Nissan Rogue in Snow and Winter Driving? (Explained)

The Rogue is Nissan’s best-selling vehicle boasting plenty of cargo space and comfortable seating.

The Rogue was new for 2008 and has recently been completely restyled and packed with technology.

In this article we’ll examine the Rogues winter abilities, read on to find out more…

Here is the short answer to whether the Nissan Rogue is good for snow and winter driving:

The Nissan Rogue is a great choice for winter driving. Features such as Vehicle Dynamic Control, All-Wheel-Drive, ABS and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution mean the Rogue can handle snowy conditions with ease. Boasting an 8.4 inch ground clearance the Rogue can comfortably clear a good amount of snow.

Is a Nissan Rogue good in the Snow?

The Nissan Rogue is a reliable, compact crossover SUV and an excellent all-round choice for winter driving for a number of reasons.

Offering 8.4 inches of ground clearance the Rogue is more than capable of traversing snow covered roads.

When it comes to keeping the undercarriage clear from the snow, more ground clearance will always be the optimal choice, put simply this reduces the chance of getting stuck and makes navigating unplowed roads that much easier.

The Rogue is available with All-Wheel-Drive, this drive-train is particularly beneficial in wet or icy conditions as the car can send power to all four wheels for optimum traction.

Nissan calls its system Intelligent AWD. It allows the Rogue to use AWD to get moving and then switches to front-wheel drive to be more efficient at cruising speeds. On challenging surfaces the system will automatically use AWD.

The Rogue is available with one engine size, a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine that produces 181 horsepower which is adequate for most winter driving needs although this vehicle is not designed for off-roading.

For families and adventure seekers who enjoy skiing, snowboarding or Christmas road trips, there is plenty of cargo space and various roof racks available to carry your equipment.

The Rogue offers solid handling in the snow however we would highly recommend investing in a good set of snow tires to get the best possible performance in the wintertime.

What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?

The Rogue has an impressive list of safety and driver assistance features which are particularly helpful in the winter:

Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC)

Vehicle Dynamic Control is the name of the stability control system found on all new Nissan’s vehicles.

In slick winter driving conditions this system helps to keep the vehicle balanced and heading in the right direction.

The VDC uses sensors which are strategically placed to monitor driver input and vehicle motion.

Under certain driving conditions, the system will control engine output and braking to help ensure the vehicle heads in the intended direction of travel.

VDC aims to enhance driving stability however it does not prevent accidents due to abrupt steering operation at high speeds or by careless or dangerous driving techniques.

Traction Control System (TCS)

Traction control is a computer-controlled system that comes as standard on the Nissan Rogue and contributes toward a safer winter driving experience.

TCS is particularly useful in low traction conditions as it helps prevent wheel spin.

When a vehicles wheel spins without any grip on the roads surface, this can lead to a loss of control, especially in slick conditions.

If the traction control system detects one wheel is spinning faster than the other it will automatically reduce the amount of power sent to that wheel or it will apply the ABS.

Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)

During hard braking or on slippery surfaces, a driver may apply a braking force that is greater than the tires capacity to grip.

If this happens the wheels can ‘lock up’, causing the vehicle to skid out of control.

By preventing this lock-up the vehicle stops sooner and remains under the drivers control.

The anti-lock brakes on the Rogue provides this assistance – they are specifically designed to stop wheels from locking up.

Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD)

The EBD system uses the vehicle’s electronic stability control and anti-lock brake system to calculate the needed brake force distribution to all four wheels in a moment of braking. 

EBD will help reduce your risk of spinning, fishtailing, oversteering, and understeering. Since braking is more effective on vehicles with EBD, you will also notice a reduction in stopping distance.

The EBS system can adjust the distribution of the brake force to your tires on turns to make sure your car doesn’t lean too much to one side creating an opportunity for skidding or rolling.

Hill Start

Starting and parking on hills can be challenging for some drivers especially when they’re covered in ice or snow.

Hill start prevents the vehicle from rolling back when it is stopped on a slope.

The Rogue’s AWD system works with hill start to minimize the chances of the vehicle moving backwards when starting on an incline.

Hill start holds the brakes after the driver releases the brake pedal to keep the vehicle stationary.

High Beam Assist

The Nissan Rogues’s high beam assist lights up the road, whilst being considerate to passing drivers.

The high beams automatically switch to low-beam headlights when a vehicle is detected ahead and turns the high beams back on when the coast is clear. 

Lane Departure Warning (LDW)

Lane departure warning, as the name implies helps make sure you change lanes only when you mean to.

Using haptic feedback on the steering wheel (simulating touch to communicate with the driver) and a flashing warning light on the instrument panel the Rogue will let you know if you’re drifting over.

If equipped, LDW is activated at speeds of approximately 37 mph and above and only when lane markings are clearly visible on the road.

Intelligent Lane Intervention (I-LI)

The Intelligent Lane Intervention can aid you should you be straying out of our lane.

The I-LI will apply brief brake-force to help gently guide you back into your lane.

In the winter this can happen all to often due to reduced visibility and over tired drivers.

If equipped, I-LI is activated at speeds of approximately 37 mph and above and only when lane markings are clearly visible on the road.

Intelligent Forward Collision Warning

There’s no substitute for cautious, vigilant driving, especially in the winter however the Nissan Rogues Intelligent Forward Collision Warning can provide some additional support.

By monitoring two cars ahead, when sudden braking or deceleration is detected, the Rogue issues you a warning to slow down.

When driving in the winter its important to always leave plenty of room to the car in front as braking distances can become significantly reduced.

Intelligent All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

All-wheel-drive is available on any trim level for the Rogue.

Unlike a full-time AWD/4WD system, the Rogue’s intelligent AWD operates on an as-needed basis.

This provides better fuel efficiency, as AWD can often increases fuel consumption.

This drivetrain is great for slippery conditions as it automatically distributes power where needed to maximize grip.

The fact that there are four tires available to receive torque rather than two, means there is a reduced chance of an individual tire spinning when accelerating.

The front-wheel-drive versions of the Rogue will not be as advantageous in slick conditions as their AWD counterparts however they are still very capable.

Having the weight of the engine over the drive-wheels ensures there is plenty of grip on the front wheels.

Does a Rouge Have Snow Mode?

The Nissan Rogue does have a snow mode however it is only available on the AWD models.

In the center console of the vehicle is a small dial that can activate 5 different driving settings, selecting the ‘snowflake’ on the dial will put the vehicle into Snow Mode.

Once activated snow mode will automatically know when to reduce throttle and shift to a higher gear ratio which helps you stay in control, provides better traction and prevents you from slipping and sliding.

Snow mode limits throttle sensitivity and the amount of power that is used so wheel spin is minimized or eliminated.

Related: 16 Best & Worst Nissan Rogue Years (With Stats & Pictures)

Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on a Rogue?

Here are some additional winter accessories that are available for the Nissan Rogue:

  • Snow tires – Provide better stopping distances and increased handling
  • Snow socks – These wrap around the tire to increase traction
  • Snow chains – Chains that wrap around the tire for extra grip
  • Roof racks – Extra space for storage, perfect for skis and snowboards
  • Rooftop Tent – Extend your days on the slopes without paying for expensive accommodation

Before installing any additional snow gear ensure you are legally allowed to do so, some states will strictly prohibit the use of certain accessories.

When purchasing snow gear it is essential you take measurements so that you order the correct size accessory for your vehicle, do not try to guess by visual assessment.

If you are unsure consult with a trained professional.

How Much Snow Can a Rogue Handle?

The Rogue sits 8.4 inches off the ground, so we would advise not traversing snow that is deeper than 7.5 inches.

Anything above this is tempting fate and could cause your vehicle to become stuck, which not only is an inconvenience it can also damage the underbody structure.

How Does the Rogue Handle Low Winter Temperatures?

The Rogue will not have issues in low temperatures. It is an advanced modern vehicle that does not need to be warmed up and should perform to a high standard all year round.

However, low temperature related issues that are common across most vehicles that could hinder operation are:

  • Battery problems – If your vehicle struggles to start in the cold, in most instances it is a battery related issue. Cold weather is particularly hard on batteries, it’s a good idea to have a battery health check before the winter sets in.
  • Tire pressure dropping – Check pressure every two weeks, as cold weather sets in tire pressure can drop. Check your tire tread depth is adequate also.
  • Freezing fluids – make sure both screenwash and antifreeze are topped up with a solution that will stay in liquid form, even in sub-zero temperatures.
  • Failed spark plugs – Any old or damaged spark plugs should be replaced, when the temperature dips spark plugs can fail due to their susceptibility to corrosion.
  • Frozen windshield wiper – Wiper blades can become particularly vulnerable in the cold, if they are frozen to the glass, when activated they can tear off. Consider investing in winter wiper blades.

Can a Rogue Drive on Ice?

The Rogue is capable of driving on ice however it should be done so with extreme caution, speeds should be lowered and corners should be taken with much greater care and you should ask yourself if your journey is really necessary.

Features such as the Traction Control System and Vehicle Dynamic Control will help aid driving on icy roads however when driving on ice grip is hugely reduced and braking distances are significantly longer.

Does the Rogue have 4WD?

The Rogue does not have the traditional four-wheel drive (4WD).

The Intelligent AWD equipped on some models is an automatic system that switches between FWD and AWD depending on terrain and road surface.

When driving on smooth highways the vehicle will switch to front-wheel-drive on challenging surfaces the vehicle will switch to all-wheel-drive.

What About Older Rogue Models and Winter Driving?

The Rogue is a relatively new SUV which has been around since 2008, as such we think its safe to say older Rogues are still good vehicles for winter driving.

The earliest Nissan Rogue still has importnat features such as:

  • Electronic Brakeforce Distribution
  • 4-Wheel ABS
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control

Latest models have the more advanced and up to date technology, however older models will still be suitable.

Does the Rogue need Snow Tires?

Equipping snow tires to your Nissan Rogue is the best possible way to bolster winter performance and we would highly advise investing in a good set for when the temperatures drop.

Snow tires are proven to significantly improve handling and stopping distances in winter driving conditions.

  • The compound is made to grip the road better in lower temperatures as it remains soft and flexible in cold weather.
  • The tread pattern is designed to push the snow out from underneath the tire. 

Related: 11 Most Common Nissan Rogue Problems (Explained)

Can You Mount a Snow Plow on a Rogue?

We would not advise attempting to mount any sort of snow plow to the Nissan Rogue.

As a compact crossover SUV, the Rogue is a light duty vehicle and is not intended for plowing snow.

Fabricating any sort of snow plow to the Rogue could compromise safety and invalidate its warranty.

If you are looking for a Nissan vehicle to plow snow with then we would suggest looking into the Titan.



  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...