2009 Nissan Rogue S Review
A little behind-curtain action for you: When I finished with the 2008 Nissan Murano, I asked Farago if he was interested in a "Take Two" review. He wasn't. As I had even less interest in writing one ("Ride is softer than butter… no! Softer than veal fat"), I didn't. Why waste time insulting a fat pig when I can be losing hundreds of dollars at online poker? As you can imagine, I wasn't exactly doing cartwheels when the Nissan Rogue showed up. For all I knew it was a half-pint version of its (uglier) big brother. And a CVT, too? I was upset. But was I right?
Certainly not in the looks department. Whereas the Murano has simply gone off the goofy-looking tracks, the Rogue is cute. Look at that face– you know your mother loves it. While not quite as Pokémon as other Japanese cars (hello Miata), the gawking headlights, trapezoidal Nissan badge area and Eli Manning mouth give the compact soft roader a definitive– if not distinctive– face. The Rogue's size helps. Or rather, lack there of. This is the first SUV-ish vehicle in a long time where I could see over the roof (I'm about 6' in heels). Just like kittens, smaller equals cuter. My only real gripe is with the Muranoized rear quarter windows. They ain't cute and do nothing but create irritating blind spots.
I won't lie to you: this is not the nicest interior in the world. But the Rogue won't lie to you either. There's no fake wood or carbon fiber and just one strip of fake aluminum per door. You won't even notice the latter. Starting with the bad, I really disenjoyed the front seats. They reminded me of furniture I used to take from peoples' lawns in college. And a Toyota Corolla.
The switchgear feels typical for the segment, meaning hollow and derived from petroleum. Same holds true for the plastic covering the dash and other surfaces. It's simply not Nissan's finest hour, especially in light of the fact that the Altima Coupe's interior is their finest hour. That said, the steering wheel was lifted from Datsun 280Z — just wonderful.
Everyone knows that few makers can build a V6 as well as Nissan. So color me surprised that the 2.5-liter four-cylinder in the Rogue feels hewn from the same superlative stock. Peppy and potent, the DOHC mill spins-up eagerly to its 6,250 rpm redline where it's generating 170 honest hp. Even better: the twisting grunt (175 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm). Certainly not world beating (or even class-leading)– until you realize that the Rogue weighs just 3,267 pounds. Drop your revisionist protestations; in 2008 that's light for any car. Which means the Rogue is quick.
At this point, you are probably upset about two things: 1) peak torque so high up in the rev range and 2) the Continuously Variable Transmission. To address the first issue, the motor spools-up so fast that you're in the power sweet spot almost instantly. As for the latter, I still experienced the same blue balls-inducing coitus interruptus effect that you get with all CVTs (save the rule-proving exception Lexus LS600hL). It's just not as upsetting. One of the big reasons is that the Rogue is actually powerful enough to avoid rocketing from 1,500 to 6,000 rpm at the slightest hint of incline. I can't believe I'm saying this, but the CVT isn't awful. Unless you're reversing up a hill. Then it is.
We've established the Rogue's quickness, but is it fleet of foot? Why yes, it certainly is. To me, this was the most surprising aspect of my time with the car. However, as I based my pre-conceived notions of Nissan CUVs on nothing but the Murano's grotesque, oafish ways, what was I supposed to think? Regardless, the Rogue feels young. Imagine a nine-month-old Labrador puppy. Forget that it's little more than a Sentra on stilts. It certainly has. When pressed to press-car limits you'll realize the Rogue's ultimate objective is understeer. But driving around most of the corners like most of the people most of the time, the Rogue is neutral, balanced and sporty. I'm as shocked as you.
Unlike the RAV4 and CRV that have become bloated, over-engined caricatures of their former svelte (and practical) selves, the Rogue is a surprisingly fresh little ride. In fact, the last time I recall liking a small trucklette this much was the first generation Honda CRV. Beating on a cliché, less is even more as I averaged more than the advertised 27 highway mpg. Tops in safety tests, too. If sitting high is your main criteria when selecting a vehicle, have I got a smart choice for you.
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- Redapple2 I d just buy one already sorted. Too many high level skills (wiring, paint, body panel fitment et. al.) that i dont have. And I dont fancy working 100 s of hours for $3 /hour.
- 28-Cars-Later I'm actually surprised at this and not sure what to make of it. In recent memory Senator Biden has completely ignored an ecological disaster in Ohio, and then ignored a tragic fire in Hawaii until his handlers were goaded in sending him and his visit turned into it's own disaster, but we skipped nap time for this sh!t show? Seriously? We really are through the looking glass now, "votes" no longer matter (Hillary almost won being the worst presidential candidate since 1984 before he claimed the crown) and outside of Corvette nostalgia Joe doesn't care let alone know what day it happens to be. Could they really be afraid of Trump, who AFAIK has planned no appearance or run his mouth on this issue? Just doesn't make sense, granted this is Clown World so maybe its my fault for trying to find sense in a senseless act.
- Tassos If you only changed your series to the CORRECT "Possibly Collectible, NOT Daily Driver, NOT Used car of the day", it would sound much more accurate AND TRUTHFUL.Now who would collect THIS heap of trash for whatever misguided reason, nostalgia for a much worse automotive era or whatever, is another question.
- ToolGuy Price dropped $500 overnight. (Wait 10 more days and you might get it for free?)
- Slavuta Must be all planned. Increase price of cars, urbanize, 15 minutes cities. Be poor, eat bugs