This week, I went Rogue; 2023 Nissan Rogue. Such terrible jokes fall flat on the Nissan Rogue, as its name is the antithesis of its character; there’s nothing rogue about it. And for 2023, that doesn’t change.
The Nissan Rogue is far from one because it trolls the mainstream market as a compact SUV that’s the automaker’s chart-topping U.S. vehicle. How popular is it? It outsold the second-place Nissan Altima midsize sedan by 25% last year.
With that kind of popularity, it’s little wonder that Nissan Rogue carries over largely unchanged for 2023, with the exception of a new Midnight Package. Nissan offers the 2023 Rogue in S, SV, SL and Platinum trim, starting at a reasonable $27,760 with front wheel drive, although all trims come with either front- or all-wheel drive, with our Platinum all-wheel drive test vehicle starting at $38,640.
The 2023 Rogue proves to be quite handsome, particularly in its blue and black paint job that masterfully offsets its square appearance. It’s one of five two-tone paint combinations that accentuates the Rogue’s smooth flanks. It’s a welcome change from other SUVs, as the Rogue has a minimal amount of side-sculpting. It’s a design that should age well and lacks the overwrought, juvenile styling of some Japanese competitors.
Climb inside and you might be surprised to find quilted tan leather trim that endowed our Rogue with an upscale allure that’s also offered on the SL. The SV gets optional faux leather that, like the S, comes with standard cloth seat trim. You’ll find its controls are blessedly easy to use. Climate controls have simple knobs, as does the infotainment system. Which benefits from a tuning knob that makes music surfing a breeze. It’s an increasingly rarified luxury, as designers increasingly eschew functionality for looks.
But there’s no denying the Rogue’s roomy cabin, which includes 31.6 cubic feet of cargo space, expanding to 74.1 cubic feet with second row seat folded down. Payload is 948 pounds.
Seats are comfortably supportive, and the interior proves quiet most of the time, thanks to insulated front side glass. Heated front seats are optional on the SV and standard on the SL and Platinum. Heated rear seats are optional on the Platinum, but ventilated seats are not offered.
If you had to sum up the 2023 Nissan Rogue’s driveline, it’s — um — variable.
Last year, the Rogue received a new powerplant, a new 1.5-liter 3-cylinder Variable Compression Turbocharged three-cylinder engine. The engine is unique, using technology exclusive to Nissan. With the use of a special multilink crankshaft and connecting rod system, the VC-Turbo is able to change the piston stroke length by 1.2 mm, offering the engine the advantages of both the higher 14.0:1 turbo efficiency and the power of the lower 8.0:1 compression mode.
It’s mated to a continuously variable transmission that generates 201 horsepower and 225 pound-feet of torque, while posting fuel economy estimates of 28 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined. Better yet, it runs on regular unleaded gasoline and can yank up to 1,500 pounds, with 150 pounds of tongue weight, when properly equipped.
S models come with 17-inch wheels, SV trim wears 18s, while SL and Platinum have 19s.
Safety and Technology
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2023 Nissan Rogue five stars for overall crash protection, four stars for front crash and rollover protection and five stars for side crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the Rogue as a 2023 Top Safety Pick, with all categories rated good except for “moderate” front overlap crash protection and “acceptable” side impact crash protection.
Nissan’s suite of advanced driver assistance safety systems includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, high beam assist and rear automatic braking. Blind spot intervention, traffic sign recognition, a 360-degree camera system, head-up display, and Nissan’s ProPilot steering assistance package are optional.
When it comes to tech, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster is standard, while a 12.3-inch full-color display is available, particularly on higher trims. Similarly, an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard; a 9-inch is available, as is a 10.8-inch full-color head-up display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard; Wireless Apple CarPlay is included on Rogue Platinum and in the SL Premium package. Amazon Alexa is optional on the SL and standard on the Platinum.
Our Platinum test model also included a wireless device charger. And, as you’d expect, there are USB-A and USB-C ports up front on the center console as well as in the second row.
While not the fastest SUV, the Rogue delivers potent power — once up to speed. Yes, there’s turbo lag at initial launch, but it’s manageable as long as you don’t have to be first off-the-line. The continuously variable automatic transmission is better behaved than most of this ilk, feeling much like a conventional automatic transmission most of the time. There’s little of the “rubberbanding” that typically afflicts CVTs.
The ride is mostly compliant and comfortable, a welcome change from too many compact SUVS provide an all-too-clear picture of our crumbling infrastructure. The compliance is welcome and comes without excess body motion. In fact, body lean is well controlled when cornering.
That said, despite quick steering and a trace of road feel, not to mention a well-controlled but complaint ride, the Rogue never lives up to its name. Handling will please most mainstream buyers, but it will fail to ignite the passions of a driving enthusiast. Most buyers won’t care.
2023 Nissan Rogue Platinum AWD Specifications
|Dimension||L: 183 inches/W: 72.4 inches/H: 66.5 inches/Wheelbase: 106.5 inches|
|Powertrain||1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine, continuously variable transmission and all-wheel drive|
|Fuel Economy||28 mpg city/34 mpg highway/31 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||201 horsepower and 225 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $38,640; As tested: $43,100 including $1,295 destination charge.|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
There is no evil lurking in the heart of this Rogue; it will not strand you, nor make you uncomfortable. It won’t break your budget every time you fill up its tank. Nope. The 2023 Nissan Rogue continues to deliver on its best attributes, offering perky acceleration around town, a comfortable ride, a spacious cabin, generous amount of tech and standard equipment, all at a price that won’t impoverish you.
2023 Nissan Rogue — Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any recalls on the 2023 Nissan Rogue?
Yes, 2023 Nissan Rogues are being recalled by Nissan North America Inc. because of a key fob problem that could cause it to unintentionally shutoff.
Where are 2023 Nissan Rogues built?
Nissan Smyrna Assembly Plant in Smyrna, Tennessee and at their Kyushu plant in Kanda, Fukuoka, Japan.
Is Nissan Rogue a reliable vehicle?
Consumer Reports magazine recommends the 2023 Nissan Rogue, predicting it will have better than average reliability.