In the early part of this decade, Nissan was ahead of the styling curve during the 2002 revamp of the midsize Altima sedan and Murano. The off-road capable Xterra also stood out from a crowd from a styling standpoint. While Rogue borrows heavily from Murano, it features cues of its own including a checkered front grille with a trapezoidal framed Nissan logo front and center.
Sixteen-inch wheels come standard in S models while 17-inch wheels are found on the SL trim. A temporary spare is stowed under the cargo floor accessible from the inside. The rear hatch, hinged at the top, opens high enough so a 6-footer can clear the opening without hurting his or her noggin. Nice touch in a compact-sized vehicle.
The cargo area in our test model included an under-floor, shallow, sectioned off storage partitions. A portion of the floor, hinged towards the center pops open to reveal the compartments.
As with many new compact-sized vehicles arriving at showrooms, Rogue comes very nicely equipped with an array of standard safety features including front air bags, side-mounted front bucket seat air bags, roof-mounted side curtain air bags, energy-absorbing steering column, anti-theft alarm system, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, traction control, and vehicle dynamic control. Both trims also include air conditioning, cruise control (with steering-wheel button operation), single-feed compact disc player, rear window defogger, power windows, locks and outside mirrors.
A scant few compact crossovers (Toyota RAV4, Mitsubishi Outlander) offer a V-6 engine in addition to a four cylinder. The Rogue's four-cylinder engine, however, was more than adequate for this vehicle. With the CVT transmission, a smooth glide was part of the experience during city travel. Excellent braking enhanced the car-like ride of the Rogue. From a responsiveness standpoint and road connect, Rogue is a step up from the Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V, although both rivals have more cargo storage capacity behind the second rows.
Although Rogue is built in Japan, Nissan North America has two vehicle assembly plants in the United States, one in Smyrna, Tennessee outside Nashville and one in Canton, Mississippi near Jackson. The Smyrna plant cranks out Altima and Maxima sedans, Xterra and Pathfinder SUVs and mid-size Frontier pickup (along with sister Suzuki Equator pickup). The Canton plant churns out the Quest minivan, full-size Armada SUV and sister Infiniti QX56, the full-size Titan pickup and Altima sedan. Nissan's U.S. headquarters is in Nashville.
Rogue's powertrain warranty is good for five years or 60,000 miles (whichever comes first). The basic warranty covering most other moving parts is good for three years or 36,000 miles. While not the 100,000-mile powertrain warranty offered by Kia and Hyundai, it's on par with what most other automakers offer.