- Impressive interior
- Smooth ride
- Decent maneuverability
- Useful cargo area organizer
- One of the better-looking crossover wagons
- Obscured rearward visibility
- Back seat is tight for three across
- CVT transmission
- Not at all exciting to drive
The 2010 Nissan Rogue doesn’t wow in any respect, but provided you don’t expect driving excitement its solid set of features, safety, and decent performance won’t let you down.
The Rogue is Nissan’s first compact crossover vehicle—essentially the cross between a tall station wagon and an SUV. Shortly after its introduction the four-cylinder Rogue became more relevant to price- and fuel economy-conscious shoppers who were looking to save money without giving up cabin space.
A rakish design, with gently arced roofline and a more aggressive tuck downward in back give the Rogue more of a ‘lifted’ station wagon appearance than is the case for most crossovers. With proportions that make it appear wider and longer than it actually is from the outside, few would guess that the Rogue is actually based on the compact Sentra sedan. Cues from the larger Murano give it a hint of upscale, but with smaller wheels and more benign-looking fender flares, it’s clearly not as premium-looking. The same goes inside, where the five-passenger Rogue gets a chunky interior design that borrows a bit from all of Nissan’s cars and crossovers.
You don’t have any powertrain choices with theh 2010 Nissan Rogue, except for the choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. All versions come with a 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The combination isn’t much fun, but it can move the Rogue quickly if you press it. As the Rogue is a bit heavier than most of Nissan’s other four-cylinder vehicles, the transmission isn’t particularly responsive, with the engine becoming boomy under acceleration. Handling is more on the soft side—those expecting a sportier experience will be disappointed—but maneuverability is good for parking or tight city streets. Some Rogue models get paddles that provide you with simulated gears to help improve control on especially hilly or curvy roads. And with ratings of 22 mpg city, 27 highway for the front-wheel-drive version, it’s quite fuel-efficient. Mileage ratings are 1 mpg lower with AWD, and the system is configured for traction in deep snow or mud, not off-road ability.
The 2010 Rogue has enough space to accommodate four adults along with their luggage. The backseat, which folds forward flat, can fit three adults across, but they’ll have problems if they’re broad-shouldered or large; the seatback adjusts for rake, though all of the seats feel thinly padded and not long-distance comfortable. The front passenger seat will also fold flat to fit especially long pieces of cargo. Ride quality is quite good, which will make most sensibly minded buyers happy, though road noise can be an issue on some surfaces.
The safety story is quite good regarding the Rogue. The federal government gave it four stars for frontal impact and five stars for side impact protection, while it's a top performer in insurance industry tests, with the IIHS results including 'good' scores in all categories and the Top Safety Pick designation. Electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, and side and side-curtain airbags are all on the standard-features list.
The 2010 Rogue comes with most of the requisite features for comfortable family motoring—like air conditioning, cruise control, and a nice-sounding audio system with steering-wheel controls. The SL model adds a few more features but offers the most desirable options, including a Leather Package and a Premium Package that includes a Bluetooth hands-free phone system and the Intelligent Key entry/ignition system.