The compact SUV segment is not exactly the sexiest or most exciting in the automotive world, but like midsize sedans, the sales of these models pay the bills for many brands, with the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Nissan Rogue being some of the brands' best-selling models and certainly their best-selling SUVs. Although the Nissan Rogue is not about to knock off the Escape or CR-V as the best-selling compact crossover any time soon, it is one of Nissan's highest-volume models, just behind the Altima sedan in sales. So the company took no chances in messing with the fundamental formula on the 2014 Nissan Rogue.

That being the case, you won't see radical, controversial styling, a gas-guzzling 400-plus-hp engine, or an exorbitant price tag. The key elements that made the Rogue popular before are present and accounted for: value, efficiency and practicality. Most of them have been enhanced for the new model year.

Introduced in 2008, the current Rogue was starting to look a little dated, with most other models in the segment being much newer. But if you're a fan of the current Rogue, fear not. It will continue to be sold into 2014 as the Rogue Select for a discounted price for value-minded shoppers. The 2014 model has a much crisper, more modern look, strongly reminiscent of the larger, three-row Nissan Pathfinder. Like the Pathfinder, the Rogue also offers an optional third row for 2014. However, unlike the Pathfinder, in which the third row is actually somewhat habitable by adults, the Rogue's "way back" should be considered suitable only for small children.

The most obvious stylistic change to the 2014 Rogue is its grille design, with a V-shaped interpretation of Nissan's signature twin-strut grille design replacing last year's eggcrate design. As is all the rage in the car world, the headlights get LED driving lights for an upscale look. The 2014 model also gets mirror-mounted turn signals for added safety. Around back, the Rogue maintains a clean, uncluttered look, with the license plate recess going from a small, square cavity to a wide, rectangular one, likely to accommodate the wider European-style license plates. The Rogue will also be sold in Europe as the X-Trail. Similar to the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, the 2014 Rogue's taillights are mounted high up on the tailgate, and border the rear glass.

Moving on to the interior, the 2014 Rogue's Dashboard has a much more distinctive, premium appearance than the outgoing model's, with horizontal, rectangular HVAC vents replacing the previous round units and the touchscreen head unit larger and higher than before. Available on the 2014 model is a dual-zone front climate control and push-button start. The steering wheel design also shows more intricate sculpting and detailing than the flat, chunky wheel of the 2013 model.

Under the hood, the 2014 model has the same 2.5-liter, 170-hp, 175-lb-ft I-4 and CVT transmission, but careful tuning has yielded a significant claimed 5-mpg improvement in highway fuel economy, from 28 to 33 mpg. Final, official figures have not yet been announced.

We think the looks of the 2014 Rogue are a big improvement over the 2013 model's inside and out. What do you think?

2014 Nissan Rogue

2013 Nissan Rogue