Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nissan Rogue - Today's Wagon

I'm just winding up a week with the Rogue, Nissan's compact crossover. The verdict? Nice, but the average mileage from the 2.5-liter, 170-horsepower inline four-cylinder engine was kind of low--just 20.6 mpg. The EPA gives the car 23 City, 28 Highway (average 25) so maybe I'm being leadfooted--but I don't think so.

With the popularity of this vehicle type, especially from Toyota, Honda and Ford, Nissan needed a competitor, so the Rogue arrived a few years ago. It has surprisingly restrained styling for a Nissan--home of the Cube, Juke and Xterra. But the Rogue takes its looks from the larger Murano--one of the original car-based, laid-back windshield crossovers. It's fluid rather than urban youth oddball or off-road chunky.

Inside, it's plenty roomy, and my car, with the SL package, had heated leather seats among its many upgrades. That's what brought the price to $5 over $29,000. Didn't that used to be the price of a luxury car?

What used to be luxury accommodations are, today, normal car equipment, so maybe that's not unreasonable. The Rogue flies virtually silently along the freeway, darts in and out of traffic with a gentle tug of the steering wheel, and never feels out of breath. The Bose audio system sounds great, but the continuously variable transmission makes that gearless moan that's not sporty sounding.

The window sticker contains this slogan: More than you expect. Everything you deserve. I wonder who crafted that? Other than the disappointing fuel economy, I guess it does sum it up. This is a car to enjoy in the daily haul, and with the rear seats dropped, it can schlep plenty. But it's not an enthusiast's ride.

1 comment:

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