The Nissan Rogue is a compact SUV in the crossover style, much like the . Despite the recent trend toward seven-passenger seating, the Rogue seats five. And while other compact SUVs offer V6 power, the Rogue is strictly a four-cylinder, again like the CR-V.
Based on an economy car platform, the Rogue is meant as a daily commuter, not an off-road adventure vehicle. The towing capacity is only 1,500 pounds and the available all-wheel drive system is intended more for snow and rain than rocks and mud. The four-cylinder engine works well with the continuously variable transmission to provide decent pickup and frugal fuel economy.
Behind the wheel, the Nissan Rogue offers carlike ride and handling. We think it's one of the better handling small SUVs, but it's not sporty or particularly fun to drive. The ride allows for a lot of road feel and can become hard on pockmarked roads. Road imperfections and engine sounds also intrude on the cabin, leaving passengers thinking that the Rogue could benefit from more sound insulation.
Otherwise, the cabin is pleasant, with some materials that would look good in higher priced vehicles. The controls are easy to use and understand, but the Rogue lacks some of the creature comforts and tech gadgets that are starting to filter down to lower priced vehicles. There is no navigation system, for instance.
An SUV should provide cargo utility, and the Nissan Rogue is up to the task. The rear seats fold flat and there is even an available folding front passenger seat to permit longer items to be loaded. In back, Nissan also offers a handy cargo organizer that can keep groceries from sliding around and provide storage for muddy clothes.
With prices starting just above $20,000, the Rogue is a worthy competitor for the higher-priced Honda CR-V. Its carlike road manners, cargo utility, and prudent fuel economy make it appealing to young families or active singles. Those who want to go off-road or tow a trailer will be better served by more rugged vehicles.
For 2009 all Nissan Rogue models get speed-sensing automatic door locks. Sl models now come with a fold-down passenger seat, driver seatback pocket, dual-level center console tray, mood lighting, trip computer, external temperatur display, and illuminated sun visor vanity mirrors as standard equipment. These features were part of the Premium package before. The Leather Package is now also available for Rogue FWD SL models, while the FWD Premium Package adds Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System and Nissan Intelligent Key™.