The Nissan Rogue Hybrid is officially dead for the 2020 model year. Nissan sent out a press release early this morning with pricing for the 2020 Rogue, and we noticed the Hybrid model was curiously missing from the sheet. We dropped a line to Nissan to figure out what was going on. Here's the official word from Nissan spokesperson Kevin Raftery: "Nissan will not offer the Rogue Hybrid for model year 2020. We will continue to focus efforts on the best-selling Rogue and new 2020 Rogue Sport." Nissan's hybrid compact crossover was almost a unique idea when it came out for the 2017 model year. Toyota had the RAV4 Hybrid. A redesigned (much improved) version of that is out for 2019, and the new Escape is getting both a Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid version. We called it "A can't-lose idea" in our First Drive story then, but history has proven our seeing-eye glass wrong. Raftery wouldn't say exact sales figures, but he did say that Rogue Hybrid was "a small part of the overall sales mix for Rogue." If you break it down by cost, the Rogue Hybrid was asking a lot without providing much in return. The base 2019 Rogue Hybrid is a whopping $2,800 more than a regular Rogue. You netted five mpg in the combined EPA rating, which the agency says would save you approximately $200 a year over a normal Rogue in fuel costs. Doing the math, you'd have to drive the car for 14 years before you break even on gas savings. That's a long time driving a Nissan Rogue. Another reason for its demise is the entrance of the new RAV4 Hybrid. The previous RAV4 Hybrid was actually less efficient than the Rogue Hybrid, though it was only beaten by one mpg in comparable all-wheel drive models. A 2019 RAV4 Hybrid gets seven mpg better than the Rogue Hybrid all-wheel drive now. That's a pretty easy decision for folks at the dealership comparing the two side-by-side. You'll still be able to buy the 2019 Rogue Hybrid for some time, but those will be disappearing from lots sooner rather than later. A base Rogue Hybrid SV starts at $28,595, and a fully-loaded SL trim comes in at $33,885. All other non-hybrid models received small price bumps of around $200 in each trim level for 2020.
Lexus is continuing its trend of making its "Inspiration Series" of cars, and the latest model to get the treatment is the LS 500. Just like all the others before it, this one is mainly an appearance package meant to set it apart from other LS 500s on the road. The first unique touch is its Deep Garnet paint that isn't available on the normal LS 500. Then you get 20-inch black chrome wheels that go quite nicely with the paint color. Lexus didn't forget the Inspiration Series interior, either. Standard is the ultra-luxe Kiriko glass trim you can get as an option on the regular LS 500. It looked stunning on that car, and it's going to look great combined with the white leather seats on this one, too. Lexus is also giving the Inspiration Series blue LED dash lighting and "Lexus" puddle lamps below the doors. There are only going to be 300 LS 500 Inspiration Series cars sold in America, and they're going to be available to buy this fall. Mechanically, it's exactly the same as a regular LS 500 with the 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 making 416 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. As for pricing on this limited-edition model, Lexus isn't saying quite yet. A regular LS 500 similarly equipped is around the $100,000 mark, so look out for something in that range when we do get a price.
The Nissan 370Z Roadster will be discontinued for the 2020 model year. This has no effect on the availability of the regular 370Z coupe, which Nissan confirms will be sold alongside the Nismo and 50th Anniversary Edition coupes in the 2020 model year. After Motor Authority broke the story, we got confirmation directly from a Nissan representative:
"Yes, I can confirm that for model year 2020, Nissan will focus on the sale of the 370Z Coupe, NISMO and 50th Anniversary Edition. We will not offer the Roadster variant for the current-generation Z beginning with model year 2020."