If you're looking for a stylish and reliable around-town family runner, the 2014 Nissan Rogue is worth a test drive.

We're going to give the redesigned Nissan Rogue a try to see if it can meet the demanding pace of a working mom. On paper, it already looks impressive, thanks to its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. It gets pretty good gas mileage, as well, to the tune of 26 miles per gallon in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.

One of the first things we noticed about the Rogue is its sleek contouring inside and out. It's clearly nicer inside than other compact SUVs. The Rogue comes in three trim levels: S is the base model, the SV is mid-level, and the SL comes fully loaded. The Rogue we tested came equipped with the optional family package and third-row seating.

Driving & Handling Impressions

From a driving standpoint, the size of the Rogue is very manageable. You can get in and out of parking spaces without feeling like you're driving a tank.

The steering is very responsive, giving it a sporty feel, too. And though there's very little road noise while driving, there is some noticeable engine buzzing during hard acceleration.

Interior Styling and Functionality

Overall the Rogue has a well-designed and attractive interior. And the third row flexibility is a must when you have a growing family. Unfortunately, you can't get the third-row seat along with optional leather seating surfaces.

Toyota's RAV4 no longer offers third-row seating, which means the Rogue is rare among compact SUVs. Those third-row seats are fairly comfortable, but they're probably best for kids only. The third row also folds flat, which is very beneficial if you're in a hurry or need extra cargo space.

A few other family-friendly features you get with the new Nissan Rogue include wide rear doors, a Divide-N-Hide cargo system and EZ Flex seating. Each of these innovations is designed to make life easier and more convenient for families on the go.

Technology & Safety

The NissanConnect Infotainment System multitasks more than the average mom. It doesn't just offer the usual navigation, traffic reports and music. It actually integrates with your favorite smartphone apps. We were also impressed with the voice-texting option.

Of course, safety is always a huge concern, and the 2014 Rogue delivers on that front with its optional Around View Monitor and Motion Object Detection feature. Both help you to park or navigate tight spaces safely, which is important since this car has a pretty significant blind spot.

The Verdict

We like that the Rogue offers 7-passenger seating but in a smaller, more manageable package. The Rogue also costs about the same as other compact SUVs yet offers some of the features you might find in a pricier full-size utility. All in all, the family-friendly 2014 Nissan Rogue is perfect for busy moms. If you're looking for a reliable around-town runner for the family, this one is a great choice.

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Jessica Shea Choksey is an automotive journalist and former writer/reporter for the PBS/Discovery Channel television series "MotorWeek." She began her career in journalism as an editor for numerous magazines and publications mainly outside of the automotive field. Jessica currently resides with her family, in Southern California.

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