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Like many small sport utility vehicles, the Nissan Rogue is looking to make an impact. And that’s a tough assignment, considering the compact crossover SUV class is a crowded field with some real standouts.

That’s no big knock on the Rogue, which has some strong traits, like good handling, solid acceleration, comfort, and features a nice interior.

But the stars in this class – Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 – have been on top for years. Although losing some ground overall, the CR-V and the RAV-4 remain the standouts. Other notable players include the Chevy Equinox, Kia Sportage, Subaru Forester, Hyundai Tucson, Ford Edge, GMC Terrain, and the Rogue.

The 2013 Rogue, which has few changes from last year’s version, is no slacker. Yet like many of its competitors, there’s not enough overall to get real excited about purchasing this five-passenger SUV.

The sticker price for the Rogue’s two trim models is reasonable ($22,610 to $25,050) and the gas mileage is enviable (22-28 mpg), allowing this Nissan to match up well with many compact SUVs.

The Rogue also features a quality interior that provides good leg and head room for front-seat occupants, but the second row can be a bit cramped with three adults. The materials are not the cheap plastic one typically finds in this class.

Another plus is the control panel is designed sensibly and easily accessible to the driver. The Rogue interior also features a number of handy storage areas, a sizable center console, and one huge glove box.

What is not so cool regarding the interior is a lack of reclining capability in the second row, a comfort-conscious feature that many SUVs now possess. The Rogue does provide good cargo space and when the second row is folded, it gets quite roomy with 59.7 cubic feet of space.

2013 Nissan Rogue

  • Performance: 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 170 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 22-28 mpg
  • Price: $22,610 to $25,050
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; corrosion 5 years/unlimited

Although the Rogue, which is built in Japan, has a sleek exterior appeal, the annoying thing is its low-lining roof has created poor sight lines and it’s very difficult to see out the back.

Another knock on the Rogue is performance, which is not unusual for small SUVs. Based on the Nissan Sentra, the Rogue has no alternative, you either like its 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, that delivers 170 horsepower, or you don’t. There is no V6 option.

The Rogue’s engine is designed for every-day driving and labors on any hill with a steep grade. However, the front-wheel-drive Rogue travels 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds, which is not bad for a four-cylinder crossover. Note that all-wheel drive is an option.

Thanks in part to its lack of performance, the Rogue offers no driving thrills. But it’s a crossover that delivers a car-like feel and the handling can best be described as capable. The Rogue is a bit noisy, especially trying to climb a sizable hill.

If price is a big issue, the Rogue might be the choice when shopping for a compact SUV. But if sticker price isn’t the deciding factor, the higher priced CR-V and RAV-4 are the better selections.