Feature content value for the dollar, a smooth ride in most situations, plenty of safety features, and flexibility to spare.
The latest Nissan Rogue hit the road in late 2013, for model year 2014, as an all-new version of Nissan’s popular crossover model. Competing with models like the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Chevrolet Equinox, Toyota RAV4, and Hyundai Tucson with an eye for sportiness, unique style, and technology, the latest Rogue employed numerous tricks and design improvements on virtually all fronts.
Notably, some slick electronic tweaks to the chassis control system helped deliver a more stable and planted ride, building on the benefits of the machine’s new Common Module Family (CMF) architecture. Standard LED running lights and available LED headlamps brought Rogue’s illumination to the front of the pack, and an available panoramic moonroof and powered tailgate allowed for easy access to sunshine and cargo loading respectively.
Some models were available with three-row seating, enabled by Rogue’s now-larger size. Look for fine-vision gauges, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, navigation, and more.
Look for a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine on all models, backed by a CVT transmission. Output was rated around 170 horsepower, and most units were all-wheel drive (AWD), though front-drive variants were available. If you’re buying a Rogue for AWD traction, be sure the AWD system is equipped to the model you’re considering.
What Owners Like
Feature content value for the dollar, a smooth ride in most situations, plenty of safety features, and flexibility to spare were all noted by owners of this generation of Nissan Rogue. The seamless and fast-acting AWD system is appreciated by many drivers too, who say it provides plenty of confidence in inclement weather. Other feature content favourites included the high-end stereo system and push-button start.
What Owners Dislike
Some owners wish for a quieter ride on some surfaces, and others wish for a higher-performance engine option, too. Third-row seating (if equipped) should suffice for smaller passengers, but isn’t ideal for extended use by adult passengers. Finally, some report that the steering may feel too heavy or dense for easy use in certain situations.
Pro Tip: Shop Newer for Tech, Warranty
If its in your budget, consider opting for a 2017 or later model. You’ll likely benefit from plenty of remaining warranty coverage – not to mention numerous updates to the styling, feature content, and technologies. New this year were a motion-activated tailgate, new wheel options, a new fascia, and advanced safety systems including lane-departure warning (LDW), lane-departure prevention (LDP), forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and intelligent cruise control.
The Test Drive
Battery and Charging
Some owners have reported premature failure of the Rogue’s battery, which can cause headaches ranging from a no-start situation to niggling electronics problems with various vehicle systems that respond poorly to insufficient power levels. Determine the age of the battery in the Rogue you’re considering, have it tested if you have any concerns, and budget to replace it if it’s not in tip-top shape. Here’s some more information that suggests the factory battery has about a three- to four-year lifespan.
Confirm that the power tailgate on the Rogue you’re test driving (if equipped) works properly when requested, via the buttons on the tailgate, the dash, and the keyfob. Confirm proper operation in both directions, several times. If the tailgate fails to complete its range of motion, or suddenly reverses direction without closing, the computer that controls the tailgate may need to be reprogrammed, or there may be an alignment issue with the latch or striker.
If the tailgate fails to work at all, it may have been disabled accidentally via a switch on the lower part of the dash, near the driver’s left knee. This is an easy fix: you just turn the switch back on. Some drivers say it’s easy to accidentally hit this switch with your knee, which disables the tailgate’s power function. Here’s some more reading.
If the Rogue you’re considering is equipped with the available panoramic sunroof, be sure to spend some portion of your test drive with the climate control fan and stereo off, and zone in on the sunroof with your ears. Numerous owners have reported rattles and squeaks from the sunroof, with mixed results when it comes to having dealers effect a repair. In some cases, adjustment or lubrication of the components solves the problem, but not in others. This issue can be frustrating, as it may manifest at random. In many reported cases, the effective fix is replacement of the frame within which the sunroof sits – though this is a pricey and lengthy job if it’s required out of warranty. Here’s some more reading.
While test driving the Rogue you’re considering, be sure to watch for warning lights in the instrument cluster. Two in particular, are worth being on the lookout for: the Check Engine light, and the AWD light. If either is illuminated, the vehicle should be diagnosed by a Nissan technician via a diagnostic scan to determine the cause of the malfunction light illumination. These warning lights can appear for a wide range of reasons, and a technician can help determine what those are in quick order. As either light, and especially the Check Engine light, can illuminate for (literally) hundreds of possible reasons, taking the seller’s word that the warning light is on for “some minor problem” is not advised.
AWD Fluid Change
According to the service schedule, Rogue’s AWD system may not ever require a fluid change – depending on the driving conditions and locale in question. Still, according to this thread, some owners choose to change the fluid pre-emptively anyhow, fending off possible problems down the line. Understanding that you can’t overchange fluids, and that fresh fluids are key to long and trouble-free component life, consider budgeting for an AWD transfer case fluid change, just to be safe – and especially if you live in a harsh climate, like most of Canada.
On the topic of fluid changes, be sure that the Rogue you’re considering isn’t due (or overdue) for a transmission fluid change, and that any previous fluid changes to the CVT transmission have been carried out by a Nissan dealership, and not a lube shop. The Rogue has a specialized type of transmission that requires a specific drain and fill procedure, using a specific type of fluid and specialized equipment.
Having the fluid changed without proper steps and equipment, or refilling the transmission with the improper type of fluid, can cause damage that’s not covered by warranty. Reports of problems against total sales volume indicate that the Rogue’s CVT transmission should be solidly reliable – though proper maintenance, as outlined in the owner’s manual, is key. In many cases, reports of transmission problems seem to stem from failure of owners to properly service and maintain the transmission.
Make sure both sets of keyfobs work to lock, unlock, and start the vehicle, using both the controls on the fob itself, and the controls on the vehicle doors (and tailgate). The owner’s manual has instructions if you’re unfamiliar with the operation of the keyless access system. Ensuring both keyfobs are fully functional before you buy can reduce headaches, and some owners have reported keyfobs that require reprogramming, often after a battery replacement, to have them re-synchronized to the vehicle. This is a rare problem, but worth noting as it can be a frustrating one.
Here’s some more information. Note that some owners have had luck by replacing the remote keyfob battery with a higher-quality unit, or by carefully cleaning the electrical battery contacts within the remote.
This generation of Rogue was subjected to a lengthy list of safety recalls. As these recalls are designed to address some latent safety defect, shoppers are advised to work with a dealer service department to confirm which, if any, recalls apply to the Rogue they’re considering, and to have any outstanding recall work completed as soon as possible.
A healthy used Rogue that passes a pre-purchase inspection (PPI) with satisfactory results can be bought with relative confidence, though test drivers are advised to confirm that all maintenance (especially relating to the transmission) is fully up to date, and to be on the lookout for the issues noted above.
Crash Test Ratings
IIHS: Top Safety Pick+ (2014)
NHTSA: 4/5 Stars