There are vehicles that are easy to drive and there are vehicles that are fun to drive, but so often we see these two concepts fail to come together in any one particular model.
And then there is the Nissan Rogue.
Rogue is a relative newcomer to Nissan and is a basic, no-nonsense little crossover utility vehicle sized between the Versa hatch and the Murano CUV.
??With Rogue, we??ve targeted drivers in their early 30s, whose responsibilities and functional needs have changed but who don??t want to leave behind the person they??ve always been ?? someone who enjoys driving, who values style and design, and who wants to retain his or her individuality,?? said Bill Bosley, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division. ??The Rogue name was chosen to reflect its independence-oriented positioning, though we certainly believe that all buyers, regardless of age or life stage, will positively respond to Rogue??s fun-to-drive, all-climate performance and aggressive styling.??
As with most vehicles in the Nissan fleet today, Rogue features a small, peppy engine backed by the Xtronic CVT continuously variable transmission. The great thing about these new CVT gearboxes is that they constantly have you and the vehicle operating in an ideal gear ratio for the demand, delivering the perfect balance of performance and fuel economy.
All Rogues are powered by the 2.5-liter DOHC inline four-cylinder engine producing 170hp and 175 lb. ft. of torque and can be ordered in front- or all-wheel-drive. We??ve had the opportunity to drive both with our most recent ride coming in FWD format.
Despite being the new ??entry?? crossover in the Nissan lineup, Rogue delivers quite a bit of content including electric power rack and pinion steering, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, front and rear stabilizer bars and independent front and rear suspensions, all riding on 17-inch wheels and tires.
The Rogue also includes a full complement of airbags (including side impact and head curtain) and front seat active head restraints ?? all standard. Also provided on every Rogue model is vehicle dynamic control, traction control and tire pressure monitoring system.
The Nissan Rogue will seat up to five (four adults in comfort) and rides like a champ on the road thanks to its car-like underpinnings. Even washboard-like dirt roads on recent wine trail excursions were no problem for the little Nissan.
With the air conditioning running full blast we found the powertrain to be quite sufficient even when passing vehicles or entering a freeway.
Previously, we??d wished for satellite radio and a navigation system in the Rogue, and it appears Nissan has listened as our 2009 tester came with both ?? XM-equipped Bose premium audio system and a Garmin NUVI 750 GPS nav unit mounted on the dash.
Our $21,810 2009 Nissan Rogue FWD tester in SL trim came to a final sticker price of $26,350 thanks to ?? among other things ?? the aforementioned electronics. EPA ratings are 22 mpg city and 27 mpg highway and we were able to get every bit of that even with the A/C running.
??As Nissan??s first entry into the crowded small crossover SUV field, Rogue needs to stand out, to be an overachiever,?? said Bosley. ??This philosophy not only applies to Rogue??s styling and performance, but also to its utility features, attention to quality and detail, and, of course, value. Rogue is the complete package.??