Nuts & Bolts

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Complaint: There's not enough difference here to make a difference, except in your pocketbook.

Ride, acceleration and handling: The performance gets a "good" mark in all three categories. But for the overall feel of the EX35 Journey, again, I'd rather take that "good" at a lower price in the Rogue.

Head-turning quotient: Imagine paying more for the EX35 Journey and then driving home to neighbors who ask: "Is that the new Nissan Rogue?" Would you be happy about that? Would you happily defend your purchase by explaining, "Gee, the EX35 Journey is rear-wheel-drive . . . The Rogue is front-wheel-drive . . . My engine is bigger than the Rogue's engine . . . "? Probably not.

Body style/layout: The EX35 Journey is a compact, luxury crossover utility wagon with a front-mounted engine, four side doors and a rear liftgate. It is available with standard rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional. Both it and the Rogue use car-based platforms.

Engine/transmission: The EX35 Journey comes with a standard 3.5-liter, 24-valve V-6 engine that develops 297 horsepower at 6,800 revolutions per minute and 253 foot-pounds of torque at 4,800 rpm.

Capacities: The EX35 Journey seats five people, same as the Rogue. The front-drive Rogue carries more luggage with the rear seats up -- 28.9 cubic feet versus 18.6 cubic feet for the EX35 Journey, whose rear-drive arrangement eats up cargo space. The EX35 Journey's 20 gallon fuel tank requires premium unleaded gasoline for "best performance."

Safety: Standard equipment in the EX35 Journey includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes with antilock protection, electronic stability and traction control, side and head air bags.

Price: The 2009 Infiniti EX35 Journey starts at $36,000, with a dealer invoice of $33,259. The oh-so-seemingly similar Nissan Rogue starts at $21,810 with a dealer invoice of $20,334. All prices are upwardly affected by options. Prices are sourced from Infiniti (Nissan's luxury division), Nissan, and, an affiliate of The Washington Post.

Purse-strings note: Critics would be right to attack this review as a technical apples-to-oranges comparison. But we're still talking about fruit -- in this case, two vehicles with similar external styling, especially in the rear quarters, and identical missions -- to haul people and stuff. Frankly, I think the Nissan Rogue is a much, much better deal.

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