Rogue brings elements of adventure and practicality to the road
A larger platform than its competition may be just the right combination to give the Nissan Rogue a step up on other vehicles in its class. While small is the major draw for customers in this crossover category, it is subjective. If you can get more room from your vehicle, yet remain small in perceptions of buyers, you just might be the winner here. At least, that is the goal with Nissan Rogue. Larger in overall length and wheelbase, the Rogue - based on a fortified platform similar to that used on the Sentra - looks larger. However, the Rogue is slightly narrower and offers moderately less room for cargo than a few others in this category. It does offer good legroom for front and rear occupants. The slender body makes seating three across the rear seat cozy at best. Lift the hood and you find the 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine Nissan uses for the Altima. However, it produces 170 horsepower and displays excellent torque to get off the line quickly and around slower vehicles. During my drive, I was impressed with the acceleration and handling of this crossover. It feels less like a sport utility and more like a sedan. The progression Nissan engineers have made with the Continuously Variable transmissions is creditable. A cool addition to any automatic transmission is the manual-shift mode - the whip cream on top of this Rogue sundae are paddle shifters on the steering wheel. This is made even sportier by the excellent shifting patterns given by the Nissan engineers.Exterior design comes from the Nissan Design studio in San Diego. The styling is a combination of hip, sporty and creatively traditional lines. I did, however, find the quarter window placement a little odd, but they do, in a minimal way, help to reduce blind spots. The seats are comfortable and I was even able to climb into the rear seat with the driver's seat still in my favorite position. A cargo organizer that pops up from the rear storage compartment includes removable partitions and a washable recessed compartment. Plenty of thought went into the owners' active lifestyle by way of a plethora of storage compartments. The glove compartment truly is massive. I would say it probably equals two normal-size glove boxes. The Rogue is available in two models, the S and SL. Both come standard with stability control and antilock as well as disc brakes at all four wheels. Though not standard equipment, both models are available with a new and advanced all-wheel-drive system that should be a hit with adventurous folks or if foul weather is a major part of people's lives. The Nissan Rogue is a practical vehicle that is cool looking and full of features. I found it to be comfortable, enjoyable and a vehicle that can inject fun into the daily commute.
Ron Moorhead, a nationally syndicated automotive columnist, can be reached at email@example.com.