Rogue by name – but not by nature. You might assume from its name that Nissan’s Tennessee-built Rogue has a cheeky demeanor or some subversive swagger that sets it apart from the legions of SUV competitors. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. This is a dull and forgettable vehicle, with no standout features. It doesn’t even look particularly roguish, though at least it avoids the Ford Bronco’s constipated stare or the Stranger Things aesthetics of Toyota’s antiquated 4Runner.

What we have here is a solidly durable five-seater with very little personality. That’s a good thing because where Nissan has tried to give the Rogue some charisma, they’ve failed. Consider that unhappy nose, with a quartet of rectangular headlamps which appear to be trying to escape up the bonnet and down into the front bumper respectively. The side profile goes for Volvo XC40 angularity without pulling it off, while the dash’s rotary knobs and buttons are fashioned from plastic that may wear well but certainly isn’t tactile or attractive.

Delivers on the basics. If all you want is a spacious front-drive car with five seats and decent equipment for less than $30,000, then the Rogue should be suitable. Admittedly, the same is also true of numerous Far Eastern rivals. However, while the Rogue may be a charisma vacuum, it’s highly competent. Despite measuring little more than 180 inches, it’s a generous five-seater with almost 40 cubic feet of cargo capacity and a well-assembled cabin that’s unlikely to tax Nissan’s underwhelming three-year/36,000-mile warranty. Pricing is on the right side of competitive, and even the base S model is moderately well-equipped.

Safety is another strong suit, thanks to a combination of recent structural updates and generous standard safety kit. The Rogue has received top scores from both the NHTSA and IIHS, while every model delivers SUV essentials like blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking. You can even raid the options list for an adaptive cruise control system that links with the navigation to offer hands-free driving in short stints.

2022 Nissan Rogue Interior

Built for comfort, not speed. The Rogue’s rather beige demeanor is perhaps best encapsulated in its performance, with a 1.5-liter turbocharged gas engine generating 201 hp. It’s thwarted in any attempt at urgency by both pronounced turbo lag and a CVT transmission that prioritizes fuel economy over acceleration. Spending $1,500 on AWD makes things marginally worse, though it doesn’t affect the steering, which is equally uncommunicative in any model.

On the flip side, fuel economy is good, with the Rogue’s slippery profile contributing to a combined economy in the 30s on most models. The suspension’s impressive at all times, and even big 19-inch tires don’t damage the supple ride; sound deadening is also impressive. There’s no attempt at sportiness in the on-road dynamics, but at least your passengers will be happy with the levels of comfort on offer. We must also praise the Rogue’s rear seats – easy access through big doors and generous space in every direction makes this a perfectly pleasant place to sit.

Keeping trim. If your budget permits, we’d skip entry-level S trim and move straight up to SV, with its power-adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone climate and adaptive cruise control. Seating options across the range start at cloth, moving up through synthetic and real leather to soft semi-aniline.

By this point, you’re looking at over $42,000 for a Platinum model with a head-up display and Bose audio. These are both welcome features, but they take the Rogue into a corner of the market it probably can’t justify competing in.

Final thoughts. Summing up the Rogue is difficult, because it does nothing to offend while also failing to excite in any way. It’s a wholly competent SUV, with enough (optional) AWD grunt to deal with grassy knolls and enough ride comfort to smooth out even the worst road surfaces. There’s plenty of space inside, decent equipment levels, impressive safety and plenty of sound deadening. It’ll give you very little to worry about as an ownership proposition, too.

The problem is that we could have written those words about many other models in this over-subscribed market. What the Rogue lacks is a defining characteristic, such as the Hyundai Santa Fe’s opulent Calligraphy model or the Mazda CX-5’s elegant internal and external design. The Rogue doesn’t even have the third-row seat found in its Mitsubishi Outlander cousin. We can’t come up with a reason to buy the Rogue over these considerable contenders, but if you do leave your nearest Nissan dealership with a completed order form, you’re unlikely to regret your decision.

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