There's no question this second-gen Rogue is an improvement over the original. It's worth a look if comfort and space are main priorites, plus it's available with a third-row and all-wheel drive. But all is not perfect, thanks to the lackluster performance of the continuously variable transmission (CVT), sub-par fuel economy, poor outward visibility and a generally unengaging driving experience.
PerformanceBecause this is a CVT paired with a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, the Rogue accelerates tepidly off the line, more so than many rivals. Its handling, though well mannered, is characterized by soft response to inputs.
The engine has adequate low-end torque, but can only do so much to control the high-rpm drone and engine noise caused by the CVT's operation. Acceleration is reasonable but uninspiring, with 0-60 mph in 9.3 sec.
Pedal feel is soft with a long travel, but it doesn't inhibit daily use. The Rogue's panic-stop distance of 124 feet from 60 mph is about average for the segment.
Steering effort is fairly high on the Rogue, but not enough to bother anyone. There's feedback to guide it with confidence at moderate speeds, but don't expect to attack any backroads.
The Rogue isn't the sportiest choice in the compact SUV segment. It exhibits ample body roll when taking corners with verve. But there's good control and it gives the driver confidence.
There's a "rubber-band" sensation typical of CVTs, meaning a noticeable delay between applying the gas pedal and the delivery of actual acceleration. In most other ways the Rogue is an easy-driving vehicle.
Though the Rogue has the ability to tow a trailer, its 1,000-pound capacity is low even for this segment.
The Rogue offers more hardware for light off-roading than most of its counterparts. The all-wheel-drive model includes a locking center differential, hill descent control and brake-lock differentials front and rear.
ComfortMost buyers will be satisfied with the Rogue's ride comfort. It's not the softest in the class, but it's also not the stiffest. The front seats are particularly comfortable.
Front seat comfort is excellent, with six-way power adjustment plus lumbar. Nissan's attention to detail here is noticable. Heated front seats are standard on SL models. The backseat area has air vents for passengers.
Decently smooth ride in spite of the large, 18-inch wheels on our top-level SL test model. An easy-going SUV that makes long days seem shorter.
Some mild engine thrumming is apparent at the very low speed the engine is often turning because of the CVT. Otherwise, the Rogue's wind and road noise levels are acceptable.
InteriorThe Rogue's interior utilizes quality materials which are assembled well. Plastics are soft touch and leather surfaces feel genuine. Third-row seating is available on S and SV models. We do have a few ergonomic gripes, though, and outward visibility is pretty poor.
The turn signal stalk is too far from the steering wheel, and the infotainment screen is a bit of a reach. We've also had some iPhone pairing issues. Other controls are within easy reach and intuitive to use.
Though its seat height is taller than some, getting in and out of the Rogue is still relatively easy. The doors open nice and wide, revealing large entryways.
You'll won't feel confined in the Rogue whether in the front or back. The rear seats offer 9 inches of fore/aft adjustment and there's a good sense of space in both rows.
Although the windshield pillars are slim enough, the remaining pillars are on the thick side which greatly inhibits rear-quarter visibility in some situations. A rear-view camera is standard on all trim levels. It needs it.
At 39.3 cu-ft with the second row up and 70 cu-ft with seats folded, the Rogue's cargo area is better than most rivals. Unique configurable cargo area. The power liftgate's convenience is hampered by slow operation.
ValueThe Rogue provides the features we'd expect at this price, such as Bluetooth, navigation, uplevel interior trim and a variety of safety features. Its value is hurt by some infotainment glitches, disappointing fuel economy and the lack of standard roadside assistance.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Interior materials and assembly quality are good. Buttons and knobs are above average in feel. But we've have had some infotainment system "crashing" issues and have noticed a few creaks from the cargo area.
The Rogue separates itself with powertrain features like a locking center differential and hill descent control as well as a configurable cargo area. Infotainment system is among the easiest to use, if a bit of a reach.
You'll pay a fair price for the Rogue relative to others in the class. Though it?s not significantly less expensive, it does cost marginally less in top trim than its chief rivals.
The Rogue AWD has a class-leading EPA rating of 28 mpg Combined (25 City/32 Highway). Real-world mpg isn't as good with just 26.4 mpg on our evlauation loop and 24.5 mpg over 20,000 miles.
The basic warranty of 3 years/36,000 miles and drivetrain coverage for 5 years/60,000 miles are competitive numbers for the class.
Without free maintenance or roadside assistance, the Rogue lacks benefits offered by several of its key competitors.
Fun To DriveThe Rogue isn't a vehicle you'll want to drive like a sports car, but its combination of all-weather/dirt-road utility and a reasonably high-quality, multi-configurable and super-comfortable interior make it a desirable family vehicle.
Car-savvy consumers might be annoyed by the antics of the CVT, and we wish the Rogue offered more driver engagement. Plentiful features give it capability and usefulness, and its ride is comfortable for long trips.
Nissan has hit a sweet spot with the Rogue when it comes to its useable interior along with good capabilities from behind the wheel. It's not the best handling compact SUV, rather it's a jack-of-all trades.