All-new for model-year 2014, this second-generation Rogue
is far better looking than the 2008 original and it’s the only compact crossover
in its competitive set available with seven-passenger seating. Nissan
gives the redesigned Rogue a better-defined nose, a chiseled new body, and a more secure stance. But it’s a repeat mechanically, maintaining a 170-horsepower four-cylinder as the sole engine and a continuously variable automatic as the only transmission. The combination provides adequate get-up-and-go. And while it allows some annoying engine drone during acceleration, the continuously variable transmission contributes to a sterling 28-mpg combined rating. Also notable is Rogue’s uncommonly absorbent ride, accurate steering, all all-around satisfying road manners. The Cheap star here is the midline SV model, starting at $26,440 with AWD. From there you can follow several option paths and remain under our $30,000 limit. The third-row seat that increases capacity from five to seven is really for occasional use by elementary-school kids. If you recognize the value of that capability, adding the little bench requires the $940 SV Family Package option. From here, you can go for the $1,420 SV Premium Package. It adds a navigation system (albeit one with a fairly compact 7-inch screen), a power liftgate, rear- and over-the-shoulder blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning. It also projects on the nav screen a nifty 360-degree bird’s eye video view of your Rogue; it’s a confidence builder in tight-quarters maneuvering. That gets you to $28,800. Keep the third-row seat but substitute the $1,320 SV Moonroof Package for the Premium Package and you’ll have a $27,700 SV with a ceiling mostly of tinted glass and a slide-open forward panel. Forget the Family Package and go with the Premium and Moonroof options and you’re still Cheap, at $29,180.