By Daryl Killian

So what do you do when your best-selling vehicle becomes one of the Top Ten Best Selling vehicles in the country?

You lop around a foot off of it and go start a whole new game.

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Yes….You seem to see Rogues everywhere now….and it’s not your imagination. Nissan’s Rogue now outsells even their popular Altima.

But now the fastest-growing segment of the industry is one size smaller….and Nissan found itself without skin in that game.

Chevy and Buick may have invented the mini-ute category with their TRAX and Encore but today those pioneers are joined by Honda’s HR-V, Toyota’s C-HR and Mazda.s little CX 3. Ford and Hyundai will join the party in the coming year, too, with a Kona and EcoSport.

So Nissan just stayed with a winning formula….kept the basic lines….and shortened up their Rogue by about a foot and called it a Rogue “Sport”.

While the “regular” Rogue squeezes in a compact third row as an option, the Sport is strictly a 5-seater. But the five-foot-plus load floor still was big enough to swallow one of Santa’s 26” bicycles. Plus there’s secret hidden storage under the floor.

Due to it’s smaller size and lighter weight, the Rogue Sport packs a 2.0 liter, 141 HP four vs. the regular Rogue’s 2.5 liter, 170 HP four.

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A continuously variable automatic is the only transmission option, but Nissan’s version gives more shifting feel than most other CVTs offer. Mileage is rated at 25 city and 32 highway, which is right in line with what we got.

If this sounds like how you might like to roll, pricing starts out in the low $20’s for front-wheel drive, with AWD running just $1,350 more.

Invest a couple thousand more and step up to an “SV”….with 17” alloys, intelligent key, power lumbar, pushbutton start and more.

And topping the lineup is the “SL” Rogue Sport. Even with virtually every option and package available, our window sticker was still South of $30,000. That less-than-30K price included heated leather, a heated steering wheel, 19” alloys, power lumbar, an “around-view monitor” with moving –object detection, “Nissan Connect” with mobile apps, voice recognition and Google search, plus roof rails.

A couple of packages added a moonroof and virtually every warning, alert and assist currently on the market….and, again, we were still under 30 thousand.

If you like the looks of the regular Rogue, but just don’t need quite that much space, you ought to like Nissan’s new Rogue Sport just fine.

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(Bob Jackson – Entercom Local)