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USED WHEELS: Heed these tips on 2014+ Nissan Rogue test drive

The most recent version of Nissan’s popular Rogue crossover hit the market in 2013 as an all-new unit for model-year 2014.

Key competitors included the Chevrolet Equinox, Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape and Honda CR-V.

With a larger body, advanced new structure and various engineering tweaks intended to increase refinement and comfort at the wheel, this generation Rogue was smarter and more upscale than its predecessor and many owners say it makes a worthy upgrade.

Look for a moonroof, push-button start, dual-zone automatic temperature control, Bluetooth, navigation, and advanced safety features.

Some models also offered rare-in-the-segment three-row seating, as well as a motorized tailgate. Most units in the used market will include all-wheel drive, though some models were front-wheel drive.

Here are a few checks and tips to bear in mind during your test drive process as you select the right used Rogue for you and your family.

Stop battery-related headaches

As we’ve seen with numerous modern used vehicles, the battery and charging system may cause problems throughout the vehicle if they’re not healthy.

From failure to start the engine to frustratingly random problems across numerous electronics systems, various owners have reported issues that can be traced to a weak or dying battery, and (to a much lesser extent) an alternator that requires some attention.

Some owners even say that the Rogue’s factory battery needs replacing in as little as two years. The gist? To fend off potential headaches across numerous electronic systems, be sure the battery in the used Rogue you’re considering is healthy, possibly by way of a charging system and battery test carried out by a professional. If the battery doesn’t pass the test with flying colours, recycle it and budget for a new one.

Motorized tailgate

Open and close the Rogue’s power tailgate, several times, using all possible controls (keyfob, tailgate-mounted release button, and on-dash switch).

Ensure the tailgate is able to open and close fully and without issue, when requested from each control. At any sign of failure to open and close as expected, or at any sign of an unwanted reversal in direction, have the tailgate motor and computer assessed by a professional.

In some cases, the tailgate computer needs to be reset and, in others, the tailgate latch may need adjustment. Just note that in some cases, a switch that disables the motorized tailgate may have been accidentally activated. Check the owner’s manual for more details.

Check the keys

The Rogue you’re considering may include a pair of remote key fobs that allow drivers to access the vehicle’s locks and ignition via a wireless signal.

If equipped with this “smart key” system, be sure to try both sets of included keyfobs, using them to lock and unlock all doors via touch, and to start the engine via the engine start button. If any issue is detected, the key fobs may require reprogramming, or a new battery, or both.

Some owners have had luck with using a higher-quality battery upon replacement, or by carefully cleaning the small electrical battery contacts within the remote assembly.

The sunroof

Spend some time on your test drive listening for unwanted rattles, squeaks and buzzing sounds from the panoramic sunroof (if equipped). Open and close this several times to ensure proper operation as outlined in the owner’s manual.

Some owners have reported frustrating sounds from the sunroof, which may require replacement parts to remedy. As the solution to sunroof rattles reported by some owners involves removal and replacement of the frame in which the sunroof sits, it’s worth noting that this can be a pricey job if not covered by remaining warranty.

Confirm compatibility

Rogue is equipped with numerous features designed to let drivers access their media, communications and other functionalities, while connecting to devices like the user’s Smartphone, USB media drives, and more.

On your test drive, be sure to confirm that all Smartphones and media drives can be connected, read and utilized by the Rogue’s central command system. If that’s not the case, software updates (to the user’s devices), or a hard-reset of the in-vehicle interface may be required. In other cases, new hardware may be required.

Now’s the time to confirm that all of the Rogue’s multimedia connectivity systems are in proper working order.

(Transmission) maintenance

Like all vehicles, the Rogue requires occasional maintenance and servicing of various components to ensure maximum reliability, and maintenance of any remaining warranty in full.

Pay close attention to Rogue’s maintenance requirements (they’re listed in the owner’s manual), and confirm that all servicing is up to date, with special attention paid to the fluid change schedule for the Rogue’s continually variable transmission.

Obtain service records that show all fluid changes to this vital component are up to date, and that all of said fluid changes have been performed by a Nissan dealership.

Your new-to-you Rogue’s warranty (if applicable) does not cover damage or wear caused by a failure of previous owners to properly maintain the vehicle, so buying a used Rogue without full service records is not advised.

The information presented above is gathered from online owner discussion groups and collaboration with a network of automotive repair professionals. This information is not a comprehensive list of all possible issues with the vehicle in question and is instead intended to draw shopper attention to possible trouble spots they may wish to investigate before they buy. In most cases, problems listed above are reported with relative rarity in comparison to total sales volume. Shoppers are advised to have a dealer- performed pre-purchase inspection on the vehicle they’re considering for maximum peace of mind.

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