What it is: Nissan's foray into the compact crossover segment. I know two things about compact SUVs: they are in huge demand and are flying off of dealer lots, and I am sick of typing the phrase 'compact SUV.' This segment is the choice of not only millenials purchasing their first new car, but are increasingly the choice of parents who still want a car with cargo capacity, but don't have the need for a giant SUV now that the kids have gone off to college.
The Nissan Rogue has been around since 2007, and was updated for the 2014 model year. They are actually assembled in Nissan's Tennessee plant. One of the unique features that immediately sticks out is the availablity of a third-row, split, fold-down seat for only $940. At first glance, you wouldn't think the Rogue could have the extra row of seating, but it provides a ton of flexibility in this price range.
My test model was the mid-level SV trim which gives you 17-inch aluminum wheels, power driver's seat, keyless ignition/entry, and builds off of some great base features like LED daytime running lights and a backup camera. It's $3,790 to jump up to the SL trim, which gets you 18-inch wheels, leather seats, navigation and other features.
All Rogues come with the same engine, a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder that puts out 170hp and 175 torque. You won't be towing much, but it is plenty to move the Rogue and several people around. I really enjoyed how smooth the Rogue was on the highway while also providing plenty of feedback into the steering.
My test model also came with the SV Premium Package, which for another $1,590 gets you navigation with a 7-inch LCD, Around View Monitor which provides a camera-based 360-degree view around the car when you are backing up, power liftgate, blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, and so on. My test model rang up at $28,170 with destination and came exactly how I would have ordered it. The Around View Monitor is one of the coolest safety systems and it is one of those features that if you get used to it, you will always want it in your car.
Price: $23,040 base price. $24,490 SV trim base price. $28,170 as-tested
Fuel economy: 26 city / 33 highway / 28 combined
Upsides: Great at everything it does
Wrap-up: Nissan did a stunningly good jub with the newest generation Rogue, and it is rated higher than Toyota, Ford and Chevy in recent ratings by KBB.com and US News. The only aspect that people weren't happy about was engine performance. While I feel it is adequate, I can see how people might want more oomph. The flip side is that the Rogue delivers a 26 city and 33 highway MPG rating that is sure to please everybody. The Rogue can carry cargo and seven people around extremely well and in a cost-efficient and comfortable manner. What more could you want?