2008 Nissan Rogue SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Nissan Rogue SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Nissan Rogue Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 167 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Nissan Rogue

  • The all-new 2008 Nissan Rogue is a stylish little crossover that provides plenty of comfort and convenience for those who don't need a maximum amount of utility.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Very carlike driving experience, supple ride, well-crafted interior, comfy front seats, excellent brakes, sweet-sounding optional Bose stereo.

  • Cons

    Less cargo capacity and versatility than some other compact crossovers, standard CVT is a poor match for the engine, impaired outward visibility.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Nissan Rogue is an all-new compact crossover SUV.

Full 2008 Nissan Rogue Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Nissan Rogue is an all-new compact crossover SUV.


It's not quite to the extent of Moon Unit Zappa or Apple Martin, but the 2008 Nissan Rogue should give its parents hell for its name. While its similarly styled big brother Murano is named after the glass-making island in beautiful Venice, the little Rogue is at best named after a rather dull X-Men character. At worst, this stylish cute-ute crossover shares its moniker with an uncontrolled animal that lives apart from the herd, or a plant that is inferior and unwanted. Do Nissan's marketing folks not have a dictionary in the office?

While the marketers blundered, the engineers flourished for this all-new small SUV. It may look like a Murano after a trip through a hot spin cycle, but under the skin, the Rogue is closely related to the compact Sentra sedan. Surprisingly, the Rogue manages to be better-looking, better-riding and more useful than its underwhelming progenitor. It shares the Sentra's vague electric steering, but offers an all-independent long-travel suspension that smoothly gobbles up road imperfections. It is stable at higher speeds and provides a good combination of highway and city road manners. If you're looking for a compact crossover that drives most like a car, this is it.

Powering the Rogue is a torquey 170-horsepower four-cylinder engine that provides smooth acceleration on par with other vehicles in the class. Unfortunately, it is tied to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) -- a design Nissan has utilized with great success in the V6-powered Altima, but needs rethinking here. Feeling like it's partially constructed of rubber bands, the CVT can get maddening on the freeway, constantly raising and dropping revs like a yo-yo whenever the driver moves on or off the gas. It seems that this just isn't the right technology for a small engine.

Nissan says it has the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V in its sights, but the Rogue is significantly smaller than those models. Therefore, families or those in need of superior people-hauling and cargo versatility may find the Rogue lacking. Its rear seat doesn't recline, slide forward or offer a center armrest, and rear visibility is hampered by a rising beltline and small rear window.

Instead, the 2008 Nissan Rogue is a very good choice for suburbanites who enjoy an elevated driving position and occasionally need the utility and available all-wheel drive of a compact crossover. The Rogue may not be the largest, most family-friendly or powerful compact crossover, and in addition to the aforementioned rivals, you'll probably want to cross-shop models like the Ford Escape, Mazda CX-7 and Saturn Vue. That said, this Nissan sets itself apart from the herd with comfortable, carlike road manners and eye-catching styling. In that way, maybe it's a tad roguelike after all.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Nissan Rogue is a five-passenger compact crossover SUV available in four trim levels: S, S AWD, SL and SL AWD. The AWD refers to all-wheel drive. The S and S AWD are identical save for their drivetrains, with standard equipment that includes 16-inch steel wheels, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel, air-conditioning, full power accessories, keyless entry and a four-speaker stereo with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack. There are no factory options for the S trim levels.

The SL and SL AWD are virtually identical, but the latter offers additional optional equipment. Standard features beyond those on the S include 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, tinted windows and a height-adjustable driver seat. In typical Nissan fashion, options are lumped together into large packages. The SL Premium Package includes foglights, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, a cargo cover, a fold-down front passenger seat, a trip computer and a seven-speaker Bose stereo with in-dash six-CD changer, MP3 capability and satellite radio.

The SL AWD Premium package includes those features, but adds xenon headlights, keyless ignition and entry, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and Bluetooth. The Leather Package is only available on the SL AWD and includes leather upholstery, heated front seats and mirrors, power driver seat, one touch up/down driver window and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and HomeLink. Both SL trim levels can be equipped with a sunroof.

Powertrains and Performance

All 2008 Nissan Rogues are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 170 hp and 175 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard, while buyers have a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. In performance testing, a Rogue SL AWD accelerated to 60 mph in 9.2 seconds, which is on par with other four-cylinder-powered compact crossovers. Fuel economy is 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway for the all-wheel-drive models (22/27 for FWD Rogues), which is again on par with similarly powered competitors.


Each Nissan Rogue comes well stocked with safety equipment including antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability and traction control, front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Rogue's cabin may not be as visually interesting as its exterior, but it is well-constructed with excellent materials. All controls fall readily to hand and are easy to decipher. The Rogue doesn't have many storage areas, but what it lacks in number, it makes up for in size. The center console bin is large, while the enormous glovebox is more useful than some convertibles' trunks. There is also a nifty under-floor organizer.

In a four-vehicle comparison test involving the Rogue, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Mitsubishi Outlander, we found the Nissan to have the most comfortable front seats and darn comfortable rear ones as well. Unfortunately, that rear seat only folds flat, and doesn't recline or slide fore and aft like those other crossovers. The Rogue also comes up short in terms of cargo volume, with 28.9 cubic feet with the rear seat up and just 57.9 with it folded.

Driving Impressions

A "carlike" driving experience is often touted among crossovers, but the 2008 Nissan Rogue delivers on this description. Its long travel suspension soaks up bumps and road imperfections easily, and the Rogue is stable at speed. Short stopping distances are another Rogue plus. The electric power steering can be a little vague at times, but it is generally direct and well-tuned.

On the other hand, we're rarely fans of CVTs, and the Rogue's does nothing to change our minds. It's better than some other examples, but the elastic-band throttle response and engine note gets tiresome -- particularly at highway speeds. It also manages to make the Rogue feel slower than it actually is. An available manual shift mode with paddle shifters rectifies this situation somewhat by allowing the driver to select among six simulated "gear" ratios.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

Update on 2008 rogue -

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Rogue SL 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

OK...so here's my update on my 2008 Rogue, SL AWD, since 2010. a year and a half ago the CVT transmission went out. although Nissan extended the warranty on it to 120,000, it happened at 124k and they wouldn't replace it. ok, so i paid almost $5000 to replace it. then last month, at 185,000, the timing chain broke. mechanic said that he could go into it and replace it about $2000-$3000, but if he went in and found the teeth broken on the gears, or any other damage that could have happened, then the engine would have to be replaced at about $5000. needless to say, i decided to throw in the the towel and not put any more into it.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

Cvt transmission problems

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Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Rogue S 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

We bought our 2008 Rogue S AWD new from the dealership. Nice looking, fun to drive, great safety features, and the AWD is fantastic. Never had to be towed. I noticed the transmission had a slight high pitch whine when it was new - going up steep hills. I thought it was just normal for a CVT. Then as time went on (about 20,000 miles) the transmission developed a loud high pitch whine going up steep hills - especially in the summer heat. At 30,503 miles the dealer replaced the transmission fluid because of my complaints about the CVT noise. Nissan has replaced 2 CVT transmissions so far.

Biggest disappointment of my life

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Rogue S 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I wanted a Rogue because all the reviews I had read were great!!! I have hated this vehicle since the day I drove it off the lot, I wanted to return it, but the dealership said no sorry, once the ownership is done it's yours. I traded in my Mazda Tribute because I was looking for something newer and maybe better on gas. I miss my Mazda so much, this was such a huge mistake and I am looking to trade it in, but I owe more than the trade in value so regardless I will be taking a loss. The transmission is ready to go any day, wheel bearings, it seems the most costly things to repair are what goes on these vehicles. I hate it and can't wait to get rid of it!

Worst car ever!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Rogue SL 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I hate this car so much, I would give anything for someone to crash into me and total it. I have invested so much money in fixing this car it's disgusting and after you fix one thing, the other thing breaks. I bought it used with new tires and breaks and it was a very handsome car. Since owning it I have had numerous issues with the tires, I have had the drive shaft blow out on me, leaving me stranded in the middle of a city where I was alone and far away from home, breaking system problems, sensor problems, drive quality issues, heat shield issues and the windshield cracks like it's no one's business. I am counting the days till it's gone! I drive it in constant fear of it breaking down.

This car doesn't handle the

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Rogue SL 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

Own my car for almost 5 years, the same problems kept happening on the driver's side door. I couldn't open from the outside but inside. It was covered under the warranty when I got it fix in 2009. It happened again last January, and once again this January. I will pay around $350 to replace the door lock actuator. This problem did occur on the cold day like -10 centigrade. I am looking forward to buy another brand new card this summer and it won't be from Nissan for sure.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Extremely disappointed

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Rogue S 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I purchased my 2008 Nissan Rouge brand new about 5 and a half years ago and have had nothing but problems. The current tally is two transmissions, two gas tanks, two gas gauges, one steering column and one speedometer at only 47,000 miles. Not only does the car have mechanical problems, but the car gets door dings and scratches if you look at it wrong! I no longer take my car on trips, even short ones and I barely trust it to get me to and from work as it has broken on this 5 mile trip! I can't wait to get into a car that I can rely on and you can bet it won't be another Nissan. Worst car I have ever owned!

Talk About The 2008 Rogue

2008 Nissan Rogue Discussions See all Started By

Recently I noticed my coolant overflow container is empty when I look under the hood. I added some anti-freeze to the overflow container and then about a month later it is empty again. I notice it is?...

I ask because the Rogue specs a full 3" less rear legroom than a CR-V or RAV4, and assuming we keep our next vehicle 5 or more years (our Forester lasted 8), I want my son (who I suspect will be ...

Starting A Discussion on the new 2008 Nissan Rouge....

Read more about the 2008 Nissan Rogue

Gas Mileage


  • 21
  • cty
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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