2012 Nissan Rogue SV
2012 Nissan Rogue SV Review:
In some ways, the 2012 Nissan Rogue is analogous to Matt Flynn, the backup quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.
Not widely known except among dedicated football fans, Flynn came off the bench on New Year’s day to give first-stringer Aaron Rodgers a rest for the NFL playoffs. He passed for 480 yards and a Packers’ record six touchdowns in a 45-41 victory over the Detroit Lions.
Similarly, the Rogue cruises along in near-anonymity, but with the potential for breakout performance in its chosen game, which is competing amid the growing proliferation of compact crossover utility vehicles.When people speak of tall front-drive or all-wheel drive wagons, the talk usually is of the industry leaders: Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Chevrolet Equinox and Toyota RAV4.
What is less known is that the Rogue is the fifth-biggest seller in the class, with a smattering of others trailing behind. In 2011, it totted up sales of 124,543 with piddling advertising and publicity. Who knows what it could do with Lady Gaga in the driver’s seat?
Compact CUVs are the modern mid-size station wagons. Built with unit-bodies on automobile chassis, with front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive, they offer up-high seating, space for five, luggage space double that of most mid-size cars, and foul weather capability, with the possibility of some mild off-road travel.
From an age standpoint, they are teen-agers or adolescents, with the oldest—the Honda CR-V—at 15 years old. The Rogue is in its fifth year and has compiled a solid record for reliability.
For 2012, the Rogue dips its tires into the near-luxury category with the availability of an “around view” monitor, which uses cameras and computer wizardry to simulate an overhead view of the area around the vehicle.It amounts to a slice of the uncanny electronic innovations that are infecting increasing numbers of wheeled conveyances. With a glance at the dash-mounted screen, a Rogue driver can survey all the territory around the car, so it effectively rules out rolling over the neighbor’s kitten.
“Around view” is part of the SL option package, which also features leather upholstery, heated front seats and outside mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, navigation system, automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, motorized glass sunroof, 18-inch alloy wheels, Bose premium audio system, real-time traffic information through the satellite radio, fog lights and Xenon headlights.
Of course, in this era virtually all vehicles come with government crash-protection ratings and fundamental safety equipment: side air bags, side-curtain air bags, traction and stability control, antilock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, and tethers for child seats.
Other standard equipment includes a power driver’s seat, cruise control, redundant steering-wheel audio controls, XM satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, a rear-view camera, pushbutton ignition and keyless entry, and remote locking. Roof rails for carrying extra cargo also are standard.
On the tested Rogue, the $3,900 SL package was tacked onto the SV model, which has a base price of $26,030. With that and a few other minor options, the bottom-line sticker came to $30,255, which may seem high to newcomers to the compact CUV class. But $30,000-plus prices are no longer uncommon.
The Rogue gets its motivating force from a 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It delivers the power through a continuously-variable automatic transmission to either the front wheels or all-four wheels. The test car had the all-wheel drive.
CVTs are becoming increasingly common in all but higher-performance cars. They use a system of belts and pulleys to substitute for automatic or manual gear changes. There are no shift points. In operation, they are similar to the seamless power surge of an electric motor or, for folks with long memories, the pure torque converters like those on the Buick Dynaflow the of 1940s and 1950s.
In the current automotive mosh, Nissan is the CVT leader, with more models using the transmission than any other. The advantages are smooth operation without hiccups and fuel economy that rivals or beats manual gearboxes.The disadvantage, which shows up in a minor way on the 2012 Rogue, is a sensation, both tactile and aural, that the transmission is slipping. It sounds sometimes as if the engine is roaring away but not increasing the vehicle’s speed.
On the Rogue, buzzy sounds accompany the CVT’s meanderings through the rev range. It does sound at times as if something is slipping and grinding, although it’s intermittent—not a constant thing—and it does not affect acceleration or overall performance.
The Rogue’s exterior styling is attractive but not attention-getting. Inside, the layout and appointments also are conventional with quality materials and decent workmanship. The navigation screen gets a demerit for its small size, which requires some squinting to decipher. Another downside is the sun visors, which do not slide on their support rods to effectively block sun from the side.
Front and outboard back seats are comfortable, with good support but little lateral bolstering on the front buckets. As with most vehicles, the center-rear position lacks any semblance of comfort, with a hard bottom and a hump for the feet. The rear seatbacks do not adjust, but fold nearly flat for extra cargo.
*Questions or comments? Contact *DriveWays6@gmail.com