Yes that’d right I did it again. I got another new vehicle.
The Grand Am was getting old. Just before Thanksgiving the front left shock spring broke and I was out of a car for the weekend. The cost of the repair: $240. I talked to a guy at work and he has a buddy who also had/has a 99 Grand Am and the same thing happened to him then a month later the rest of the springs broke. Ohh great there’s another $720 worth of repairs to look forward to. Plus there’s already a looming $600 minimum head gasket replacement repair that needs to be done and then who knows what next. I didn’t want to deal with it so I traded it in on a new car.
I picked up a brand new 2009 Rogue SL: Nissan’s extremely popular new crossover. I got it completely decked out and let me tell you the thing is nice! It has all wheel drive, heated leather seats, a 6 disc in dash MP3/CD player by Bose with 7 speakers including a small sub, Auxiliary jack for MP3 players/laptops/whatever, XM radio, heated mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror with built in compass, Home-Link (built in garage door openers basically), BlueTooth link for hands free cell phone use, paddle shifters, keyless entry and start, the works! The only option it’s missing is the tow hitch. It’s quite a step up from the Grand Am none the less.
So how does it drive? Excellent! The steering is solid with zero play. The CVT drive train is very smooth and quiet. In fact the first thing I noticed was how quiet the vehicle is overall. At an idle you don’t even hear the engine and it’s still not very loud when you accelerate. Also there is really no wind noise at all, just your standard road noise which comes out pretty soft and dull so it’s very light on the ears. The brakes are excellent. The handling is great. Bumps are smooth and don’t have any tendency to move the vehicle around. Thanks to the AWD system you can feel the car push you around the corners while accelerating through a curve as there is actually power going to rear wheels versus the feeling like you’re going to slide off the road if you accelerate through the corner in a FWD car. The vehicle also stays remarkably flat in the corners as well, not having a tendency to roll despite the extra height the vehicle has over a car. The AWD traction control system also works amazingly and makes driving in the snow effortless.
During my second test drive it was snowing like crazy but, in the Rogue it seemed as though there wasn’t any snow on the ground. It accelerated off the line quickly using all four wheels without spinning them. It took corners with speed without sliding. When I got the vehicle home that night I took it into an unplowed development and went down the street jerking the wheel left right left and nothing! It just went left right left as if the snow weren’t there. It also stops amazingly in the snow! Just for fun I’d slam on the breaks, a maneuver that would cause all four wheels on the Grand Am to skid and the rear end to want to come around if I didn’t correct with steering, and the Rogue would just quickly come to a stop in a completely straight line. Simply incredible! I have never driven a vehicle that treated snow that way before. It is just and excellent ride.
I have to say though the CVT system was quite strange at first. If you’ve never driven a car with a CVT before you might find it a little bit weird when you accelerate quickly. Slam down the gas and the engine goes to just under redline and stays there while you keep accelerating. Rather than the rev up, shift, jerk as it revs up again pattern you get with a geared vehicle, it’s just a constant R.P.M. with smooth acceleration. It’s quite odd at first but, you get use to it quickly. It makes for a very comfortable ride but, if you just have to have the sensation of changing gears manual mode is always available.
Overall, I’m very happy with this vehicle.