Stick Shift: 2017 Nissan Rogue SL

The Nissan Rogue has always been a perfectly well rounded, middle of the pack kind of SUV. Never ahead of the rest, or shining brighter than the competition, but always delivering on quality and value. Some exterior and interior tweaks, plus added tech, like adaptive cruise control and emergency braking, deliver us a fresh faced Rogue SL for 2017. A compact SUV that learns a few new tricks each year to position itself closer and closer to the front of the pack.

Sharp, Maxima-esque exterior styling help bring sophistication and modern good looks to the Rogue. It comes equipped with attractive 19” wheels, a roof rack, halogens headlamps and sporty fog lights. These additions help the new Rogue distance itself a little more from the boring looks it was plagued with before being visually reborn in 2014.

On the inside, seating is comfortable, with storage that’s both plentiful and very well organized. Quality materials can be found throughout. Plastics are soft to the touch and genuine leather seats feature quilted inserts. Everything meshes to produce a handsome, well assembled cabin. The SL trim ups the ante even further with a power panoramic moonroof, heated steering wheel, nine-speaker Bose audio system, a bright 7-inch touchscreen display and a rear-view camera to facilitate backing up and parking.

Tucked under the hood is a 2.5L DOHC 4-cyclinder engine that makes 170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. A 1000 lb towing capacity with AWD help add enough utility for most jobs, without over-burdening the Rogue with too much expensive tech that drive up the price but rarely get any use. Acceleration is on the slow side, accentuated by the sleepy CVT transmission. I also found steering to be too soft and body-roll too abundant. Everything added up, the Nissan Rogue SL inspires very little in the performance department. If it’s a little extra sportiness you’re craving, The Mazda CX-5 or even Honda CR-V could be worth a test drive.

The 2017 Nissan Rogue SL may come up short in the areas that make driving a road-connecting, stimulating experience, but it’s never looked better or offered more for the money. With a polished interior, aggressively styled exterior, good cargo capacity and respectable gas mileage; there’s still lots to like about the new Nissan Rogue.

By: Brandon Randall

Price as tested: $35,475.00

 

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