The Rogue's interior is stark, but not a refined stark like we find in Volkswagens and Audis. Interior materials felt high quality, but looked cheap. The cloth seats were fine for short trips, but proved uncomfortable for long hauls.
Instead of using its own OEM navigation system, Nissan has chosen to use a Garmin Nuvi 750 with a hardwired cradle for power. Unlike other hardwired Garmin systems that we've seen, this setup doesn't integrate the vehicle's audio system, so you're stuck with the Nuvi's tiny, tinny speaker.
A premium Bose audio system option replaces the stock four-speaker setup with seven-speakers and the single disc CD player with a six-disc changer with MP3 playback. That's where the digital-audio options stop, as there is no USB or iPod connectivity available.
The sole transmission option for the Rogue is Nissan's Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). At low speed or low load, such as city driving or highway cruising, the transmission is supersmooth and unintrusive. Under hard acceleration, the CVT can be a bit laggy in getting the revs up.
The QR-series 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is a relative of the power plant found in the Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec-V, but in this incarnation generates 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. California buyers will have to make due with 3 fewer ponies and 5 fewer pound-feet of twist because of the more restrictive emissions equipment fitted.
While the CVT doesn't make for a fun drive, it does its part to make the Rogue as efficient as possible. EPA estimates 22 city and 27 highway mpg. With a lead foot, we stuck pretty close to the low end of that spectrum.