2009 Nissan Rogue SL AWDPosted on June 5th, 2009
Versatile active lifestyle vehicle for budget-conscious buyers
By Nina Russin
Being an athlete is a balancing act. While the rest of the world sleeps, athletes train. When sedentary folks diet, athletes eat. And while the rest of the world giggles over Conan’s late-night antics, athletes sleep, so they can get up at 0-dark-hundred and train some more.
In addition to complicating one’s lifestyle, being an athlete places additional demands on the budget. In these days of tightening purse strings, finding a way to pay for the shoes, the bike, the coach, and the gym membership with enough left over to keep the lights on can be the biggest balancing act of all.
With the price of gasoline on the rise, fuel economy is a critical factor in a vehicle’s cost of ownership. The affordably priced Nissan Rogue combines a spacious, versatile interior with a fuel-efficient engine. While it’s no hot rod, the Rogue has enough power to meet the needs of most car owners. Available all-wheel drive enhances traction in rain, snow and on unimproved roads.
Buyers who like the Xterra’s versatility, but need a vehicle with better fuel economy should consider the Rogue. While the Rogue lacks the Xterra’s off-road capability, it averages 26 miles per gallon on the highway, as opposed to 20 mpg for the Xterra. Yakima-compatible roof rails make it easy to install a variety of gear racks on the Rogue’s roof.
The Rogue has a slightly shorter wheelbase than the Xterra, but the body is five inches longer, translating to more interior room. With the second-row seats folded flat, there’s plenty of room in back to lock up a bike in the cargo area.
Two available grades
The test car is the Rogue SL, positioned above the base S model. Power comes from an aluminum inline four-cylinder engine, and continuously variable automatic transmission. Vented disc brakes with four-channel antilock braking help the driver maintain directional control in wet weather. Electronic stability and traction control is standard equipment.
A four-wheel independent suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars produces a car-like ride, while remaining fairly flat in the corners. The Rogue can tow up to 1500 pounds: well below our 3500 pound ALV minimum, but enough for a small trailer. Minimum ground clearance is 8.3 inches: enough to clear the occasional rock or tree roots on unimproved roads.
An available Garmin navigation system is $540: about a quarter of the price of most in-dash units. The device mounts on top of the dashboard, to the right of the steering wheel. Users can search destinations with addresses or by points of interest, with audible directions and maps. I found the unit as easy to use as my Garmin Forerunner, and very accurate.
A premium package ($2230) adds an audio upgrade with XM satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity, manual shift mode, xenon headlamps and fog lights, and keyless start. Xenon headlamps produce a brighter, longer beam of light than halogens. The test car also has an optional moonroof ($850), and roof rail cross bars ($230).
Compact and nimble for urban commuting
Standard 17-inch wheels on the SL create a large footprint that enhances the Rogue’s high-speed handling. Power rack-and-pinion steering has enough on-center response to make emergency maneuvers a non-issue. Turning radius is 37.4 feet: about average for a car of its size.
Visibility to the front and sides of the car is quite good, thanks to large outside mirrors. Thick D pillars make the rear glass narrower than it needs to be. A standard rear wiper keeps the glass clear in rain and snow.
The engine develops peak torque at 4400 rpm, giving it decent power in the 20-to-50 mile-per-hour range. I had no problems accelerating into high-speed traffic, or passing slower vehicles on the highway.
The continuously-variable transmission eliminates shift shock that is the bane of small engines. A manual shift mode enables drivers to maximize engine power on hilly roads. The driver can shift using the shift lever or steering-wheel mounted paddles.
Inside, the Rogue can comfortably seat four adults. A floor tunnel and the center console limit legroom in the center position. The standard cloth upholstery is attractive and practical for buyers who live in hot climates.
Bluetooth, audio and cruise control buttons on the steering wheel minimize driver distraction. A 12-volt power point up front recharges electronic devices. An overhead console includes reading lamps and a sunglass console.
There are two large cup or bottle holders in the center console. A deep center console bin stores compact discs, and includes a change holder. Passengers can store maps in door pockets or the glovebox.
The optional moonroof brings ambient light and extra fresh air in back. Since there are no vents behind the front seats, buyers who travel with their families should consider the option. Two cupholders pop out of the back of the center console.
Second-row seats are easy to fold flat by pulling tabs on the seatbacks. There is no need to remove the headrests or seat cushions. The Rogue easily meets our bicycle-friendly standards.
Four tie-down hooks in the cargo area secure larger items. New for 2009 is a fold-down front passenger seat. The feature, which is standard on the SL, extends the cargo floor to 8.5 feet. A light in the liftgate with a separate power switch makes it easier to load up the back at night.
The premium package adds a tonneau cover to conceal cargo, as well as an under-floor cargo organizer for small items.
All cars come with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, front seat active head restraints, vehicle stability and traction control.
The Rogue is on display at Nissan dealerships nationwide.
Likes: An affordable, fuel-efficient crossover vehicle with seating for four and a configurable, bicycle-friendly cargo area. Available all-wheel drive gives the Rogue better wet weather performance.
Dislikes: Thick D-pillar limits rear visibility. Floor mats are a $110 option.
Model: Rogue SL AWD
Base price: $23,010
As tested: $27,050
Horsepower: 170 Hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 175 lbs.-ft. @ 4400 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 21/26 mpg city/highway
Comments: Base price does not include a $700 destination charge.
4 responses to “2009 Nissan Rogue SL AWD”
Perhaps you can assist me! I am looking to buy a bike for my boy and i simpy dont know what type of bike i should be going for? I mean when i got my motorbike i knew exactly what i wanted for a ver long time, but he is still unsure what he wants? Is there maybe a decent way to discover whats best?
I’m not sure from your question whether you are talking about a bicycle or a motorcycle. If you are looking for a bicycle, I’d recommend going with him to a specialty bike shop. The people there can recommend the best bike for his needs and also fit the bike to him.
Hey, very nice website. I actually came across this on Yahoo, and I am really happy I did. I will definately be returning here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment.
Jackie Sebastian October 31st, 2010 at 22:17
What makes Nissan Rogue outstanding is that is is bigger than its competitors because it has no optional third row seater, like Toyota RAV4 which makes it’s second row a lot more spacious! The seating is so spacious and the materials used are the best to outlast the others in the same class.The space for cargo sin this car is exceptionally large!I’m actually impressed that there is a little divider which pops up from the carpeted floor..This is a real innovation I’ve ever seen in a compact cross-over!
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