By David Colman
For: Bargain Buy-In, Interior Spaciousness
Against: Horrid Xtronic CVT, Dunlop Tires Noisy on Concrete
The Rogue is small enough to handle with agility but big enough to pass the mountain bike test. This car-based SUV crossover weighs just 3,428 lb. which is notably light for an SUV. Yet its generous interior affords up to 58 cubic feet of storage space, with a hatchback door opening just wide enough to slip a mountain bike inside the cargo area.
Based on Nissan’s 4-door Sentra platform, the Rogue shares the sedan’s 105 inch wheelbase as well as its 2.5 liter, 16 valve, 4 cylinder motor. The Rogue inherits the Sentra’s nimble performance characteristics, as well, especially when you ugrade to the optional ($3,900) SL package which replaces standard 17 inch rims with 18 inch alloys. These larger wheels mount 225/55/R18 Dunlop Sport SP 7000 tires which react quickly to input through the Rogue’s fat leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Of course, the SL package includes a host of other upgrades. It improves night vision thanks to the addition of foglights and high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps. The package provides a diminutive 5 inch, touch screen, color monitor for the Nissan Navigation system (reading glasses not included). In addition, you’ll enjoy a 7 speaker Bose Premium audio system with XM satellite radio and NavTraffic reports. Finally, the SL upgrade brings you heated leather front seats, power sliding moonroof, and a bevy of cameras to record external surroundings on the dashboard monitor.
When equipped like our test model, the reasonably inexpensive $29,005 Rogue does a very good job of imitating an expensive luxury station wagon. Although you could add optional all-wheel-drive to the Rogue, there’s really no need for AWD’s extra weight and poorer economy unless you live in the snow belt. The FWD Rogue returns a commendable 23 MPG in city driving and 28 MPG on highway jaunts.