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Lesser Size Me
2008 Nissan Rogue SL 2WD
A three-quarter front view of an orange 2008 Nissan Rogue SL 2WD

In short: A versatile small crossover.

The Nissan Rogue comes to the marketplace at the right time, when automobile shoppers are looking for more economical vehicles. Nissan offers this crossover at the small end of the scale—a vehicle that gives you a semblance of big SUV characteristics but in a compact package and with an acceptable fuel mileage figure. It’s kind of cute and reminds us of its older sister, the Murano. Despite its name, the Rogue is very tame to drive, and there is not too much to learn since everything in it has been kept simple and organized. We think it is a great city car and that soccer moms ought to manage with it. The vehicle has good cargo capacity, especially with the back seats folded down. When we took it on the highway, it was stable even past state-approved speeds.

A front interior view of the 2008 Nissan Rogue SL 2WD

The little crossover offers a series of options that its competition does not: to start, there is a bit more horsepower than, for example, the Honda CR-V or the Toyota RAV4. Attach that to a more powerful motor and Continuously Variable Transmission with Formula 1-inspired paddle shifters, turn on the bi-xenon headlamps, chat on your Bluetooth synchronized phone and you’ll be sure to make drivers of other brands a bit jealous. There is an optional all-wheel drive setup that you might need in frost-adorned states, but it will also guzzle up more of that increasingly expensive fluid you put in your tank.

Our orange alloy-colored tester with a gray interior reminded us of the econo-cars that most of the rest of the world drives—simple but completely functional, and loaded with current technology. This vehicle should be a fun option for environmentally conscious mothers.

Warranty/Service: Three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty; five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

A three-quarter rear view of an orange 2008 Nissan Rogue SL 2WD

Base Price: $19,250 /As tested: $22,520

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front-engine, front-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door crossover

Engine: 2.5-liter DOHC
Horsepower: 170 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 175 ft-lbs @ 4,400 rpm
Transmission: continuously variable automatic

Curb weight: 3,299 lbs
Wheelbase: 105.9 in
Length/Width/Height: 182.9/70.9/66.3 in
Turning circle: 37.4 ft

Brakes: all-wheel ventilated disc with ABS, electronic brake force distribution and electronic brake assist
Suspension: all-wheel independent suspension, independent strut front, independent multi-link rear

Traction: traction control, vehicle stability control

0-60 mph: 8.9 seconds
Top Speed: n/a
60-0 mph: 131 ft

EPA City: 22 mpg
EPA Highway: 27 mpg
CO2 Emissions: .84 lb/mile

Safety: dual-stage front airbags with side-mounted airbags in front, roof-mounted side-impact curtain airbags front and rear, tire pressure monitoring system

Likes: ease of driving and overall good value
Dislikes: somewhat limited rear visibility, no light on rear hatch

See the 2014 Nissan Rogue
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Photography: AlphaMedia

(Updated 04/23/14 RM)

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