2023 Nissan Rogue SV AWD Review – A Rogue That Blends In
2023 Nissan Rogue SV AWD Fast Facts
The 2023 Nissan Rogue is one of the top contenders for misnamed vehicles.
Think about it. A rogue is daring and dashing and goes against the grain. Rogues stand out. But the Nissan Rogue blends in.
That is not, in terms of the overall package, a bad thing. And I am realistic enough to know that Nissan isn’t going to call its crossover some name that implies conformity. I just felt compelled to point out the difference between the name and the execution.
Goofing on the moniker aside, the Rogue’s ability to blend in and work seamlessly is probably preferred by buyers. It’s easy to imagine a world in which the Rogue stood out from the crowd but wasn’t packaged well.
Fortunately, that’s not the world we live in. The Rogue is not a great crossover – but it’s good enough that living with it is a pleasant experience.
There are a lot of vehicles on the market that make their bones by being good at many things but not mastering any one thing – yes, the old “jack of all trades, master of none” cliché – and the Rogue is one of them. That may sound like damning with faint praise, but unless you’re looking for certain extremes in terms of performance or fuel economy or luxury at a value price, it’s not.
I should note that the Rogue will be refreshed for 2024, as we found out this morning.
Most consumers want something just like this – a vehicle that may not be the fastest or the prettiest or thriftiest at the gas pump (although its numbers aren't too shabby), but instead is just an easygoing commuter.
That’s the Rogue. Forget the image of dashing swashbucklers – the Rogue is the suburban mild-mannered middle manager who’s nice but also completely unremarkable. Boring but stable. Not fun, but pleasant to be around.
Nissan tried to play dress up, at least with the trim and color package that I tested, thanks to the newly available Midnight Edition package. For a tick over $1,500, you get blacked-out 18-inch wheels, black roof rails, special leatherette seats, black grille, black exterior mirror caps, black front and rear fascia inserts, black rear diffuser, black badging, and trim-specific badging.
Even with all this, the Rogue remains anonymous. The look is at least pleasant enough. Not handsome or head-turningly sexy, but not repulsive. No shame in this game.
The 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder that’s standard across the board makes 201 horsepower and 225 lb-ft of torque. Not enough to make for blinding acceleration, especially in a heavy crossover, but there’s just enough thrust for relaxed urban driving. Emphasis on relaxed.
The CVT is as about unremarkable as a CVT can be.
Handling is unremarkably average, and the ride is generally compliant. I was supposed to take the Rogue on a long-ish freeway jaunt at the end of my loan, and before that trip was cut short by a shredded tire, I found the ride to be comfortable on the expressway, though road noise, especially tire noise, crept in*
*Given that the flat tire seemed to be caused by a sharp object, I don’t think the tire noise was related to the rubber falling to pieces.
The interior is similarly pleasantly inoffensive, with digital gauges that are clear and easy to read. Yet another tacked-on infotainment screen mars the look a bit, though there are still actual buttons and knobs here. This makes using the controls generally easy. I also felt like there was enough legroom and headroom for taller adults, and the seats seemed comfortable for longer drives – though my best chance to test it out on a long drive was cut short by the aforementioned flat tire.
My test unit based at $30,550 and came with all-wheel drive, rearview monitor, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, intelligent lane intervention, high beam assist, rear automatic braking, intelligent forward collision warning, and blind-spot intervention. Other standard features included dual-zone climate control, ProPilot Assist, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and LED lighting all around.
Aside from the Midnight Package, the other big option was an SV Premium Package that included heated seats, a heated steering wheel, a power liftgate, and a panoramic sunroof.
The total bill? $37,420 including destination.
It can be difficult for us scribes to write about vehicles like the Rogue. There are many, perhaps too many, crossovers on the market these days that are put together well enough to be pleasant daily drivers but don’t do much to stand out, good or bad. This is good for the average consumer – it means there’s a lot of choice. It’s not so good for us.
A rogue should make a splash and be noticeable. A rogue stands out, no matter how rough the edges are. This Nissan isn’t that. That’s actually a good thing for the buyer.
Being a rogue might be great fun. But for a daily driver, you want boring yet pleasant stability. That’s what really defines this Rogue – and it’s almost certainly better for it.
[Images © 2023 Tim Healey/TTAC.com, Nissan]
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Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.
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