The Nissan Rogue has been one of the best-selling crossover vehicles on the market for the past couple of years.

Built on the same “C” platform as the Sentra sedan, it has been a hit right from its debut.

The sporty compact crossover utility vehicle (CUV) came to market at a time when people were moving out of their larger sport utility vehicles (SUV) in droves as gasoline prices had skyrocketed well above the $1 a litre mark.

Fuel prices have now dropped to more reasonable levels, but compact crossovers continue to attract the attention of consumers.

However, what helps set the Rogue apart is its aggressive styling— it’s not quite a mini Murano, but certainly the Murano DNA is all over it. It has a sleek, slippery exterior look and a wide, aggressive stance.

The Rogue for 2009 is virtually unchanged from 2008 except for the addition of auto-locking power door locks.

Sometimes the lack of change in a product is viewed as a negative, but with the Rogue many would say, “Why change what ain’t broke!”

The Rogue is available in S and SL models, with front- or all-wheel drive. A 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, producing 170 hp, is standard. It is mated with Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). Also standard are traction control, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock and vehicle dynamic control.

The interior is just as attractive as the exterior, with the driver occupying a cockpit-like seating area. The instrument panel is well designed and the speedometer and tachometer are front and centre, easy to read through the steering wheel opening. The two gauges are chrome trimmed and the instrument panel illumination is reddish-orange in colour.

Prices for the Rogue start at $24,398 and top out at $34,298 for the all-wheel drive SL with leather and technology packages.

Many crossover customers are looking for car-like ride and handling and the Rogue delivers. The seats are supportive and comfortable and the ride is relatively smooth, even over pothole-scarred roads thanks to four-wheel independent suspension.

Fuel economy for the Rogue’s 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine is impressive, with the front-wheel drive version getting 9.1L/100 km city and 7.2L/100 km highway.

2009 Nissan Rogue
Type: Compact crossover
Price: $24,398 to $34,298
Engine: 2.5-litre four cylinder (170 hp, 175 lb/ft) with CVT transmission

Highlights
• Sleek exterior, interior
• Car-like handling