence of mind. The whole process – coupled with my recent trip to the Chicago Auto Show – had me thinking how different it is for drivers now than when I was her age. Cars have many more features and options now and you don’t really appreciate them until you don’t have them. My daily driver (minivan) is only a handful of years old, but the advancements between then and the 2019 Nissan Rogue SV AWD I drove to the Chicago Auto Show are definitely noticeable.
We are fortunate enough to have an attached garage so our regular vehicles are parked indoors at night. Nissan was kind enough to loan me a vehicle to drive to and from the Chicago Auto Show, but with limited garage space it meant we parked outside. In the winter. In THIS winter which was appropriately dubbed, “The Polar Vortex”. The morning I was supposed to head to Chicago, I woke up to a sheet of ice across everything… including the Nissan Rogue.
While it took a little bit of patience to chip through the ice to clear the bulk from the windows as well as open the doors and the back hatch, that was the extent of the effort. With a remote start, heated seats, heated steering wheels and window and mirror defrosters, it didn’t take long for us to be on the road. Heated seats are pretty standard these days and our newer vehicles include that feature, but the heated steering wheel was new to me and I cannot tell you how nice it was!
Some of the other features included an excellent navigation system which rerouted me when traffic on my planned route was bad. In addition to the standard center screen that showed the route and instructions, the lane and turn notification that showed up in the driver panel was a nice option for helping me keep my eyes forward and on the road.
Backup cameras are pretty standard these days also, but Nissan kicks it up a notch with the inclusion of an overhead view. If you’re like me and sometimes misjudge the lines in the parking lot, this feature removes the need for me to open my door to physically see the lines.
Of all the options, I think what impressed me the most was the ProPilot assist feature. Let me preface that with the disclosure that I may have been a bit shocked by it at first but once I learned how it works, it was like gold. When engaged, it provids driver assistance in a couple different ways. In one way, it monitors the distance from the car in front of you and reduces your speed to maintain that distance. This was very important on the interstate when lazy drivers didn’t bother to pay attention to the distance when returning to the right lane after passing. One of the other features of the ProPilot assist comes when you aren’t paying attention or don’t signal correctly. To test it out, I let the Rogue help me drive around a bend in the road. If I took my hands off the wheel, it alerted me while also automatically turning on my behalf. Along the same line, when changing lanes, it drives normal if you signal, but if you fail to signal the car thinks you’ve veered and tries to correct you back into the lane. I loved that on the interstate, but once in town when a tractor trailer crowded my lane, I needed to move partially onto the shoulder to avoid being hit. I didn’t signal so the vehicle was trying to correct me back into the lane. It’s an incredibly powerful safety feature than feels like the first step to autonomous driving.
With respect to the Nissan Rogue itself, it’s a mid-sized SUV providing plenty of headroom and legroom in both the front and second row seats. My teenage daughters were comfortable with the amount of space available.
Of course, what’s the point of an SUV if you don’t have cargo space? The 2019 Nissan Rogue AV AWD was large enough for us to haul a lot of gear. We dropped one of the seats in the second row and were able to fit a full size cello, a French horn, an Alto sax, a violin and some backpacks. The size is perfect for a small family, but I think it’s also an excellent option – for both size and safety – for younger drivers.
Despite the awful weather, I felt safe and comfortable on my trip to Chicago. Once at the Chicago Auto Show, my first stop was to chat with the team at Nissan about my experience with the Nissan Rogue! For more information on upcoming Nissan vehicles or to find a Nissan dealership in your area, visit their website or follow them on Twitter and Facebook! I cannot wait to see what features roll out next!
What new features do you wish you had in your vehicle?