THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2008 Nissan Rogue SL compact SUV.
DOWN THE ROAD: With a name that befits its aggressive and bold appearance, the Rogue takes to the street with confidence and poise. The front-wheel-drive crossover has just enough power to offer a poised ride, balance and handling. Sitting on a unibody structure, the SUV is well equipped to handle the uneven surfaces and bumps of day-to-day driving.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: A 2.5-liter DOHC inline-4 cylinder engine puts out 170 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 175 pounds-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. It is mated to a smooth xTronic Continuous Variable Transmission, which is widely and successfully used in the Nissan lineup of vehicles. An independent strut with coil springs in front and a multilink rear, both of which get stabilizer bars, handles suspension. An electric power rack-and-pinion steering system enables the SUV to have a turning circle of 37.4 feet. Braking duties are left up to the substantial 11.84-inch vented front and 11.68-inch rear disc rotors.
LOOK & FEEL: It appears that body color is the theme of the Rogue. The SUV sports body-colored front and rear bumpers, door handles, grille and outside mirrors while sitting on 17-inch alloy all-season wheels. Step inside the Rogue and into the generous six-way driver's seat and you find yourself looking at an eye-catching reddish-orange illumination and silver-gauge surround rings on the instrument panel. The three-spoke steering wheel, which tilts, holds cruise controls. There is ample storage space in the Rogue, including the front center console and door pockets, partitioned glove box, overhead console for sunglasses and an under-floor cargo compartment. Also, the 60/40 rear seats fold flat for loading up supplies from the local home-building store.
SAFETY FIRST: Dual front and side airbags, side curtain for both rows, front and rear crumple zones, traction control, front seat active-head restraints and front seat belts with pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution and a tire pressure monitoring system are among standard features.
OUT THE DOOR: $20,570, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P225/60R17 all season; wheelbase, 105.9 inches; length, 182.9 inches; weight, 3,299 pounds; fuel capacity, 15.9 gallons; highway, 27 mpg; city, 22 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: The Rogue lives up to its name. Besides its muscular physical attributes, this all-new crossover offers an adequate performance and several standard utility and safety features. Nissan has a winner in this SUV, which is affordably priced from $20,000. Now, that's creditable for a ride that can take five folks comfortably to their destination.