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2013 Nissan Rogue Overview
Proof that good things do indeed come in small packages is the 2013 Nissan Rogue compact crossover. This family- and city-oriented mini-ute, sharing the same chassis as its Sentra sedan cousin, boasts seating for five—as long as the three rear-seat passengers are children—as well as 57.9 cubic feet of cargo area with the rear seats folded and a respectable 28.9 cubic feet behind the third row. Of course, full-time all-wheel drive (AWD) is available across the lineup.
Nissan’s pint-sized crossover again comes in two trims, the S and SV, with the SV remaining available offering the SL Package, resulting in the SV w/SL Package sub-trim, often known simply as the SL trim. Though not as refined in performance, ride or handling as most in its class, the Rogue plays well with city traffic and, using its compact size and light steering, dominates crowded parking lots. Sadly, its only engine offering, a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) powerplant, is considered by many in the media to be woefully underpowered for extended highway cruising, especially on hilly terrain. Oh, and be prepared for a white-knuckle highway ride in anything but a gentle breeze.
In any case, the 170-hp I4 is hitched to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that combines with variable valve timing (VVT) for 175 lb-ft of torque and, in standard front-wheel-drive (FWD) configuration, 23 mpg city/28 highway. Alas, according to most reviews, this tepid drivetrain is not only lazy but, compared to most in its class, downright raucous as well. Granted by virtually all reviewers, however, is the fact that the available Intelligent AWD system makes for fairly decent acceleration from a stop, as well as handling wintry driving conditions with aplomb. Mileage, however, drops to 22/27.
Many reviewers suggest kicking some tires on either of GM’s roomier mini-utes, the GMC Terrain or Chevy Equinox, or perhaps Honda’s sprightly CR-V, Subaru’s available turbocharged I4 Forester or Toyota’s V6-equipped RAV4. All of the above offer a more refined drive, roomier cabins and notably able powertrains. But keep in mind the fact that Nissan promises a complete redesign of its Rogue lineup for 2014, so if your heart is set on this cute ute, you might want to nurse that almost-had-it wagon for one more year.
Among the present-generation Rogue’s admirable traits are its just-right standing height, higher than the typical sedan, thereby offering easier entry and exit, while the hatchback-style rear liftgate offers hassle-free loading and unloading. Furthermore, the base S trim comes with 16-inch steel wheels, a rear spoiler and power-adjustable mirrors outside, while the cabin offers cloth upholstery, front bucket seats and a trip computer. Cruise control is also standard on this entry-level trim, as are remote power door locks, power windows, air conditioning and tilt-wheel steering. Finally, tunes are offered via an MP3-capable single-CD player with 4 speakers.
The high-end SV, meanwhile, adds 17-inch alloy wheels, as well as a chrome-tipped exhaust, roof rack and tow hitch pre-wiring outside, with cloth upholstery, a power-adjustable driver’s seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel adorning the interior. Nissan Intelligent Key keyless entry and ignition also comes standard on this midlevel trim, as does a rear-view camera with a 4.3-inch color display. The dashboard-mounted display also handles details in the upgraded Bose audio system, with its 9 speakers additionally supporting satellite radio and a USB port.
Options-wise, the base S trim can be delivered with the S Special Edition Package that throws in a number of items that come standard on the SV, along with Bluetooth hands-free communications and 16-inch alloy wheels. The SV, on the other hand, can be equipped with an available navigation suite and/or illuminated kick plates, while both trims are eligible for carpeted floor mats, splash guards and rear bumper protectors.
Finally, the available SV w/SL Package sub-trim comes with most of the goodies found in the SV, while adding the navigation suite, 18-inch aluminum wheels, leather-trimmed upholstery, a power moonroof, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and an All-Around View monitor that scans blind spots, as well as the area directly to the rear and the rear quarters.
Though not exactly paragons of safety, the 2012 Rogue lineup offers at least the traditional safety and security equipment expected in its class. Standard 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front and rear airbags, front side-mounted airbags and front head restraint whiplash protection are all secured by a remote antitheft alarm. The SV, meanwhile, can be delivered with optional front fog/driving lights and high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights, with each item standard aboard the SV w/SL Package sub-trim.
Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.