2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid First Drive – Eco-credibility for brand’s best-selling SUV

Sometimes auto sales are like a street fight, with each opponent shadowboxing the other’s every move in a bid to stay competitive. So it is with the 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid compact SUV, a left hook aimed at connecting with Toyota‘s RAV4 Hybrid introduced the year before.

To say that the Rogue is an important model for Nissan is to undersell the role it plays in keeping the coffers full. The small hauler is in fact the best-selling vehicle, full stop, in the automaker’s North American portfolio, and as such it serves as the primary ambassador to families who might consider adding another Nissan to the driveway as a complement to the SUV.

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One doesn’t make changes to a hometown hero that regularly challenges for the number one spot its segment lightly, but the decision to bring a battery-assisted drivetrain to the Rogue stable was not a difficult one for Nissan. Given the relentless, almost zombie-like push amongst new car buyers of all ages to load up on sport-utility vehicles and shun traditional four-door sedans, the brand knew that there was a built-in audience for a more efficient – and potentially, more refined – version of the Rogue.

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