How do you set yourself apart in the compact crossover class? At the start, it was an easy task. You could build a vehicle that was similar in terms of power, equipment, and even design to competitors. It would sell because there was a small number of them. But in the past few years, the market has exploded with consumers buying crossovers like they are going out style. It seems every automaker is announcing either a new or redesigned model to take advantage of this. But there comes a problem with the expansion, how do you stand out? For Nissan, they decided to make their compact crossover very practical with a large cargo space and a third-row option. Thus, we have the 2016 Rogue.
The Rogue’s design can be described as a smaller and better Pathfinder. A lot of this comes down to the small size of the Rogue as the shape and lines seem to fit better on a small vehicle than the Pathfinder. The trademark V shape chrome bar is there, along with LEDs running along the edge of the headlights. Inside the Rogue, it’s nothing special to write about as there are not any fancy design cues or clever storage tricks. What you do get a is a well-built interior with controls that are easy to find and use. The Rogue earns more praise with comfortable and supportive cloth seats. Cargo space is towards the larger end of the class with 32 cubic feet behind the second row and increases to 74 cubic feet when the fold the second row.
Nissan says the Rogue is the only crossover in the class that offers the option of a third-row seat. But the third-row offers barely any legroom, even with the second-row pushed forward. Also, the space to get into the third-row is nonexistent. At least, the third-row is an option and one I would recommend skipping.
Power comes from a 2.5L four-cylinder making 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. Nissan’s Xtronic CVT is the sole transmission choice, but you do have the choice of either front or all-wheel drive. The performance of the 2.5 is sufficient around town as power comes on a decent and smooth rate. On the expressway is another story as the engine loses steam around 50 MPH and you’ll need to push the pedal almost to the floor to safely merge or make a pass. This also brings up the never-ending drone of CVT when you are trying to perform these tasks. The CVT does quiet down when you are cruising or driving around town.
In terms of fuel economy, the Rogue AWD is rated at 25 City/32 Highway/28 Combined. My average for the week came to 22.3 MPG. Disappointing at first glance, but it should be noted that the particular Rogue came in with only 620 miles. Once the vehicle is fully broken-in, I wouldn’t be surprised if it hits 25 MPG easily.
Nissan decided to go with a relaxed setting for the Rogue’s suspension. It was a good call as the Rogue provides one of the smoothest rides I have experienced in a compact crossover. Bumps and imperfections don’t make inside. Road and wind noise are kept to near silent levels.
Trying to set yourself apart in a crowded class is a difficult task. In the case the Rogue, Nissan has succeeded for the most part. It is quite a handsome vehicle with a well-built interior and provides a smooth ride. But the third-row option is a gimmick that should be shown the door and the powertrain needs a bit more. But for someone who wants a practical compact crossover, the Rogue is worthy of your consideration.
Much better looking than the larger Pathfinder
Large cargo area
Optional third-row is unusable
Engine runs out of steam quickly
Disclaimer: Nissan Provided the Rogue SV, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
Trim: SV AWD
Engine: 2.5L DOHC Four-Cylinder
Driveline: Xtronic CVT, All-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 170 @ 6,000
Torque @ RPM: 175 @ 4,400
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 25/32/28
Curb Weight: 3,554 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Smyrna, TN
Base Price: $25,940
As Tested Price: $29,595 (Includes $885.00 Destination Charge)
SV Premium Package - $1,620
SV Family Package - $940.00
Floor Mats with Cargo Area Protector - $210.00