2023 Nissan Rogue Review

2023 Nissan Rogue - Nissan's Rogue is a compact crossover sleeper and deserves a long look.


Nissan's best-selling vehicle, the Rogue, received a full makeover for 2021 and got a new engine in 2022. For 2023, changes were minimal and include the addition of a Midnight Edition package. Still a compact crossover with a 4-door wagon body style, Rogue is offered with front- or all-wheel drive. Competitors include the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4 and Volkswagen Tiguan.

Rogue is offered in S, SV, SL and range-topping Platinum trim. All get a turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 201 horsepower and 225 lb-ft of torque. Sole transmission offering is a continuously variable automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard across the board with all-wheel drive being optional. Maximum towing capacity when properly equipped is 1,350 pounds.

All models come standard with Nissan Safety Shield, which consists for forward-collision warning with mitigation, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, rear-passenger safe exit system and rear automatic braking. The Rogue S starts at $28,695 and includes 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with support for Apple Car Play and Android Auto and two USB ports. The $30,395 SV adds S 18-inch wheels, remote engine start, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone climate control, power driver seat, upgraded audio system, adaptive cruise control and 360-degree camera system. The new Midnight package offered on the SV includes gloss-black 18-inch wheels, black exterior trim and badges, black roof rails and upgraded artificial leather upholstery.

The SL starts at $35,045 and adds to the SV 19-inch wheels, heated mirrors, hands-free lift gate, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, tri-zone climate control, power passenger seat and leather upholstery. A Premium Package on the SL adds navigation system, 9-inch touchscreen, Bose audio system, wireless Apple Car Play, voice controls and front and rear parking sensors. Finally, the new top-tier Platinum trim starts at $38,475 and adds to the SL digital instrument panel, head-up display, heated rear seats, upgraded leather upholstery and wireless charging pad.

Thankfully Nissan swapped out the Rogue's uninspiring normally aspirated 4-cylinder for an energetic turbo four in 2022. Though the engine also teams with the same continuously variable automatic transmission, it's been reprogrammed to be more responsive. The two make a huge difference, not only is the new powertrain more powerful, but it's significantly more refined. When pressed, the 1.5-liter turbo four will push the Rogue from 0 to 60 MPH in abut 7.5 seconds. That's better than average for the compact crossover class. The engine always feels powerful and responsive and the transmission mimics traditional gear changes, avoiding the slushy experience provided by most CVT automatics.

The engine utilizes Nissan's industry-unique, variable-compression-ratio technology. In short, Nissan has devised a way to alter the engine's compression ratio on the fly by varying the connecting rod length. The result is an engine that provides outstanding performance AND class-leading fuel efficiency.

Front-wheel drive Rogue's get a combined EPA rating of 33 MPG and all-wheel drive version get a still-impressive 31 MPG. Those numbers exceed all competitors with the exception of hybrid models. Routine suburban commuting will net an easy 30 MPG overall if you drive with a light throttle foot. Nissan says the Rogue will run fine on regular-grade gasoline and the 14.5-gallon fuel tank is good for about 430 miles of range on the highway.

Rogue's all-wheel-drive system does not have a low range and is not intended for severe off-road use. It does, however, offer several driver-selected modes including Off-road, Snow, Standard, Eco and Sport. Front-wheel drive models get a switch on the console that controls three drive modes: Sport, Standard and Eco. As is the case with most crossovers, a quality set of all-season tires are just as important, if not moreso, as having all-wheel drive.

Dynamically, the Rogue offers a nice balance of on-road refinement and athleticism. The suspension combines with a stiff body structure and electric power steering system to impart a solid and refined on-road presence. Body motions are nicely kept in check and there's plenty of absorption in the suspension. Where the previous Rogue felt mushy rounding fast corners, the new model feels more confident and planted.

Still, Rogue isn't sporty in the traditional sense. The suspension can get overwhelmed in quick transitions and the tallish build tends to create a tippy feel in sudden changes of direction. The electric power steering, direct from the Nissan Sentra, has a natural feeling and proves to be quick enough at parking speeds. Brakes have good stopping power but are prone to rear lockup in hard stops.

Rogue cruises quietly, both around town and on the highway.

Nissan designers crafted a modern and fresh interior that's attractive and functional. Across the model lineup materials are a cut above the class norm. Most impressive are upscale touches in the Platinum, including the digital instrument cluster, head-up display, heated rear seats, upgraded leather upholstery with quilted stitching and wireless charging pad. Rogue also offers premium-luxury items like rear-seat sun shades, heated steering wheel and butterfly center console cover. Combined, they lend an upscale air to the interior in a class where form often follows a distant second to function.

Nissan has been touting its zero-gravity seats for a while now and they are clearly a step above what's offered in most competitors when it comes to comfort and support. In addition, head and leg room are quite good. If you had to choose a compact crossover on front-seat comfort alone, the obvious winner would be the Rogue. The same can be said for the rear seats, which are both roomy and comfortable. In addition, the rear seats slide for and aft to create more leg room or additional cargo capacity.

On the tech side, Rogue is bringing a howitzer to a knife fight and it's almost not fair. In addition to the available 12.3-inch digital dashboard, 10.8-inch head-up display and 9-inch touchscreen display, Rogue offers Google Maps and Waze integration as well as support for Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Also offered is Nissan's ProPILOT Assist, which provides all-speed adaptive cruise control with lane centering. Of course, forward-collision warning with brake mitigation, blind-spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear door alert are also available.

When it comes to storage, Rogue finds itself mid-pack. Rear seats up it offers a mediocre 36.5 cubic feet of capacity. But fold the rear seats and that number jumps to 74.1 cubic feet, among the class leaders. In addition, a unique height-adjustable cargo floor provides lots of secure small item storage. Up front there are numerous bins and cubbies. Nissan's new compact shifter also saves some space in the center console and strikes a nice balance between ease of operation and condensed design.

Bottom Line - The Rogue is polished, offers class-leading comfort, and is loaded with tech and safety features. In addition, prices are very reasonable. Of course, there are an awful lot of players in this class, many with similar merits. It should be noted that Rogue likely offers the best combination of features, comfort, utility and price.

Mark Bilek

Mark Bilek is the Senior Director of Communications and Technology for the Chicago Auto Trade Association and the General Manager for DriveChicago.com. He is also responsible for developing and maintaining the Chicago Auto Show Web site.

Mark has been reviewing vehicles for more than two decades. Previously, he was associate publisher at Consumer Guide, where he oversaw publication of Consumer Guide Car & Truck Test, Consumer Guide's Used Car Book, and ConsumerGuide.com. He was also responsible for publication of "Collectible Automobile" and various hardcover automotive titles. In 2001 and 2002 he served as president of a Midwest Automotive Media Association. Mark has appeared on NBC TV, ABC TV, Fox News, WGN and MotorTrend TV as an automotive consultant. He hosts the Drive Chicago radio show on WLS 890 AM and was a regular guest on WGN Radio's Steve & Johnnie show. Mark lives in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three sons.