2011 Nissan Rogue: Compact SUV is Accommodating
By Mike Blake, Carlisle Events
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
As SUVs are making a comeback, it is the smaller sports-utes that are garnering the most attention on the road at the dealerships. Filling the role for Nissan in this area is the 2011 Rogue, a compact crossover that first hit the market in 2007 when it was known as the X-Trail in Canada, Xterra in Mexico, Qashgai in Europe and Dualis in Australia and its Japan home.
In its second generation, the redesigned Rogue sports enhancements and upgrades inside and out, attending to comfort and convenience. From a styling perspective, Rogue offers similar design cues to those of its sibling, the Murano. Rogue for 2011 wears a fresh front fascia and grille, new front and rear spoilers, changed chrome side door guard molding trim accents, modified front and rear tire deflectors and a tweaked chrome license plate finisher. Also new this year are an upgraded under-body cover, improved fuel economy (up 1mpg from 2010) and innovative low rolling resistance tires.
With parts built in Japan and a final assembly point in Los Angeles, Rogue fits small SUV parameters with a 105.9-inch wheelbase that houses an overall length of 183.3 inches, width of 70.9 inches and height of 65.3 inches (add another inch for roofrails).Step-in height is 17.9 inches in the front and 18.5 in the rear and curbweight is a relatively light 3576 lbs.
Rogue gets its power from a 2.5-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine that puts out a steady 170hp and 175 lbs-ft or torque. Exhibiting good response from the get-go, my test Rogue sprinted from zero to 60mph in a solid-for-the genre 8.7 seconds. All local quarter-mile tracks were closed due to a severe snowstorm, but extrapolating its performance over a drag strip, I estimate that 16.7 or 16.8 seconds is probable for the distance.
While I would have preferred the 4WD version, my test ride was front-wheel drive. Still, the crossover showed excellent traction on snowy and icy highways I encountered during a steady, windy snowstorm moving from BWI Airport in the Baltimore/DC area, to Northwestern Maryland and into south central Pennsylvania.
The acceleration is solid and dependable at all speeds and some quick and tight cornering showed some top-wobble; but demanding turns and general handling are confident.
However, on the road, in parking lots and in just about all circumstances, I found Rogue to have severe rear and rear-corner sightline obstructions. You definitely need to rely on your rear back-up camera (an option) and I never recommend relying strictly on rear back-up cameras. Always keep your head on a swivel and trust your eyesight and depth perception in addition to the camera images.
The Rogue is EPA rated at 28 mpg on the highway and 22mpg in the city. My test run across Beltway interstates, I-70 and I-81 and main thoroughfares south of the Mason-Dixon line to about 30 miles north of the boundary yielded an average of 23.1mpg.
Inside, the upscale cabin offers seating for five and measures 39.3 inches of front headroom with a moonroof (1.1 inches more without that option) and 37.6 inches of rear headroom. Legroom goes 42.5 up front and 35.3 in the second row, while shoulder room accommodates 55.9 inches in row one and 53.6 back the back seats, with total cargo space of 58 cubic feet.
Standard items include height adjustable driver seat, remote power door locks and mirrors, cruise control, electric speed-proportional power steering, interior air filtration, air conditioning, front reading lights.
The cabin is cute and accommodating, but the interior set-up is not as intuitive as I would have liked, so take the time to learn your vehicle … even before purchasing it. Always spend time in the cockpit as it is where you will spend the most your time during the life of ownership and if something bothers you during your research phase of the buy, it will bug you forever. Never rush during your sit-and-play portion of the test drive. Take the time to park the vehicle and explore and try everything in the cabin. Once the Rogue’s interior has been learned, it can be a satisfying experience, but until you have the inside knowledge, driving can be a bit frustrating.
Rogue offers a long list of standard safety features including an energy-absorbing steering column, zone body construction with front and rear crumple zones and six standard air bags – front seat-mounted side impact supplemental air bags and roof-mounted curtain side impact supplemental air bags with rollover sensor for improved front and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection.
The 2011 Nissan Rogue in SV trim and FWD is base priced at $23,225. My test vehicle was outfitted with the SL package for $3850, which included front and rear leather-appointed seats, heated front seats and outside mirrors, automatic temperature control, Nissan Navigation System and 5-inch color screen, Bose 7-speaker premium sound system, power sliding glass moonroof, fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels and other niceties. Also added on were splash guards, a $125 option as well as floor mats and cargo area protector for $185, plus destination charges of $800, putting the sticker-as-tested at $28,180.
> Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.
Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.
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