Merriam-Webster and the Cambridge Dictionary both have several negative synonyms for “Rogue”. Perhaps it the desire to be different than has made the Nissan Rogue its most popular model in the US. We don’t see many crossovers come through here, especially ones with CVT gearboxes. So when Nissan sent us a fresh ’18 model we found it quite intriguing.
Traditional SUVs have all-but killed the crossover. And yet, Nissan has kept ahead of the curve when it comes to customer expectations. Holding top honors for IIHS crash safety tests, it is a good choice for a first driver. Unfortunately the upward curve of the C-pillars creates tremendous blind spots. Under the hood is a 2.5L four rated at 170 horsepower. This wouldn’t be enough if it had a traditional transmission, but the CVT keeps chugging at max power until you back off the accelerator.
Being a crossover, it understeers heavily when provoked, so your evasive maneuvers need to be subtle. Sound insulation is skinny, as road and tire noise are only drowned by the decent audio system. Built in Smyrna, Tennessee, build quality and paint are top notch. Although it is available in AWD, we would opt for FWD for the fuel savings. Every example built after 2017 arrives with automatic braking, rear cross traffic, and blind spot warning. The brakes and steering could use a bit more feedback, but the Rogue doesn’t pretend to be sporty.
Nissan understands that they will be used as family haulers. That’s why our dealers have great leasing options. Lastly, nobody suspects a Rogue. Pulling up to a bank in a white van might spark suspicion, but a Rogue is your message of malaise to the rest of humanity. You will not be pulled over because getting to 60 is an adventure unto itself. If you want to fly under the radar with 33 mpg on the highway, $24,500 doesn’t look bad at all.