Major changes to the 2017 Rogue include revised styling, some interior updates and more noise insulation. Compare the 2017 and 2016 Rogue here. The SUV comes in S, SV and SL trim levels, all with front- or all-wheel drive (compare the trim levels here). We cover the Rogue Hybrid, which is new for 2017, on a separate page.

Exterior & Styling

Slapped with the same V-Motion grille that adorns just about every Nissan these days, the Rogue's mass of chrome bars, bumper lines, piano-black framework and LED accents look busier than a double oven on Thanksgiving morning. I much prefer last year's simpler face. Less has changed in back, where the Rogue's taillights still imitate a mid-2000s Lexus RX. It's fine.

How It Drives

Like most of its peers, the four-cylinder Rogue has adequate power. The standard continuously variable automatic transmission has some telltale nonlinearity, though: Step on the gas and the engine takes a while to rev up, which is typical of a CVT. But press the gas harder and it mimics a conventional automatic transmission with upshifting and downshifting sensations — contrivances to make it seem less like a CVT, of course, but convincingly executed nonetheless.

Nissan does not offer a punchier engine option as some competitors do. Likewise, its 1,000-pound trailer capacity is also a nonstarter if you plan to tow much. If you want more hustle, compact SUVs from Ford, GM, Hyundai-Kia, Subaru and Volkswagen all have V-6 or turbo four-cylinder choices, and some of them tow considerably more. A few (particularly the Ford Escape) also out-handle the Rogue, which has unremarkable dynamics and low-effort but vague steering.

There's payoff in comfort, at least. Our SL test car's P225/55R19 tires had taller sidewalls than you typically get with 19-inch wheels, which automakers often pair with low-profile tires that have all the bump absorption of a wagon axle. On the Rogue, sensible tires and a comfort-oriented suspension dispatch potholes as well as you can expect in a small SUV. Highway isolation is good, too, with little road and wind noise to boot.

Interior

Gussied up for 2017 with a new steering wheel and some nicer cabin trim, the Rogue boasts decent interior quality for its class. Materials are lush where it counts, with generous soft-touch surfaces in all the areas your arms and elbows land, attractive double-stitched dashboard trim, piano-black accents and even some knee padding along the center console in upper trim levels. I'm less enthralled with the SL's optional quilted leather seats, which lack much thigh support and, in many areas, don't even feel like real leather. The optional power driver's seat lacks a bottom cushion angle adjustment, and the Rogue still doesn't offer a power passenger seat — a feature increasingly available among its rivals.

All versions get a Swiss army knife of a backseat, which folds down in a 40/20/40 split plus reclines and slides forward and back — a rare feature in the segment.


     
All versions get a Swiss army knife of a backseat, which folds in a 40/20/40 split plus reclines and slides forward and back — a rare feature in the segment that's useful if you want to add some cargo space or pull a child in a car seat closer. Taller passengers will appreciate that the bench both sits high off the floor and leaves decent headroom. A two-seat third row is optional, but we haven't tested it. So is a foot-activated power liftgate and a panoramic moonroof.

Cargo & Storage

In models without the third row, the Rogue's Divide-N-Hide storage system provides a nifty way to organize the 32 cubic feet of cargo space behind the backseat. With two partitions and 18 adjustable configurations, it enables you to maximize cargo height, keep a flat load floor, set up a shelf to stack cargo on two tiers or even create a standing box that hides items from sight. Fold the seats down and the Rogue has a competitive 70 cubic feet of maximum cargo space. Models with the third row have a slim 9.4 cubic feet behind it.

Ergonomics & Electronics

A 5-inch multimedia display with a backup camera, satellite radio, and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming is standard, but the multimedia options beyond that are generally disappointing. The optional 7-inch screen seems a tad small where competitors are pushing units 8 inches or larger. The display graphics are run-of-the-mill and the available navigation system lacks pinch-to-zoom map functionality — something several competitors offer. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, readily available among Rogue rivals, are missing. And there's just one USB port. If your passengers need to charge their devices, you'll have to hunt down a 12-volt adapter.

A couple of pluses: The Rogue still offers Nissan's Around View Monitor, a helpful 360-degree camera system that's rare in the segment. And either multimedia screen has plenty of physical buttons and knobs — something fast disappearing among cars of all stripes in the name of multimedia "advancements." (Take a wild guess how I feel about them.)

Safety

The Rogue earned top scores in crashworthiness tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, including excellent scores in IIHS' evaluation of its optional forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. That system accompanies the Rogue's optional adaptive cruise control. Also optional are blind spot, and lane departure warning and prevention systems, the latter of which can nudge you back into your lane if you stray.

Value in Its Class

The front-drive Rogue starts around $25,000 including destination. All-wheel drive runs an affordable $1,350 on any trim, and a Rogue SL thus equipped tops out in the mid-$30,000s. That's a typical range for the class — a crowded class, I might add. Nearly every non-luxury automaker has a direct competitor to the Rogue, and some have two or three. Still, the Rogue's ubiquity is deserved. Nissan's compact SUV checks a lot of boxes for small families, with above-average reliability to boot. If you're shopping for a small SUV, it's a worthy contender.