Have you ever noticed that when you become even mildly obsessed with a vehicle, you begin to see them all over the place? That very thing happened to me the other day on my way to work in our 2009 Nissan Rogue tester. Traveling along the highway, it occurred to me that I had just noticed 5 Rogues within as many minutes. On the way home that day, I saw another 4. I had taken a different route, so no they weren’t the same ones I saw in the morning. Since that day, it feels like I’ve spotted at least a half dozen a day. I’m not going out of my way trying to find them, they just keep popping up all over the place. The funny thing is that prior to picking up our tester, I had the feeling that I hadn’t seen too many on the roads around Toronto.
The most common comment made by folks who saw me driving the Rogue was some variation of ” Hey, you’re driving a mini Murano!”. Now that’s a pretty big compliment, seeing as just about everyone loves the shape of the Rogue’s big brother. The comparison isn’t all that far off visually, as the shape is reminiscent of the Murano. Perhaps a fun ad campaign could be “Honey, I shrunk the Murano.” I must admit that I prefer the smaller Rogue’s shape more than the larger sibling.
Nissan has gotten very good at the interior branding game so you can get in most of their products and know without seeing the logo that you are in a Nissan. The Rogue strays from the family a bit, as it looks a bit more Euro than some of the others. Our SL tester had a full complement of leather that has a wonderful rich look and feel to it. The interior is just snug enough to coddle the occupants yet spacious enough to keep 3 kids from killing each other in the back seat.
Out back, the cargo space is larger than one might expect for a small SUV/CUV. Still, it isn’t quite big enough to tackle our 3 hockey bag test and carry the players too. We did manage to fit 2 bags back there though which is just fine for those families with only 2 skaters. Otherwise though, there was more than enough real world room to carry the weekly groceries for a family of 5. Most of the time, that is more than enough utility for most people.
Rogue is powered by Nissan’s award winning 2.5l 4 cylinder mated to a CVT transmission that sends power to your choice of the front wheels or all 4. Our tester was of the AWD variety which meant it was sure footed in the bit of snow we saw that week. I haven’t been a big fan of CVT transmissions, if only because I miss the sensation of shifting. Nissan has a solution for guys like me: paddle shifters. Ok, so they aren’t really shifting gears, but at least it feels that way. As one of the pioneers of CVT technology, Nissan has proven their long term reliability and they even help fuel economy by reducing the rpm spikes when shifting. We averaged about 9l/100km (30 mpg) for our week which is pretty close to the rated numbers which is a bit surprising for a vehicle with under 1000 km on it in the dead of winter.
Reading over my notes, I can’t help but feel that I haven’t fully conveyed how much I really enjoyed the Rogue. Everything about the vehicle just felt right. From the exterior size to the snug comfort of the interior coupled with usable cargo space. The Rogue is economical, yet fun to drive and looks great doing it. As we move forward into increasingly challenging economic and automotive times, the 2009 Nissan Rogue may just offer a glimpse of what the people movers of the future should be.