We like the Nissan Rogue. In our Frugal Five comparison, we deemed the little SUV "comfy, competent, and commodious," a strong choice for young urbanites looking for something different. This crossover is comfortable venturing on soft roads with five gear-laden adventurers aboard and their requisite snowboards/surfboards/luggage on its roof. If any of Nissan's SUVs has a distinct city-dwelling, fashionista, value-oriented character, it is the Rogue.
But if a Rogue turned roguish, what would be the end result? Probably something along the lines of this Venom Red tester.
Krom (pronounced "chrome") is Nissan's "coolest" trim designation, created to attract young, creative buyers. (More specifically, those likely to peruse Scion dealerships.) The trim level was first introduced on the Cube, and resides at the top end of the Rogue's four-model lineup. As such, the Rogue Krom sells for no less than $24,060, translating to a $3600 premium over a base front-wheel drive Rogue S. Young hipsters aren't usually saddled with loads of extra cash, so we're puzzled with Nissan's logic here.
Nonetheless, along with the cool badge affixed to the Rogue S's rear liftgate, designers include 17-inch polished wheels, sporty aerodynamic pieces, tinted rear windows, a centrally affixed exhaust, unique grille, and body-colored mirror housings. Steering wheel-mounted audio controls come standard, too. Nissan says the aesthetic add-ons elevate the Rogue from peppy diminutive SUV to a vehicle with bona fide "attitude." Note to Nissan: Even with the Krom designation, this little SUV has as much attitude as a three-month-old Yorkshire terrier.
Aesthetically, the Krom succeeds in being vastly different. Nissan GT-R DNA oozes from its nose. Deep-set fog lights and stylish, non-functional air inlets flank the catfish-like mouth. The edition-specific grille with twin chrome horizontal bars is an improvement over the standard model's busy honeycomb piece. A rear roof spoiler and central "sport-tuned" exhaust are supposed to add a touch of athleticism, but, like the front bumper, merely are awkward misplacements of farcical performance parts. We prefer the standard Rogue's handsome mix of chiseled edges and curvaceous lines.