Success in the automotive industry boils down to which manufacturer got it the most right for buyers. Government regulations level the playing field in most categories like fuel economy and safety, so it often boils down to more subjective measures, like styling and the “cool” factor. Nissan has traditionally lagged in both within the dog-eat-dog compact SUV category, but a 2022 Nissan Rogue vs 2022 Toyota RAV4 comparison suggests the tide is turning.
Japanese automaker juggernauts Honda and Toyota have historically waged the most intense battles for market share. While they were busy duking it out, Nissan launched a sneak attack with its top seller, the Rogue. For 2022, the Rogue bests the competition in fuel economy and torque power, two divergent achievements that aren’t typically won by the same vehicle. It’s year two of the third-gen Rogue, and sales numbers don’t lie.
Year-to-date, Nissan has moved over 180,000 Rogues nationwide. That’s no small feat, especially considering recent supply chain congestion. It’s all part of Nissan’s NEXT initiative, a design-forward plan that targets every Nissan model for a comprehensive redesign and then retargets each in subsequent model years with targeted, impactful improvements. That’s where the Rogue’s new, more powerful engine comes in.
Performance may not be the highest must-have on a compact SUV buyer’s list, but having a little extra oomph comes in handy, especially if the increase doesn’t come with a sharp drop in fuel economy. The Rogue’s new 1.5-liter VC (Variable Compression)-Turbo powerplant boasts an impressive 201 hp and a best-in-class 225 lb-ft of torque, giving it 11% more horsepower and a lively 24% more torque than last year’s model.
The performance enhancements are even more intriguing considering the 3 MPG increase in combined fuel economy. Among gas-powered engines, the Rogue offers the best fuel economy ratings. How is this possible? Its smaller profile is more lightweight and utilizes Nissan’s VC-Turbo technology to achieve the dual goal of delivering more power and guzzling less gas.
Nissan mates the more powerful 1.5-liter turbo engine to a brand new Xtronic transmission, which is partially responsible for the 2022 Rogue’s overall improvements. The Xtronic transmission lowers friction by 32%, which makes shifting gears more efficient and smoother. Additionally, the pairing improves ride handling, which is especially noticeable during a side-by-side Rogue vs RAV4 comparison.
Because the Rogue is available in front and all-wheel drive, buyers will want to weigh their options carefully. The front-wheel drive version offers optimal fuel efficiency and output, but Nissan’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive gives drivers the freedom to go off-road, with enhanced traction that kicks in exactly when needed and sits dormant when it isn’t to optimize fuel efficiency.
An Array of Drive Modes for All Types of Terrain
One of the niftiest features lucky Nissan Rogue owners will love are the five available drive modes. Some manufacturers include drive modes more as a gimmick than a true benefit, but not Nissan. The five modes: Sport Mode, Off-Road Mode, Snow Mode, Auto Mode, and Eco Mode, adapt the gear ratios, steering response, and suspension to deliver targeted driving capability for the related road (or trail) condition.
Sport Mode fancies a touchier throttle and more driver-initiated steering responses. It’s perfect for back roads with curves or anywhere drivers have some freedom to drive playfully. Off-Road Mode works almost directly oppositely, focusing on low-range power and optimizing traction on wet, sandy surfaces. Snow Mode makes tackling ice less stressful by targeting traction to the tire, or tires, with the most grip.
Auto Mode and Eco Mode optimize day-to-day performance and fuel efficiency, respectively. Auto Mode is the default setting for everyday driving, while Eco Mode utilizes the engine’s auto on/off feature to conserve fuel and tweaks the throttle and gear range to favor fuel economy. What’s nice is having the freedom to choose when specific driving conditions arise or when drivers simply want to add a little extra thrill to the commute.
A few additional driving technologies work behind the scenes to inspire confidence and help stave off fatigue. First is Intelligent Trace Control, which applies stopping power to each individual wheel in response to position and amount of traction, making cornering safer and more confidence-inspiring. Also standard are hill start assist, and a handy auto brake hold feature, both of which come in handy in urban driving settings.
A Diverse Lineup of Trims
Nissan offers buyers four Rogue trims ranging in price from the high $20,000s to nearly $40,000. The Rogue S anchors the lineup, but it’s still surprisingly well-equipped for a base model. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are standard, as is Nissan Safety Shield 360, a suite of driver-assist technologies that use radar, cameras, and sensors to keep occupants safe and help drivers avoid collisions.
The Rogue SV adds an Intelligent Key with a remote start feature and a push button start. Also included is NissanConnect, an app-based connectivity feature that allows a smartphone to serve as a key fob and a vehicle data hub, and larger 18” wheels are also standard. The Rogue SL hints at luxury, with 19” wheels, a 360-degree surround view camera, a panoramic moonroof with dual glass panels, and plush leather seating.
Opting for the top-of-the-line Platinum, which swaps out the SL’s leather seating for quilted semi-aniline seating surfaces and adds navigation. Fully digital gauges, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also come standard on the Rogue Platinum. All trims come in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and throughout the lineup, Nissan offers a handful of equipment packages to add features.
Rogue SV buyers might opt for the SV Premium Package, which adds a set of roof rails and a power liftgate. Rear door sunshades also come in this package, along with heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Additionally, buyers will get the popular panoramic moonroof and leatherette seating surfaces. Each package bundles the most popular features, making it easy for buyers to get everything they want without upgrading to a more expensive trim.
The 2022 Rogue Showcases Nissan’s Present and Future
It’s a great time to buy a Nissan because the automaker is focused on continuous improvement. It’s no more evident than with the 2022 Rogue. Most manufacturers complete a redesign and let it lie, but the Nissan NEXT mission demands constant improvement. From fuel economy and performance to upscale, muscular exterior styling, the Rogue easily earns its position as Nissan’s best-selling vehicle.
At the epicenter of Nissan’s success is the Nissan NEXT plan. Launched in 2020, it’s an all-encompassing corporate betterment strategy, targeting general business practices like streamlining operations and solidifying its core leadership team but also focusing on making great cars. As the lineup shrinks to the most popular models, Nissan frees up more capital to invest in making them better.
Since the Rogue is its #1 best seller, Nissan has made it a key focus. The 2022 Rogue exemplifies Nissan’s efforts and is the beneficiary of a leaner, more intentional manufacturing approach. Next up, exploring LiDAR sensors, which will pave the way for autonomous driving features like hands-free cruise control. Carbon neutral manufacturing and electrification strategies are already underway at Nissan’s Research and Development facility.
The Nissan brand not only stands up to Honda and Toyota, but thanks to a future-focused mentality in engineering, manufacturing, and product development, Nissan might soon dominate. It’s an exciting time for buyers looking to escape vanilla styling without compromising quality and reliability. Not only that, but with the Rogue, they’ll be driving home in the fastest, most fuel-efficient gas-powered compact SUV in America.