Nissan's pulled the wraps off its new Rogue crossover, which looks for all the world like a Hyundai Santa Fe, which, in turn, means it also looks like the Toyota RAV4 -- both of which are vehicles it's designed to compete directly against. We're not so sure we're into the flowy lines on the Rogue, and we prefer the more traditional look of the automaker's Euro-market Qashquai (a.k.a. Dualis in Japan). Sizewise, it slots in between the Santa Fe and Honda's CR-V, whose Pokemon-like styling is starting to look like a good move given the visual similarities seen in some of the competition.

The exterior, as we said, is very Hyundai-looking, with a swoopy, rising beltline, rounded side glass, and a softer-looking front end than any other Nissan CUV or SUV. There are similarities to the Qashquai up front, but the Qash is butchier and better-looking if you ask us.

The Rogue shares its architecture with the new Sentra, and comes with FWD standard, though AWD is available as an option. No matter how you trim it out, there's just a single powertrain option available: a 175-horsepower 2.4L four-banger connected to a CVT. If you want to control shifts yourself, you can add a set of optional paddles.

More analysis and additional photos after the jump...

[Source: Inside Line]

The interior of the Rogue looks like a winner. The standard seats are attractive two-tone cloth units, and the dashboard's look and layout are better than what we've seen in some Nissans from the recent past. It certainly appears to be a fine place in which to spend one's morning commute -- a task made even more tolerable if you add optional goodies like a Bose audio system, integrated Bluetooth, a trip computer, and heated leather seating.

According to Inside Line, pricing will start at around $20K, but once you add AWD and the options you want (which will undoubtedly come as part of package that Nissan forces you to take), look for that number to rapidly climb into the latter half of the $20Ks.

We'll give you a firsthand review after we check it out in the metal at the Detroit show. One thing's certain: the small CUV segment is getting more cutthroat by the minute.


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