"A" for effort. "F" for wings and guns.
Let me be really clear: I think Nissan’s Rogue One tie-up is super smart marketing for the company, and I was totally geeked that the company made this X-Wing-themed Rogue for the Chicago Auto Show. Are you kidding? If I saw that when I was 10 years old, I would’ve made my dad take a hundred pictures of me next to it. It’s going to be the hit of the public show, no question.
With that said, I am a child of the Star Wars Generation (aka Generation X), and I’m fairly, well, particular about the machinery that makes the movies ultra cool. So while the Nissan Rogue makes a credible compact crossover, it’s still less than ideal as a star fighter platform. Here’s why.
1. Where are the freakin’ S-Foils?
The X-Wing derives its common name from, you guessed it, the x-shaped movable wings to either side of the fuselage. The wings are called S-foils or “Strike foils,” and they are useful in a number of ways, including stability for atmospheric flight, but mostly to let us know when the starship was about to get busy. The “closed” position is used for landing and normal flight, while the wings extend for combat engagement or high-stress maneuvering.
The Rogue, meanwhile, has what I like to call N-foils or “No foils.” It is, in fact, foil-less, and therefore a substandard X-Wing.
2. Is it hot in here?
Here’s another critical part about the missing wings: their lack is going to make the Rogue cabin downright molten. S-foils also provide extra cooling for the starship, by housing radiator panels to help disperse heat created from those four big engines. That’s important on an X-Wing to keep the weapons systems (nestled close to the engine pods) cool, it’s even more important on a Rogue, to keep your kids in the backseats from immolating.
3. TIE Fighters are fast.
If there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that when you pilot an X-Wing you can expect some TIE Fighters to show up. For that very reason the starship version has no fewer than four 4L4 fusial thrust engines for sublightspeed travel. Meanwhile our Rogue has two… better watch your six in this slowcoach.
4. TIE Fighters are shooty.
See above but with guns instead of engines, meaning four seems to be only just enough, most of the time, in Star Wars dogfighting canon. Cut that down to two, and, well, you could quickly be demoted from Rogue One to Rogue done (sorry, sorry).
6. R2-D2 is a part, not a passenger.
I love R2 as much as you do… don’t look at me like that. But the fact is that astromechs like ol’ Artoo are more like a sim card than a backseat driver. On the X-Wing the astromech droid mounts into the fuselage behind the cockpit, directly in the center of electronic and mechanical components. On the Rogue, the droid seems to be hanging loose in the rear section, with his landing gear way too close to the pilot’s dome. Back off, buddy.
7. Can I get my keys?
This quasi-X-Wing has very clearly been captured by Storm Troopers. Oh, and there’s a Death Star above it. Things look bleak.
To sum: While I applaud Nissan’s effort and creativity here, they’re really going to have to try harder to earn my nerd approval on the next one. The company had better not even think about doing a Falcon clone for the New York Auto Show until it’s upped it’s game – I think George Lucas has some free time right now.