The Rogue is a compact crossover based on the last-generation version of Nissan's Sentra sedan. It offers unusually spunky handling for its segment, although it's bested by some competitors in terms of fuel efficiency and interior flexibility.
First introduced way back in 2007, the Rogue has since received several minor revisions to keep things fresh inside and out. The little ¬Ďute's strong suite continues to be its sporty driving experience, which is enhanced by precise steering and nimble responses.
Power for the Rogue comes from Nissan's familiar 2.5-liter four-cylinder, which makes 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. The only transmission available is a CVT, which provides seamless acceleration but can induce a bit of engine drone in certain situations.
The recent addition of low-rolling resistance tires helps front-wheel drive models pick up one mpg in both city and highway driving, improving to 22/28 mpg for the FWD model and 22/26 mpg for the all-wheel drive version. However, many competing models are capable of 30 mpg or higher on the highway.
While there's precious little frill in the cabin's design, the controls are user-friendly and the overall level of material quality is commendably high. Where the interior falls a bit short is in the realm of overall space and flexibility: unlike some rivals, the Rogue's second-row seats don't recline or slide forwards and backwards. Cargo room behind the second row and with the second row folded, rated at 28.9 and 57.9 cubic feet, respectively, is slightly below-average for the class.
Trim Levels: the Nitty-Gritty
The Rogue is available in three trim levels: S, Special Edition and SV.
The basic S model is equipped with expected features like power windows and locks, A/C and keyless entry and also includes cruise control, mood lighting, a four-speaker AM/FM/CD audio unit with an auxiliary input jack and a trip computer. The wheels are 16-inch steel units with hubcaps.
The value-focused Special Edition slots between the S and SV models. The Special Edition includes steering wheel audio controls, a rear back-up camera, a 4.3-inch audio display, USB connectivity, satellite radio, fog lights, two extra speakers for the sound system, Bluetooth connectivity and privacy glass.
Stepping up to SV nets Bluetooth hands-free phone integration capability, a rear back-up camera, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, keyless entry, a power driver's seat, 17-inch alloy wheels and an extra two speakers for the stereo.
The SL package, available only on the SV, includes leather seating with heated front seats, a navigation system with a five-inch color display and automatic climate control. The Premium Edition package adds front fog lights and a Bose audio system with seven speakers and a subwoofer.
A notable option is the "AroundView" camera system that affords 360 degree views around the car during parking maneuvers, which Nissan says is a first use of the system in a non-luxury vehicle.
An electronic stability system is standard, as are anti-lock brakes with brake assist and dual and front, side-impact and side-curtain airbags.
The Rogue is pitted against respected rivals like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and the Kia Sportage.