AURORA | There’s a 47 percent chance the car sitting in your driveway right now is a crossover.
If you do own a crossover, there’s a 67 percent chance you own a dog too.
If you own both aforementioned dog and crossover, there’s a 83 percent chance it’s a sporting breed as far as the American Kennel Association is concerned, i.e. retriever, spaniel or some other water dog.
There’s also 100 percent chance that’s all totally made up.
The point however, should not be lost. Crossovers used to have jurisdiction only in high school parking lots. Safe, but not too big and thoroughly unexciting — like second period study hall.
The Nissan Rogue was unleashed into that world a few years ago.
Keen followers of the automotive world will know that many good cars — nay great cars, were not born from good ideas. Pony cars exist today because designers hadn’t heard of creativity in the 1960s; the DMC-12 existed because John DeLorean lost touch with reality and old man Enzo’s love affair and constant emulation of anything with two X chromosomes is the only reason I want a Ferrari. Or a date. I forget.
I’m drifting. Back to the Rogue.
Here’s an immutable law of carmaking: If it sells well, make one bigger or make one smaller. If possible, do both. If impossible, make possible.
For Nissan, it was the success of the Murano that led to the Rogue. Pure, plain and simple. And it was the almost unilateral acceptance of the crossover one day, say, back in 2007 (we’ll say June 19 for no particular reason at all) that led to the success of them all.
Now, the Rogue is the Swiss Army-everything answer for Nissan and is in almost just as many pockets. But it didn’t come without effort.
How can you pack utility and 126 cubic feet of interior space for under $23,000 in something that doesn’t look, drive and smell like a dumpster?
Good question. The tale of the tape could provide some insight as to that answer.
For starters, the Rogue needs only 105 inches of wheelbase for all that interior space. That’s a small shadow to cast, but as a result, you don’t need a big motor to get it running.
The Rogue’s mill is a frugal 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 170 horsepower that can aptly move its 3,000 lbs. curb weight in exurban duty with occasional inclement weather. If you’re looking for a six, you’re missing the point.
Available in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, Nissan planted the Rogue firmly in its powertrain wheelhouse by bestowing it with the option to move any of the four corners. The Rogue’s all-wheel drive, available on any trim package at any level — a smart move — adds $1,300 to the final sticker price and is well worth it for buyers that haven’t felt the mythical hand of global warming yet, i.e. snowy states.
The Rogue exudes approachability that I do not. The eager and enthusiastic exterior is complemented in the way the Rogue handles in everyday driving.
Stamp on the throttle and it wails. Wrench the stereo to full blast, drop the windows and give everyone on the road a free concert. The Rogue is the perfect friend sometimes: Accommodating, yielding and without judgment.
And like a good friend, the Rogue takes care of what you don’t want to. Over-cook the wheel and it tempers your unnecessary exuberance with the unembarrassing, standard Vehicle Dynamic Control and Traction Control System features.
There’s a good chance that the Rogue is a better nanny most times than Mary Poppins could have ever been.
And there’s a need for those right now.
Because, in every car-guy or car-gal’s heart, they know: packing a wrench for a grocery store trip isn’t fun all the time. Roasting Pirellis every day is another word for wasting money. Packing gear and friends in something together is useful and fun for weekends because of course is it.
The next generation knows it. Sometimes it’s not so much about arriving in style as it is about arriving in the first place.
We’re social animals that crave stability at some level, and the Rogue delivers it.
It ticks the right marks: affordable, approachable and almost always applicable.
If only the Rogue shook its leg when you scratched it behind the mirrors.
Then you might even consider letting it sleep in the bed with you.
Aaron Cole is a syndicated auto columnist. He knows he’s wrong, but he’d rather hear it from you. Reach him at email@example.com