In the good old days, cars had names that fired the imagination – Barracuda, Toronado, Wildcat, LeSabre. Even horrible cars had great names like Javelin, Matador, Cordoba. Who wouldn’t feel like a mighty conquistador? But nowadays, cars have flat alpha-numeric designations rather than inspired appellations, so that nobody gets offended if it doesn’t translate properly. But then – along comes the Nissan Rogue, a name that ranks right up there with Scamp and Marauder.
And climbing into a 2015 Nissan Rogue SL, in cayenne red, I felt as I wasn’t just driving, I was brandishing my vehicle. Sitting up high, surrounded by luxurious leather, the boldly chrome-accented muzzle of the Rogue prowled through the streets. With a host of driver’s seat adjustments, including lumbar support, I was tucked solidly into a pillowy soft leather seat. My thumbs played with the steering wheel’s driving indents while I drove through the busy streets, feeling like quite the rapscallion myself.
Travelling along Toronto’s famed Spadina Avenue, I was reminded how bad the drivers are on this strip. Shops and restaurants do brisk business here, often open late, attracting harried customers whose mind is not on their driving. Yet, the Rogue sidled through the gaps and, despite being an SUV, proved remarkable easy to park. The rather brilliant rear-view camera, together with a 360 degree view and a passenger side curb view, combined to make parking anywhere, even in a tiny niche of a spot, practically effortless.
There were bargains on my mind, I admit, as I had discovered a used Herman Miller Aeron chair for the low low price of $550. The salesman tried to lift it into the Rogue’s humongous trunk space, but a dastardly cargo cover rod teased us with its immovability. The salesman tugged and tugged – the rod obviously came off somehow, as a spring-loaded end made it wiggle in its mounts. It would not budge. When I suggested consulting the owner’s manual, the poor aggrieved salesman looked at me disgustedly. However, as a woman, I do not lose any girl-points for consulting owner’s manuals, and was chagrined not to find any direction.
Finally, we stuffed the chair in the back seat, which was roomy enough to accommodate a full-size office chair with no sweat. When I got home, as soon as I set up my chair, I flipped through the internet until I found a Nissan owner’s forum that attacked the ignoble cargo cover rod – it was meant to be pushed in on the side that did not have any play. Counter-intuitive as it sounded, I scurried back down to the garage and tried it. Lo and behold, it came off like magic.
I then played with the various trays and recesses in the cargo hold, trying to come up with the 18 “Divide and Hide” configurations advertised by Nissan. Although I’m not sure exactly how many I came up with, I had far too much fun moving things around. With the back seat down, the rear of the Rogue had enough room for several Herman Miller Aeron chairs. I replaced the cargo cover, stacked the trays and left my umbrella in the middle, just because I could.
So as ruggedly attractive and mighty as the Rogue was in front, and with all its multiple views for parking, the real news was in the back. I would flip the seats down, whip the cargo cover off, re-arrange the dividers, even offered to help people move, just so I could schlep stuff here and there. With a conspiratorial air, I nodded and glanced sideways whenever a truck pulled up beside me, knowing that we were both hauling a load. And for its significant size, the Rogue did nicely on fuel – the readout on the dash pronounced my best mileage at 9.0 k/100 litres, or 31 mpg. That’s not shabby, given the amount of junk in my trunk.
And as I sit here, in my Herman Miller Aeron chair, I have to think, it’s almost as comfy as the Rogue.
But not quite as devilish …