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2010 Nissan Rogue SL AWD Review

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I've written often about this subject in the past and recent sales results have typically justified my thoughts. This is a product-driven market. This means that not only must carmakers offer a vehicle in just about every segment, it must be interesting, it has to have that “je-ne-sais-quoi” to capture consumers and their typically short attention spans.

Its shape is bland, linear and without exaggerated body lines, it bears no massive grille or any distinctive features.

Moreover, the compact CUV/SUV segment is presently the most competitive and hardest fought in the business. With North American, Korean, German and Japanese players, if you’ve don't got that ticket to ride, you'll be left behind. Consider the following: If you are up against the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Tucson and Volkswagen Tiguan, should you not put your best foot forward?

Need to spice things up

The Nissan Rogue, a relative newcomer to the category as it arrived in 2007 (replacing the X-Trail), has actually defied my logic to a certain extent. Although I find that it lacks character and is nearly devoid of anything that could be considered as design, the Rogue has sold quite well. I have always thought that a vehicle purchase was deeply based on emotion and when I ponder the Rogue, none come to mind.

And this could be key; I don't really feel anything in regards to the smallish Nissan. Its shape is bland, linear and without exaggerated body lines, it bears no massive grille or any distinctive features. So, you can't hate or like, really. It's certainly not controversial and will not stick out in a crowd. Perhaps that’s what Rogue buyers want; they intend on not creating the slightest blip on the radar.

Same recipe, same flavour
Climbing on board the Rogue generates a similar feeling. Even in its SL trim with the Premium Package, the cabin has a very insipid taste to it, yet I cannot deny its spot-on ergonomics, simplicity of execution and impressive fit and finish. As for the seats, they offer decent support and comfort, however I found that the driver's seat height adjustments are insufficient. The rear bench is accommodating legroom-wise but the integrated headrests do little to promote safety or hold.

Even in its SL trim with the Premium Package, the cabin has a very insipid taste to it.