The Nissan Rogue is a great family vehicle. It’s the go-to solution for those who want a compact SUV that offers respectable styling and great fuel economy. It comes with an all-wheel drive, has a modest turbocharged three-cylinder, and isn’t particularly known for its compatibility with engine or transmission swaps. But what if you wanted to push the all-wheel drive functionality a bit further? What if you wanted to go beyond what you find in the stock offerings at a Nissan Rogue dealership and outfit Nissan’s popular compact with something a little more exotic but not too outlandish? What am I talking about? I’m talking about lifting your Rogue.
Lifted Nissan Rogues are mostly unheard of but not untenable as more and more people are starting to modify their models. In fact, a lifted Nissan Rogue actually makes a lot of sense given that it’s ready-made for lifting. It’s a sporty SUV that has a bit of an understated ruggedness to it, even if it isn’t very pronounced. So why don’t we see more lifted Rogues at dealerships, and why is it still so rare to find a lifted Rogue? Well, it starts with Nissan.
No Official Lift Packages From Nissan
When you typically order a Rogue from the Nissan official configuration tool, you can select which trim you want, whether you want it in front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the color, exterior accessories, interior amenities, and available packages. There are a lot of neat features, from wheel locks to roof racks, but you know what it’s missing? A lift kit.
If you browse through the package options for any newer model Nissan Rogue, what you won’t find available when you get to the package section is a lift kit package. Instead, you’ll find trim-specific packages, such as the SV Premium Package or the SL Premium Package. From cargo management and tech upgrades to exterior lighting and body protection, you can officially outfit your Rogue with a lot of stuff, but sadly, no lift kit.
That already puts a barrier to entry into the lifted Nissan Rogue world. Without the option to add it from the factory, many people won’t bother trying to get the SUV lifted. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t find some lifted versions of the Rogue. But if the Rogue doesn’t have an official lift kit made available from Nissan, where are people getting the kits from?
From CGI to Real-Life
A lot of times, enthusiasts can actually bring wishes into reality using computer graphics and programming. Lots of CGI artists are known for outfitting popular nameplates with their own unique twists. This is exactly what happened with the Rogue. Graphic design artist SRK Designs came up with a lifted, off-road iteration of the Rogue. The CGI looks like it could be real with the body raised by a couple of inches, 30-something-inch tires, and a roof made for adventure. The 4×4 makeover seems like a potential dream iteration of the economy-class compact to come true, and, in some ways, it has. Well, not in its entirety, but the real-life version is close enough.
Some Nissan Rogue dealerships are actually offering a Rogue Off-Road Package. This will cost you several thousand, so it’s not cheap, but it’s very similar to the CGI 4×4 design that SRK Designs came up with. The real-life Off-Road Package for the Rogue comes packed with a two-inch lift kit, larger all-terrain tires, tinted windows, and more. However, some of these kits will end up raising the total dealer price to close to $10,000 above the initial MSRP, assuming you’re willing to go that route.
Lifting Your Nissan Rogue
The good part about it is that you don’t have to rely entirely on a Nissan Rogue dealership to get your hands on a Rogue lift kit. There are several solutions out there for enterprising owners willing to lift their Rogue, outfit it with some new tires, and take full advantage of the Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system that Nissan has installed. It will still cost you, though, but it certainly won’t be as much as some custom dealer-installed kits.
There are lift kits available that give you a two-inch lift in the front and a one-inch lift in the rear. Almost all of the major lift kits are designed for the all-wheel drive version of the Rogue, so keep that in mind. Companies like ReadyLIFT have a decent solution that you can get for your Rogue that’s under a grand. You can also find kits from Rough Country and Takeo Engineering.
Most of the kits come with suspension spacers, coil spring lift spacers, and sway bar drop brackets. Also, make sure you look to see if the kit fits your particular model year and drivetrain configuration before committing to any kind of purchase. You’ll also need some rough-and-tumble tires to go along with your new lifted Rogue. Depending on the trim you have will determine what size tires you may need for the vehicle. The SV, for instance, comes with 18-inch wheels, whereas the SL and Platinum are outfitted with 19-inch wheels. However, it would probably be wise to opt for the 17-inch wheels that come with the Rogue S. Why? Because smaller wheels mean you can put on larger tires without worrying about wheel-well rubbing, or the tires making contact with the body.
If you have an SV with 18-inch wheels, then you can definitely match it up with a set of Toyo’s Extensa A/S II 235/60R18 all-season tires or go up a notch with the Hankook all-terrain Dynapro AT2 RF11s that come in 235/60R18. Alternatively, if you have the 17-inch wheels the available lift kits will allow you to equip up to 245/65R17 size tires on your Rogue. You can also opt for Hankook or Yokohama’s 235/65R17 sets if you would prefer something on the safe side. If you really want to take full advantage of your lift kit and smaller wheel size, then BFGoodrich has some 245/65R17 T/A KO2s that you can outfit your Rogue with for maximum off-roading goodness.
Taking Full Advantage of the Rogue’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive Modes
When you get a Nissan Rogue with Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, you have access to a drive mode selector. This enables the vehicle to perform differently depending on the road conditions or terrain. Of course, with all-wheel drive, you still lack the traction control and torque distribution that you get with a four-wheel drive vehicle that comes with a transfer case. However, you can compensate for that with things like a lift kit for more ground clearance and better suspension travel, as well as better tires for improved grip.
The Intelligent All-Wheel Drive iterations of the Rogue feature five different drive modes, including Off-Road Mode, Snow Mode, Auto Mode, Eco Mode, and Sport Mode. While Auto, Eco, and Sport will be put to good use while traveling on the road, highways, or commuting to and from a destination, the Snow Mode and Off-Road Mode will certainly find themselves being more useful for those who have a lift kit and all-terrain tires. With the modes capable of dialing in the traction and the vehicle kitted out to take advantage of those features, you could experience some heightened enjoyment out of a lifted Rogue, whether you get an already kitted out version from a Nissan Rogue dealership or do the outfitting yourself.
A Lifted Rogue Is No Longer Just a Dream
While the Rogue isn’t about to be the most kitted-out adventure vehicle on the market (at least, not yet), you can still modify it to maximize its capabilities with a lift kit. It may require a little research and legwork on your part to find a kit and a dealer to install it, but it’ll be worth it.