It’s not that unusual for car manufacturers to continue selling an older version of a model even after they unveil a newly-redesigned version. That’s the case with Nissan’s Rogue, which will keep the 2013 model around - although branded with the tag “Rogue Select” - next year when it rolls out the updated 2014 model.
Good idea, because Nissan sells a lot of Rogues - it’s their second-best selling model overall - and they wouldn’t be able to keep up with demand while their new plant in Tennessee gets up to speed. That would translate to some angry dealers. Thus, the dual sales for a while.
Considered by a small crossover utility vehicle, the Rogue appeals to people who want some cargo capacity and utility traits in a lower-priced version. You won’t be overwhelmed by the storage room, which is modest at best, but the little car is a trooper in other areas.
I thought the handling and general driving performance were good, although the 4-cylinder engine won’t push you back into the seat. At times the CVT (continuously variable transmission) seemed to groan, churning along even at highway speed as it makes the most of its 170 horsepower.
Even without a monster engine, though, the Rogue eeks out only 24 mpg in combined city/highway driving in AWD. Front-wheel-drive models manage a touch more.
On the plus side, Nissan always does a great job by offering intuitive, simple controls for everything on the dash. The climate and audio controls don’t require the manual to figure out. And, after all, aren’t those the two things we’re most interested in, anyway? (Think I’m joking? There are more than a few manufacturers who haven’t learned this trick.)
The interior materials are not lush, but they’re also not shoddy; for the price, you get good workmanship. Comfortable seats and a smooth ride give the Rogue a car-like feel, rather than a crossover or SUV. And despite the minimal cargo storage in the back, the cockpit storage is sufficient.
The Rogue comes in a couple of different trim sizes, the S and the SV. As for options, you can choose between the Premium package - which adds things like a sunroof, nav system, and upgraded sound - and the SL package. The latter delivers alloy wheels, xenon headlights, heated side mirrors and front seats, and the 360-degree backup camera system.
I drove the SV model with all-wheel-drive and the SL options package, and the total price tag checked in just under $31k. It’s a good price for a reliable, unpretentious crossover vehicle.
Reviewed by Dom Testa. Vehicle provided by the manufacturer.