2012 Nissan Rogue Performance

6.0
Performance

Based on a car architecture and designed with urban driving in mind, the Nissan Rogue feels maneuverable and smart in those surroundings. On the highway, it's slower and less satisfying.

All Rogues have a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower. Acceleration is mediocre, and Nissan estimates it will take the Rogue about nine seconds to reach 60 mph from a stop. That's acceptable in the crossover segment, but the Rogue also has a somewhat unconventional transmission--a continuously variable transmission, or CVT, which uses pulleys and belts instead of fixed gears to transmit power to the front (or all four) wheels. CVTs tend to have a rubber-band effect, and feel slow and imprecise to react. The Rogue's CVT is one of the best we've tried, and has paddle shift controls that move the transmission to set points that simulate automatic-transmission gears--but it's still a less satisfying way to go, and tends to amplify engine noise, too.

Friendly handling makes the Nissan Rogue a good choice for small families; the CVT's a weak spot, though it's among the best of that kind.
The Rogue can be fitted with front- or all-wheel drive. It's not intended for strenuous off-road use--it's configured for traction in deep snow or mud, where it can send more power, quite delicately, to the rear wheels.

The Rogue maneuvers well, with a quick, almost nimble feel at low speed thanks to the responsive electric power steering system, but at higher speeds it becomes abundantly clear this vehicle is tuned more for ride than handling.

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