Now in its tenth year of production, the Nissan Rogue has proven itself as a viable contender in the crossover SUV market. As a late entrant, it had some early teething problems, as ground-up car designs are wont to have. But for the newest iteration, those kinks have largely been worked out, leaving a well-rounded and refined crossover SUV that will be sure to please its loyal fans as well as get the attention of new customers.

One of the more controversial aspects of the Rogue is its apparent self-conscious desire to live up to its name, at least regarding itsĀ exterior styling. The Rogue gleefully breaks all the rules of crossover styling, with the results being, at least by some estimations, a refreshing departure from auto orthodoxy and an aggressive, sleek look. Regardless of what one may think of the aesthetic calculations that went into the Rogue’s exterior molding, it is definitely a car all its own, with the unmistakable Nissan appearance reminiscent of the company’s most fastest and most furious products. Some will love it, some may not. But no one will mistake it for something else. And that’s more than can be said for much of its competition.

Under the hood we find solid engineering but nothing that makes the heart race. A standard 2.5 liter, inline four-cylinder engine produces 170 horsepower while delivering 175 pound-feet of torque to the wheels. While it won’t win drag races or tow yachts down the highway, the Rogue has the speed and power to complete any quotidian task with plenty in reserve. It will go from zero to 60 in a quick but not breathtaking 8.5 seconds. And the 2.5 liter engine can post up to 33 miles per gallon on the highway and 26 in the city, not bad for a 3,500-pound car with as much usable cargo space as some SUVs.

The only drawback with the Rogue’s drive train options are the less-than-spectacular 2.0 liter hybrid engine. That engine costs more, delivers underwhelming power and only adds 2 miles per gallon to the car’s highway numbers, an improvement, if it can be called that, hardly worth spending thousands extra.

One of the Rogue’s genuine strong suits, however, is itsĀ interior. With optional textured leather seats, the interior appointments are classy and refined, leaving the occupants with the impression of a car in a much higher price range. The infotainment display is small but is easy to use and does its job well. The layout is well-designed and is the obvious product of a company that has produced some of the most consistently high-rated driver’s cars of the last 20 years. The large, analogue gauges are both easy to read and very pleasing to the eye, both night and day. Overall, taking a road trip in the Rogue’s tasteful cabin is a pleasant way to sped a couple of hours.

All told, the Rogue delivers strong value in well-differentiated, unique addition to the crossover market. At $25,000, it won’t bankrupt you. And it gives the competition a solid run for the money.

Why leasing a Nissan Rogue may be the best move

The single strongest reason to lease, versus buying, is the phenomenal amounts of money leasing can save, in both up-front costs and ongoing monthly payments.

A typical Nissan Rogue bought on a bank loan may require a down payment of thousands of dollars. It will also include sales tax, which can easily exceed $1,000 in many states, as well as closing costs and fees.

On the other hand, leasing the same vehicle will typically only result in a couple hundred dollars in drive-away costs. Additionally, current lease deals are available to acquire a Nissan Rogue for as little as $150 per month. That can amount to savings of more than $350 per month, versus what a monthly payment on a loan would be.