Mpg: 26 city/33 highway
0-to-60 mph: 9.1 seconds
As buyers opt out of sedans and into crossovers and SUVs, Nissan keeps tinkering with its compact Rogue — the most popular crossover in the country so far this year. For 2017, this ride had already received upscale updates: a quieter cabin, fresher styling, remote engine start, heated steering wheel and more. Now there’s a midyear redo (the 2017.5 Rogue) with more standard safety gear, including emergency braking, blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert.
There’s also a sleek, new Midnight Edition, featuring trendy black wheels, black side mirrors and black roof rails. And while the standard four-cylinder engine remains the same — alas, with less power than many competitors — there’s now a hybrid model, offered in front- or all-wheel drive. Despite its small size, the Rogue has optional three-row/seven-passenger seating. As for storage, a clever Divide-N-Hide cargo system has 18 adjustable configurations. And “may the force be with you” in this crossover: a Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition package comes with nifty floor mats, doorsills and other items with the Star Wars logo. Bonus: buyers also get a Death Trooper helmet.MERCEDES GLC300
Mpg: 22 city/27 highway
0-to-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
The compact GLC300 seems to be channeling “Iron Man” and Tony Stark: precise engineering, superb handling and lots of class. First introduced last year as a more aerodynamic replacement to the boxy GLK crossover, the GLC adds a high-performance AMG model to the lineup. That pocket rocket comes with a potent 362-hp V6, sporty suspension and large, 20-inch wheels. But the base model, priced about $20,000 less, is just fine, thank you.
That’s because it boasts a feisty four-cylinder turbo that’s quicker and more fuel-efficient than most rivals. The suspension is smooth and nimble, even over rough terrain. And braking and cornering are stellar, too. The list of standard creature comforts is likewise impressive: 14-way power driver’s seat, power liftgate, power-folding mirrors, automatic wipers and faux leather seating that feels better (and is easier to clean) than the real thing.
But if you must splurge, there’s a dazzling 14-speaker Burmester surround-sound stereo. As for superpowers, they’re called safety features here: collision warning/intervention, lane-departure warning/intervention, pedestrian detection, drowsy-driver alert, stolen-vehicle locator, trailer-sway control and crosswind assistance (yes, really). Perhaps the only downside is the knobby door locks: Mercedes didn’t realize how easy it is to whack your funny bone on the raised molding when resting your arm on the door’s windowsill. Still, that’s a minor quibble compared to everything else the GLC has to offer.
LAND ROVER DISCOVERY
Mpg: 21 city/26 highway
0-to-60 mph: 6.9 seconds
What goes around comes around. At least it does for Land Rover. First introduced in 1989, the midsized Discovery SUV was later rebadged the LR3 and then the LR4.
Now it’s back as the Discovery, aka the Disco. That’s a perfect moniker if you’re music fan considering the optional 825-watt, 17-speaker Meridian stereo that easily outblasts most home-theater systems. There are other posh features, such as panoramic sunroof, 10-inch touchscreen, power-folding rear seats and nine USB ports. The latest safety features are here too, as well as a 360-degree camera.
What’s striking is the exterior redesign, with sinewy curves replacing decades of chunky angles. Ditto the interior, which is roomier and more limo-like. But where the Discovery really excels is off-road, thanks to higher ground clearance and the ability to ford 35 inches of water. Drivers can even lock the key inside the Discovery, go for a hike or other excursion, then unlock it using a waterproof wristband. If ever a vehicle was waiting to be discovered by a super hero, it’s this one.