What do you get when the Z-car company shrinks its Murano?: the Nissan Rogue. This compact crossover shares the Murano's profile but rides atop the thrifty Sentra's chassis. The sole powertrain is a 170-hp, four-cylinder engine saddled with a continuously variable transmission. My tester included all-wheel-drive. List price: $23,000.
That's an attractive fee but this CUV is a penny pincher--sometimes in the worst sense. For example, the upscale dash pad cannot deflect your attention from the sallow interior plastics, skimpy amenities and cardboard headliner.
Rogue seats four average-size adults, has below-the-rear-deck stowage and an easy-to-lift rear lid. Plus, there's a built-in cargo-floor divider. Its drive-line is fair; the engine churns as though it were built for chefs by KitchenAid. Under light throttle, the engine lugs. Most will find it pleasant, though; it's relatively brisk. Expect about 24 mpg overall. EPA numbers: 21 city and 26 highway.
Ride quality is soft, buoyant. It's like riding on a kid's Hoppity Hop. Tall drivers would like a telescoping steering wheel and more, uncluttered toe space. There's an enormous glove box, however. Since other small Nissans handle sloppily, I expected this crossover to follow suit. It didn't. Due to standard stability control, it has good road manners. Steering is vague.
Instrumentation includes amber dials. The cruise control light is bright. Your eyes might like the upswept body styling, but it impairs rear visibility. Blind spots are large.
Years ago, the Rogue was a rakish AMC Rambler. Nissan's runabout Rogue is a practical all-wheel-drive, go package.
The 2010 Rogue's SL enhancements include auto-locking doors, folding front passenger seat, and overhead mood lighting. There's a trip computer wedged into a small-round display between the speedometer and tachometer and Nissan's Intelligent Key keyless entry and start system. An optional moonroof package brightens the interior. Headroom is good front and rear. With AWD there's a premium audio system, Xenon headlights, steering-wheel mounted controls including paddle shifters that manually select six transmission steps. Plus there's a built-in navigation system. With these goodies, the price climbs to $27,620. There's also a Krom edition with macho exterior trim.
Get an in-depth review at TheCarConnection's 2010 Nissan Rogue page