2010 Rogue New Car Test Drive
The Nissan Rogue is a compact SUV. Based on a car platform, it's considered a crossover vehicle, like the Honda CR-V. The Rogue seats five and comes with a four-cylinder engine, as with the CR-V. No V6 is available, nor is there a third row for seven-passenger seating.
The Rogue is meant as a daily commuter, not an off-road adventure vehicle. Its all-wheel-drive system is intended for snow and rain, not rocks and mud. A so-called crossover, it's based on an economy-car platform. The towing capacity is only 1,500 pounds. The four-cylinder engine works well with the continuously variable transmission to provide decent pickup and frugal fuel economy.
Behind the wheel, the Rogue offers carlike ride and handling. We think it's one of the better handling small SUVs, but it's not sporty. The ride allows for a lot of road feel and can become harsh on rough and irregular surfaces. Road imperfections and engine sounds intrude into the cabin.
The cabin is pleasant, with materials that would look good in higher-priced vehicles. The controls are easy to use and understand, but the Rogue lacks creature comforts and gadgets filtering down to other low-priced vehicles. There is no navigation system, for instance.
An SUV should provide cargo utility, and the Rogue is up to the task. The rear seats fold flat and, on the Rogue SL, so does the front passenger seat to permit longer items to be loaded. In back, Nissan offers a handy cargo organizer that can keep groceries from sliding around and provide storage for muddy clothes.
The Rogue was introduced as a 2008 model, and changes since then have been minimal. For 2010, Rogue S models are now available with what Nissan calls the 360 Degree Value Package, which includes 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, privacy glass, a rear spoiler, a chrome grille, and a rearview monitor integrated into an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Nissan claims the package price saves about $1,000 compared to buying these options separately.
With prices starting around $20,000, the Rogue is a worthy competitor vs. the Honda CR-V. Its carlike road manners, cargo utility and prudent fuel economy make it appealing.
The Nissan Rogue is offered in two trim levels, S and SL. Each offers front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. All Rogue models have a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 170 horsepower mated to a continuously variable transmission. The all-wheel-drive system is meant for on-road use, and it does not include low-range gearing.
Rogue S ($20,340) and comes with cloth upholstery, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, four-way manually adjustable front seats, cruise control, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, remote keyless entry, AM/FM/CD stereo with four speakers and auxiliary input jack (but lacking MP3 capability), 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat, a single 12-volt power outlet, and 215/70R16 all-season tires on steel wheels. Rogue S is also available with all-wheel drive ($21,540).
The new 360 Degree Value Package ($1,040) adds 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, privacy glass, chrome grille, rear spoiler, and a rearview monitor integrated into an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Splash guards ($125) are the only other factory option for the S model.
Rogue SL with front-drive ($21,930) or all-wheel drive ($23,130) adds a six-way manually adjustable driver's seat, fold-flat front passenger seat, trip computer, an additional 12-volt power outlet, vanity mirrors, privacy glass, roof rails and a few other amenities. Tires upgrade to 225/60R17 on aluminum wheels.
Buying the SL also expands the option list. Exclusive to the SL are the Leather Package ($1,950), which includes leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated front seats, six-way power driver's seat with power lumbar, driver's one-touch power window, HomeLink, heated outside mirrors and auto-dimming inside mirror; and the Premium Package ($1,930) with seven-speaker Bose premium audio and six-CD changer, MP3 capability, XM Satellite Radio, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, speed-sensitive volume control, foldable rear cargo organizer, rear tonneau cover, fog lights, Bluetooth hands-free cell-phone link, Nissan Intelligent Key keyless ignition, and pre-wiring for a tow hitch. On all-wheel-drive SL's the Premium Package ($2,230) also adds xenon headlights with manual leveling. A power glass sunroof is available ($950) on either SL model. Dealer-installed accessories include floor mats ($185), a towing package ($450), and roof-rail crossbars ($100).
Safety features include dual front airbags, torso-protecting front side airbags, head-protecting side-curtain airbags with rollover sensors, front seat active head restraints, LATCH-style child seat anchors, tire-pressure monitor, ABS with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), and Vehicle Dynamics Control electronic stability control with traction control.