By KBB.com Editors
While Nissan is well known for its mid-size and full-size SUVs, they have only recently entered into the red-hot compact crossover SUV market. With its introduction in 2008, the Rogue earned mixed reviews mainly for its polarizing styling and somewhat Spartan interior. For 2011, Nissan has traded up, giving the Rogue a new look, a new interior and far more in the way of affordable creature comforts. Under the new skin, the same fuel efficient four-cylinder engine and CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) provide plenty of pep, and the available all-wheel drive model is ideal for snowy climes. With heavy hitters such as the Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4 already well established, and new comers like the all-new Kia Sportage, and Hyundai Tucson, the Rogue will have its work cut out. But, Nissan loyalists have always been on the cutting edge of style and performance, and they represent a larger audience the Rogue might yet have a chance to win over.
If you're unimpressed with truck-like boxy styling of some compact SUVs, the Rogue's flowing sheet metal should definitely catch your eye. A combination of impressive fuel economy, affordable price and cutting edge options only serve to sweeten the deal.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you need the towing and hauling power afforded by a V6 engine, you won't find one on the Rogues lengthy options list. Those who require serious off-road ability will be better off in Subaru Forester or Jeep Liberty.What's New for 2011
For 2011, the Rogue receives a newly styled front end, new wheels and more available features including navigation, rearview monitor, USB port for iPod connectivity, 18-inch wheels and automatic climate control.Driving It Driving Impressions
We spent a few days testing the Rogue SV with all-wheel-drive and the SL Package and found that the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine provided plenty of pep. Acceleration was aided by Nissan's Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) which provided smooth and consistent shifts in all driving conditions. Although the CVT is a gearless transmission, Nissan builds in artificial shift points that mimic a standard transmission. Only under wide open throttle, when the engine's rpms are held steady as the vehicle accelerates, did the CVT reveal itself by causing the engine to sound harsh. Nissan's "Intuitive" AWD (as Nissan calls it), distributes the driving torque between the front and rear wheels as needed, and should prove particularly helpful in areas of bad weather and slippery conditions. Also beneficial in such conditions is the Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with traction control. VDC helps keep the vehicle headed the direction the driver intends and thus reduces the chances of losing control on slick surfaces. We found that winding, curving back-country roads were easy to negotiate, thanks to the electric power-assisted steering, and the suspension kept body roll well under control.Favorite Features
Sizeable Glove Box
The Rogue's glove compartment is generously sized and can fit up to 34 CDs, a nice feature for those who can't travel without large music collections. Additionally, a removable partition allows you to customize the space to fit a myriad of items.
Nissan's Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
Nissan is one of the few automakers to still embrace and refine CVT technology, and this second-generation transmission is incredibly smooth and gives the Rogue decent performance as well as good fuel economy.