Review and Photos by Justin Pritchard
Vehicle Type: Crossover SUV
History/Description: The Nissan Rogue launched for model-year 2008 in Canada and quickly began enjoying sales success and numerous awards and accolades in the process. Nissan’s replacement for the X-Trail on our shores Rogue competed with machinery like the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Chevrolet Equinox, Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Tucson with an eye for sportiness, unique style and technology. A refreshed Rogue model hit dealer lots for 2011, and an all-new model launched for 2014.
Your writer’s test drives notes of the original Rogue can be summed up quickly: this is a model that should appeal to a shopper after a compact crossover that’s a little sportier and more fun-to-drive than average. Performance was responsive, traction in winter was appreciably good, and the ride and handling balanced seemed sorted nicely. I griped mainly about limited headroom.
Feature content included premium audio systems, a sunroof, push-button start, navigation, Bluetooth, heated leather seating, and a voice-memo recorder. For outdoorsy folks and active families, Rogue packed with up to 1,639L of cargo space, while a rear sonar system prevented reversing accidents while navigating the urban jungle or Sears parking lot. Further, heaps of storage came in the form of numerous large compartments and cubbies – making it easy for a growing family to stay organized on the move.
2008 Nissan Rogue, 2013 Nissan Rogue S AWD (far right). Click image to enlarge
Stability control, advanced antilock brakes and a full suite of passenger-sensing airbags are standard on every model from this generation, as are traction control, Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Force Distribution to help drivers to stay in control.
Engines/Trim: All Rogue models got a 2.5L, 170 hp four-cylinder engine with a Continually Variable Transmission (CVT) and available paddle-shift. Front wheel drive was standard, and four-wheel drive was optional. Rogue’s AWD system featured automatic operation, though a lock mode could be selected by the driver for pre-emptive engagement ahead of low-traction situations.
Trim designations include S for a more basic Rogue, and SL for higher-end models. AWD, not surprisingly, denotes the presence of the AWD system on either trim level. Models with AWD are better suited to confident travels in snow or on trails, though they’re slightly thirstier on fuel.
What Owners Like: Rogue owners typically rave about a comfortable ride, plenty of features for the money and the machine’s unique design. In one online forum, virtually all owners listed fuel economy under the Pros section for the Rogue. That’s a pleasant surprise in a crossover SUV – and should mean shoppers can expect respectable real-world mileage. Sporty handling and all-weather traction round out the list of owner-stated positives.
What Owners Dislike: Numerous Rogue drivers complain of limited rearward visibility which translates into difficulty parking, as well as a small and busy instrument cluster. Some owners wish for a quieter ride, too. Taller drivers may wish for more headroom, too.
Here’s a list of owner reviews on autoTRADER.ca.
2008 Nissan Rogue SL AWD. Click image to enlarge