Nissan's Rogue has been one of the most popular vehicles in its lineup. Sold in the US since 2007, the Rogue competes with the RAV4, CR-V, Escape and others in the compact SUV segment.
Nissan sells the Rogue in four models: S, SV, SL, and Platinum. All versions are available in FWD or optional AWD. Pricing starts at $26,050 (Rogue S FWD) and tops out at $37,230 (Rogue Platinum AWD). The midlevel SV FWD ($27,740) and SL FWD ($32,400) are likely to be the higher selling models. Opt for the Rogue Platinum and the standard equipment list includes 19-in. alloy wheels, 9-in. touchscreen, 12.3-in. digital dashboard cluster, head-up display, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation, Bose audio system, Wi-Fi hotspot, front and rear sonar sensors, around view monitor, panoramic sunroof, heated 8-way driver's and 4-way front passenger seat, plus heated rear seats. Active safety technologies are comprehensive: ProPILOT Assist with Navi-Link, automatic emergency braking, front collision warning, rear automatic braking, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, around view monitor, and lane departure warning.
All Rogues are powered by a new direct-injected 1.5L inline-3 VC-Turbo rated at 201-hp @ 5,600 RPM and 225 lb.-ft. @ 2,800-4,000 RPM. Nissan's VC-Turbo technology varies engine compression ratio to reduce fuel consumption or increase power as needed. A new XTronic CVT (continuously variable transmission) with a wider ratio range routes power to the front or all four wheels (AWD only). Front-wheel drive Rogues get three powertrain modes (Sport, Standard, and Eco); opting for AWD adds Snow and Off-Road modes. EPA fuel consumption estimates are 28/34 MPG (city/hwy.) for the Rogue Platinum AWD. The lighter Rogue S FWD is rated at 30/37 MPG (city/hwy.).
The Rogue's suspension is similar to other SUVs in the segment. In front are MacPherson struts and a stabilizer bar. At the rear is a multi-link design with coil springs, dampers and a stabilizer bar. Brakes are vented discs front and rear. Standard P235/55R19 all-season tires are mounted on 19-in. dia. alloy wheels. Steering is via a speed-sensitive electric rack-and-pinion system. Curb weights range from 3,452 lbs. (Rogue S FWD) to 3,741 lbs. (Rogue Platinum AWD).
During our brief test drive, we focused on the Rogue's powertrain and driving dynamics. Despite increased torque from the turbocharged 1.5L, low-RPM acceleration is unimpressive. After the turbo spins up, the inline-3 delivers acceptable midrange response. At full throttle, the inline-3 gets noisy as expected. Nissan's XTronic CVT is tuned to minimize the constant RPM droning typical of CVTs; at full throttle engine RPM rises and falls like a stepped-gear automatic. Cruising at 60 MPH, the Rogue's engine, tire and wind noise are pleasantly subdued. The all-disc brakes deliver decent stopping power, but the pedal feel is slightly spongy. Keeping with customer expectations, Nissan tuned the Rogue's suspension for a compliant ride, combined with moderate understeer and body roll.
In the hotly contested compact SUV segment, the Rogue is priced and equipped competitively with its Asian and American rivals. As with many other compact SUVs, the Rogue could benefit from a higher power engine option, but Nissan follows Toyota and Honda by offering only one powertrain. If infotainment and safety technologies are high priorities for your next SUV, the Rogue deserves a look.