Quick first impressions: Much more fun to drive than the usual crossover, thanks to the compact size and responsive chassis. I can’t say that the CVT adds to the driving pleasure, though. I understand that they’re efficient, but I think this car would be better served by a manual gearbox -- it’s a shame Nissan doesn’t see fit to offer the manual in conjunction with all-wheel-drive. I love the red trim inside, which is a really simple and honest (no faux anything) way to liven up the interior. Speaking of the interior, the back seat is a little tight -- you’re passengers had better be under six-feet -- but not horrible. The same holds true with the cargo hold; with the rear seats up it’s pretty modest, but at least it’s easily expandable.
Overall, an intriguing addition to the seemingly saturated crossover market. It will be interesting to see how the public accepts it.
Joe Lorio, Senior Editor