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The Rogue may not be the first compact crossover you think of, but Nissan managed to move 412,110 of these things off dealer lots in 2018. That's more than double the sales of the company's midsize Altima sedan and enough volume that the Rogue frequently vies for the "best-selling SUV in America crown" with the Toyota Rav4 and Honda CR-V.
If you're looking for the most engaging or refined crossover, this isn't it. But if you want a well-rounded option with some killer tech, the Rogue is a seriously good option.
My $36,085 tester came loaded with pretty much every option and piece of equipment Nissan offers. Most importantly, it came with Nissan's fantastic ProPILOT Assist semi-autonomous driving solution.
You may be familiar with it from the ad blitz Nissan used when it introduced the technology, and it's easily the best semi-autonomous technology this side of Cadillac's Super Cruise. Like most of these systems, it uses radar to adapt its speed to traffic and a suite of cameras to hold the car in the center of its lane. So many of these systems build false confidence, but ProPILOT — much like Super Cruise — requires that you pay attention while it's active.
It expects a constant hand on the wheel and will quickly alert you if you aren't engaged. Moreover, if you ignore repeated warnings it will hit you with two sharp taps of the brakes to get your attention. This, combined with good lane detection software and smooth adaptive cruise, makes it a system that combines safety and convenience in a responsible way. I'm impressed by it, especially because it's offered on such a mainstream car.
Plus, the Rogue has all of the other technology expected in a modern crossover. A full suite of automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, automatic high beams, and rear cross traffic alert are on board. It'll also auto-brake for objects when reversing, in case you miss anything in the 360-degree camera. It has basically all of the technology Nissan can provide to make sure you don't crash it.
Platinum Package models like my tester come with quilted tan leather that classes up the cabin. You also get cabin tech like Apple CarPlay, Google's Android Auto, a Bose sound system and a heated steering wheel.
You'll also find that the Rogue is a comfortable and quiet place to spend time. Interior room is also good, with a sliding second row to make better use of the cargo space or passenger space depending on the situation.
It may be comfortable and quiet, but the Rogue is far from impressive on the road. It isn't as composed as rivals like the Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V, with a soft-sprung ride that borders on sloppy when cornering.
Not that dynamics were ever going to be its strong suit: The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine generates 170 horsepower, sending it through a continuously variable transmission that makes power delivery artificial and unpredictable. Luckily, I didn't notice any of the droning that often comes with a CVT.
Overall, it has enough power to merge onto a highway, and the powerplant is usually quiet in the background of your mind. But the driving experience is largely forgettable, no better than the rest of the segment.
The same can be said of the interior, which has a lot of technology but doesn't stand out in design or material choices. The infotainment system can be slow to respond and is mostly surrounded by black plastic, but at least you can ditch the Nissan interface for CarPlay or Android Auto.
Last, I have to mention the looks. The Caspian Blue Metallic looked fantastic, but the rest of the design is forgettable. There were multiple occasions where I came out of a store and it took me longer than usual to remember which car was mine. It just doesn't stand out.
That's the downside of the Rogue in general. It's a good crossover — especially if you get a tech-laden, top-trim model — but it doesn't leave much of an impression.
If you're going to get a Rogue, option it up. The car doesn't drive better than its competitors, the interior isn't any more impressive and it's certainly not the best looking. If you get this car, get it for the tech.
Just get the SL model for $33,785 and don't add anything to it. A hybrid is also available, but I haven't sampled it. There's a premium package that brings a panoramic roof and LED headlights, but $1,820 is a lot for a package that doesn't add anything to the Rogue's core strengths. I'd skip it, but that means you're also locked out of the Platinum Reserve interior package. That's OK though, since it just adds quilted inserts and brown leather.
The Rogue is a good car that I recommend, but it isn't a particularly inspiring or unique option. If tech is your main priority, though, I can't think of a compact crossover alternative that offers more. In the end, the Rogue is saved by the utterly wonderful ProPILOT assist system at a good price point.
Driving Experience: 3
Price as tested: $36,085