Make us your home page
The Daily Drivers | By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek, Times Staff Writers

The Daily Drivers: The Nissan Rogue is a peppy crossover

It's understandable if the Nissan Rogue gets overlooked in the crowded market for compact crossovers. We'd say that it's even overshadowed by its Nissan stablemates, the larger Murano SUV and the funky-styled Juke. Still, the Rogue deserves recognition.

Appearance: Lyra thinks the Rogue looks like a junior Murano. It's sleek, with simple lines and just enough bling to give it a sporty appearance: chrome grille and trim, optional 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and a huge hatchtop spoiler. Some may find the Rogue boring when compared with the competition, especially its fellow imports, but Peter likes its almost station wagonlike look and appreciates that the design hasn't been overworked.

Performance: The Rogue is agile and fun to drive, and it handles more like a car than an SUV (it's based on the Sentra sedan). The 2.5-liter, 170-horsepower four-cylinder (there is no V-6 option) is matched with Nissan's Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which can be loud on acceleration, and drones. (There is a sport mode that gives you higher revs, but don't expect a real performance gain.) The speed-sensitive electronic power steering gives just the right amount of assist. The ride is stable and comfortable, which is what you want in a crossover.

Interior: Like the exterior, the Rogue's five-passenger interior is simple and attractive, with quality materials (including the plastics) and soft-touch surfaces. Our tester, the SV trim, came with the premium option package that adds appearance and electronic goodies such as xenon headlights, fog lights, leather seats and a Bose audio system. The center console is minimalist, with a navigation screen that's on the too-small side at 4.3 inches. But there's a backup camera, which you'll find handy because the rear visibility isn't great. As part of the option package, there's also an "Around View" monitor (new for '12) that gives you a 360-degree bird's-eye view, a feature we've seen in Nissan's luxury Infiniti brand. There's also USB, Bluetooth and voice command. The perforated leather seats comfortable and can be heated, with good bolstering. But Lyra thought the front seats sat too high, even at the lowest setting. Peter liked the position, saying it made the crossover feel larger. Cargo space isn't class-leading. Lyra couldn't fit all her groceries in the cargo area. Folding the rear seats, which have a release that's easy enough for a child to operate, brings 57.9 cubic feet of space, which is augmented by the folding front passenger seat for long items.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Ride: It's one of the better-handling small crossovers.

Style: It says wagon, not SUV.

Interior: Simple, well laid out, with a nice mix of materials.

Lyra Solochek

Parking view: The Around View provides a bird's-eye view when parking.

Performance: Drives more like a peppy car than a top-heavy SUV.

Tunes: Drown out the CVT buzz with the Bose premium audio system.

The bottom line: We found the Rogue enjoyable to drive. Even with only 4 cylinders, it has adequate pep and personality. The negative is the transmission. If cargo room isn't a priority, this crossover is worth your consideration.

2012 Nissan Rogue SV

Price: $21,840 base start, $29,290 as tested

Powertrain: 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission with sport mode, FWD

Horsepower: 170 at 6,000 rpm

Torque: 175 pound-

feet at 4,400 rpm

Curb weight: 3,329 pounds


in inches:

Wheelbase, 105.9

Length, 183.3

Width, 70.9

Seats: 5

Fuel economy:

23 miles per gallon city, 28 mpg highway

Safety features: Airbags and curtains, vehicle dynamic control, traction control, ABS, energy-absorbing steering column, side-door beams, front and rear crumple zones

Options worth considering: Bose audio system, leather seats, navigation, moonroof, 18-inch alloy wheels


The Daily Drivers: The Nissan Rogue is a peppy crossover 02/24/12 [Last modified: Friday, February 24, 2012 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members


    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  3. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion


    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  4. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times


    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]