The all-new 2008 Nissan Rogue is a stylish little crossover that provides plenty of comfort and convenience for those who don't need a maximum amount of utility. Because this compact SUV starts all new, it has some problems. The main one concerns the shortsighted combination of a four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission. Of the four models, two use four-wheel drive. The S SULEV and the SL SULEV offer all-wheel drive (AWD). The other two models have front drive.
The Rogue makes a good option for suburbanites who prefer the elevated driving position of an SUV and occasionally need the utility and available all-wheel drive of a compact crossover.
Body Styles: compact crossover SUV
Engines: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
Models: Nissan Rogue S, Nissan Rogue S SULEV, Nissan Rogue SL, Nissan Rogue SL SULEV
This exciting compact crossover SUV is all new. Most minivans use a V-6 or V-8, but the 2008 Nissan Rogue uses a four-cylinder and produces 170 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission enjoys great success with a V-6 engine, but it doesn’t seem to work as well with a four-cylinder engine.
The exterior of the 2008 Rogue features rounded lines and a wedge shape from front to rear. Flared rear shoulders and an upward-sweeping window line give the Rogue a sporty look. The exterior looks attractive, but fairly plain, with only a black and chrome Nissan badge in the front for ornament. Mirrors are black on the S and body-colored on the SL. Dark rear glass, eye-shaped taillights, rounded panels, and a recessed license plate define the rear of the 2008 Nissan Rogue.
The Rogue S and S SULEV include 16-inch steel wheels. The S SULEV looks identical to the S except for its drivetrain, which uses all-wheel drive. The SL and SL SULEV feature 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails for additional storage, and tinted windows. Several optional packages are available. The SL Premium Package includes fog lights and a cargo cover, while the SL SULEV Premium Package adds xenon headlights and keyless ignition. Both SL versions can be equipped with a sunroof.
Seating proves a bit problematic in the 2008 Nissan Rogue. Rear seats do not recline or slide forward. Nor do these rear seats offer a center armrest. A small rear window cuts down visibility. Other than that, standard interior features of the S and S SULEV include a four-speaker stereo with a CD and MP3 player, power accessories, air-conditioning, and a tilt steering wheel.
The interior of the SL and SL SULEV include most of the interior features offered by the S and S SULEV. They include a driver's seat with height adjustment. Stepping up to the SL Premium Package adds paddle shifters on the steering wheel, a seven-speaker Bose stereo with a six-disc CD changer and MP3 capability, a satellite radio, and a front-passenger seat that can fold down. Leather upholstery and other plush features become available with this package as well.
Performance & Handling
The 2008 Nissan Rogue comes equipped with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. This pairs with a continuously variable transmission and drivers have a choice of front drive or all-wheel drive. All SULEV models come standard with all-wheel drive. The Rogue's long-travel suspension is all-independent, and this makes the ride very smooth. The suspension remains stable at higher speeds. The Rogue accelerates smoothly, and reaches 60 mph in 9.2 seconds. That puts it on par with other four-cylinder crossovers. The continuously variable transmission works well when driving around town, but engine noise and a jerky throttle response can be tiresome at highway speeds.
Airbags come standard on all models. This includes front airbags and full-length side-curtain airbags. A variety of other safety features on the 2008 Nissan Rogue include stability and traction control.
EPA Fuel Economy
Nissan Rogue: 22/27 mpg city/highway
- Impressive fuel economy
- Carlike handling
- Elevated driving position
- All-wheel drive
- More rugged than a car
You Won't Like
- Unsuccessful CVT
- Bad rear visibility
- Not good for transporting multiple people or a lot of cargo
- Not too family friendly
Drivers looking for a daily commuter with some extra cargo space appreciate the carlike handling.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Nissan Sentra
- Nissan Altima
- Toyota RAV4
- Honda CR-V
- Ford Escape
- Mazda CX-7
- Saturn Vue