The compact SUV market has been a successful one for Japanese juggernauts Honda and Toyota since the mid-to-late 1990s, but Japan's other major automaker, Nissan, has been late to the party. Well, Nissan is finally arriving and it's bringing the Rogue as its date.

Nissan waited quite some time to finally get into the cute-ute game, but the Rogue is finally here and it appears to be aimed squarely at the . The styling is swoopy, with rounded lines and a wedge shape from front to rear. Flared rear shoulders and an upswept window line give the Rogue a sporty feel.

Ornamentation is minimal. A black and chrome Nissan badge up front is flanked by a body color grille. Only that badge and the headlights lend any contrast to the front end. There is even less character to the sides, which have no ornamentation at all. The mirrors are black on the S model and body color on SL. Chrome or black rub strips would help here, as would chrome door handles. The 17-inch aluminum wheels on the SL help, but the S has plain old steel wheels with hubcaps.

We think the Nissan Rogue looks best from the rear, where the dark rear glass, eye-shaped taillights, rounded panels, and license plate recess give it some definition. Unfortunately, the rear liftgate lacks separate opening glass.

The look is not unattractive, but it's plain. Among compact SUVs, the Nissan Rogue has a sleeker, car-based crossover look, like the CR-V, as opposed to the upright mini-SUVs like or . There is good reason for this, as the Rogue is based on Nissan's C platform, which also hosts the compact four-door sedan.

Onlookers will be surprised to learn that the Rogue is the longest vehicle in the class. At 182.9 inches overall, it is even longer than the seven-passenger and the seemingly large Jeep Liberty.