2013 Nissan Rogue Review and Prices

Last Updated: Oct 18, 2011

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2013 Nissan Rogue Buying Advice

The 2013 Nissan Rogue is the best crossover for you if want the all-new version of a popular compact SUV  that promises more expressive styling, a roomier cabin, and better fuel economy.

The 2013 Nissan Rogue will be the first all-new version of this five-passenger wagon since Rogue was introduced for model-year 2008. Rogue is Nissan’s best-selling SUV and the redesign will aim to keep it a friendly-driving value while turning up the wick on styling and features. Indeed, the 2013 Rogue will need lots of ammunition to compete with ever-tougher rivals, including the redesigned 2012 Honda CR-V, all-new 2013 Ford Escape, and revamped 2013 Toyota RAV4. The 2013 Rouge will repeat as a four-door with four-cylinder power and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. Production will shift from Japan to Nissan’s plant in Smyrna, Tenn., which could help hold the line on prices.

Should you wait for the 2013 Nissan Rogue or buy a 2012 Nissan Rogue? Wait for the 2013 Rogue to get the latest features, fuel-economy advantaged, and styling that – however it turns out – will look fresh well into the future. Resale value will be stronger than that of a 2012 Rogue, too. Buy a 2012 Rogue if you need reliable transportation and the flexibility of a crossover in the near-term. The 2012 Rogue still is a nice package and should be available with attractive deals as inventories are cleared for the all-new 2013 replacement.

2013 Nissan Rogue Changes back to top

Styling: Nissan was guarding details at the time of this review but the redesigned 2013 Rogue could be held to an evolutionary restyling with only a few subtle variations on the far-from-expressive 2008-2012 version. That won’t do, however, if Nissan wants the second-generation Rogue to look au courant next to flamboyant newcomers like the all-new Escape and even the swoopy Hyundai Tucson. The automaker could very well look for inspiration to the all-new 2013 Altima sedan, itself said to reflect the appearance of the Ellure Concept, a recent Nissan show car.

For the 2013 Rogue, that could mean a more modern profile with a steeply raked windshield that speaks to improved aerodynamics and emphasizes a flowing shape. The Ellure’s blunted hood could show up on the redesigned 2013 Rogue, as well. This design blueprint also opens the door for Nissan to push the 2013 Rogue slightly upscale, with top-quality interior materials and other high-end features.

A remote possibility is that Nissan could let its stylists loose to create a shape the polar opposite of the first-generation Rogue’s monotone design. The automaker’s offbeat Cube wagon, outlandish Juke mini crossover, and the bizarre Murano CrossCabriolet SUV convertible provide ample evidence that Nissan is willing to take design chances.

In any event, expect the 2013 Rogue to remain about the same overall size as the 2012 model. Cabin space for the 2008-2012 generation was good but lacked generous rear-seat legroom. Given the opportunity to redesign the Rogue, Nissan could lengthen the wheelbase slightly and that would result in more interior room. Wheelbase is the distance between the front and rear axles and a critical determinate in how much space – especially legroom -- a vehicle can allot passengers.

Expect the model lineup of the 2013 Nissan Rogue to reflect past Rogue rosters. That means two basic levels of trim: S and SV. Nissan extended the line to three models for 2010 and 2011 with the top-line Kröm model (pronounced “chrome”) and might reintroduce such a version or its equivalent for the 2013 Rogue.

Mechanical: Look for the 2013 Rogue to follow Nissan’s 2012 Versa subcompact car and adopt an all-new structure the automaker calls its global “V” platform, for “versatile.” The company says this architecture has fewer parts and weighs less than current structures. Expect the 2013 Rogue to continue as one of the sportier-driving small crossovers with a well-sorted suspension, sharp steering and good balance.

The 2013 Nissan Rogue will continue a drivetrain strategy that employs a four-cylinder engine and a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (AWD). Front-wheel drive places the weight of the engine over the wheels that propel the car. That benefits wet-pavement traction. AWD will continue as an extra-cost grip-enhancer for snow or loose surfaces. It’ll again be a crossover-typical AWD system that normally operates in front-drive and automatically reapportions power to the rear wheels when the fronts begin to slip. Rogue’s role will never include severe off-road duty, but the 2013 model is expected to again allow the driver to lock in a 50/50 front-rear power split to improve low-speed traction.

Sources suggest Nissan will replace the outgoing Rogue’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which was rated at 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque for model-year 2012.  A possible candidate is a revised and more powerful 2.5-liter four that includes two fuel injectors per cylinder instead of the customary one, as well as continuously variable timing for both intake and exhaust ports. Nissan dubs this technology Puredrive and says the benefits are improved fuel efficiency, lower emissions, and engine smoothness. For additional fuel-economy gains, Nissan has a new idle-stop system that can be adapted to this engine. Idle-stop, also called stop-start and even micro hybrid, automatically shuts off the engine when the vehicle stops and restarts it when the driver releases the brake pedal.

Another possible 2013 Rogue engine is the turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that debuted in the Juke sport crossover. There it makes 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. It employs direct fuel injection, a precision technology that introduces fuel directly into the cylinders to minimize fuel consumption and exhaust emissions and maximize power. Paired with the turbocharger, the result is power equivalent to that of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder but fuel efficiency in line with that of a smaller displacement engine.

Whatever is under the hood of the 2013 Rogue, the gearbox will be Nissan’s continuously variable transmission (CVT). While some competitors are adopting clutchless manual transmissions to essentially replace conventional automatics, Nissan relies extensively on CVTs, both in its crossover SUVs and cars. A CVT eschews conventional gears for a belt and pulleys and delivers a continuous band of thrust without pausing to shift. The intent is continuously changing gear ratios and a more precise match between engine output, acceleration, and fuel economy.

Features: Nearly everything to create a nicely equipped compact SUV should be available on the 2013 Nissan Rouge, including keyless entry with pushbutton ignition, leather upholstery, heated front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, power moonroof, xenon headlamps, and a backup camera.

Expect every 2013 Nissan Rogue to include among its standard equipment cruise control, air conditioning, and power windows and locks, tilt steering wheel, a manual driver-seat height adjuster, and rear heater ducts. Nissan never skimped on Rogue safety, and the 2013 model will continue standard with such vitals as an antiskid system to combat sideways slides.

But Nissan needs to reassess how it offers popular infotainment features. Amenities such as a USB iPod interface, Bluetooth hands-free cell-phone connectivity, and navigation system need to be standard on all 2013 Rogue models, not optional on lower-cost versions and standard only on top-tier models.

To Nissan’s credit, it added its gee-whiz Around View Monitor as part of an option package for the top-end 2012 Rogue. That suggests the 2013 Rogue might offer additional high-end technology, such as lane-departure warning and blind-spot monitoring. Around View Monitor employs four small superwide-angle cameras mounted on the front, side and rear of the vehicle and projects on a dashboard screen a virtual 360° view of the surroundings. That helps the driver spot objects that might otherwise go unseen and aids maneuvering in tight spots.

2013 Nissan Rogue Prices back to top

Prices for the 2013 Nissan Rogue were not announced in time for this review. Nissan, however, will be pressured by intense competition to minimize 2013 Rogue price increases -- or even to hold the line. Helping the cause should be the relocation of Rogue assembly from Japan to the U.S., which ought to minimize unfavorable currency valuations, simplify delivery, and potentially lower labor and manufacturing costs.

Given this crossover’s pricing history, we estimate a 2013 Nissan Rogue base-price range of roughly $22,750-$26,500. (Estimated base prices in this review include the manufacturer’s mandated destination fee; Nissan’s fee for the 2012 Rouge was $810).

Expect the 2013 Rogue S model to start around $22,750 with front-wheel drive and around $24,000 with AWD. The 2013 Nissan Rogue S standard equipment list should include power windows, locks, and mirrors, air conditioning, cruise control, a tilt/telescope steering wheel, height-adjustable driver’s seat, 40/20/40 split folding rear seatbacks, and remote keyless entry.

Estimated base price for the 2013 Nissan Rogue SV is $25,200 with front-drive and $26,500 with AWD. Expect the 2013 SV to include all the S equipment, plus alloy wheels, steering wheel audio controls, and USB and Bluetooth connectivity among other features.

Various options packages will allow S-model buyers to upgrade their Rogues to SV-model level while giving Rogue SV buyers exclusive access to options such as leather upholstery, xenon headlamps, and automatic climate control. 

2013 Nissan Rogue Fuel Economy back to top

EPA fuel-economy ratings for the 2013 Nissan Rogue were not been released in time for this review but Nissan is undoubtedly working to give the second-generation better gas mileage than the first. That won’t be a simple task: the 2012 Rogue was already among the more fuel-efficient vehicles in the compact-crossover category with ratings of 22/28 mpg city/highway and 25 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 22/26/24 mpg with AWD.

Expect Nissan to employ new engine technology, an improved CVT, less vehicle weight and improved body aerodynamics. To be among the best-in-class, the 2012 Rogue would need ratings of around 23/33 mpg city/highway, 25 mpg combined with front-drive and 23/28/25 with AWD.

2013 Nissan Rogue Release Date back to top

The 2013 Nissan Rogue should be in showrooms in late summer or early fall 2012.

What's next for the 2013 Nissan Rogue back to top

Expect Nissan to keep this second-generation Rogue on sale through model-year 2017 or 2018. It likely will receive a freshening for model year 2015 or 2016, getting minor styling changes and perhaps mechanical updates.

A Rogue gasoline hybrid could be on the drawing board, with a possible introduction as early as model-year 2014. Nissan has developed its own hybrid systems, one of which will be featured in the 2013 Altima midsize sedan and could be adapted for the Rogue.

2013 Nissan Rogue Competition back to top

Ford Escape: An all-new Escape is due for model-year 2013. It’ll dump a 12-year–old design for a cutting-edge compact-crossover structure that draws from Ford’s global engineering talent. Based on the Ford Kuga crossover sold overseas, it promises eye-candy styling, Euro-style road manners, and far more refinement than the outgoing Escape. Ford promises new class standards for performance, handling, fuel economy, and infotainment gadgetry.  Escape will discard its V-6 and feature three four-cylinder engine choices, including two EcoBoost turbocharged versions: a 1.6-liter and a 2.0-liter. With the 1.6-liter version bettering the 31-mpg highway fuel-economy rating of the front-wheel-drive 2012 Escape Hybrid, the 2013 model line won’t feature a gas-electric model. Despite its age, the rugged-looking 2012 Escape retired atop the compact-SUV sales charts. Ford aims to keep it there with the redesigned 2013 Escape.

Toyota RAV4: Toyota’s venerable RAV4 will get new styling, features, and probably powertrains for the 2013 model year. The fourth-generation RAV4 could grow wider but it isn’t likely to get much longer or taller. Toyota may retain the option of a tiny third-row seat for provisional seven-passenger capacity. But don’t be surprised if the 2013 RAV4’s new styling has it looking a bit less trucky. And the third-generation RAV probably won’t remain among the few compact crossover SUVs to offer a V-6 engine. It’ll retain a four-cylinder engine and almost certainly will add a gas-electric hybrid version. And Toyota is working with electric-vehicle builder Tesla to produce a pure-electric battery-powered version. 

Subaru Forester: Redesigned for model-year 2009, Forester is due a styling refresh for model-year 2013 or 2014. That won’t change its basic shape or dimensions, leaving this tall wagon as one of the best choices in a compact crossover. Forester’s relatively low center of gravity provides category-leading handling, its sophisticated standard AWD system delivers great traction, and Subaru’s brilliant packaging furnishes more passenger space and nearly as much cargo room as most any direct competitor. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces sufficient horsepower, with a peppier turbocharged version available.

2013 Nissan Rogue Next Steps