The word "rogue" gets a lot of play in today's media and conversation. Similar to "maverick," it's often used flatteringly to describe someone who defies convention to forge his or her own singular path. While you can certainly credit Nissan's marketers for smartly tapping into this theme, the 2018 Nissan Rogue is not that kind of car.
Really, this is about as mainstream a choice for a small crossover as you'll find. Nissan sells loads of them. And there's a lot to like. Cabin and seat comfort are excellent, as are cargo space and utility. The Rogue's ability to seat up to seven passengers gives it a notable advantage among compact crossovers, and its upscale interior materials and design give the cabin a classy feel. Seventy cubic feet of cargo space also makes it one of the roomier and more versatile small SUVs around.
But the Rogue's lethargic acceleration and poor visibility drop it a notch from competitors that do better. Its sole four-cylinder engine and sluggish continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) drag down an otherwise competent package, and there's nary a hint of handling spirit that you'll find in the Rogue's competitors from Honda, Mazda or even Chevrolet. The Rogue is enticing, yes, but it doesn't do much to stand out from the pack or measure up to its namesake.
The 2018 Nissan Rogue is a small crossover SUV available in three trim levels: S, SV and SL. The smaller Rogue Sport model is reviewed separately.
Most Rogues come standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (170 horsepower, 175 pound-feet of torque) paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that sends power to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is available as an option.
The Rogue Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor (176 hp combined output) and either front- or all-wheel drive. It's available only in SV and SL trims.
Standard features on S trims include 17-inch steel wheels, 40/20/40-split folding rear seats that also slide and recline, a rearview camera, a 7-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and a four-speaker CD player with satellite radio and dual USB inputs. Safety features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and automatic emergency braking.
The SV trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, a power liftgate, heated side mirrors, keyless entry, push-button ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a six-speaker audio system.
The SV Midnight Edition styling package adds blacked-out body elements such as 17-inch wheels, mirror caps and roof rails.
The top-trim SL includes 18-inch wheels, automatic high beams, foglights, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, driver-seat memory settings, a surround-view camera system, a navigation system, NissanConnect emergency and convenience services, and a nine-speaker Bose audio system that adds HD radio.
Driver assist and safety features include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and intervention, and upgraded automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
Several of the SL's features are available on the SV as part of the Premium or Sun and Sound Touring packages. Options for the SL include a panoramic sunroof (also available for the SV) and LED headlights, while the Platinum package bundles 19-inch wheels, an electronic parking brake and the ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous driving features. Quilted tan leather upholstery is also available.
Another notable add-on includes a third row of seats for S and SV trims, increasing passenger capacity to seven.