2017 Nissan Rogue Review and Comparison at Larry H. Miller Nissan San Bernardino in San Bernardino, CA

The Nissan Rogue is a top seller in the lineup--does that surprise you?                

It shouldn't. Because even though the Rogue isn't the most powerful, it's not the roomiest, it's not the cheapest, and it's not even the most fuel-efficient, it does one thing better than any other compact crossover SUV in its segment: it works out, and it can haul a ton of people around. It's the only model in its class with available seating for seven passengers--at least legally. (The Honda CR-V could probably fit more people inside of the physical vehicle, but if you get pulled over in the three-row Rogue SUV, you won't get a ticket.) But even for those who don't need the extra kid-room in the back and choose the five-seater Rogue, there's just something about the way it looks, the way it moves, and the way it just... works.               

That's probably why the Nissan Rogue is the best-selling model in the entire vehicle lineup for this automaker, and why it's actually one of the top-selling non-truck vehicles in the entire country--even though it's only been around since 2007. Still surprised? Let's get a little deeper into what makes the Rogue a nice fit for so many different styles, and you might warm up to the idea that a seven-seater, sub-powered, space-age-looking compact SUV could be the best all-around crossover.

Rogue V-Motion design language                

The first thing you'll likely notice about the Rogue: you can't miss it. And you can't mistake it for anything else--except maybe, now, the new Rogue Sport. Every detail has been shaped and sculpted to make it a standout style in the modern lineup of compact crossovers. Though the very first 2008 Rogue adopted the basic and demure design cues of a squashed wagon, Nissan has picked up some tricks over the years. The modern generation of Rogue SUVs carefully follows Nissan's V-Motion language that's played a hand in the design of models like the Murano, the GT-R, and the 370Z.               

The sporty angles and lines of the floating roof design, the V-Motion Grille, and the "boomerang" headlamps do a lot to make the Rogue look like a high-powered and heart-pounding SUV option. It's not, but it looks like one--and that's enough for many of the drivers shopping around for compact crossovers. It looks nice, it gets the job done, and there aren't really any surprises to catch you off guard.

Interior configurations offer just enough variety                

Because the Nissan Rogue is an entry-level offering in the lineup, you won't find any off-roading alterations, ultra-deluxe trim levels, or high-performance upgrades. What you will find, however, is a versatile and comfortable interior that offers an attractively laid-out design and a well-equipped cabin at every trim level. Standard features are practical and appreciated, but nothing out of the ordinary for a crossover in this price range; if you boost your budget to a pricier Rogue model, however, you can enjoy some finer amenities like heated leather seats, advanced driver assistance systems, a 360-degree camera, Zero Gravity Seats (ergonomically-advanced seats designed to mimic the effects of 0-G in space) and multiple levels of NissanConnect access--though Apple CarPlay/Android Auto aren't yet offered. Whether in the driver's seat or nearby as a passenger, the cabin is comfortable and supportive, and doesn't overdo it on the flash and flair.                

This SUV gives you choice of four trim levels, multiple package options, and two different configurations of seating (two or three rows)--and this variety is likely why the Rogue remains such a top seller. It can flex to fit needs that a lot of other compact SUVs in the market can't. Select models in the lineup can be equipped with a small third-row bench seat for a passenger capacity of up to seven; the seats for your sixth and seventh passengers aren't exactly spacious, and were not designed for those with an extensive length of leg. However, for the occasional trip or short commute with adults, the third-row seat can come in handy. Nissan's available EZ Flex Seating System places a nine-inch track at the floor of the vehicle, that allows you to slid, fold, tilt, and shift second-row seats for better access to, and comfort in, the third-row seat. Trim levels include the Rogue S, SV, Midnight Edition, and Rogue SL.

Cargo and storage areas                

This is where the Nissan Rogue really shines. Along with a comfortable interior, the Rogue is packed with smart new ways to store, seat, and satisfy just about anything that you're bringing along, from carpool-mates to dogs to groceries. And keeping your gear separate from the people you're carrying is even easier when you equip your Rogue with the Divide-N-Hide Cargo System. A collection of plastic planks and clever slots in the side of the cargo hatch mean you can section out different parts of the rear area to store items both large and small, and even hide away valuables so passerby peepers can't see what you're hauling.                

What may surprise you most about the Rogue is that it's really not that much smaller than the Murano--which is why it can handle that third-row seat. If you value space more than seating, though, and choose the two-row Rogue, you'll get a lot of cargo area for the price. The Rogue isn't the best in its class, but it's still pretty impressive: 40 cu. ft. behind the second row, and 70 cu. ft. behind the first row with the middle bench folded down. There are only a very small handful of crossovers that can match, or do better than, the Rogue, and they sure don't look as good. 

Well-rounded performance                

Here's where you might get a little lost on the "Why the Nissan Rogue is a best-seller" emotional journey: performance. But, stick it out for a minute. The Rogue offers only one engine choice across the entire lineup, even on its most expensive trim level: a 175-horsepower 2.5-liter inline-four that's good for just 175 pound-feet of torque. No turbochargers. No available six-cylinder. Not even a retuned four-cylinder for an ounce more power. If you want a city-sized SUV with more power, you'll need to set your sights on the Murano.               

If the Rogue maxes out at 170 HP, why is it such a rabid fan favorite? It's because the vast majority of small crossover shoppers are not looking for horsepower as their top priority. They're looking for a smooth driving feel; good safety; effective interior space; and practical fuel economy. And with a standard CVT, available Intuitive All-Wheel Drive with Active Ride Control, Active Trace Control, and Active Engine Braking, and good highway efficiency, the Rogue's got it. 

What do you think?                

The Nissan Rogue is a jack-of-all-trades among the Nissan lineup; a master of none, but a competent performer in just about everything. If what you're looking for is a nice, balanced SUV that can do a lot, doesn't cost a lot, and looks nice on the road, the Rogue is a good match. It's why this crossover remains a top seller across the industry.

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