The Nissan Rogue has been a reality check for us since its introduction in the U.S. market in 2007. Initially, we felt the Rogue was right-sized — big and rugged enough to compete in the sport-utility segment, yet small enough to be nimble and fuel efficient. It was both, but we never really warmed to the Rogue, mainly because our 6-foot driver always felt he was too close to the pedals.

Yet U.S. drivers loved, and still love, the Rogue. For the past three years, it has been Nissan’s top seller in the United States, reaching 350,447 units sold last year. Nissan’s Altima sedan came in a poor second with 209,183.

Nissan now offers three compact or subcompact crossovers: the Kicks, which replaced the offbeat Juke; the Rogue Sport, and the Rogue. In price, they range from $18,870 for the Kicks to $25,300 for the Rogue. For those with larger tastes or needs, the Murano, Pathfinder and Armada fill out Nissan’s crossover and SUV offerings.

Our first test drive of the Rogue Sport, smaller than the Rogue, came in the form of a top-of-the-line SL with all-wheel drive. A 2019 model, it had a base price of $29,310 and a sticker price of $33,020.

The first thing we noticed was that the driver’s seat leg room came close to satisfactory for 6-footers. The fact our Rogue Sport had an 8-way power seat with 2-way lumbar support may have been a factor, but from our perspective, this was a big step up for Nissan. Previously, the leg-room issue would have been a deal-breaker for us, had we considered buying a Rogue.

The Rogue Sport had a nice selection of luxury and high-tech features, including satellite radio, automatic climate control, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, heated front seats and steering wheel, leather upholstery, remote start, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Our test car also was equipped with a system called ProPilot, which controls the car’s speed and keeps it in its lane with minimal driver input. The driver has to keep his hands on the wheel; if he doesn’t, an audible and visible warning comes up.

This is quite a technological array for a medium-priced car, and it doesn’t end there. Standard equipment on the Rogue SL includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, lane-departure warning, intelligent around-view monitor, and intelligent lane intervention, which sounds a warning and then applies brake pressure to bring the car back into its lane.

2019 Nissan Rogue Sport SL AWD

Price: $33,020

Engine: 2.0-liter inline Four, 141 horsepower, 147 lb.-ft. torque

Transmission: continuously variable automatic

Drive: all-wheel

Ground clearance: 7.4 in.

Weight: 3,446 lb.

Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear

Wheels: 19.7-in. aluminum alloy

Tires: P225/45R19 all-season

Seating capacity: 5

Luggage capacity: 19.9 cu. ft.

Maximum cargo capacity: 53.3 cu. ft.

Towing capacity: 1,102 lb. (with 2.5-liter Four)

Fuel capacity: 14.5 gal.

Fuel economy: 24 mpg city, 30 mpg highway

Fuel type: regular unleaded gasoline

The Rogue Sport is powered by a 2.0-liter, 141-horsepower inline Four, bolted to a continuously variable automatic transmission. The car is quick off the line but on the sluggish side at medium to high speeds. The ride is comfortable and fairly quiet.

We averaged a little better than 25 mpg in mostly urban driving. The Rogue Sport is rated at 24 mpg city, 30 highway.

Major competitors include the Honda HR-V, Subaru Crosstrek, Mazda CX-3 Hyundai Kona and Toyota C-HR.

Steven Macoy (semacoy@gmail.com) is a longtime car enthusiast and full-time editor who lives in Bethel.