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2008 Nissan Rogue

2008 Nissan Rogue: A Crossover with Mass Appeal
by Jessica Howell

Alongside Baltimore’s bustling harbor, strategically parked to capture the eye of passersbys, is Nissan’s newest addition — the all-new 2008 Nissan Rogue.

2008 Nissan Rogue- 1/4 viewCategorized as the brand's first small crossover, the Rogue is a five-door vehicle that blends the pleasing curves of Nissan’s successful mid-size Murano with the handling of its popular sedans. The Rogue proves it's capable of transporting those on the go — in a smaller and more efficient way.

Sleek and smooth, with just enough attitude to appeal to the sports-minded, the Rogue is a tool in Nissan’s garage that the company hopes will attract the men and women of Gen X. Nissan’s pitting this ride against competitors Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V in a class that is continuously expanding.

With seating for five in a comfortable cabin, a 4-cylinder engine and other added options, prices for the Rogue begin relatively low — starting at a base price of $19,250 for the Rogue S with Two Wheel Drive.

In addition, the Rogue's 2008 fuel economy ratings are perfectly acceptable: 22 for city and 27 for highway in its 2WD, and 21 for city and 26 for highway in the AWD. These fuel scores make the Rogue a wise choice for young families seeking more space than a car can offer without the cost of a gas-guzzling SUV.

We hopped into the Rogue on a rainy morning, driving through Maryland and into Pennsylvania’s backcountry roads toward Gettysburg. Despite the slippery conditions, the Rogue handled well; hugging curves in the road tightly and maintaining a secure grip on the pavement. The brakes, although a bit touchy, were quick to respond to driver input.

Our only gripe was the loud cabin noise that seemed to originate from the rear of the Rogue over certain types of pavement. It was rare, but surprisingly loud, when triggered by road conditions.

Aside from that, the vehicle was a pleasure to drive. We basked in the stares of passersbys who were likely attracted to the sleek, sculpted bubble of the crossover rolling on its 17-inch alloy wheels.

2008 Nissa Rogue- InteriorInside, the Rogue boasts a nature just as sporty as its exterior. Passengers will find a comfortable cabin with seating for up to five in either cloth or leather. Also on hand is a lifestyle-oriented cargo area, featuring a pop-up organizer with detachable partitions (perfect on grocery day) and a bin for dirty or damp gear.

Additionally, the roomy second row splits 60/40 and folds flat for large loads. The front passenger seat also folds forward, creating the necessary space for those extra-long carry-ons.

The Nissan Rogue's 'ultra-functionality' continues to the front seats where it converts a console into a large storage bin with compartments best for holding pens, business cards, cups, tissues, CDs, coins, garage door openers or even cell phones. A 12-volt outlet is also optional. For the multi-tasker, the Rogue seems to double as a mobile office, also offering a deep glove box for safely stowing concealable items.

The technology, of course, follows closely behind. From the cockpit, Bluetooth Hands-free Phone compatibility, Intelligent Key, XM Satellite Radio and an auxiliary audio input jack are also available.

Drive-wise, the crossover features Nissan’s Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission with available paddle shifters that stimulate six gears, using Adaptive Shift Control to adjust shift patterns for driver demand in various situations. For the sports-minded driver, the Rogue offers a step up from the standard automatic transmission, but little in the way of true performance.

However, the vehicle does feature Nissan’s latest Intuitive AWD system with Vehicle Dynamic Control, which distributes torque for maximum power during acceleration and a 2WD ratio during usual driving conditions. The 2WD ratio is dictated by steering angle and accelerator input.

2008 Nissan Rogue- RearAn ideal family hauler, the Rogue also loads up on standard safety features including Nissan’s Advanced Air Bag System, dual-stage front air bags, seat- and roof-mounted air bags, front active head restraints, standard LATCH system, a tire pressure monitoring system, engine immobilizer and Zone Body construction with front and rear crumple zones.

Overall, the Rogue offers up adequate performance and premium function wrapped in a sleek, attractive package. Juicy colors like Orange Alloy and Venom Red are up for grabs, as is a mellow shade of purple that we liked called Iridium Graphite. For drivers that want a bit more bang, three options are available to sweeten the deal — a Premium Package, Moonroof Package and Leather Package.

2008 Nissan Rogue

Description: 5-door, small CUV
Model options: Rogue S FWD, Rogue S AWD, Rogue SL FWD, Rogue SL AWD
Wheelbase: 105.9 inches
Overall length: 182.9 inches
Engine size: DOHC 2.5-L I4 CVTCS
Transmissions/speeds: CVT Xtronic
Rear/front drive: FWD, AWD
Steering: Electric power rack and pinion
Braking: Power 4-disc, ABS/EBD/BA/VDC/TPMS
Air bags: 2 (front), 2 (side), 4 (side curtain)
EPA mileage est. city/hwy: FWD — 22/27 mpg, AWD — 21/26 mpg
Pricing: Rogue S — $19,250 (2WD) Rogue S — $20,450 (AWD), Rogue SL — $20,670 (2WD), Rogue SL — $21,870 (AWD)