Good looks, a roomy interior and decent performance combine to make the new compact crossover a serious contender

COURTESY NISSAN-USA - The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport is a good size for urban driving, and also has suspension that handles broken pavement surprisingly well.In the niche market of subcompact crossovers, Nissan now has two entries. The first is the quirky, car-like Juke, which is intentionally designed to appeal to young urbanites. The second is the new Rogue Sport, which, as the name suggest, looks like a smaller version of the company's Rogue, today's best selling compact crossover. Which is to say, it's more conventional in a good way.

Using the name Sport to designate a smaller version of another vehicle isn't new. Hyundai does it with the Santa Fe Sport and Mitsubishi does it with the Outlander Sport. And because small vehicles tend to be more fun to drive than large ones, it's fair to say the Sport term also means sportier.

COURTESY NISSAN-USA - All versions of the 2017 Nissan Rogue feature a 7-inch color touchscreen and can be ordered with the latest automotive technologies.That's especially true with the Rogue Sport, which we found especially fun to drive in town. Although the 141 horsepower produced by it sole 2.0-liter inline four cylinder engine doesn't sound like much, the standard Continuously Variable Transmission is programmed to take good advantage of it. Our test model was relatively quick off the line and able to switch lanes into open spots in traffic easily, thanks to its well sprung suspension and precise steering.

Our SV model came with front wheel drive, not the optional all-wheel-drive system that we recommend for the wet Pacific Northwest, however. The additional weight of the AWD components might slow such versions down a little. But the basic platform seemed good enough that we doubt the overall performance would be changed much.

COURTESY NISSAN-USA - Back seat passengers will find a surprising amount of room in the 2017 Nissian Rogue Sport.In truth, the Rogue Sport is larger in all dimensions than the Juke and some of the other subcompact crossovers. This gives is more interior room that a number of its direct competitors. Nissan engineers took advantage of the additional room to make the front bucket seats a little wider and create a little more head and leg room for back seat passengers. Cargo space is also impressive for such a small vehicle, especially with the back seat folded down.

Buyers get a lot for their money with the Rogue Sport. The base S model start at $22,380 and includes a 7.0-inch color touch-screen, cruise control, a backup camera, rear HVAC vents, Bluetooth, and a USB port. Mid-level SV versions start at $23,980 and add 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, proximity entry, and a power driver's seat. Top-of-the-line SL add all the active-safety features. All-wheel-drive adds $1,350 to the price.

COURTESY NISSAN-USA - The new Nissan Rogue Sport (bottom) is not all that much smaller than the compact Nissan Rogue, which helps explain its large interior for a subcompact crossover.The new Nissan Sport competes against two compactr crossovers that have gotten a lot of automotive press attention — the Mazda CX-3 because of that company's reputation for drivability and the Honda HR-V because, well, because it's a Honda. But we think the Nissan Sport is a serious alternative to either of them that deserves to be considered by anyone looking for a compact crossover these days, especially one with just a little more room.

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

Base price: $22,380

Price as tested: $26,410

Type: Subcompact crosssover

Engine: 2.0-liter inline 4 (141 hp, 147 lb-ft)

Transmission: Continuosly Variable

EPA estimated mileage: 27/28 (AWD)/25/32 (FWD)

Overall length: 172.4 inches

Curb weight: 3350-3450 pounds

Final assembly: Los Angeles, California

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