Merriam-Webster defines “Rogue” as a man who causes trouble in a playful way. Nissan has taken this to heart with their latest version of the popular midsize crossover. We spent a week with a front-wheel-drive SL model and it was more of a problem solver than a trouble maker.
This new generation Rogue is a North American version of their X-Trail, which is sold in Japan. It rides on the “Common Module Family,” which is architecture shared between Nissan and Renault. Body styling is conservative, taking cues from the Juke & Murano. Like most other new models, LEDs have replaced traditional bulbs for the exterior lighting. Careful attention has been paid to aerodynamics, and the new sleek shape has reduced the coefficient of drag to a smooth 0.33; one of the lowest on the market.
Crossovers powered by four cylinder engines are here to stay. Sacrificing the fun factor for fuel mileage is a prudent move, especially when coupled with a continuously variable transmission. This combination allows the Rogue to be rated at 33 mpg highway. The thrifty engine makes 170 HP and 175 lb-ft of torque. It can seat seven comfortably and still hold a decent amount of cargo, which is a definite win in our book. The ride is very soft due to the car-based construction, yet significant body roll in the corners forces the tires to become unhappy in evasive maneuvers. The engine and transmission are quiet, almost barely noticeable. If you prefer to fly under the radar, this is the crossover for you.
Loaded with a plethora of standard content, the interior is more Infiniti than Nissan. Nine Bose speakers have Bluetooth, USB and iPod connectivity, Sirius XM weather and NavTraffic. Also standard are stability and traction control systems along with side impact and curtain airbags. Cameras placed around the body portray a 360 degree view of the surroundings. A powered panoramic moonroof and LED headlights push the MSRP to $31,265. If you want a Japanese crossover built in the USA, the Rouge offers a unique blend of utility and efficiency.