I bought this car because my sons and I had outgrown our Honda Civic. I was focused on finding a Honda Fit, when a GREAT deal appeared on a Nissan Rogue. It was a smaller, more economical version of my parents' Murano, which has been an amazing vehicle, so I went to test drive it, and ended up buying it.
I have had only tow issues - one was a major failure of the transmission. However, this turned out to be my fault - I misread the towing capacity; I THOUGHT it was 1500 lbs, but since mine is All Wheel Drive, it was only 1000), and I had dragged 1800 lbs - two medium-sized jet skis, trailer, and gear) from Florida to South Carolina and back, I probably did it in. I also strongly suspect that a local oil change shop added topped it off with the wrong transmission fluid, which may have contributed to this failure.
I had never driven a CVT, but once you get used to the rubber-band feel of the transmission, it kinda grows on you. I like the gas mileage (22-25 around town, 27-30 on the road - and that's with All Wheel Drive), but it will gear up and accelerate decently when you put your foot into it. If you set the cruise control it will maintain rock steady speed up and down almost any hill (even OVERloaded with a trailer! - see above). I'm 6'2", 225 lbs, and both my sons are 6+ footers, but the three of us road trip in her pretty comfortably. The rise is a VERY a nice balance between firmness and comfort - I can push her through a turn fairly hard without the unnerving, wallowing body roll of SUVs, yet my fairly frequent trips of over 1000 miles are always comfortable. She rides good, and for an economy model, is pretty quiet.
I honestly believe that the CVT takes a LOT of load off the engines, and that this vehicle will easily go another 100,000. The oil is clean even after 3000-4000 miles on it, and I've NEVER had to add oil to it.
Make SURE you have the transmission fluid changed at a dealership or a qualified mechanic. Unlike regular automatics, which use their fluid for hydraulics and LUBRICATION, the Nissan CVT contains friction material that keep the CVT from slipping - thus the longer you drive it, the less efficient it becomes. A decent mechanic can do this himself, but the fluid costs about $22/quart.
After I overworked my tranny to an early failure (again, see above), they replaced the valve body, and upon the dealership's recommendation, I had a transmission cooler installed. The faint whining that mine and many of these vehicles often make was gone, and my gas mileage actually went UP at bit. If you'll be towing ANYTHING like I did, and/or you want to keep this vehicle for MANY years, like I do, I HIGHLY recommend having a transmission cooler installed at a dealership. It'll cost around $1000, but for the longevity it will provide, I believe it will be a very worthy investment.
I LOVE the All Wheel Drive, but because I can cockily plow through almost any puddle in our frequent Florida downpours, I have knocked a CVT boot off twice. I do my own brake jobs, which is pretty easy and affordable.
These are now the most popular SUVs in the USA. If you like to buy used, like me, find a 2011 or newer, put a transmission cooler on her, and change the tranny fluid every 50,000 miles, and I think this will be a GREAT car for you.