We really, really wanted to like the 2016 Nissan Rogue. It's a right-sized compact crossover with mild off-road chops, thanks to its 7.6-inch ground clearance, and it is rated at 32 mpg on the highway even with all-wheel drive. It has accumulated better-than-average reliability records in Consumer Reports magazine surveys, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the similar 2015 model a Top Safety Pick. The Rogue is right-priced, too: the base Select model starts at $20,150, and even our loaded test car came in at a manageable $33,175.
One thing we liked about the Rogue was its ride. On a five-hour drive to upstate New York, the Rogue exhibited road manners normally associated with more expensive, even luxury crossovers. The ride was smooth and quiet, and while the handling and acceleration were unexceptional, the car felt secure and composed. Fuel economy was more than acceptable at 28.6 mpg on a long highway drive, though we'd hoped to come a little closer to the highway rating.