By on March 14, 2015


Back when I was a kid in the 90s, the word “select” seemed to mean something. Our town of 30,000 had one select soccer team which entertained over a hundred kids at tryouts every year for fifteen coveted spots.  We had one select baseball team—a team that was so good that a future major leaguer got cut from it. To be considered “select” was to among the most elite of the elite. You had to be, you know…selected.

Well, nowadays, “select” soccer teams are limited to the number of kids whose parents can afford to write a check for the uniform.  My little suburb now has five entries into the regional select soccer league, and there are multiple other leagues that have sprung up, as well. Anybody who wants to be “select,” or more to the point, anybody whose parents want to say that they had a kid on the “select” soccer or basketball or baseball team, can do so.

Therefore, it makes sense that in today’s “You’re all winners!” society that the worst vehicle that ever I’ve had the misfortune to drive is called “Select.” To be more specific, it’s called the Nissan Rogue Select.

For the 2014 model year, Nissan introduced a new version of its compact CUV, the Rogue. However, as is prone to happen when new models are released, the Rogue’s MSRP crept into the mid-twenties, leaving Nissan without a player in the fleet and entry-level crossover market.

Never fear. The tooling already existed for Nissan to continue cranking out the old version of the Rogue with limited content—we’ll call this the “Malibu” Classic approach.  It’s difficult to know how successful this has been from a sales perspective, as Nissan fails to separate the Select from the regular Rogue in its sales reporting. However, on the fine Nebraska winter day when I was given a brand-new Rogue Select with less than 1K on the clock as an “upgrade,” the Select was abundantly available at the rental car counter.

It’s at this point in most of the buff book reviews that they talk about the glorious locale that the OEM has selected for the press preview. Well, for my glamorous trip, I was going to drive from Omaha, Nebraska to Des Moines, Iowa on I-80 East, and then back again on I-80 West. It’s straight. It’s relatively flat. It’s 117 miles. There are no lights. There are barely any exits. There’s a whole lot of nothing. And when you think about what most people who would consider purchasing a Rogue Select plan to do with it, it’s a perfect proving ground.

Since I have no desire to hurt anybody at Nissan’s feelings, we’ll use the POP (Positive-Opportunity-Positive) method of reviewing the Rogue Select.



At no point did I feel like the Select was going to break down. It provided reliable transportation.

The gas mileage was not horrific. Although my trip was 100% highway miles, which should have returned around 28 MPG according to the EPA, I averaged 24.2 MPG.

Ummm…give me a second. I’m sure I can think of something else. Hmmm. Okay, I’ve got nothing. Let’s move on to the Opportunity part.


The visibility was horrible. The A pillar is positioned so that the Rogue Select manages to do something I hadn’t previously experienced in a car—it has a forward blind spot. Parking became an adventure.

It took me a solid two minutes of looking to find the side mirror adjusting knob. It wasn’t near the mirrors, or on the center console, or near the power windows. Nope, it was right above the hood release.


The stereo sounded somewhat like two tin cans tied together with string. Each adjustment I made to the EQ made it worse. It was unable to figure out how to read my iPhone 5S, either via USB or Bluetooth. I got this message every time that I tried to use it.


Luckily, though, you’ll drown out the stereo every time you use the accelerator—and not in a good way. The Select protests vehemently any time the go pedal is used in aggression, and the tire noise on the highway is downright offensive.

There was no seating position that I could find over the course of four hours that was even remotely comfortable. There was a large hump in the middle of the seat back that forced my 5’9″ frame into a sort of contortionist pose. I was either too far back for my legs or too close for my arms, no matter what I did.

The CVT had real problems with things like “hills.” At the slightest hint of an incline, the CVT lurched, forcing the engine to whine and complain up to about 4500 RPM.

The cargo area was insufficient for a 27″ suitcase.

In theory, it was AWD, but the button that was smartly situated right below the Power Windows adjuster did absolutely nothing when I pushed it. I’m sure that this could be remedied by reading the owner’s manual, but its function was in no way intuitive.

The “Frosted Steel” color of the exterior was just plain offensive. I hadn’t seen a car company ruin “Blue” up until this point. I have now.

These wheel covers are the automotive equivalent of Dick Van Dyke’s British accent in “Mary Poppins.” In other words, nobody is fooled.


The back seat was barely any roomier than you’d find in another Nissan offering—the Versa. I sat in the back for a second, just to check it out, and immediately I wanted to get out. Fine for children, but adults will get claustrophobic in a hurry.

You’d think a car this lame would at least have an awesome price, right? Nope. A 2015 Rogue Select, configured exactly like this one, will run you $23,255. Do you know what else you could get for $23,255? You’re about a grand away from a Chevrolet Equinox, which is light years away from this thing. Heck, you’re only a couple of hundred bucks away from a Honda CR-V. You could buy this E-Class Wagon two and a half times! Oops, wrong site. But you catch my drift, yo. For as terrible as this vehicle is, you’re not saving nearly enough money to make it worth the suffering.


Oh, man, I have to come up with another positive now? Well, it did have a USB port. Although it proved to be completely useless for actually reading my iPhone, it did prove to be suitable for charging it. No, wait, I’ve got another one. The steering wheel buttons were intuitive and functioned well. Whew.



It would be one thing if the Rogue Select were only available for fleet/rental usage, but Nissan actually has the nerve to sell this thing as a retail unit to the general public. If you could get one for $18K, I could maybe see a purpose for it as a Kia Soul fighter. However, at $20K and above, it’s just light years behind its competition, and literally a model year or two behind, as well. The only thing this car should be selected for is a Buy Here Pay Here lot in about three years.

It’s the worst new car value in today’s marketplace, period.


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58 Comments on “Rental Car Review: 2015 Nissan Rogue Select...”

  • avatar

    Try selling/servicing those crap cans. BTW- wait until th temp gets over 80 degrees and your driving in the mountains. You can kiss that worthless CVT goodbye.

  • avatar

    “Select” no longer means what it used to. Nor do “Custom”, “Classic”, “De Luxe”, or “Limited.”

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      I think Nissan went with Select because a company actually owns a trademark for Classic.

      Carmax has them new with AWD for as little as$19.2K. The Rogue Select is really old by US market standards, how long is it sticking around for?

    • 0 avatar

      To be fair, Ford used Custom (because aftermarket Customization is the only way you’re getting any features) as the base trim for decades. My ’90 F150 Custom didn’t even have FM radio from the factory.

  • avatar

    It’s funny because I see the older rogues everywhere. They were really popular at launch. Last Christmas my neighbor had 5 parked in his driveway.

  • avatar

    My mom has a thing for Nissan, not sure why, but that’s where she goes when it’s time for a new car.

    She really liked the look of the Rogue, and went intending to buy one. A good old-fashioned test drive talked her out of it… She ended up buying a Cube. Lesser of the two evils?

    • 0 avatar
      Menar Fromarz

      Here is my issue. Wifey has a cube, we thought it would be a funky choice for her. Until the dreaded steering lock module failed. And then required a tow to the dealer. Sixty miles away. And then 940 $ with no warranty. Apparently these things fail and God help you if your out of the three year warranty. I had no idea. I do now, but the cube goes, we have absolutely no faith in a maker that includes technology like that, and won’t stand behind it. All so you don’t have to put the damn key in and turn! Asshats!

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah pull the fuse while the car is running to disable the steering lock completely. It was a total WTF moment when I read about it on the Altima forums, but you damn well better believe I did it proactively.

        Thank goodness my fiancee didn’t get the used Quest she was looking at last year. I’ll trust a Nissan CVT about as far as I can throw one.

        • 0 avatar

          To be fair, I have 100K on my 2009 Altima hybrid and so far so good. And fully half those miles are in stop and go traffic…as in 2.5 hours to go 45 miles….every bloody workday….

          • 0 avatar

            CVTs seem somehow better, or rather, more reliable when paired with Hybrid technology. You find Hybrid Escapes with 300k+ on them, having had little or no repairs.

            I drove a new Montego when they came out. I hated the CVT and Ive hated it in every Nissan so equipped that Ive had the displeasure of driving. When my close friend was looking at a Five Hundred, I told her to make sure to get the 6 speed and not the CVT. This was when the cars were new, I had no idea about thd unreliability they’d soon be know for, but Im glad I trusted my gut feeling. She still has the Five Hundred. Last time I drove it, 95K was showing and it shifted fine (she has a commuter car which explains the car’s low mileage, the Five Hundred is the “trip car”).

  • avatar

    Women seem to love these things. I have a couple friends whose wives drive them. In the real world, the are pretty cheap – I know one of my friends bought thiers for right around that $18k a year or so before the new one debuted. Select is probably that cheap too.

    But thanks for the review, this goes on my just say no rental car list.

  • avatar

    We test drove one of these before buying our Mazda 5 back in 2009. I see it hasn’t changed at all. Awful drive, awful CVT. I know this “select” is rental fodder now, but how could it have not improved in six years?

    I had a 2010 Altima, I do not miss its braying engine above 3500 rpm or the hateful operation of the CVT on hills. I will never purchase another CVT car unless I move to the flatlands, which is unlikely.

  • avatar

    “Select” hasn’t always meant the best:

  • avatar

    My parents “selected” one of these at the rental counter in October when they came to see their new grandbaby. Dad honestly told me he choose it because he wanted to experience a CVT (never driven one) and it was an AWD model.

    Given that mom’s car (and what dear old Dad drives to church every Sunday) is a loaded 2009 Torrent, Dad found the Rogue completely unremarkable.

    No worse than a 2009 Torrent… not exactly a ringing endorsement.

  • avatar

    That mirror switch is a Nissan thing shared across the range for more than a decade. The Rogue never registered on my radar. I assumed ‘soccer momobile.’

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I rented a ‘new’ Impala this week in WI this week. I would say my experience was the exact opposite of yours. I found myself thinking that even in rental spec the impala was not a terrible place to spend ones time at all.

    As for Nissan, I own a frontier and after another150 miles in it yesterday I can concur that yes, the front seats are awful. In fact I decided that I truly hate the thing and it needs to go.

  • avatar

    The Nissan Rogue is a car for people who wouldn’t want to be seen in a domestic car, but who wouldn’t know a quality car if it collided with them head-on. Fortunately for Nissan, there are millions of people like this out there and Nissan does a brisk business selling to them.

    • 0 avatar

      + 1

      when I mentally car-shop I always notice how Nissan is a bit cheaper (adjusted for content) that Toyonda. But you get what you pay for.

      I’m not totally sold H&K are on par with the tier 1 Japanese OEM. But think they are with the Tier 2 Japanese OEM.

      I just looked up the cargo space. 9.4 ft³!!!!!. this is less than a Miata…. My CRV has 36 and I thought the Hyundai Tucson with 25 is useless for people with anything besides one pair of underwear on a trip. This is why 3-row SUVs are pointless. who travels with 7 people that happen to have absolutely nothing?

      Edit: I also don’t like that everyone car-shopping cares about safety crash ratings, airbags etc. but the parts that are important and not measurable are:
      – visibility
      – intuitive controls

      I bet the difference in chance of dying in a care between a 4-star or 5-star crash rated car is less than between a car with no visibility and non-intuitive controls and one with good visibility and controls. If I need to look around to adjust my mirror (or don’t adjust it) and can’t see out, I’m more likely to actually need those airbags.

      • 0 avatar

        That 9.4 cu ft is probably for one of the new generation Rogues with the third row in place. This 1st gen Rogue has 28.9 cu ft. Not the best but not too bad.

    • 0 avatar

      This! Thank you!

      I know just the type youre talking about, and Nissan (along with Toyota and its recycling decades old platforms/technology) owns that market.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Well, thank the heavens that someone proud enough of a dinosaur Ford Taurus to use it in a screen name is here to rescue us from ourselves. What would “those types” ever do without your advice?

    • 0 avatar

      “…people who wouldn’t want to be seen in a domestic car, but who wouldn’t know a quality car if it collided with them head-on.”

      Comment of the week.

      This just in: 1993 is over. The playing field is level now.

  • avatar

    I realize the Versa is a POS, but that said, dissing its back seat room is ignorant. Despite it being Nissan’s smallest sedan offering in the US, it magically has more leg room than just about any other size Nissan, and that includes the Maxima.

  • avatar

    Okay, all, the *truth* is that it’s merely an unremarkable car that does nothing particularly well, but performs adequately. It’s not really comparable to most of the other compact crossovers on sale, and it’s definitely built to a price. But it’s perfectly good transportation for plenty of people, especially those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a new compact CUV.

  • avatar

    Wobbly, bug-eyed blobs
    Chemical odor throughout
    Tinny, loud, grinding

    Mishmash textural clash
    Japan-France dis-union
    Fifty shades of merde

  • avatar

    My brother’s wife has one of these, she has a long commute and with her driving, she manages right around 30 mpg with her AWD variant.

    She’s somewhere past 100k now as I recall, computer says the CVT fluid still has plenty of life left (due to the vast majority of her driving being on the highway). Nothing unexpected maintenance wise so far, my mechanic brother looks after the car and is impressed with how it is holding up.

    I agree that the interior is a bit dreadful, particularly in regards to visibility.

    For the typical consumer such as her that needs something cheap, fairly efficient, and has some clearance and AWD, it’s a passable choice. My brother and his wife live way out in the sticks, with an unplowed gravel driveway that’s about 1/3 mile long, with all seasons it got through fine, and now with snow tires the Rogue excels.

  • avatar

    Hmmmm. It’s not very good, is it?

  • avatar

    Salesman: How can I help you?
    Customer: I want to sit up high!
    Salesman: We have the Murano here. Hmmm… it looks like don’t make enough money. here’s the Rogue. It’s …kind of like the Murano, but …cheaper.
    Customer: I wanna sit up high!

    • 0 avatar

      I can’t disagree with the process you describe, but it makes me sad. Why do people choose a dealership instead of choosing a car? Do they really walk into a department store with no idea what they want and leave with whatever the salesman pushed? Go get “a TV” based on nothing other than liking a stores location and signs/ ads? I’m answering my own questions, and it’s sad. I bet they buy houses the same way. Why research anything, just wave money until someone takes it. How could that go wrong?

      • 0 avatar

        This often happens when someone with less-than-perfect credit gets approved by a lender through a particular dealership, and when that person has a set of requirements he would like in a car (such as the ability to “sit up high”), but isn’t set on a *particular* car. That person may also have bonded with the particular salesman. It also makes that person prime for being talked into letting some of his criteria go. That’s when he get told that the dealership can’t quite get him into a Cherokee, but there’s this Compass, and no, it’s not as nice or amphibious-looking, but it’s $100 a month cheaper and after he builds up his credit for a year, he can trade it in on a Cherokee (for peanuts, natch).

  • avatar

    Having never owned a Nissan, I’m not positive, but I think the AWD button sends 50% of available torque to the rear diff at low speeds, probably 25 mph or less. Above 25 mph (interstate speeds), the computer probably overrides its function and it does nothing. Anyway, even if the button if off, the computer will still send up to 50% of available torque to the rear if it senses front wheel slippage. The button just assures that the 50/50 split is there before wheel slippage occurs, sort of like a security blanket. But the owners manual can confirm or deny that.

    Personally, I think the AWD button is there to remind and reassure the (predominately female) driver that they can feel safe and secure in that vehicle, along with “sitting up high”. It’s there mainly for perception.

    I have driven a Versa as a courtesy car when my Hyundai was in the shop, and the CVT wasn’t all that bad, once I got used to it. But then again, it wasn’t mine and I knew I would return it soon.

  • avatar

    The really alarming thing to me isn’t so much how bad the fleet/rental trim is, it’s that this same car was Nissan’s primary entry in the segment as recently as the 2013 model year. None of your complaints are tied to decontenting for the Select trim; the car sounds fundamentally flawed.

    Scarier still…weren’t these cars relatively popular?

  • avatar

    “The cargo area was insufficient for a 27″ suitcase.”

    What am I missing here? With the second-row up the Rogue Select has 28.9 cu ft of cargo space. The space in the hatch appears ample in pictures. Why exactly couldn’t you fit a 27″ suitcase?

    • 0 avatar

      Like the reference to Versa legroom, I think this was just more hyperbole to make the review as a whole more uniform in its negativity.

      Problem is, the B&B picks apart the details ;)

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah, if only it were a domestic branded car in this review, then it wouldve been spot-on, right? It wouldnt matter if the writer showed bias then, so long as it was the same bias you have.

        I love how you mention “Japanese” below in your list of reasons why this pile of crap is worth paying actual money for, along with all the “decent this” and “decent that” (hell, even the awful Compass/Patriot is “decent” in all the areas you mention).

        If you cant see that this thing is inferior to nearly everything it competes with no matter where it comes from, then you need to take your blinders off. This is The Truth About Cars, not Its A Japanese Brand So It Must Be Great And All Others Bad.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “If you cant see that this thing is inferior to nearly everything it competes with no matter where it comes from, then you need to take your blinders off”

          He said it doesn’t compare well to the new crop of CUVs, Ford Escape included. If you can’t see what other people typed because your screen is smeared with the froth flying out of your mouth just about every time you post a rant on here, then you need to consider a Zoloft prescription.

        • 0 avatar

          I will only add this, 30-mile fetch already covered all the bases: A Rogue’s CVT will last longer than your Taurus’ AX4N.

          This is a useful bit larger than the Compass Patriot twins, and probably won’t need new balljoints at 60k miles. But I will agree with the sentiment that the Patriot is a decent little trucklet, and even holds its own offroad.

          Me objecting to a needlessly critical review of a Japanese car (IMO) does not directly imply that I dislike all domestics. You’re just making that assumption yourself because you made it up in your mind to be so. Also you drive a jellybean Taurus, that kind of puts everything else in perspective, really.

    • 0 avatar

      Allow me to clarify—it fit a 27″ suitcase, but it wouldn’t have fit two. Kind of a problem for a vehicle intended to carry four.

      • 0 avatar

        I still find this mind boggling. My ’03 330 can fit a 30″ and a 26″ with room to spare for soft luggage like duffel bags, and I’m often annoyed at how tiny that trunk is. We also have an ’01 X5, which has 5 fewer cubic feet of cargo space than the Rogue, yet it could probably take four 30″ bags with room to spare.

        Sorry to get caught up in such a tangential detail. Regardless of luggage space, I get that the Rogue Select is a crappy deal. I just find the cargo situation unbelievable.

  • avatar

    That’s a ’14 in the pictures. The ’15s are all new. Which did you have?

  • avatar

    You pretty much summed up my feeling toward most of the carryover specials. Though it seems that Rouge must have been pretty bad already it is not a particularly old product to be so horrible as this review suggests.

    I actually like the ancient Impala the rental cos were gorging on for years, especially with the 3.6 motor, but when you see the price these things are transacting for, a very basic car for which getting the loaded LTZ model means a $50 “Bose” stereo with Bluetooth phone calling and optional sunroof, it’s just not the bargain you hoped buying a decades old chassis built with long paid off tooling would be.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s the thing, it’s not as bad as this review suggests. Certainly it’s not as good as the current crop of CUVs (CRV, new Rogue, Escape) but taken on its own, they’re really not a bad package. There’s enough motor to get it moving with traffic, and the CVT helps in this, albeit not sounding very happy doing it. It’s got decent space inside, and the mileage is decent as well. From anecdotal evidence, they hold up pretty well. So for a bargain price (no one pays anywhere close to MSRP for these) you get a slightly outdated crossover with a cheap interior with AWD. Nothing wrong with that IMO.

      I prefer Jack’s rental reviews, he’s much more down to Earth and level headed with these things.

      Here’s a brand new Rogue Select S with AWD, for $17k:

      For a brand new Japanese crossover with AWD and a new car warranty, I’d say that’s a very decent value proposition.

  • avatar

    Funny this review came up. Just this week I remembered this generation Rogue was still being produced when I was stuck behind one in traffic and noticed the “Select” badge and slightly smoked headlights when I later passed it. For the rest of the week, I started to notice more of them. At first I thought they were only available to fleets a la Chevrolet Captiva and were now flooding Carmax lots but I went to the Nissan site and found out they’re available to everyone. Wonder why I haven’t noticed before but Rogues are everywhere around here they blend in.

    • 0 avatar

      After I read that Toyota is giving the hidious Venza a mercy killing, I started seeing them all over. I drove to a city 40ish miles away and I bet I saw 5 or more after reading the news that it was dead that morning.

  • avatar

    Im not surprised about your experience at all. The only thing that surprises me about this vehicle is that anyone (aside from a rental company) would actually buy a first generation/Select. Even when it came out, it seemed like such a half baked effort, not a serious challenger to the CR-V, RAV4, second generation Equinox (and GMC Terrain, which I find to be the looker of the two) or even the previous generation Ford Escape.

    Is the Chevy Captiva Sport this bad? Oh, wait, no CVT and its cheap (as theyre all former-fleet) so I guess it would be my choice between the two.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “Is the Chevy Captiva Sport this bad?”

      Yes, if not worse:

      • 0 avatar

        But it gets out of its own way. I can attest to that, having driven one myself. I just wasn’t too jazzed with the rest of it. Than again, my point of reference is my wife’s 2011 Equinox LTZ, which is quite nice.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    One look at the cargo area and backseat of the Rogue relative to its competitors told me I’d never even test drive it. The only reason I’d own a compact CUV is for the utilitarian aspects, and the Rogue doesn’t match up well there.

  • avatar

    “It wasn’t near the mirrors, or on the center console, or near the power windows. Nope, it was right above the hood release.”

    You know, this is where Nissan puts power mirror buttons – left of wheel, lower than gauges, for over 15 years now. It is not a new location. I would have thought you’d know that as an auto journo.

    2010 Maxima:

    2001 Altima:

    2000 I30:

    2005 Pathfinder:

    2006 Q45:

    2004 Quest:

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