Best Bet
  • (4.1) 73 reviews
  • MSRP: $7,524–$15,972
  • Body Style: Sport Utility
  • Combined MPG: 24-25
  • Engine: 170-hp, 2.5-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel Drive
  • Seats: 5
2012 Nissan Rogue

Our Take on the Latest Model 2012 Nissan Rogue

What We Don't Like

  • Rear visibility
  • Uninspired cabin styling
  • Short backseat cushions
  • Road noise
  • Grabby brakes

Notable Features

  • Newly available Special Edition trim
  • Four-cylinder and CVT automatic
  • Seats five
  • Front- or all-wheel drive

2012 Nissan Rogue Reviews

Cars.com Expert Reviews

Editor's note: This review was written in May 2011 about the 2011 Nissan Rogue. Little of substance has changed with this year's model. To see what's new for 2012, click here, or check out a side-by-side comparison of the two model years.

I've got nothing but respect for people who look forward to spending a Saturday testing out crossovers that cost more than 20 grand; the segment has more players than a baseball team, and most blend hopelessly together. Should you take on the challenge, somewhere between Starbucks and sundown you'll likely check out a Nissan Rogue. I suspect it will not rise above the crossover pack.

The Rogue is average across the board, but its major downside is that you can hardly see out of this thing.

The five-seat Rogue has been around since the 2008 model year, and for 2011 it gets new bumpers and a revised grille. The Rogue comes in S, SV and Krom (pronounced "chrome") trims. All three offer front- or all-wheel drive. Compare the trims here, or stack up the 2011 and 2010 Rogue here. We tested front- and all-wheel-drive versions of the Rogue SV.

Styling & Interior
The Rogue's styling had been a bit anonymous, but a few exterior changes — more creases up front, extra chrome along the doors and grille — add some character. The silhouette remains the same, but it looks less bulbous now. The Krom edition adds more aggressive bumpers, a new grille, 18-inch alloy wheels and center-mounted dual tailpipes. Like its name, it's a bit much for me.

Save a crummy headliner, the cabin materials are actually quite good for this class. There's padding where it's needed, and panels all the way down to knee level have a decent, consistent finish. Storage areas abound, with a spacious center console and a mammoth glove compartment.

Unfortunately, the overall design is plain: vast stretches of nothing, too much dull gray plastic, a steering wheel and automatic gearshift that look like they were styled by a toy company. Other interiors, from the Chevy Equinox to the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, have inventive dashboards and eye-catching controls. The Rogue leaves no powerful impressions.

A navigation system, backup camera and USB/iPod integration are new for 2011. The navigation system has a small, 5.0-inch display. Based off an SD card, it's not as robust or quick to respond as many hard-drive-based systems, but it gets the job done. As part of a $1,700 package on the SV that also includes a moonroof and other features, it's also relatively affordable.

Seating & Cargo
The front seats offer better thigh and lateral support than do most crossovers, but the center console pins your knees and hips in. It gives the crossover a more carlike cockpit, which some shoppers may appreciate. If you don't care for it, competitors like the Honda CR-V leave more space.

SV models have a power driver's seat, but Nissan doesn't offer a telescoping steering wheel, which is becoming the norm in this segment.

The backseat has a comfortably high seating position but short lower cushions, so adults back there may notice a barstool effect: high enough seating, but too little thigh support. Headroom is good, but amenities are sparse. The Rogue offers neither rear reading lights nor a center armrest. Many competitors include both.

A 60/40-split folding backseat is standard, and it provides a maximum 57.9 cubic feet of cargo space. With the seats up, there's 28.9 cubic feet of space. Both figures generally trail the competition — the CR-V and Toyota RAV4 both have more than 70 cubic feet of maximum volume — but the Rogue is one of the few small crossovers that also have a fold-forward front passenger seat. Included on the SV, the seat enables the Rogue to accommodate narrow cargo (a ladder, for example) that's more than 8.5 feet long, Nissan says.

Out, Damned (Blind) Spot
The Rogue's sight lines are its biggest problem. With bulky D-pillars, fixed rear head restraints and an undersized rear window, it ranked as the worst of 10 small crossovers — eight of which are still on the market — for blind-spot visibility in a comparison test two years ago. Large side mirrors might make up for some of that, but the Rogue's are merely adequate — and the view out the front could use some work, too. The Rogue has more glass than the swept-back Sportage and Tucson, but its windshield and side windows are still on the short side. Nissan could learn a thing or two from the Subaru Forester or RAV4. Climb into either of those, and you'll notice a world of difference.

Proficient Driving
The Rogue typifies the small-crossover driving experience. Its steering wheel turns with a light touch at low speeds and tracks reasonably well on the highway, and the sole drivetrain — a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and continuously variable automatic transmission — offers adequate power. Accelerate out of a corner, and the transmission isn't particularly quick to kick up the engine revs, as some of Nissan's other CVTs are. Once it does, however, the Rogue scoots back up to speed well enough.

Our test cars exhibited some road noise but little wind noise. Ride quality is fine overall — certainly better than the choppy Sportage and Tucson. If outright comfort is your goal, however, the Ford Escape and non-Sport RAV4 do a better job.

Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are standard. The pedal ought to provide more linearity; press it down, and the first inch or so of travel brings only slight deceleration.

Combined EPA mileage for the front-wheel-drive Rogue is 25 mpg. All-wheel drive drops that to 24 mpg. Those figures put the Rogue in the same company as the Equinox, Sportage and Tucson — all at the higher end of the class.

Safety, Features & Pricing
In crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Rogue earned the top score, Good, in front, side and rear impacts. The crossover earned just an Acceptable score in roof-strength tests, which approximate rollover protection. The Rogue has not been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration using its revised 2011 standards. Standard features include the usual range of front, side-impact and curtain airbags, antilock brakes and an electronic stability system. Click here to see a full list of safety features.

Reliability for the Rogue has been above average. Standard features on the $21,210 Rogue S include the usual power accessories, an automatic transmission, air conditioning, cruise control and a USB/iPod-compatible CD stereo. Step up to the Krom or SV, and you can get a power driver's seat, automatic climate control, heated leather seats, a navigation system and a moonroof. All-wheel drive is optional on any trim for an affordable $1,250. Check all the options, and an all-wheel-drive Rogue SV — which, despite having a lower price than the Krom, offers more lavish options — tops out around $29,000.

Rogue in the Market
Some shoppers will be put off by the Rogue's poor sight lines, but I suspect the majority will respond to the crossover with a collective shrug. When similar money can buy a handsome interior, a vast cargo area or engaging performance, the Rogue's unremarkable nature leaves it behind.

At last winter's $29,000 SUV shootout, editors from Cars.com, USA Today and PBS' "MotorWeek" noted how average the Rogue was. But when the evaluations were tallied up, the Nissan landed seventh out of nine. Average, it seems, is not good enough.

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Consumer Reviews

4.1

Average based on 73 reviews

Write a Review

Issues with reliability

by meg from MA on November 9, 2017

Okay as a daily driver, but doesn’t do well on long trips at all. Consistently has issues that mechanics don’t always know or want to solve.

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6 Trims Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2012 Nissan Rogue trim comparison will help you decide.
 

Nissan Rogue Articles

2012 Nissan Rogue Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

Recalls

There are currently 2 recalls for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $3,000 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

36mo/36,000mi

Powertrain

60mo/60,000mi

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years