Nissan’s a big fan of mid-year updates to its vehicles, and last week we told you of the changes coming to the 2018.5 Nissan Rogue Sport. Mainly, more standard safety features and a corresponding uptick in the small crossover’s entry price.
That piece led to the discovery that the model’s larger sibling, the fast-selling Rogue, seemed to have lost its hybrid variant — a model quietly introduced for the 2017 model year. Nissan’s consumer website shows no trace of the gas-electric compact CUV. Meanwhile, a search of Cars.com shows only 11 new Nissan Rogue Hybrids on lots across America, all of them 2017 models.
What’s the deal?
The Rogue Hybrid bowed with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 141 horsepower, mated to a 40 hp electric motor and a continuously variable transmission. From the outset, it was clear this was a model designed to undercut the hot Toyota RAV4 Hybrid in price. Going hybrid meant spending roughly $1,000 more than a conventional Rogue.
A flurry of reviews in the assorted blogs and buff books followed. Now, silence. The model persists at dealers, however, as Nissan sold 422 in March, and 1,165 over the first three months of 2018.
Be patient, says Dan Bedore, director of product communications at Nissan North America.
“The 2018MY Rogue Hybrid production has not begun yet, but is planned (very soon),” Bedore wrote in an email to TTAC. “When we are closer to on-sale date, we’ll release pricing and details.”
It seems the Rogue Hybrid will return to the public eye as a 2018.5 model, adding updates planned for the conventional Rogue. As Bedore says, it’s “mainly carryover,” but we can expect, among other things, an improved infotainment head unit.
Rogue sales have already topped the six figure mark this year, with sales over the first three months of 2018 totalling 116,454 — a 14.8 percent increase over the same period last year. Thank the Rogue Sport for that, as Nissan’s U.S. division lumps that model into the Rogue’s sales figures. Annoying, yes, but not for Nissan.
In its first full year of sales (2008), the Rogue nameplate moved 75,053 units in the United States. Last year, sales reached 403,465. Only the RAV4 moved more compact crossovers in the U.S., and the gap was perilously close — just a few thousand more.
In the hybrid field, Nissan faces growing pressure from Toyota, which decided to slash RAV4 Hybrid prices for 2018. It will be interesting to see what Nissan does with its own MSRPs.