2008 Nissan Rogue SL AWD Review

Mini Murano thinks big

2008 Nissan Rogue SL AWD Review

It took a few days to grow on me, but after driving a fully-loaded 2008 Nissan Rogue SL AWD for a full week, this small utility vehicle has proved itself worthy. Looking strikingly similar to the Murano, the smaller, lighter, more economical Rogue comes in FWD or AWD versions in familiar S and SL nomenclatures.



Rogue comes with just one engine/transmission option, a 2.5L four-cylinder with 170hp and 175 ft-lbs of torque paired to a CVT tranny.


Fully independent suspension and stabilizer bars give Rogue car-like driving dynamics.

Standard features of the Rogue include an Xtronic continuously variable transmission, four-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS, VDC, 16-inch wheels, a 60/40 fold-down rear bench, A/C, power windows and locks, heated power mirrors, cruise control, tire pressure monitoring, an auxiliary input jack (for connecting portable music players), remote keyless entry, plus front, side seat and side curtain airbags.


What impressed me the most about the Rogue is its most roguish feature. The CVT doesn’t really get your attention on long boring stretches of interstate, but out in the country on my usual test routes and just booting around town it really shines. And, the steering wheel paddle shifters are simply brilliant in this application!

In cahoots with Nissan’s proven QR25DE 2.5L four-cylinder engine (producing 170 hp and 175 ft-lbs of torque here), the manual shift mode gives drivers more control over the powerband. The paddle shifters make the SL models genuinely fun to drive. Shame on Nissan for not making this standard on all trims!

Power distribution in the all-wheel drive system is 50/50 front to rear on starts. Once underway, the front wheels almost completely take over. The electric power rack and pinion steering system provides excellent on-center feel and great feedback for the driver. A front independent strut and rear independent multi-link suspension with stabilizer bars at both ends contributes to the vehicle’s car-like handling and ride characteristics.

The EPA rates fuel economy at 21/26 mpg (city/highway) on 2008 model. My tester averaged almost 22 mpg combined.


Traction control and vehicle dynamics control (VDC) are both standard on the Rogue. The latter system measures yaw, wheel slip and steering angle constantly, so it knows when to intervene and help regain control from a skid.

Interestingly, I noticed that with the VDC switched off, the transmission will hold gears a little longer before shifting. So, instead of up-shifting automatically at 6000 rpm, it’ll wait until 6500 rpm.

To get the wonderful paddle shifters and manual shift mode on the S trims, as alluded to, you’ll need to purchase a premium option pack. It also adds fog lights, a power glass sunroof, interior accent lighting, a six-disc in-dash CD changer with MP3/WMA playback capability and illuminated steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, a multi-function trip computer and tow hitch pre-wiring. A collapsible rear cargo floor organizer (deletes full-size spare) and rear cargo cover are also included along with a fold-flat front passenger seat, center console with dual-level tray and more.


With the rear seats folded forward, the 29 cubic feet of rear cargo space is larger than it looks and is able to swallow up a fully-assembled 36-inch bathroom vanity my mother and I picked up for her condo. The floor is a bit high for my taste and I would have preferred the rear bench to disappear into the floor (at least a bit) instead of adding an upward slope to it. The lightweight up-swinging tailgate and optional cargo area organizers make up for this somewhat; however, the fact that the carpeting on the rear seat backs is prone to coming unfastened makes the task of sliding large and/or heavy objects into the vehicle a tricky two-person ordeal.


That said, the interior is functional, roomy and comfortable for four full-size adults, plus all their weekend gear and supplies. As a family vehicle, the Rogue has a balanced blend of performance and functionality that would make it a nice addition to most households.

PLUS Paddle shifters on CVT tranny Competitively priced Car-like handling characteristics
MINUS Paddle shifters only available as part of optional package on base model Rear bench doesn’t fold flat

The new Rogue joins a segment chock full of highly-competitive compact crossovers. Consumer choice will ultimately dictate how well it does in the marketplace, but with a good amount of standard features and a fair price of just over $20,000, it’s poised to do well.

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked