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Motoring: Rogue delivers great price in good package

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | October 14th, 2008

Due to current gas prices it is becoming increasingly more difficult to justify buying an SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) or a CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle).

However, not all such vehicles are bad on gas, if you look at the four cylinder offerings, some of these are quite frugal.

One such example is the new Nissan Rogue. This front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive CUV comes equipped with a 2.4-litre, four-cylinder engine, that produces 170hp and 175 lb/ft of torque, which is ample for a vehicle of this size.

This on its own would have been good for fuel economy, but it goes one better thanks due to it's CVT transmission. CVT as some of you may already know stands for Continuously Variable Transmission. The one big characteristic of a CVT gearbox is that you don't feel any shift shock when the car changes gears, and this CVT is as smooth as they come. Previously I had not been a fan of CVT gearboxes, but these gearboxes are getting better and better and the one in the Rogue is among the best in the business. What helps make this CVT gearbox even better is that it allows manual gear selection via paddles on the steering wheel. This allows you to have some fun, and I must say the quick gear changes certainly are a delight to use.

This CUV likes to perform like a little sports car, and the same goes for its handling. My test vehicle was equipped with the intelligent all wheel drive system which is very clever indeed. On a full bore acceleration run, power goes 50/50 front and back. On a highway cruise, all the power goes to just the front wheels. During cornering it sends 70 per cent of the power to the front wheels and 30 per cent to the rear. This allows for a mild under steer balance in the turns and would suit most drivers, although personally I prefer mild over steer.

So it is good to drive no doubt, and thanks to its engine and transmission, I averaged 9.7-litres/100km, which is good.

It is also good to look at from the outside, and when you step inside, you'll find the interior design far more interesting than most of its competition. It is a comfortable vehicle to be in. Its major flaw is its miniscule cargo space no thanks to its forward sloping C-pillars and its short wheelbase and overhangs, there is very little room in the trunk. So if you have all the seats up, your boot will only be able to carry your boots. So if you have baby strollers to carry around for more than one child, this is not the vehicle for you.

However, if you are single or recently married and want a utility vehicle you can comfortably use all year round without worrying about fuel-economy, this is a good pick. Plus with a starting price of just $24,988 (plus all the other dealer fees and taxes), it is affordable to buy too. So if you want a CUV, do take a very close look at the Rogue.
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