New & Used Nissan Rogue: In Depth
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The Nissan Rogue is a compact crossover that seats up to five passengers. A front-driver with a four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the Rogue also makes all-wheel drive available.
A brand-new nameplate for the 2008 model year, the Rogue was redesigned for the 2014 model year, adding more interior room and better, more comfortable seating.
MORE: Read our 2015 Nissan Rogue review
Competitors include the high-volume trio of Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4, as well as the Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Forester, among others.
The original Rogue had a fairly unconventional appearance, completely without any unnecessary SUV cues. More a slab-sided and taller-than-usual wagon, the first-generation Rogue had echoes of the Nissan Murano, the larger and clearly more luxurious sibling that sits above the Rogue in Nissan's model lineup.This Rogue was based on the same underpinnings as the Sentra sedan, but didn't take full advantage of the Sentra's chassis. Handling was on the soft side, and while other crossovers aimed for class-best performance or handling, the clear focus for the Rogue was on affordable, economical, and comfortable transportation for small families, and for those looking for a low-cost sedan or minivan replacement.
The Rogue was fairly fuel-efficient, too, courtesy a four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT). The 170-horsepower, four-cylinder engine and CVT could be teamed to either front- or all-wheel drive. Fuel economy, at up to 23 mpg city, 28 highway, was quite good.This first Rogue could move quite quickly but wasn't particularly inspiring to drive--even when equipped with the available steering-wheel paddles, which might have improved the experience somewhat on hilly or curvy roads.
More than anything, the Rogue succeeded as a compact sedan replacement, with room for five inside, though three adults were a bit cramped in the back row. The back seats adjusted for rake—for best comfort, or to help fit cargo, and when needed the back seats fold flat.
Over the years, the first Rogue saw few changes. For 2010, a new 360 Value Package brought alloy wheels, a chrome grille, and other extras to the base S model, while a Krom appearance package gives the whole aftermarket accessorized look—showy wheels, sporty center exhaust, tinted glass, and all. A very mild makeover came in the 2011 model year; otherwise for 2013 options were fine-tuned to bring a new Premium Edition (replacing the Premium Package) with front fog lamps and Bose audio. A Bluetooth hands-free interface remained optional on base S models but included in the rest of the model line.
The new Rogue arrived for the 2014 model year--though, confusingly, the former version remains on sale today as the Rogue Select. The new model is styled handsomely, and a bit more conservatively, than the older model, and the interior is better organized and finished in attractive, higher-quality materials. Interior space isn't up in a major way, so the Rogue remains at the smaller end of the compact-crossover class. It's 1.2 inches taller, though, and doors open more widely. The best improvement are dense-foam seats that are very supportive on long drives.
Where the Rogue veers in a new direction this time around is in its optional third-row seat. it's a very small one, but since the second row can now be adjusted on a 9-inch-long track, the third-row seat actually has usable leg room. We'd still recommend it only for very small children past the booster-seat stage.
As for power, the same drivetrain returns, but gas mileage is up to 28 miles per gallon on the EPA's combined cycle. The new Rogue steers with more heft, damps its ride better, and has a more substantial and composed feel than the Rogue Select in every way we can think of.For crash safety, the Rogue has earned Top Safety Pick Plus (TSP+) status from the insurance-funded IIHS--but the NHTSA gave it a low three-star rating for front-impact protection. Safety options include a surround-view camera, blind-spot monitors, a lane-departure warning system, and a forward-collision alert system.
Other Rogue features now include a standard USB port and Bluetooth with audio streaming and a rearview camera. Options include third-row seating; Bose audio; navigation; a power tailgate; surround-view cameras; 18-inch wheels; heated front seats; and leather upholstery.