News Column

Nissan Rogue is More Car Than SUV

April 9, 2009

Ralph Gray, for

nissan rogue, test drive, hands on, car suv

With the Nissan Rogue, the evolution of car-based sports utilities seems to have peaked.

The Rogue is nearly all car. It does retain much of the utility of a SUV. But it's mostly car.

That's good. It rides like a car--very comfortably. It handles like a car, competently on curves with well- controlled lean.

Rogue accelerates like a car--8.3 seconds 0 to 60 mph. That's remarkable given the four cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission. The 2.5L churns out 170 horsepower and drives the front-wheels. All-wheel drive is available for mainly on-road usage.

And like a good car, the Rogue is undemanding of the driver. The lightly bolstered seats are high for a good driving position. The radio has but one round knob not two.

Vision to the rear is severely restricted by the stylish sheet metal. Side mirrors are truck-like large, though.

The Rogue is handy around town and well up to cross country touring. Luggage space is at a premium, though.

There's four wheel disc brakes with anti-locking to go with vehicle dynamic control.

Standard equipment in the $21,810 base vehicle includes tilt steering column, cruise control, air conditioning, a trip computer and something called "mood lighting" (untested.)

Step up to the premium package and a total $25,400 in the tested vehicle and add these goodies: a killer sound system, audio controls on steering wheel, fog lights and a navigation system.

There's pre-wiring for a towing hitch--maximum weight 1,500 pounds. So don't expect to see long lines of Rogues towing more than kayaks.

Fuel economy is 22 city and 27 highway in either model--except when towing.

So car-like plus is just fine for the Nissan Rogue.

Nissan Rogue Sl Fwd

Engines...2.5L I-4.

Dimensions...105.9" wheelbase; 182.9" length.

Base price...$21,810/tested $25,400.

Fuel economy...22/27 mpg.

Source: (c) 2009. All rights reserved.

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