• 46
click above image to view high-res gallery of the 2008 Nissan Rogue S

Crossovers. Every automaker either has one or has one in the works. Nissan has perhaps the first CUV in the Murano, and now it's joined by the Sentra-based Rogue. Let's start with that name. We're pretty sure Nissan intended to invoke thoughts of rebelliousness and individuality. But the word can also be used to indicate someone who is a cheat, a swindler, disobedient and savage. Nissan's Rogue is none of these, which is neither bad nor good. The Rogue is pretty much a tall Sentra wagon, and we think perhaps Sentra Wagon might have been a much more honest name.

On the outside, there's little to get excited about. Our base model Rogue's monochrome exterior could have benefited greatly from some chrome door guards, handles or mirrors – just something shiny to break up that expanse of Venom Red. The Rogue's face gets a little shiny nose sandwiched between two egg-crate Venom-red nostrils that lead down to, again, a Venom Red air dam. Those two creases seem lost in the hood, and do little to give the car any visual excitement. Out back Nissan continued the monochrome theme and we're surprised they didn't find a way to fit a body-color exhaust tip. We've seen photos of a chrome roof-rack equipped Rogue that proves brightwork can be a good thing. Nissan, meet chrome. It can be your friend.

Continue reading about our first encounter with Nissan's new Rogue after the jump.

Live Photos Copyright ©2007 Chris Tutor / Weblogs, Inc.

Inside, the Rogue's interior isn't bad, actually. Fit, finish and quality aren't bad for the price point and will win over some low-end CUV shoppers. Cup holders and storage bins are lined with removable rubber, the seat fabric is nice to the touch and the seats themselves are comfortable for the 30 minutes we drove it. A generously-sized glove box opens wide enough to hold even a medium-sized purse, but unfortunately doesn't lock. Valuables can also be hidden behind the car's rear seats beneath the carpeted cargo mat. Still no lock, but a bit less obvious.

Brushed-metal-look accents make the otherwise all-black interior less dreary and feel more upscale. Behind the front passenger seat is a pocket for maps and papers, as well as a useful bag hook. It's not so useful, though, with someone in the back right seat. With the front seats comfortably adjusted, rear legroom is good, with an inch or so to spare between knees and seats and space below for feet to slide.

The Rogue's rear seats fold flat as you would expect, opening up lots of cargo-carrying possibilities. The back wheel wells don't intrude nearly as much as some crossovers we've seen, which makes for very usable space.

If the 16-inch steel wheels with plastic covers don't tip you off to the Rogue's econo-car roots, the performance will. Mating a 2.5-liter, 170-HP four-cylinder to a CVT does nothing to make the Rogue more likable. Acceleration is gradual, and while some probably like how a CVT eliminates gear changes, we're pretty sure most Autobloggers prefer the feel of first to second to third. As a reward for putting up with a CVT, drivers should see greatly improved fuel economy. But we wouldn't call the Rogue's 22 city, 27 highway greatly improved. It's good, sure, but the Sentra with the same engine and transmission gets 24/30. We chalked up the difference to weight, but comparing the 2.5-liter Rogue to the 2.5-liter Sentra SE-R comes up with the Rogue weighing only 195 lbs. more.

On the road the CUV isn't sporty at all, with a soft ride contributing to a bit of lean in the turns and understeer if pushed harder. Sure, it's a crossover and not a sportscar, but we still expect better handling in our cars. On the plus side, wind and road noise are controlled rather well.

At just over $20,000, our base model Rogue S had air conditioning, power windows and doors, cruise control with steering wheel controls, keyless entry and a CD player. The only options were splash guards and floor mats.

With some exterior sprucing up, a tighter suspension and either a real transmission or real improvement in fuel economy, the Rogue will be a contender, but will still find it hard living up to such a provocative name.

Nissan provided the vehicle and SEAMO the location for testing. Autoblog does not accept travel or lodging from automakers when attending media events.

Live Photos Copyright ©2007 Chris Tutor / Weblogs, Inc.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Nissan's large vehicles -


      Is Nissan going the way of Chrysler? Too many products!
        • 7 Years Ago
        The Rogue is small. It is built off the Sentra.
        • 7 Years Ago
        They should kill off the Xterra, Maxima and Pathfinder
        and add the X-trail to the line up. The Cube will come here and a larger nicer sedan.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Chrome is NOT a good thing. Chrome accents are NOT a good thing.

      And why wouldn't anyone want a CVT? The problem with that vehicle isn't the fact that it's a CVT. The problem is that it's overweight.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This thing is getting way too overexposed.

      Any Heroes watchers out there?

      Not only did Clair get one ("OMG, the Rogue!!"), but that dude they met in Mexico also had one? My suspension of disbelief is being pushed to the limit. At least hers got stolen, but still--who the hell would want to steal a Nissan Rogue?

      If all this product placement wasn't enough, we have to be exposed to that pinball Rogue ad every commercial break.

      I hate this car only because they push it so much... watch out for the backlash Nissan
        • 7 Years Ago
        MY understanding is that the stolen Rogue is the one driven by the guys in Mexico. The young guy says he 'got' it in California (CA license plates!). Anyhow...
        • 7 Years Ago
        No, I didn't. You guys are too smart for me.

        I still hate it though. :o
        • 7 Years Ago
        I actually thought it was pretty clever to incorporate the Rogue into Heroes. Adding it to the plot line of such a popular show really has given it great exposure which is essential for a new car. I also love the commercials so that could be one reason why I'm not bothered by all the advertising. I haven't seen one in person yet but it is definitely a vehicle I would check out.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Um...didn't you figure out the dude that had the Rogue in Mexico is the guy who stole the Rogue from Claire in the first place? They even made a reference to the fact it had California plates.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This website should have tested the SL since most people
      will buy that SUV. Also Nissan should stop painting their cars that horrid orange color.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Isnt this the CUV that is doing excellent in Europe??

      Unlike most people here, I actually LIKE the Rogue. Looks nice (10 times better than CR-V). Has good interiors and had Autoblog got the top of the line version, most of the issues would have been taken care of.

      As far as chrome goes, the only place I'd like to see some more chrome on this vehicle is the grille. A black grille would do the trick too.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Nissan makes some cheap looking cars. Man! What decade is it again???
      • 7 Years Ago
      this car looks so much like the santa fe, especially in profile view... santa fe is much nicer though, this car's front end looks hideous
      • 7 Years Ago
      Car and Driver just did a review of the Rogue (Nov '07). They came away a bit more impressed with it overall but I believe they had the SL AWD version. Agree with Paul34 that this car is all over the place, including the show Heroes. Even had the wife asking about it until I reminded her that a 170hp CVT transmission on a nearly 3500lb vehicle wouldn't do anything but piss her off when she pushes the accelerator.
      • 7 Years Ago
      thumbs down ...

      Mercury Mariner is better ...
      • 7 Years Ago
      brightwork,s function is to draw the eye away from design flaws
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't see this as an improvement over the X-Trail that it replaces in Canada. The X-trail was bigger and had a more practical interior with a flat washable cargo floor, much better looks, and a humongous sun roof.

      This is a boring useless jellybean in comparison.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So ugly
    • Load More Comments