Class: Compact Crossover
Color: Boulder Gray Pearl w/Super Black
Miles driven: 106
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||A|
|Power and Performance||B+|
|Fit and Finish||B+|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide’s impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. “Big” rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, “Tall” rating based on 6’6″-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||201-hp 1.5-liter|
|Engine Type||Turbocharged 3-cylinder|
Observed fuel economy: 27.8 mpg
Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 28/35/31 (mpg city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Regular gas
Snow Performance: N/A
Base price: $30,550 (not including $1295 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Splash guards ($210), two-tone paint ($745), Midnight Edition Package ($1535), floor mats ($425), SV Premium Package ($2660)
Price as tested: $37,420
The great: General refinement, space utilization, premium feel
The good: Ride and handling, acceleration, fuel economy
The not so good: Engine quake at idle
Nissan pulled a fast one when it launched the redesigned Rogue for 2021. The updated compact crossover arrived featuring new a new design, updated cabin, and a host of new safety and technology features. About the only element of the Rogue that wasn’t new was the engine. Carried over was a 181-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that was generally considered by the Consumer Guide staff to be “adequate.” In fact, the engine was probably the least compelling component of the new crossover.
The 2021 Rogue was very well received by shoppers, and remained Nissan’s best-selling model by a large margin. Consumer Guide would name the Rogue a Best Buy pick in the compact crossover category; which was one of many awards the vehicle would be bestowed. Here’s the funny part…
After all the launch fervor had died down, Nissan quietly replaced the Rogue’s big 4-cylinder engine with a 201-horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder mill. And by quietly, I mean the change in engines was not mentioned in advertising, and examples of the Rogue with the new powerplant were not made available to the media, at least not for a while.
Now, if buying a vehicle powered by a 3-cylinder engine gives you pause, it probably should. Examples of the configuration now come standard in the Chevrolet Trailblazer and Buick Encore GX, and in both cases the engine performs well, but idles with a quake, and shudders when started and stopped.
Similarly, the 3-cylinder engines found in the Ford Escape and Bronco Sport and strong enough, but lack the smoothness and general refinement of 4-cylinder examples of the same vehicles. So, it’s no wonder that Nissan wanted to keep mum about the under-hood switcheroo.
Here’s the rub: Nissan’s new 3-cylinder engine—featuring the maker’s VC-Turbo variable-compression-ratio technology—is so much stronger and more efficient than the old engine, there’s no real downside to the swap. While the old four was arguable a little more refined at times, the 3-cylinder’s power and efficiency more than makes up for a little idle roughness. Note that Nissan doesn’t mention that the new engine is a 3-cylinder unit on the Monroney sticker, noting only the engine’s displacement. A little shady if you asked us.
But we really like the Rogue, and we like—actually prefer—the new engine as well. Odds are, you will too.
For 2023, the Rogue is offered in five trim levels, or just four, depending on how you count them. For the frugal, there’s the entry level S, which starts at $29,055 including destination charge. Next up is the is the popular SV trim level, which starts at $30,745. The well-equipped SL starts at $35,205. The lineup peaks with the luxury-level Platinum, which starts at $38,635. If you’re looking for some foul-weather traction, AWD is available on every trim level for $1500.
New for 2023 is the Rogue Midnight Edition, a fun, sporty, sleek-looking addition to the lineup positioned in price and content between the SV and SL. Though Nissan treats the Midnight Edition as a unique trim level on its website, the window sticker tells a different story. Per the sticker accompanying our test vehicle, the Midnight Edition is actually a $1535 package on the SV. No matter, as the black grille trim, black wheels, black mirror caps, and unique badging create a Rogue that is in appearance quite unlike the other models in the lineup.
Consumer Guide recently spent a week with an AWD 2023 Nissan Rogue Midnight Edition with extra-cost two-tone paint and the SV Premium package. Here’s our take:
More than most compact crossovers, the Rogue makes excellent use of space, providing both front- and rear-seat passengers with plenty of stretch-out room. Once inside, folks will find a well-appointed cabin, even in midlevel trim. The “PrimaTex” seating surfaces are convincingly leatherlike, feel nice, and present well.
We found the touchscreen digital interface simple to use and responsive to touch. The screen itself is not especially large by contemporary standards, but is big enough, and easy to read. We also want to thank Nissan for including an actual physical knob for radio-station tuning.
Underway we found the Rogue a competent handler with excellent ride control and a notably quiet cabin. Without hyperbole we can say that the Rogue comes close to serving up a luxury-level travel experience, even in more affordable configurations. Plus, the aforementioned engine is rarely heard, though does sound a little coarse during periods of spirited acceleration.
And, about that engine: There plenty of power for passing and merging, and Rogue’s initial throttle response is almost spunky, making for easy and useful acceleration in traffic and stop-and-go conditions. And, speaking of stop-and-go driving, Nissan’s ProPilot system does a fine job of reducing driver fatigue in heavy traffic. Yes, you have to keep your hands on the wheel, but you don’t have to keep shuffling between the gas and brake pedal, and that’s a wonderful thing.
Back to the 3-cylinder engine: In mostly city driving, we averaged 27.8 mpg. This compares favorably to the 26.2 return we observed in a 2021 Rogue Platinum equipped with the old 4-cylinder engine. As we noted earlier, there is no real downside to the new engine.
Unless you have a powerful aversion to odd cylinder counts, the Nissan Rogue is, and remains, one of the best options in the highly competitive compact-crossover segment. We’re most impressed by the spacious cabin and overall refinement, but there’s a strong value argument to be made here as well. As for the Midnight Edition Package, $1535 doesn’t seem like too much money to spend if you’re looking for a little sportiness and visual distinctiveness. We say go for it.
2023 Nissan Rogue Midnight Edition Gallery
Click below for enlarged images