Reviewing the 2008-2013 Nissan Rogue

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Nissan Rogue is a fuel-efficient practical compact 5-seater SUV. It has a 4-cylinder engine and comes with front- or all-wheel drive. The only transmission choice is the continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Rogue is one of the most fuel-efficient all-wheel drive vehicles on the used car market. Inside, it’s simple and functional. Seats are comfortable. The steering tilts but doesn’t telescope. Rear seat space is pretty good and the access is easy. Rear seats fold flat for extra cargo space. The Rogue drives like a car and has a comfortable quiet ride. Maintenance costs are on par with other small SUVs like Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Reliability is above average, but there are a few trouble spots to watch out for, read more below.

2008 Nissan Rogue
2008 Nissan Rogue interior.
2012 Nissan Rogue seats folded
Rear seats fold down. Photo: Nissan

Engine: The only choice is the 170-hp 2.5L DOHC inline-4. To help with maintenance costs, Nissan equipped this engine with a timing chain instead of a timing belt. A timing chain doesn’t need to be replaced at regular intervals. With proper maintenance, this engine shouldn’t have too many problems.

Fuel Economy: The 2008-2010 AWD Rogue is rated at 21/26 mpg city/highway by the EPA. Front-wheel drive 2008-2010 models get 22/27 mpg on regular gasoline. The 2010 FWD Rogue can drive up to 343 miles (553 km) on a 15.9-gallon (60 L) tank.

Continuously Variable Transmission: The CVT design is very simple: a steel belt runs between two pulleys. Gear ratio is changed by varying the size of the pulleys. Nissan has been using this technology for a while and it’s more reliable now, however there were some issues in earlier models. To address those issues, Nissan has extended the CVT warranty to 10 years/120,000 miles on all 2003-2010 models. You can find more info at the NissanAssist website. Compared to other types of transmissions, the CVT works well in city driving, but is weaker when it comes to towing or driving in hilly terrains.

NHTSA crash tests: Frontal
Driver Frontal
Pass. Side
Driver Side
Pass.
2008-2009 Rogue 5 Star 4 Star 5 Star 5 Star
2010 Rogue 4 Star 4 Star 5 Star 5 Star
New NHTSA tests: Overall Frontal
Crash Side
Crash Rollover
2011-2013 Rogue 4 Star 4 Star 5 Star 4 Star

Safety: The Rogue has disk brakes on all four wheels and comes with anti-lock brakes, stability control, front, side and side curtain airbags.

Pros: Practical interior, fuel economy, comfortable seats, car-like handling, compliant ride, rear seat space, five stars side-impact protection.

Cons: The engine is a bit noisy, rear visibility, plain interior styling, cargo space could be better, the liftgate glass doesn’t open separately.

Owner reviews: We looked through hundreds of owner reviews on various forums and other websites. Reviews are mixed. Many owners like the fuel economy, handling and ride comfort, good front visibility and easy access. Poor rear visibility and blind spots in the rear corners is a commonly-mentioned downside. A number of owners also have experienced issues with keyless entry system and CVT transmission. Motorists from southern states often mention a weak air conditioner.

Common problems: Nissan Rogue common problems include CVT issues, minor emission and electrical faults. Bad wheel bearings causing a humming noise are not uncommon too. Wheel bearing replacement will cost from $320 to $460. Fuel level sensors can fail causing inaccurate fuel gauge reading. The tire pressure sensors fail often, but they are not very expensive. A bad vent control valve can cause the Check Engine light with the code P0455. An updated vent control valve can be purchased from a Nissan dealer. The repair is not very expensive. Read more about this code.

Overall: A used Nissan Rogue is a pretty good choice for a practical city crossover, however we would not recommend it for towing or other heavy duty use. The reliability is not flawless, but not too bad. As of 2014, Consumer Reports rated the 2008 and 2009 Rogue reliability as ‘average’. The 2010-2013 models get ‘above average’ rating.


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