How does Nissan's hybrid model for the Rogue perform? We used it as a family hauler for a week to see if the fuel economy benefits stack up, and how it drives compared to the deadpan standard gasoline model.

The new 2017 Rogue Hybrid has been added to the Nissan Rogue line-up, which has been updated with refreshed styling and some interior tweaks. The Rogue has become Nissan's best-selling vehicle in North America and it's not hard to see why consumers are drawn to this little crossover. The Rogue has a smart combination of everyday usability and price point that obviously resonates with American buyers.

It should be noted that the global Qashqai from Nissan is related to, but not the same as the American-only Rogue model. The Qashqai is smaller and has been introduced into the US as the Rogue Sport.

The Rogue Hybrid has much of the size and usability of the regular Rogue. The key difference is that the Rogue Hybrid does not have a third row option – that space is reserved for the batteries – and is available in only a couple of trim options, namely the mid-level SV and the upper SL trims. There is about a US$1,200 difference between the 2017 Nissan Rogue SL gasoline model ($29,960) and the 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid SL model ($31,160).

That extra $1,200 gets you some excellent fuel economy, though. The Rogue jumps from 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway (9 and 7.1 l/100km) to 33 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway (7.1 and 6.7 l/100km). Those are EPA numbers. In the real world, we spent a week in both the gasoline-only version of the Rogue and the Rogue Hybrid and found that the gas option tends to get lower fuel economy than rated (by about 2 mpg) whereas the Hybrid model held its EPA estimates in the real world (within half an mpg).

Under the Rogue Hybrid's hood is a very different setup from the standard Rogue. The 2.5-liter gasoline engine in the Rogue is replaced by a smaller 2.0-liter four-cylinder, an electric motor (30 kW, 40 hp), and small lithium-ion battery under the rear cargo space. These combine to produce 176 horsepower (131 kW) of output to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional.

That 176 hp might not seem all that impressive compared to the 170 hp of the standard Rogue, especially given the Rogue Hybrid's heavier weight (roughly 70 pounds, 32 kg), but much of that power output is available from a standstill thanks to the Hybrid model's electric motor. This gives the 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid a slightly sportier feel when compared to its gasoline-only brethren. This doesn't translate to any real-world measurements we can make, such as 0-60 mph times or higher speeds, but it does translate to a better feel when driving around town and in stop-and-go traffic, which is where the Rogue Hybrid is most comfortable.

The drivetrain in the 2017 Rogue Hybrid is the only substantial point of difference from the other Rogue models. The exterior's updates for this year include some lightening of the Rogue's front fascia, especially in the grille lines and the surrounding "V-motion" design. The 2017 Rogue is curvier than compact crossovers like the Toyota RAV4 , which gives it a somewhat dated look by comparison ... tough some might prefer this.

Inside, the 2017 Rogue Hybrid is excellent. Two things that set it apart from others in the segment are the interior's high levels of comfort and the extremely useful cargo space.

The front seats in the Nissan Rogue Hybrid are very comfortable with Nissan's "Zero Gravity" seating as standard. The second row is also spacious, given the Rogue's size, with Zero Gravity seats found at both outboard positions. Seating three children in booster seats across, however, is tight and is best reserved for larger vehicles like the Murano. The third row is not available in the Hybrid. We also note that the improved sound insulation in the 2017 Rogue has paid off with a nicely quiet highway ride.

The cargo area of the Rogue Hybrid is as nicely done, as it is in the standard models. About 32 cubic feet (906 liters) of cargo space is available with the seats up, which is large for the class. Nissan's rear storage system allows two segments to be lifted from the floor and made into cargo blocks or shelves to keep things from rolling around or to stack things atop one another. This system is under-appreciated until it's used as an everyday item. Then its genius is realized.

The 32 cubic feet of cargo space in the 2017 Rogue Hybrid is useful for a lot of things. Including emergency home improvements(Credit: Aaron Turpen / New Atlas)

Nissan's latest Connect system covers infotainment and connectivity duties. This is a good piece of technology with useful functions beyond standard Bluetooth connections. We like the app options for navigation, concierge help for finding locations, and the well-executed voice activation and controls. What we don't like are the dated graphics and less-than-adequate screen positioning. The Rogue's infotainment screen is prone to glare and smudging, making it difficult to read in many situations.

Buyers in the compact crossover segment with family hauling in mind are also likely to be interested in safety ratings. The 2017 Rogue has received five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a suite of best-possible "Good" scores on Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests. The top-most trim level for the Rogue Hybrid includes higher-end safety items like forward collision mitigation.

Other options available on both 2017 Rogue Hybrid models include rear blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, a hands-free tailgate, 360-degree cameras for parking, and adaptive cruise control. All good things, of course – especially the cameras, which make up for some of the Rogue's poor visibility to the rear via mirrors and windows.

The Rogue is Nissan's best-selling vehicle in North America and we can see why. With the 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid, efficiency is taken up a notch. This may not be the compact crossover for everyone, but it sure is tough to beat.

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