Crossover & Midsize

The 2012 Nissan Rogue Has a Pricey Problem

Owning an automobile is often a necessity for people who need to go to work, school, or any other of a variety of places on a daily basis. Sometimes, though, a car can cost as much or more to repair than it is worth. Warranties protect new car buyers, but if you’re looking to buy a used car, doing some research can help you avoid a costly mistake down the road. Let’s look at a 2012 Nissan Rogue as an example.

The 2012 Nissan Rogue

Sporting a stylish exterior and nicely appointed interior, the 2012 Nissan Rogue is a compact SUV that is available for under $10,000 with low miles, according to KBB. The Rogue is powered by a 170-hp inline-four backed by a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and has a 24 mpg combined fuel economy estimate.

While the Rogue is available with on-demand all-wheel drive, there is no mistaking it for a powerful off-road capable machine. It is intended to stay on paved roads where it performs admirably. The four-cylinder engine isn’t a powerhouse, but it provides just enough power to propel the little Rogue along winding country roads nicely and electronic traction and stability control makes it somewhat fun to drive.

The all-wheel-drive system performs well on slippery wet or snowy roads by sending power to the rear tires seamlessly anytime the fronts start to slip. With a review like that, why doesn’t everyone own one? Let’s dig a little deeper.

Transmission problems

RELATED: Nissan Rogue Sport Sales Are Drastically Lower Than the Regular Rogue

Consumer Reports states, “Most modern cars can make it to 200,000 miles with little more than routine maintenance and minor repairs for worn components.” Since the average American drives just over 13,000 miles per year the average car should last nearly 15 years. That means, in theory, a 2012 Nissan Rogue with about 100,000 miles is halfway through its lifespan.

Consumer Reports also notes that there are three major areas of concern as potential high ticket repair items: engines, head gaskets, and transmissions. Any of these issues can be catastrophic and result in the car being immobile on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. 

While a number of Nissan models suffer from issues revolving around the continuously variable transmission system, we’ll stay focused on the 2012 Nissan Rogue we mentioned at the beginning. Consumer Reports says that owners began reporting problems with the 2012 Nissan Rogue CVT as early as 35,000 miles with most reports coming in at 94,000 to 115,500 miles.

CR goes on to say, “Some members reported that the work was covered under warranty or that the transmission was replaced under a special Nissan extended warranty program, the type of customer service support that manufacturers sometimes extend to address common problems.”

As an example, one Rogue owner experienced transmission failure at 177,000 miles and reported that the repair bill was $4,000, about the value of a 2012 Rogue in good condition.

Buy a Honda CR-V instead

Consumer Reports recommends the Honda CR-V as an alternative. A 2012 Honda CR-V offers more horsepower, better fuel economy, standard rear-view camera, and a perfect reliability rating. Does that mean it will last forever?

No, but it is much less likely to leave you stranded on the side of the road well into the 200,000-mile average lifespan we’ve come to expect. What is the downside to the Honda CR-V? It costs about 10 percent more than the Rogue, but given the Rogue’s potential problems, it is a good investment