Nissan Rogue First Impressions

Nissan Rougue

Recently I won a free oil change from the local Nissan dealership in a free raffle at a nursing home. Normally I change my own oil, but it gave me a reason to hang out at the dealership for an hour and take a look at the new Nissan Rogue compact SUV.

The Rogue has not been as well received by the critics as Nissan probably would have hoped, but the sales numbers are showing the the public loves it, and this is not surprising on both sides. The Rogue basically looks like a small Murano, which to me is a good thing. I would say that for its class it is the best looking small SUV/crossover out there. In comparison to the Toyota Rav4, Honda CRV, and Suzuki Grand Vitara the Rogue is a work of art. I am not crazy about the styling of any of these vehicles mostly due to their wide rear ends.

Nissan Rougue

The Good:
For a $25k crossover, I felt that the Rogue was very full featured. While the interior was made of typical Nissan cheap plastic, there are so many nice gadgets that come standard that I was taken back. The first thing that I did when I got in was sync my phone to the bluetooth and give my wife a call, then I started playing with all of the buttons and switches that controlled the various gadgets. The version that I drove was the AWD SL which came with a 6 disk cd changer that played both MP3 and WMA, it also comes with XM radio, and an auxiliary port. The steering wheel had like 12 buttons on it for controlling various aspects of the entertainment system, and I thought the styling was really nice which is typical of Nissans current lineup. The back seat seemed a little small and I think that it would have been nice if you could adjust the positioning somewhat. There was ample cargo room, but the cargo space seemed to be lacking some of the functional utility of a small SUV. While seats do drop down, it would be better if they dropped down completely flat and not at an angle.

Nissan Rougue

The Bad:
The Rouge has a lot of nice features and it looks great but there are a few problems that come along with it. The first thing I noticed when sitting in it was how little visibility there was inside of the cabin. You have to rely on your mirrors for EVERYTHING. You cannot see out of either side, or the back. The blind spot is SO huge that it would be dangerous to have your family around it. I think the Infiniti EX35 would be a better buy because it has the camera system built into it. Having a family, it seems like a liability to have a moderately large vehicle with no rear visibility.

The other large drawback on the Rogue is the incredible lack of power. Sure it has a CVT, and paddle shifters to set it into one of 6 preset ratios, but 170 hp in a 3500lb suv just doesn’t feel like that much. I really had to punch it when I found that there was a large tanker pulling into my lane, and in spite of the fact that I was nearing the red-line, I just didn’t have that much confidence in my acceleration. If the Rogue came in an optional V6 like the Rav4 then I think it would be a much easier sell.

Nissan Rougue

I only drove the Rogue for about 6 minutes and I feel rather torn between the positives and the negatives of the vehicle. I like the fuel consumption, and the features. I like that it is all-wheel-drive, but I hate that the car feels weak. I like the exterior styling, but I wish that I could see out of it better. While it is a new car I would probably have to wait until the next version to see if they can improve the few but massive flaws.

43 comments ↓

#1 Mark P. on 12.01.07 at 12:15 pm

I would agree the sitting postion is a bit high, but I got used to it quickly. Seeing out the rear tinted windows at night is a first for me, and a bit daunting but I’m getting used to that as well. I wish the rear view mirror was adjustable (I would move it higher) as it’s hard to see past it because the driver sits up so high. Regarding the lack of power though..what vehicle did you take up the dealer for an oil change? 350Z? Switching to a vehicle that has less power will make it feel weak obviously but with one month under my belt with our new Rogue, she has just the right amount of power. This isn’t a Porsche SUV or the like, it’s designed for a nice balance of power vs fuel economy. 30MPG’s and keep up in traffic just fine getting onto the freeway. I think alot of people are being fooled by the CVT though, it keeps the engine in the lower RPM’s, and one had to relearn (so to speak) the power curve with this type of transmission. Right now, I keep the engine RPM’s at 1500 from a dead stop and I smoothly and effortlessly glide forward (with no lurches because of no gear changes..) to cruising speed. It took several weeks to get used to the fact that my Tach wasn’t going to go up to 4K, then drop to 2K for each and every gear change. Great review though!

#2 Austin on 12.02.07 at 5:34 pm

Thanks for the comment Mark. The car that was getting its oil changed was a 1997 Sentra, a 1.6 liter with a whopping 115hp. Its no Z, thats for sure. The power to weight ratio between the two is actually quite similar. I am glad to hear that you like the Rogue. I did like it, and wouldn’t mind spending a bit more time to get acquainted properly with it.

#3 Bob on 12.23.07 at 9:10 am

The rogue has a vibration between 24 and 40 mph. Nissan says that this is not a problem. Very annoying. Did not do it in the rogue I tried out.

#4 Allen on 12.27.07 at 9:50 am

Sorry to hear that, Bob. I hope Nissan will fix the problem.

#5 Nilou on 03.28.08 at 2:27 pm

i’ve had this car for about 3 months and i absolutly hate it sooooooooo much i wish i never purchased it everything is wrong with this car DON”T BUY IT TRUST ME

#6 cary on 07.14.08 at 12:05 am

colored people love this car.

#7 anna on 03.08.09 at 10:57 pm

I purchased a 2008 Rogue in July and was shocked to learn several months after that when driving on the expressway or highway, a very annoying and loud whistling sound is generated by an obviouse flaw in the design of the Rogue. I am very unhappy with this. Drove 250 miles with this noise in the vehicle.

#8 Joe on 04.13.09 at 5:33 pm

I can’t see in Owner’s Manual, Nissan Rogu, Maintenance and Service
any inormation obout SHEDULED MAINTENANCE
when replace, change oil, oil ilter, air filter .
Other my car , Toyota, Mitshubishi, is very easy to find and check on Maintenance Operation
and

#9 jim on 09.26.09 at 4:31 pm

I’ve had the 2009 Rogue for about 4 months, taken it on road trips, commute about 15 miles to work daily. I love it…it’s great MPG, decent ride, not real powerful but adequate for sure…for the money, I am pretty happy. Used to have a 2003 Acura TL…like this much more. Waiting to see how it is in bad weather though..

#10 Tim on 12.28.09 at 9:37 am

I have a 2008 Rogue which I purchased new. The question I have about the car is that in cold weather(basically anything below 0) the engine sounds like it has no oil in it. Very noisey. I have reported this to the dealer and have been told this is normal. Do others have this problem……Tim

#11 Nancy on 01.16.10 at 11:19 am

I have a new 2010 Rogue. I’m having the same problem of a vibration on acceleration at 45 -55 Kms. When advising Nissan, they said they had never had that complaint before–now I know differently. The dealer said it was because of the tire pressure of 44 lbs. which it was on delivery, and they changed it to 33 but with no difference. So, is there no solution, or is this what I have to put up with forever? Has anyone ever gotten this resolved?

#12 dariusz makiela on 01.20.10 at 5:20 pm

this car sucks big time ,it starts with vibration immposible
to deal with.paint very easy to scratch ,carpets are so thin
my wife made hole with high heels, interior so easy to make dent,plastic parts once they get dirty or discolerd
you can not clean or fix – this complete disaster!!!!
stay away!!!!

#13 Gerad LeBlanc on 01.27.10 at 11:19 am

2008 Rogue FWD – Vibrations felt on the steering wheel at low speeds accompanied by a groan-type noise from the engine while accelerating at low speeds, up to 89 Km/hr.
Very annoying.
Comments from Nissan are somewhat contradictory…
The transmission was changed twice with no improvements.

#14 ajay on 01.31.10 at 8:56 am

It would be interesting to find out where everyone lives and where their Rogue was manufactured….my 2008 was manufactured in Japan, you can look at the Vin number…it will start with “j” i live in British Columbia canada and have had almost no problem with my “Rogie” i had a rattle in my tail pipe just after I bought it which Nissan fixed no problem. I love this vehical the best Ive ever owned!

#15 Ramin on 02.08.10 at 7:09 am

I am in the process to buy a SUV and Rouge is one of the choices and with all this information you folks provide .I think is the NO go for me .Juts want to thank you all for this great information and bad for the Nissan to lose some customer like us .

#16 Austin on 02.08.10 at 9:58 am

It has been really interesting seeing everyones comments on this. I wasn’t super impressed and it looks like most others aren’t either. I just purchased a small SUV this weekend and ended up going with the Rav4 which i have been really happy with. I will post a review shortly.

#17 Dave on 02.26.10 at 11:29 pm

Bought a 2010 rogue SL AWD with leather package. The AWD is great no noise from tranny but when the road is wet the noise from the back wheel wells was very loud. Going to have nissan look into it. Other then that i’m glad we bought this crossover. Who wants a ugly tire rack on the back? Sorry Rav 4.

#18 George on 03.03.10 at 12:37 pm

Don’t like it, the interior is cheap as it gets, the control panels suck especially the windsheild wiper control. I even have on occassion turned the headlights completely off when changing from high to low beam. Poor visibility looking out of the side and rear windows and the blind spot is so wide you really have to pay attention on the highways with passing cars and trucks. It also vibrates if the rear window is down a crack. I can go on.

#19 Tom on 03.24.10 at 12:00 pm

I have a 2008 Rogue and I hate it. I have the same complaints about the gigantic blind spots and the vibrations. I can’t drive on the highway with the windows open or the car starts rattling. I really blame myself about the blind spots…I should have noticed on the test drive. I also put a hole in the floor mats in less than a year.

#20 Hilary on 03.27.10 at 4:36 pm

I have a 2008 Rogue. I have been very pleased with it. I have that rattle also when starting out and going up to about 45. Today I went to the carwash and went to clean out my car, and I noticed that I have two very large splits in the carpet can see the foam underneath. Not very happy with this. I guess from high heels. I have never had this happen in another car. Stinks because I have only had it a year. I hope the floor doesn’t fall out…haha.

#21 Fran on 07.25.10 at 4:51 pm

I have a 2010 Nissan Rogue SL AWD and I love it! I think it’s comfortable, fairly good on gas, it’s awesome on the highway, lots of little perks (heated seats, moonroof, aux jack, incredible glove compartment). When I was looking at cars it came down to Honda CRV, Toyota Rav 4 Sport, and the Rogue. I HATED the Rav 4. It was really noisy, with an incredibly lame interior and the exterior wasn’t anything to be WOWed about either. The CRV was nice but a definite Mom Car. I have had Hondas in the past and hated to switch, but the Rogue stole my heart.

My only concern is sometimes when I’m driving around 40kms/hour there’s almost a light gurgling sound coming from the car. It’s weird. I’m gonna have it looked at, but I’m sure it’s nothing to be concerned about.

I love my car, and whoever above said they bought the Rav 4 instead…….I feel for you :)

#22 Austin on 07.26.10 at 8:21 am

@Fran – The rav4 has been really impressive all around. I picked up a used base model 4wd 2.4 liter, which is amazingly equipped for the price and its class. It isn’t as curvy as the Rogue, but the visibility is great it drives like a car and it is very comfortable. The interior is all plastic which isn’t great, but like I said it’s a base model.

The first weekend I had it I took it up to the mountains and got caught in a zero visibility snow storm. I used every single safety feature the Rav4 comes with. Stability control, traction control and dynamic 4wd, and all worked great keeping me from sliding off the road in certain places.

I definitely think i made the right purchase.

#23 Anonymous1 on 08.06.10 at 6:43 pm

Nissan SUCKS
Useless & stupid vehicle company
Nissan are scum, morons & assholes
All their vehicles are all shit, rubbish & garbage
Their companies must be removed from this face of this planet
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#24 Brian on 11.01.10 at 8:27 pm

I bought my Rouge new the first year it came out, and it is fantastic! These posts make no sense to me…unless you guys got lemons. Still, I find it hard to believe that there are that many lemons out there from Nissan. What a great company. Their technology and innovation is great, service is second to none, and their products are super. I have not had one issue with my Rouge. It handles well, it’s comfortable, gas mileage is great, and it goes better in the winter than ANY truck or SUV I have ever owned. So, if you’re in the market for a small SUV, DO NOT listen to the above posts. This little SUV is incredible…so far…:o)

#25 Johan on 02.02.11 at 6:06 pm

My Nissan Rogue SV covered 3200+ miles so far. It has the visibility issue, but two blind spot mirrors ($4) from Walmart fixed it. The rear-view camera, coming with SV is an added advantage. From my experience so far it is a great cross over to drive.

#26 David on 02.14.11 at 10:49 am

Problems with vibrating steering wheel between 55 – 60kms. Nissan said this is normal. I asked if it is the same for the 2011′s and was told yes. I said maybe I’ll take one for a test drive and was responded with, “I don’t care.”
Milton Nissan sucks!

#27 RAFACITO on 02.18.11 at 1:30 pm

I have 2011 Rouge.Can only tell you one thing:the car sucks big time!!! This transmission could drive you nuts!The vibration on the low speeds25-35mph(felt on the steering weel) it’s so annoying- that’s no funny.In the cold weather the engine sounds like is about to expolde it’s a disaster!

#28 Tom on 02.23.11 at 5:27 pm

vibrations are tough. love everything else

#29 Samanth on 03.12.11 at 8:28 pm

I recently bought a used 2008 sl awd rouge with every available option including the leather package. I love it! It is very stylish, soooooooo comfortable, and great on gas! I have had no major problems, but have experienced the shaking. I thought it was a big deal until I drove my mother in laws 2008 Nissan frontier, and it was 100 times worse! I also have started to have transmission problems. The first time I noticed it was a week ago, and it’s been about 4 times now that the transmission slips. It revs up to 4000 rpms on normal drive, when it usually stays around 2000 rpms . I’m going to have it looked at, and I am sure they will just replace it. Which is fine with me. I love the car, and it’s just the one big flaw for this vehicle. I wouldn’t trade it. These problems have just started at 58,000 miles

#30 Samanth on 03.12.11 at 8:32 pm

By the way , the awd version is amazing on snow! I pulled out stuck vehicles left and right when we recently had a snow storm of about 10 inches. It is great!

#31 Tami on 03.16.11 at 7:42 am

I bought an 09 Rogue and loved it for the first couple of months. Since then, I’ve had a ton of problems, rattles, broken doors, broken air conditioner that flooded the interior and ruined the carpets (which Nissan replaced, but not the floormats that were moldy -the call it an accessory even though the A/C ruined them). I have tried every bluetooth device out there and bought this car because of the built in blue tooth, but nobody can hear me because the car is so loud. I have clients in my car quite frequently and it is embarassing because we cannot carry on a conversation. Yes, I am VERY dissapointed in this car. I love the style, the look of it, but it all goes downhill from there. I wanted an economical ride to cross between work (realtor) and my hobby kayaking. I’m anxious to get it paid off so I can trade it in on something that is good looking and quiet enough to be able to perform my job. I am so worried that my warranty is going to run out and then the really big problems will start…tran, engine etc. for now it’s just annoying that I have it in the shop so frequently.

#32 Ron on 03.26.11 at 6:35 pm

2010 rogue AWD, like the car, except the very annoying vibration felt through the steering wheel at 1300-1400 rpm’s, (About 35-40 mph) where most of my city driving is. It borders on uncomfortable. This wasn’t a problem when the car was new; the problem developed at about 7500 miles. It’s not tire pressure or out of balance tires. It has to connected to the CVT and Nissan is in denial that there is an issue…or they know what the problem is and it is too costly to repair them all. Nissan owners with the vibration issue should file a defect complaint with NTHSA; https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/

#33 Carole on 05.10.11 at 6:13 pm

I have a 2009 Rogue SL AWD and have just started having the same vibration problem at about 35-40 mph. I took it Nissan and they wanted $100 to “look at it” because I was past 36,000 miles (it’s a year and a half old). Very dissapointed with Nissan’s service after the sale. Everybody was all over me before I bought it and now *cricketcricket*.

#34 Miggy on 05.21.11 at 7:09 am

Love driving my 2008 in the city. Maneuvers great and good on gas… but that’s just about it. I wanna replace the whole top portion of my windshield to a one-way mirror tint strip to cover those blind spots. The biggest problem I have with it is driving uphill, it drops from 60 to 40 accompanied by an asthmatic whizzing sound. Nissan’s solution for it… not to fill-up the transmission fluid and the oils contrary to the manufacturer’s initial specifications during on its market release. Might have worked for a while on a Northern California winter temps but when it hit 90 and driving for more than an hour… yeah that’s me again crawling at 40 on the side. Also, my digital displays are losing some digits, Nissan Capitola nicely offered to replace the whole dashboard for $800. Wow they should be paying me for all this trouble.

#35 funissan on 08.28.11 at 6:40 pm

the rogue has a know defect in the cvt transmission. Nissan and your dealer will clam it is normal but why does there other cvt models not vibrate?? here is a video of my suv up on a hoist while idling in drive that Nissan North America and its dealer state is normal
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-__bST39f90
have your dealer put your rogue up on a hoist and let it run in drive.. be safe everyone i hope you dont have the same problem

#36 MJF on 09.24.11 at 12:10 am

If Nissan wants to stay ahead of the car competition. They need to listen to customer complaints more serious. I think companies like Bose, SiriusXM and other mfg who supply Nissan parts should do there own investigation on dealership business ethics. I have a new Nissan Rogue 2011 SL AWD made in Japan from Plant Elizabeth that has wires cut under the dash from a dealer installing a remote starter from MRI Corp and Lojack. It damaged the BCM, Bose Radio Nav and keyless entry button on the hatch back button works sometimes. I am in the process with a Lemon Lawyer. To get Nissan to buy back the car or take a partial credit. I only plan to keep car for 65,000 miles or trade it in for a Newer Nissan with no remote starter and no lojack. I wish Nissan dealers would not make it a big deal where you buy the car from when try get a problem fixed. If you are a Nissan Dealership you all must work as a team. Also, all customers complaints are important I try to help Nissan to win so far been taking to the cleaners on this new car on April 27th 2011. I just hope Nissan fix my car soon. I baby my nissan like a sport car. Have Nissan would never been good as my 1980 chevy Caprice or Mercury Grand Marquis 1997 GS. Those were both fun cars to drive and fix. I still like Nissan wish dealers did not cut corners and there is more over site in the dealership. The reason is Direct Tire does tire rotation and alignments correctly. Glick Nissan has been cut doing things wrong by me. I have data to prove it on my Nissan Altima 2.5s 2005 when recall for a rear sub frame design flaw. The Red Nissan Altima is running good at70K change oil every 3 months or 7,500 mobile synethic 5×30 looks still brand new garage. I hope to keep a collector car someday to show nissan has high quality products. I hope I can help Nissan in the future to pay attention to details to increase value to save nissan image.

#37 MJF on 09.24.11 at 12:13 am

One more things I am sorry for negative feed back Nissan is doing everything they can to fix my car issue. I wish could help theme fix it.

#38 Angie on 10.07.11 at 11:11 pm

I just bought a 2008 rouge and I love it.

#39 Jim on 10.14.11 at 2:31 pm

I have noticed mild vibrating noises which appear to be in the area of the driver’s side (door area). It’s not all the time and I cannot pinpoint any specific situation when it occurs, but there are times when it continues for a long time. It almost appears to come from the door panel area.

#40 emmanuel on 11.23.11 at 12:38 pm

I bought a 2008 rogue, initially it was not transmitting as thr RPM goes as high as 6000RPM. It was diagonised with a faulty speed sensor. This was changed, but now though it transmits atimes, at other times it just does not accelerate even if I throttle had. I normally stop, use my key to lock and open the door. It usually will start accelarating but this time, the CVT will not transmit again. the cycle is repeated after the vehicle is idle for a while.

#41 emmanuel on 11.23.11 at 12:51 pm

I bought a 2008 rogue, initially it was not transmitting as the RPM goes as high as 6000RPM. It was diagonised with a faulty speed sensor. This was changed, but now though it transmits a times, at other times it just does not accelerate even if I throttle hard. I normally stop, use my key to lock and open the door. It usually will start accelarating but this time, the CVT will not transmit again. the cycle is repeated after the vehicle is idle for a while.

#42 herheh on 01.21.12 at 2:39 pm

I work for a company that is in partnership with nissan,toyota,mazda,honda and we fix body problems on recalls. Currently the recall is on Nissan Pathfinder strut housing rusts away and is unsafe to drive. I must have done about 100 of them since 3 months ago. It cost them BIG time!

Today i had a 2009 Nissan rogue and i test drove it to confirm the vibration issue with a customer. It was very apparant starting at 40km/h and slowly accelerating even past 60km/h i could feel it. I checked the car underneath and there was nothing visibly wrong. But the front driveaxle seems to have too much play where it meets the transaxle. I didn’t drive the car past 70 because i was in the city, but i could feel the vibration easily on the hoist with the wheels up. The engine vibrates a lot as if there is loose engine mounts, but i checked them all and they seem to be intact, so something else is making the whole drivetrain move, which i suspect is too much play in the transaxle. This is a very expensive fix that would cost Nissan millions.

#43 Tags on 04.23.14 at 5:03 pm

I have a 2010 rouge awd…vibrating at low speed, incridibly annoying whistling noise at high speed. This car is bullshit, i really regret having this car!

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