Strangely, Nissan appears to be the planet's sole car company to have figured out CVTs. Although our Rogue didn't include the cool shifter paddles that are optional on S and SL versions (providing what amounts to "virtual gears" for those suffering from conventional-transmission withdrawals), you can still pop it into "low" for extra poop and all the rest of the time reap all those CVT World-of-Tomorrow wonders. Without the groaning and rubber-banding they typically inflict.
The Rogue's handling is another data point way off the curve. Despite its tall stance, it turns in enthusiastically with little of the listing its competitors exhibit -- just the thing for impatient young drivers threading through traffic trying to get to the Radiohead concert. Ah, but there's a downside to a short-length, tall vehicle possessing lighting reflexes.
It's ride quality. If you're older than about 26, having inelastic portions of your body paint-shakered into a quivering blur is no longer amusing. Worse, your Red Bull gets all frothy. Warning: Any occupant needing either a child seat or reading glasses has no business in this car. The ride is simply brutal.
The Rogue also turns the hooligan trait of trading functionality for sporty looks into a perverse art form. The stern is all angled eye candy from the outside, frustrating packaging from the inside. And how about its peek-a-boo, tapering side-window treatment? Let's agree that it's a good thing you're young enough to have no reason to be backing up in any preschool parking lots any time soon.
And that's just the point: Someone like you wouldn't be caught dead at Twinkle-Time Preschool, or for that matter, hitting Home Depot for appliances any time soon, either. The Rogue's about being seen in, not seeing out of. Showing up with snowboards on the roof, surfboards in the back, and fun in mind. If any of this makes you furiously nod your head in agreement, the Rogue's for you. Pretty good matchmaker, eh?