Nissan Rogue review: Form, function and charm in a sexy little crossover

Nissan Rogue 2014
The 2014 Nissan Rogue

But Its Value—28MPG and Fabulous Price—Makes My Heart Sing

The last time I regularly used the word ‘rogue’ was to describe my college roommate’s boyfriend who pilfered beer from our refrigerator and peeved our neighbors by cranking up the music. His mischievousness behavior was annoying, but he was charming, which let him get away with his antics.

So when the Nissan Rogue pulled up in my driveway, I wondered: what antics would this car pull, and would it be charming enough to get away with it?

Charm Yes; Antics, Not a One

I was charmed by the Rogue’s silhouette; it’s muscly but lean and benefits from Nissan’s very modern, sleek design details like the carbon fiber dashboard trim (which has a sort of black and gray houndstooth look) and pert, clear tail lights that pop off the back, leather trimmed seats, a neatly organized passenger cabin and the panoramic sun roof that keeps the car flooded with light.

Nissan Rogue

Design details, such as the tail lights, add a distinctive look to the Nissan Rogue’s aerodynamic shape

Nissan Rogue

Another nice design detail of the Nissan Rogue is the carbon fiber trim—it appears to have a houndstooth checked-look, elegant and modern

Small Size, Big Amenities

The Rogue may be the perfect car. An SUV crossover, it combines all the benefits of an SUV—all wheel drive and a higher-off-the-ground clearance than a typical car—with what, in my opinion, is the perfect size. No larger than a compact sedan, it’s nimble and agile, easy to drive, park and maneuver.

Nissan Rogue

The Nissan Rogue, a small or mid-sized crossover, is easy to drive, maneuver and park

The Best Part: Money Left Over for a Mani/Pedi

But here’s what really made my heart beat fast: 28MPG, the Rogue’s combined fuel economy. In the city it gets 25 MPG and on the highway, 32 MPG.

Nissan Rogue Driver Information Screen

The Nissan Rogue’s driver information screen lets you toggle through lots of information including feedback showing how well you’re doing on fuel efficiency. The icons at the top of the screen just under the time light up to let you know that (left to right) there’s a car or object in your blindspot (blindspot detector), that you’re too close to the car ahead of you (crash mitigation) and that you’re out of bounds (lane departure warning).

During our drive, which combined city and highway (the car was loaded with four passengers and luggage much of the time we drove it), we averaged 30MPG.

Oh wow.

The fuel savings, combined with the car’s price—$32,000— means that you’ll have plenty of cash left over for the things that really matter, like a good manicure and a pedicure.

Nissan Rogue

The Nissan Rogue’s performance controls are neatly lined up to the left of the steering wheel and allow you to turn them on or off (left to right, top to bottom): traction control, sport driving mode, tail gate release, tail gate power door (turning it off lets you shut it manually—great when you’ve got a lot of cargo and need to push it closed yourself), blind spot detector, all wheel drive and hill hold

If You Must Bring the Family, They’ll Be Happy Too

The Rogue is fabulous for tooling around town by yourself, and stopping to quietly, sublimely pick up a piece of furniture and sneak it into the house (or, take that ratty old lounger to the dump) before anyone sees what you’re doing.

Nissan Rogue Cargo Space

The Nissan Rogue’s flexible cargo space is great for that impulse purchase that needs a little extra room. The seats easily folded down to accommodate this chair, and it was easy to get into (and out of) the car

But it’s a great family car, too. It comfortably seats four, but can accommodate up to seven—the Rogue S has an available third row!—and its flexible seating and load space means there’s plenty of room for luggage or cargo or people.

Nissan Rogue

The cargo area of the Rogue includes these cargo divider shelves; they allow you to ‘hide’ cargo and also, they help to create more space. The shelves are movable so you can customize how you divide the space (or take them out if you don’t need them).


Or all three; a roof rack allows a car-top carrier to accommodate your crew and their stuff on a road trip.

Nissan Rogue

The Nissan Rogue’s roof rails will accommodate a rack for luggage, bikes or sports equipment.

Worth noting is that the third row option is only available on the S model, which comes with run flat tires rather than a spare tire, and many of the premium features described here are not available on the S.

The third row option is brand new this year, and we hope that future models will also have a third row option, because of course, we like to have it all.

Road Tripping in the Rogue: Perfect Space for Four

We took the Rogue to Maine for a long weekend. All our luggage fit neatly in the back, and the cup holder that folds out of the rear seat-back creates a passthrough that was perfect place for the snack bag to sit; back seat passengers could easily reach it and no one stepped on it.

Nissan Rogue

The Nisan Rogue’s rear cargo is easily reached from the back seat: the fold down center console holds cups and also, leaves open a pass-thru to the cargo area.

In Maine, the Rogue was great on the steep, rocky drives and the hill-hold feature was great to have: when on an incline, the hill hold feature keeps the brake activated until you’ve given the car enough gas to get it moving up (or down) the hill.

Safety Technology Keeps Hubby in Check on the Highway

But maybe my favorite feature is the lane departure warning. I set this before we left on our trip and chuckled every time it beeped to let me know that my husband had changed lanes without signaling or was too close to the lane markers on the highway. It annoyed the heck out of him, but I think of it as ‘checks and balances:’ it checks him and keeps his driving performance balanced.

Nissan Rogue

While we loved the panoramic sun roof, our furry passengers preferred getting fresh air the old fashioned way: By sticking their heads out the windows.

What We Loved

  • 25MPG city/32 MPG highway; we averaged 30MPG
  • Uses regular gas
  • The price: $32,000 pretty fully loaded
  • Panoramic sun roof
  • Smart key with push button starter
  • Beautiful design details
  • Neatly designed cabin
  • LED headlights with auto leveler
  • All wheel drive
  • Bluetooth phone connectivity
  • Intuitive, easy to use touch screen media console
  • Safety technology package, including lane departure warning, blind spot detector, forward collision warning and moving object detection


What You Need to Know

  • Third row is an additional $1,190
  • Third row is a “convenience row” and better suited for small passengers
  • Three power charger outlets, all up front
  • Cargo shelf systems designed to hide your stuff can be clunky to use
  • Rogue pricing starts at $22,790
  • Price of the Rogue SL we drove: $32,615

Disclosure: The Rogue was provided to me for this review; I was not compensated for this review and opinions expressed are all my own.

Nissan Rogue Navigation Screen

One of our favorite details: the touch screen’s navigation function: in the lower right corner it displays the current speed limit

Nissan Rogue

The Nissan Rogue’s Monroney that shows the features on the model we drove

Nissan Rogue Fuel Economy

The Monroney part 2, which shows the optional package and the Nissan Rogue’s fuel economy rating


Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss