The SL Package essentially creates a new trim level, and with it also comes a rear exterior "SL" badge to identify it as such.
Our vehicle also had splash guards and a floor-mat/cargo-protector package.
Introduced for 2008, the Rogue has become one of Nissan's best-selling vehicles. And you don't have to upgrade to the higher levels to have a well-equipped Rogue.
Standard even on the S model are such features as an iPod connection, six-way manually adjustable driver's seat, illuminated vanity mirrors and, of course, air conditioning, power windows and door locks with remote control, and cruise control.
There is room for five in the Rogue, although the middle position on the rear bench seat is best left to a small child or a child seat.
Front passengers are quite comfortable in the bucket seats; rear outboard riders have plenty of space, too, if they're average size or smaller.
Folding down the rear seatback, which has a 60/40 split, can expand that area significantly. The front passenger seatback also folds down to accommodate long items, such as snow skis.
The Rogue has ample power for everyday driving, especially when the car isn't fully loaded. Power is delivered smoothly through the CVT, even on hills. Handling is more like that of a compact sport sedan than a utility vehicle, and steering is tight and precise.
Nissan says the all-wheel drive is designed primarily for driving on wet and slippery roads, including snow, but it offers better traction on gravel and other unpaved road surfaces, as well in tight turns on fun roads like those you'll find in the Hill Country.
But the system is not designed for serious off-road driving, as there is no transfer case for low-range gearing, and the Rogue has limited ground clearance.
The backup-camera system is standard on the SV model. On the S model, 16-inch steel wheels are standard; the SV models come with 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
Among other SV standard amenities are a six-way power driver's seat, four-way manual passenger seat, cloth seats, manual tilt steering wheel, power windows/mirrors/door locks with remote, the illuminated visor mirrors, dual front and rear cupholders, front door map pockets, front seatback map pockets, dual overhead map lights, a front center console with armrest and storage cubbies, and two 12-volt power outlets.
The truly cool Around-View Monitor was added for 2012 - and the Rogue is the first non-luxury vehicle to get this feature, formerly found only in some of the Infiniti models. (Infiniti is Nissan's premium brand.)
The Around-View Monitor uses four separate cameras - one in front and back, one on each side-view mirror, to project a 360-degree overhead view of the car and its surroundings on the navigation screen.
2013 NISSAN ROGUE:
-The package: Five-door, five-passenger, front- or all-wheel-drive, four-cylinder, compact crossover utility vehicle.
-Advantages: Nissan's compact crossover has edgy styling and a long list of standard amenities.
-Negatives: Rear seat is tight for three people; no engine upgrade offered.
-On the Road rating: 9.1 (of a possible 10).
-Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder.
-Transmission: Continuously variable automatic.
-Power/torque: 170 horsepower/175 foot-pounds
-Length: 182.9 inches.
-Curb weight: 3,267-3,460 pounds.
-Brakes, front/rear: Disc/disc, antilock.
-Side air bags: Front seat-mounted; side-curtain for both rows.
-Electronic stability control: Standard.
-Cargo volume: 28.9 cubic feet (behind second seat).
-Major competitors: Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Outback, Jeep Patriot, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson.
-Base price range: $22,310-$29,950
-Price as tested: $$28,975
All prices exclude destination charges.
ABOUT THE WRITER
G. Chambers Williams III has been an automotive columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1994.
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