New & Used Nissan Rogue: In Depth
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The Nissan Rogue is a compact crossover that has car-like driving feel and even available all-wheel drive. Even though the Rogue has SUV-like styling, it’s more like a tall wagon that's built on a car’s underpinnings.
See our full review of the 2014 Nissan Rogue for additional information, including options, pricing, gas-mileage ratings, and specifications.
Launched as a 2008 model, the current Nissan Rogue is in the last year of the current generation as a 2013 model. It had a minor refresh a couple of years ago that changed relatively little. Competitors include the high-volume trio of Ford Escape, Honda CRV, and Toyota RAV4, plus a host of second-tier entrants: Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, and Subaru Forester, among others. Every one of those vehicles has been redesigned for 2012, 2013, or 2014, meaning that a new Rogue is becoming a market necessity.
Exterior styling makes the Rogue appear to be a slightly slab-sided and taller-than-usual wagon, rather than a smaller sport-utility vehicle. Inside, there are echoes of the Nissan Murano, the larger and clearly more luxurious sibling that sits above the Rogue in Nissan's model array. It offers good interior space for the category.
Through the 2013 model year, the Rogue has been based on the same underpinnings as the Sentra sedan, but it doesn't take full advantage of the Sentra's chassis; handling is also more on the soft side, though, and it's clear that the focus for the Rogue is on affordable, economical, and comfortable transportation for small families, and for those looking for a low-cost sedan or minivan replacement.
The Nissan Rogue is fairly fuel-efficient, courtesy of its four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT). There's only one drivetrain offered on the Rogue, with a 170-horsepower, four-cylinder engine and Nissan's characteristic Xtronic CVT, though buyers can choose either front- or all-wheel drive. As such, the Rogue can move quite quickly if you need it, but it isn't particularly inspiring to drive. Some Rogues get steering-wheel paddles that might improve the experience somewhat on hilly or curvy roads.
To that degree, the Rogue fits the bill. There's room for five inside, though three adults will have to rub shoulders a bit in the back row; the back seats can also adjust for rake—for best comfort, or to help fit cargo, and when needed the back seats fold flat. There's also a very useful cargo organizer. Ride comfort is pretty impressive, and the Rogue doesn't have the choppy, pitchy feel that sometimes plagues taller, shorter vehicles; however, the interior isn't that well insulated from road noise. Fuel economy, at up to 23 mpg city, 28 highway, is quite good, and from the experience of our editors you're likely to see the high end of that in most combined driving.
Recent model years have brought only slight equipment and option 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.
Affordability and features for the money is again a compelling reason to consider the Rogue. Cruise control and a nice audio system with steering-wheel controls are standard, and the SL presents options like leather seats, Bluetooth, and the Intelligent Key system. Fully loaded, the Rogue manages a bottom line under $30,000. As noted, a redesigned Rogue crossover is expected for the 2014 model year.