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If you're shopping SUVs this year, you really need to test-drive the 2018 Nissan Rogue.

PORTLAND TRIBUNE: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The compact crossover market is hot these days, and the good-looking 2018 Nissan Rogue is the most popular one.Compact SUVs are the hottest part of the new car market right now, and Nissan's Rogue crossover is the best-selling SUV in America this year, overtaking Toyota's popular RAV4 and the Chevrolet Equinox.

The reasons why Rogue is so popular are easy to understand. Nissan's bread and butter SUV offers tremendous value, a comfortable cabin, plenty of cargo capacity, and AWD for all-season confidence. Plus, it's a good-looking vehicle.

The heart of the Rogue is a 2.5-liter engine rated at 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. Nissan chose their Xtronic continuously variable transmission to get the most out of that power. Nissan's been working hard on developing the CVT, and it fits the Rogue very well. The perception you get when driving is that the Rogue responds instantly to throttle inputs, and always has acceleration available for you.

PORTLAND TRIBUNE: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - All trim levels of the Rogue come with a 7-inch touchscreen display audio system that supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The Rogue cabin is comfortable, especially if you upgrade the trim level. Most trims offer cool cloth seats, while the top luxury SL trim offers very nice leather upholstery. All trims except the base offer standard heated front seats. The SL also has a heated steering wheel, which is truly indulgent luxury in a Portland winter. Cargo space is impressive, with 39.3 cubic feet behind the second row seats and 70 cubic feet with the second row folded down.

All trim levels of the Rogue come with a 7-inch touchscreen display audio system that supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The standard audio system also supports Siri eyes-free, hands-free phone calling, and hands-free text messaging. As usual, the SL gets a few special goodies like navigation, Sirius/XM satellite radio, Nissan Connect app support, and voice recognition.

Every Nissan Rogue comes with a backup camera. The SL trim upgrades to a full bird's-eye around-view monitor. Every Rogue also comes with automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert, and the SL adds lane keeping assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.

PORTLAND TRIBUNE: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The Rogue cabin is comfortable, especially if you upgrade the trim level. Most trims offer cool cloth seats, while the top luxury SL trim offers very nice leather upholstery.

Optionally, you can also add Nissan's Pro Pilot Assist automated steering and cruising package to the Rogue SL. This semi-autonomous technology helps keep the Rogue in its lane and will steer around curves for you. The driver still has to be hands-on and paying attention, however.

On the road, the Rogue is really a pleasant vehicle to drive. I put many miles on the Rogue, going out to the coast and up to Olympia and back. ProPilot Assist is great technology for the run up I-5 towards Seattle. Visibility was great from the up-high seating position and the Rogue's driving experience is natural and predictable. If you're shopping SUVs this year, you really need to test-drive the 2018 Nissan Rogue.

PORTLAND TRIBUNE: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - Did someone say cargo space? the 2018 Nissan Rogue has plenty of it, especailly with the back seats folded down.

2018 Nissan Rogue SL AWD

Base price: $25,775

Price as tested: $36,915

Type: Compact crossover SUV

Engine: 2.5-liter inline 4 (170 hp, 175 lbs-ft)

Transmission: Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission

EPA estimated mileage: 25/32

Overall length: 184.5 inches

Curb weight: 3,659 pounds

Final assembly: Los Angeles, California

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