Compromised rear visibility, no telescoping steering wheel, engine drones under hard acceleration, fixed rear seat with no center armrest, less cargo space than competitors.
The 2009 Nissan Rogue is pleasant. You look at it — pleasant. You drive it — pleasant. Here's a little crossover SUV that isn't really outstanding in any area, yet seldom disappoints. Instead, the Rogue does most things well enough that it adds up to a very pleasant total. While it lacks the utility and passenger space of some competitors, this handsomely dressed Nissan compensates with its athletic character, relatively frugal fuel consumption and avant-garde style.
In particular, the Rogue fits the bill for young professionals who like the idea of sitting up high, but still want something stylish and fuel-efficient. Ditto parents of one or two small children who aren't ready to drive a stereotypical "mom mobile," yet are attracted to the added space and sense of security an SUV provides.
Other points in the Rogue's favor include its attractively simple interior controls, which are easy to use even though they're connected to some of the latest gadgets and gizmos. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) rewards those who go easy on the throttle with seamless acceleration and good fuel economy, though heavy throttle applications cause the engine to drone like an unhappy cow. The electric-assist steering couldn't be easier to turn in parking lots, yet unlike other electric steering setups, the Rogue's is respectably communicative at higher speeds, lending more driver confidence to control the vehicle.
In sum, the 2009 Nissan Rogue is a bit sportier than the typical compact crossover SUV without exacting any penalties in ride comfort or fuel economy, and its sophisticated style separates it from the conservative cute-ute pack of such perennial all-stars as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. In other words, it's perfectly pleasant.
While the 2009 Nissan Rogue's 8.6-second 0-60-mph dash is commendable, assessing its performance really depends on your driving style. When a Rogue first pulled into our garage a year ago, we were disappointed by the combination of its 2.5-liter 170-horsepower four-cylinder engine and the CVT. When driven in a manner commonly practiced by our lead-footed editors, the Rogue tended to sound like there was a weed wacker under the hood, droning on in a continuous moaning cadence since the transmission has no gears to transition between. On the highway, aggressive throttle applications caused the fuel miser CVT to yo-yo back and forth between low and high rpm. We found it annoying and declared the CVT to be poorly suited to less powerful engines, and our original verdict still stands if you're an aggressive driver.
However, this time around, we made sure to drive more prudently, like the average driver would. Specifically, we were sparing with the accelerator and kept pace with traffic flow rather than perpetually trying to get ahead of it. The Rogue is clearly intended to be driven in this manner. Not only does this strategy quell much of the engine's droning, it also provides smooth and quiet acceleration while maximizing the CVT's fuel-economy potential. In our week with the Rogue, we averaged 23.7 mpg. That's only a hair shy of the EPA's estimate of 24 combined mpg (22 mpg city/27 mpg highway), which is impressive given the amount of heavy traffic we drove in, along with a few strenuous handling evaluations on mountain roads.
Our positive previous impressions of the Rogue's steering and handling haven't changed. Unlike some other electric power steering systems, which tend to feel as though they're connected to a boat's rudder rather than a car's wheels, the Rogue's rack is actually well-weighted, and it transmits useful information to the driver's hands. Only when you're trying to pull a U-turn or maneuver into a parking spot does the steering lighten up to a video-gamelike effort level — where it's actually welcome. Around turns, the Rogue's tall profile and compliant suspension produce a fair amount of body roll, but it feels secure and well-planted in a way that many competitors don't.
The brakes were a slightly different story. Although they produced an excellent 121-foot panic stop from 60 mph, they also exhibited an odd bucking and skidding sensation with some directional instability. The Rogue manages to stop quickly, but be forewarned that it may be a wild ride.
With a long wheelbase and comfort-biased suspension tuning, the 2009 Nissan Rogue provides one of the most absorbent rides in the small crossover segment, yet it never feels floaty. Add the well-shaped and generously padded seats, and the Rogue is one comfortable little SUV. The driving position could be friendlier for taller drivers, though, as there is no telescoping steering wheel. The additional height adjustment that comes along with the optional eight-way power seats would have helped in this regard, but our modestly equipped SL test car had only six-way manual seats.
The rear seat is also nicely sculpted, and there's plenty of legroom, even with tall occupants up front. Unfortunately, the seat doesn't recline or slide fore and aft, as do those in the RAV4 and CR-V, among others. The rear headrests also don't adjust, and there's no center armrest. However, there was plenty of space for a front- or rear-mounted child seat in any of the rear positions, though the fixed headrest bumps can make mounting the seat a bit of a pain.
The Rogue's instruments and interior controls are a model of straightforward simplicity. The heating and air-conditioning are controlled by three large knobs with clear markings, and the similarly well-labeled stereo features a conveniently large display. Our one request is for Nissan to relocate the auxiliary audio jack from the radio faceplate to the center storage bin, making it easier to secure an iPod and keep the iPod cord out of the way. We also missed the optional wheel-mounted stereo controls not fitted to our test car.
Interior storage spaces are quite useful. You could probably fit a toaster inside the glovebox, while door bins, cupholders, the center armrest compartment and small console cubbies add to the front cabin's versatility. Cargo space could be better, though. Although the trunk is large enough to carry golf clubs, a large suitcase and a baby stroller, these items are a tighter fit than in larger crossovers like the RAV4 and CR-V. Compared to those two, the 2009 Nissan Rogue features about 15 fewer cubic feet of maximum cargo space when the back seat is folded down, and lift-over height is also higher.
That cargo space deficit is mostly a consequence of the Rogue's tapered roof line, which also plays havoc with rear visibility. The tiny rear-quarter windows and rising beltline can make backing out of a parking spot an adventure, while the tall, thin back window will make you wish Nissan made parking sonar available.
Design/Fit and Finish
Our test vehicle was a sparsely equipped Rogue SL, yet cabin quality was still very good. Soft-touch materials covered the dash, trim pieces fit together well and the seat fabric felt good and seemed durable enough. We'd question picking the light gray interior if you have children, as it appears likely to stain. Switchgear for windows, stalks, stereo and climate controls push and turn smoothly. After 14,000 miles of use, though, some of our test car's radio preset buttons were smoother in the center — like the keys on a well-worn keyboard.
Who should consider this vehicle
Someone looking for a fuel-efficient and comfortable small crossover for everyday commuting duties, for whom styling takes precedence over utility. If utility is a top priority, the RAV4 or CR-V may make more sense. For a middle ground between style and utility, try the Mitsubishi Outlander.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
2009 Nissan Rogue Overview Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2009 Nissan Rogue and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2009 Rogue featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2009 Nissan Rogue and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2009 Rogue 4.1 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2009 Rogue.
Vehicle S 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
Review Bought this Rogue for my daughter 2 years ago. It was very well cared for with 95,000 miles. New brakes, tires, and all scheduled maintenance was done. We have had no problems (ex a torn axle boot) in 2 years and 22,000 miles. This is our favorite car (we have 4) as it has a great balance of economy, handling, comfort, and build quality. The interior is quieter and classier than the CRV or RAV 4. Plenty of room to move the kids in and out of college. When I drive the car I average around 27 mpg both city and highway, not bad for an AWD SUV. The handling/ride combination is good. The car is quite nimble compared to by 2003 Lexus RX 300. Ours has all options but for NAV so there is little lacking. We will consider another used Rogue when one of our other cars needs replaced. Living in New England the AWD is a must. I would personally prefer to drive a car over most SUV's but not this Rogue. I honestly like the car that much. As of October 2016 now have 131K miles on the car and all is well. No problems and still drives well. 136K miles and getting a small rumble when first accelerating. Sounds like a loose heat shield or exhaust item. Hope it isn't the CVT failing which has been an issue on early production Rogues. Otherwise still happy with the car.
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Available Nissan Rogue 2009 Submodel Types: SUV, Hybrid
Available Trims: SV, S, SL, SL Hybrid, SL SULEV, S SULEV, S Krom Edition, SV Hybrid
Exterior Colors: Magnetic Black, Brilliant Silver, Gun Metallic, Pearl White, Super Black, Palatial Ruby, Caspian Blue, Glacier White, Cayenne Red, Midnight Jade, Arctic Blue Metallic, Platinum Graphite, Graphite Blue, Gotham Gray Metallic, Wicked Black, Moonlight White, Black Amethyst, Silver Ice Metallic, Phantom White Pearl, Monarch Orange, Indigo Blue Metallic, Venom Red Pearl, Iridium Graphite Metallic, Saharan Sun, Frosted Steel, Indigo Blue, Orange Alloy Metallic
Interior Colors: Charcoal cloth, Charcoal leather, Almond cloth, Black cloth, Almond leather, Black premium cloth, Gray cloth, Platinum Reserve premium leather, Gray premium cloth, Black leather, Gray leather, Black/Red cloth
Popular Features: Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Aux Audio Inputs, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, USB Inputs, Bluetooth, AWD/4WD, Back-up camera, Power Driver Seat, Auto Climate Control, Post-collision safety system, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Heated seats, Keyless Entry/Start, Navigation, Pre-collision safety system, Automatic Emergency Braking, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Remote Start, 360-degree camera, Sunroof/Moonroof, Leather Seats, Upgraded Headlights, Lane Departure Warning, Upgraded Stereo, Adaptive Cruise Control, Third-row seating