Reviews

2011 Nissan Rogue Walk Around

For 2011, the appearance of the Nissan Rogue has been freshened with a new front fascia and grille, new front and rear spoilers, new trim accents.

The styling is swoopy, with rounded lines and a wedge shape from front to rear. Flared rear shoulders, a contoured hood, large wheel housings and an upswept window line give the Rogue a sporty feel.

Ornamentation is minimal. A black and chrome Nissan badge up front is flanked by a body-color or chrome grille. The lower grille is substantial and framed by a pair of heavily contoured fog light nacelles. The sides, even those with chrome door handles and rub strips, are clean and smooth, with nothing to hide the clean lines.

Side mirrors are black on the Rogue S and body color on the Rogue SV. The standard wheels on the Rogue S are stamped steel with plastic covers that look like five-spoke alloys from a distance. The 17-inch aluminum wheels that come with the Rogue SV add a touch of drama, with five Y spokes that seem to actively cling to the rim; 18-inch wheels are also available. The Krom has a look all its own, still a Rogue but more entertaining.

We think the Rogue looks best from the rear, where the dark rear glass, tapering taillights, rounded panels and license plate recess give it some definition. The rear liftgate lacks a separate opening glass but the hatch is not heavy and liftover not too high.

Among compact SUVs, the Rogue has a sleeker, car-based crossover look, like the CR-V, as opposed to the more-upright box-on-box look Ford Escape or Jeep Liberty.

The Rogue is among the longest vehicles in the class, though it doesn't look it. At 183 inches overall, it is even longer than the seven-passenger Toyota RAV4 and the bulkier-looking Jeep Liberty.

Interior

For 2011, Nissan Rogue gets a new instrument panel and center stack and updated technology. We found the new layout for 2011 a bit easier on the eyes, quicker to read at a glance, and a hint more upscale than the cog-like trim of earlier models.

The Rogue has a spacious cabin. The interior uses a simple, rounded design trimmed with quality materials. The dash, for instance, is molded in a soft-touch material that seems as if it might be right at home in an Infiniti. The door tops also have a nice soft-touch material. The remainder of the materials is price-appropriate plastic that fits together well.

The instrument panel features large, white-on-black tachometer and speedometer, with analog temperature and fuel conditions inset. Between the gauges is a digital display for trip computer data, outside temperature, gear selected, door-open warnings and so on. We found the new layout for 2011 a bit easier on the eyes, quicker to read at a glance, and a hint more upscale than the cog-like trim of earlier models.

The center stack features two of four omnidirectional air vents at top, three easily used round climate-control knobs below, and Nissan's unique radio layout in between (or navigation if you order it). It has substantially sized buttons, and the presets are grouped in A, B, and C folders, each of which can mix radio bands; use the 18 presets as a group of six for three different drivers, locales, or attitudes. MP3 and iPod inputs bring your own, and an optional Bose audio system is available for better reproduction.

Storage for small items up front is adequate. The center console has two integral cupholders and a small tray that will work for holding little odds and ends. If that's not enough, the console bin is very deep and is available with a removable tray to give it two levels of storage. The glovebox is exceptionally deep, there's a bag hook on the back of the right-front seat, and Rogue's livability is first-rate.

The driver's seat is comfortable and offers a good driving position, now with six adjustments. The tilt steering wheel helps, and there is enough head for most adults and class-leading legroom. There is good visibility to the front and the side mirrors are large, but over-the shoulder visibility is compromised by a smallish rear window and rear side windows that are pinched at the rear. The ride height makes getting into and out of the Rogue very easy.

The second row is usefully roomy, with head and leg room that can accommodate adults, even with the front seats moved far back. Three adults in the rear will be cramped, but they should be able to deal with short trips. Toe space under the front seats is plentiful.

Cargo space is good but not at the top of the class. The second-row seats are split 60/40, and they fold flat in an easy one-step motion to open up to the maximum 57.9 cubic feet of cargo space.

Cargo utility is improved by a number of features. Rogue SV includes a folding front passenger seat, which folds almost flat to allow loading of longer items. A cargo floor undertray comes on all models and a foldable cargo organizer is available as an accessory to help prevent groceries and other cargo from rolling around; there are also grocery bag hooks and tie-down points. The roof rails are compatible with Yakima racks and accessories, so almost anything within roof cargo weight limits can be carried up there.

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