Auto Review: Nissan loves going Rogue

By Bill Heald - ReminderNews
Featured Article - posted Thu., Aug. 23, 2012
Auto Review: Nissan loves going Rogue

Up in these parts (I do love that rustic, farm-friendly phrase), there is a huge competition between all the manufacturers to provide the ideal vehicle for the New England lifestyle. Compact SUVs really haven’t been around all that long in terms of automotive history, but they’ve exploded in popularity and are found in a large percentage of our driveways, with good reason. When it comes to versatility, all-weather capability, maneuverability and even decent fuel economy, these multifaceted machines can perform a broad variety of tasks well, and yet manage to not break the bank when you make monthly car payments. They also have that rare quality of being able to grow with your family, at least up to the point where the kids get big enough to get around on their own. This week, we look at Nissan’s Rogue, which has carved out its own unique niche in this very competitive class of vehicles.

All Rogues are powered by a 2.5-Liter Inline Four with 170 horsepower, and have an Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with a Sport Mode. Front-Wheel Drive and All-Wheel Drive are both available with this drivetrain at every trim level. Acceleration is brisk, and the CVT alters ratios seamlessly. However, this gearbox can bog down a bit when pulling away after a panic stop, which is a bit unusual. Our All-Wheel Drive tester included a central differential lock button for unusually boggy/snowy conditions where you want to lock in all four drive wheels for maximum traction at low speeds. A long 105.9-inch wheelbase aids interior room, yet the Rogue remains highly agile and a stiff, tight chassis makes handing tight situations a breeze and delivers some very sporty driving manners. Braking performance is also impressive, with stops from 60 mph taking an average of 119.5 feet.

For 2012, the Rogue offers a very comprehensive set of option packages, some of which have the kind of hi-tech features you typically expect on much more expensive vehicles. Our SV AWD unit had the SL option package, which included such excellent amenities like leather seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Automatic Temperature Control, Nissan’s Navigation System and a premium Bose sound system. Also intriguing is an Around View monitoring system, which extends the regular backup camera with side views to further help you see around the vehicle when parking or pulling away. The front seats (heated with the SL package) could use more lateral support but are roomy, and the driver gets logical, easy-to-master control interfaces. The rear seat area has a nearly flat floor for good foot room, and overall two adults can be very comfortable on these perches. The cargo area is a tad limited due to the Rogue’s fastback body style, but there’s still 28.9 cubic feet of space with the seats up (which expands to 57.9 with the rear seatbacks folded).

The 2012 Nissan Rogue SV AWD is EPA-rated 22 MPG city/ 26 highway and we observed 25.6 MPG during a week of mixed driving with the vehicle. The base price is $25,220, and with options our sticker came to $30,255. www.nissanusa.com


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