Dictionary.com defines rogue as the following:
1. a dishonest, knavish person; scoundrel.
2.a playfully mischievous person; scamp: The youngest boys are little rogues.
3.a tramp or vagabond.
That being the definition of rogue, it seems odd that Nissan product planners would slap such a name to a mild-mannered crossover. Especially when you consider the Nissan Juke. But as confusing a name choice the Rogue may be, it is a legit player in the red-hot small CUV market. This is a car than can stand with the best there is on the market now, but what’s special about the Rogue? Read on to find out…
The Rogue has been on the market for three model years now, and for 2011 received a mild exterior refresh. If the Rogue strikes you as sort of a mini-Murano, my guess is that was intentional. For a small CUV, our Rogue certainly had an upscale look, with chrome door handles, body side moldings and exhaust tip, silver roof rails and tasteful 18″ alloys. The Rogue dresses up quite nicely, thank you, but our car’s Frosted Steel exterior left me a bit cold (pun intended).
Inside, the Rogue offers a comfortable, if slightly uninspiring interior. It takes no time at all to situate yourself in the Rogue-all controls are easy to read and logically placed. The quality of materials cannot be faulted, and I found the quality of the leather seats to be above average for this class of car. The steering wheel was a joy to hold-just the right size.Ã‚Â Although flat, the seats were quite comfortable. I’ll give Nissan credit for quality and comfort, but a little something to spice up the interior would go a long way here.
The Rogue is offered with a 2.5L four rated at 170hp-sorry folks, no optional V-6 here. The only tranny is a CVT. Buyers have a choice between front and all-wheel drive. Nissan makes the best Continuously Variable Transmissions out there, but as a car guy, nothing sucks the soul out of a car more than a CVT. While the car companies who invest in CVT’s insist this boosts fuel economy, I have one question for Nissan: the Honda CR-V is more powerful than the the Rogue, has a 5-speed automatic, yet produces gas mileage that is nearly identical, so why make Rogue buyers suffer the motorboating effect of a CVT?
The Rogue was our ride to my family’s annual Memorial Day party on the coast of Rhode Island, and the Rogue performed brilliantly. We set the GPS navigation, enjoyed the XM Satellite radio, comfy seats, and quiet cabin. Once at speed, the Rogue offered a supple yet not at all floaty ride. Cruising down I-95 at 80mph the Rogue felt cool as a cucumber, and felt capable of doing so all day long.
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, Nissan gave The Garage the top-spec Rogue. Our Rogue SV AWD comes with a base price of $24,470USD. Standard equipment includes power driver’s seat, XM Radio, Bluetooth, rearview monitor, and keyless entry. The optional SL package added heated leather seats, navigation, Bose premium audio, power moonroof, xenon headlights and 18″ alloys, for an as-delivered price of $29,305. Sure, this is the higher end of the price scale for small CUV’s, but in this case the Rogue has the content to back up the price. Still, the Rogue as tested here is only about three grand shy of the more prestigious Acura RD-X, and for the car enthusiast, I’d direct him to the VW Tiguan for the same money but a much sportier ride. That said, the Rogue is a competent package that should hold mass appeal to the majority of crossover buyers. Nissan’s attempt to bring the Rogue upmarket should serve it well, even if the name of the car makes no sense.