One criticism of vehicles in the Crossover segment is that by making compromises to appeal to both car and SUV consumers, what you end up with is something that is neither a good car nor a good SUV. Based on most evaluations, and despite its rather uninspired exterior, Nissan has managed to produce one of the better and cheaper crossovers with the 2008 Rogue.
The Rogue is available in two trims; either the base S or SL trim, and in either front- or all-wheel drive. It is probable that even in all-wheel-drive form; the Rogue would see limited action on anything other than pavement. That being the case, its performance as a highway and city vehicle is of paramount importance. Despite an elevated stance over conventional cars, the Rogue offers a relatively comfortable highway ride and plenty of interior space. The Rogue comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with an Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). The transmission is gearless, meaning it doesn’t actually shift, but relays the sensation of shifting to the driver. The transmission comes with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for manual shifting. These sorts of transmissions rarely receive positive reviews from testers, and the Rogue is no different. Because its priority is fuel efficiency, the infinite number of “shift” points never seems to line up with peoples expectations. However, unlike other vehicles in this class, the byproduct of the Rogue’s (CVT), is that highway driving is where this car seems most at home. It may only come with a four-cylinder engine, but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone considering a Rogue purchase that felt the vehicles lack of power was a deal breaker. In fairness, despite the fact that it takes an SL model 8.2 seconds to reach 60 mph, it is still quicker than the Honda CR-V. The payoff comes with fuel efficiency rated at 22/27 mpg in city and highway driving; some of the best numbers in its class.
The other highlight of the Rogue is its interior, though while fairly bland offers 57.9 cubic feet of space with the seats folded and more user-friendly interior features than one would expect upon first glance. A large amount of plastic is used inside, but fortunately Nissan has figured out a way to do so without it looking cheap. The sticker price is equally friendly with a base model starting under $20,000 and a fully loaded AWD SL in the $26 grand range.