When we took the Rogue through some twisty mountain roads it was surprisingly composed, delivering very neutral handling with traction control on or off. Nissan must have tweaked the suspension over their earlier versions as it remained relatively flat in the corners when brought to the limit. To be successful in this field, Nissan is going to have to leapfrog the competition and one of the areas could be handling.
Comfort and Convenience
Our test vehicle had all of the standard conveniences you would look for in this category, including Bluetooth, XM Satellite Radio, audio input jack, dual front and rear cup holders, back up camera, and sunglass compartment. We would rate the Rogue seating as average in this category. The cloth upholstery seems durable and is comfortable in the summer weather we were experiencing. The only shortcoming was the seats themselves. For the driver, the power lumbar support was hard to set in just the right spot, and all other seating lacked adjustability.
This is a first generation small utility vehicle for Nissan, so we won’t comment on the dash material and design; the competition has at least one predecessor, so we think the next gen Rogue will have vast improvements here. Again, don’t just meet the competition, beat the competition, by increasing cargo capacity, adding insulation and providing improved seating.
Recommend to Buy and Conclusion
So how does the Rogue do in this very crowded field of small SUV’s? We took a quick sample of one small sport utility from each country and compared them on a base front wheel drive level.
|Compact Sport Utility Comparison|
|Nissan Rogue||VW Tiguan||Hyundai Tuscon||Honda CRV||Chevrolet Equinox|
|Base Torque lb-ft||175||207||168||161||172|
|Cargo Space (Cu Ft)||28.9||23.8||25.7||35.7||31.4|
|Base Price ($)||$23,220||$23,720||$21,995||24,195||$26,220|
We know there are a number of other excellent competitors from the likes of Kia, Mazda, Ford, Toyota, etc, but we can quickly see that the Rogue falls mid-pack in our random sample. This is actually a pretty good position in this crowded field and Nissan has done well by essentially shrinking the design of their much loved Murano.
What could propel the Rogue towards the head of the class? Keep the price and weight the same while increasing cargo space (station wagon purpose), improve insulation (feel/sound more luxurious), and providing better power though the use of forced induction or other lightweight tricks. Nissan has done this with subsequent Maxima and Z versions, and we expect their next evolution of the sub-$25k cute-ute to be more competitive. Of all the Japanese car makers, Nissan and Infiniti have earned a “most improved” status, aggressively refining design and performance in every category.
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