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A red 2023 Nissan Rogue is shown from the front driving on an open road.

Understanding the Different SUV Sizes in Comparison to the 2023 Nissan Rogue

There are many changes in life that might result in the need for a larger car. Maybe you’re growing your family and finally need room for more passengers. Maybe you’ve decided to start a professional driving service and know that having a car that can accommodate more people and more stuff can mean more income. Or, perhaps, you’ve relocated out of the city and into a more rugged environment, and you need a car that’s better equipped to handle all sorts of climates and conditions. No matter your reason for switching from a car to an SUV, you’re probably deciding whether you should get a compact SUV like the 2023 Nissan Rogue, a subcompact SUV like the Kia Soul, a midsize SUV like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, or a three-row SUV like the Nissan Pathfinder.

Many drivers don’t even realize there are so many options when looking into SUVs. There is a great range in this vehicle category, and the differences that seem subtle can actually feel quite impactful once you’re on the road. One thing each of these SUVs has in common is that they will offer higher driving positions and more rugged handling than a car. Beyond that, there are many differences to consider. To help give you an idea of the differences offered by each size, we are going to compare them to the 2023 Nissan Rogue.

The Subcompact SUV

The subcompact SUV is the smallest of the SUV family. If you’re getting your first SUV and are used to driving sedans, this is a great place to start. Many drivers say that subcompact SUVs feel like regular cars, so they can help ease you into driving a larger vehicle. If you’re worried that you aren’t yet ready to handle a whole lot of car with the parking and turning challenges they bring, you might consider starting with a subcompact SUV. They boast precise handling, are easy to park in small spaces, and let you zip around busy city streets with ease.

Subcompact SUVs are generally the most affordable because they are the smallest. Of course, the brand you shop will influence the price, but within the same brand that makes SUVs of all sizes, you’ll find that their subcompact offering is their most affordable SUV. Subcompact SUVs are only going to have two rows of seating, so you will not get any extra seating compared to a car. If extra seating is a priority, this is important to know. However, they will have roomier cabins compared to cars and a bit more storage room. Finally, subcompact SUVs will have the best fuel economy of all the SUV types. They have lighter, smaller builds, which enables more impressive MPGs.

Nissan does have a subcompact SUV, the 2023 Kicks, which will give you some of the perks of an SUV, but is still pretty small in comparison to the compact Rogue. The Kicks has up to 32.3 cu.ft. of cargo space with all the seats of the vehicle folded down, which isn’t bad for a single driver but can get crowded quickly when you have a full car. In comparison, the Rogue has up to 74.1 cu.ft., and it isn’t that much larger than the Kicks, so it’ll still be easy to handle while providing more interior comfort and storage.

The yellow and black interior of a 2023 Nissan Rogue shows the steering wheel and infotainment screen.

The Compact SUV

The compact SUV is the next step up from the subcompact. Compact SUVs will also often have the option for front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, making them more versatile and ready for rugged environments compared to subcompact SUVs. This is the case with the 2023 Nissan Rogue. It can be selected with front-wheel drive for a good grip on modest off-road surfaces, or all-wheel drive, offering a good grip on nearly any type of terrain. The cabins of compact SUVs will be a bit more spacious than that of a subcompact SUV, and they could have more cargo space as well as more flexible seating. The 2023 Nissan Rogue, for example, has 43.3 inches of legroom up front and 38.5 inches of legroom in the back and a cargo area that can be configured in six different ways.

If you need a car that can leave city roads from time to time and perhaps handle rainy or snowy roads, but you aren’t ready for a large SUV, a compact SUV could be your best option. You’ll also still see relatively good fuel economy in a compact SUV; with the 2023 Rogue, you get 30 MPG in the city and 37 MPG on the highway. SUVs are notorious for underwhelming fuel economy, but the compact SUV is the last tier in this category when you can still find good MPGs.

Midsize SUVs

Once you get behind the wheel of a midsize SUV, you will officially feel that you are driving a large vehicle. For starters, this will drive more like a truck than a sedan. You’ll need to be prepared to take more control of the vehicle and deal with a smaller turning radius than found on the previously-discussed SUVs. For this reason, it’s not uncommon to find more advanced driver assist features start to appear as standard on this size of SUV, simply because they’re necessary. However, if the only reason you’re upgrading to a midsize is for the safety features, you don’t have to. The 2023 Nissan Rogue, as a compact SUV, has many of the safety features associated with larger SUVs, like blind spot warning and four cameras to help with tricky maneuvers like backing out of driveways and into tight spots.

You will start to see more powerful engine options appear in the midsize SUV range. Between the sheer heft and size of the car itself and the extra passengers and cargo people tend to carry in this size SUV, you need a more powerful engine. Speaking of carrying stuff, you can start to see some towing abilities in the midsize SUV range.

If you know you’ll leave the paved roads of cities and highways regularly, you will probably need an SUV. While compact SUVs are good for occasional detours from the city, midsize SUVs tend to have tires and systems better equipped for regularly leaving paved roads. Midsize SUVs tend to offer higher ground clearance, and many models have trims that are specifically designed to handle off-roading.

A midsize SUV also has the chance of having three rows of seating. For that reason, you might also see much more cargo space, as well as more flexible cargo and seating options between several foldable rear seats and cargo configurations. You will see a price jump between compact SUVs and midsize SUVs from the same manufacturer. A midsize SUV is a lot of car, and it is priced accordingly.

You will notice fuel efficiency is not as great in the midsize SUV range. However, one can’t expect it to be when you’re hauling around this much frame weight, passengers, and cargo. If you want great fuel economy combined with extra space, you’d need to stay in the compact SUV range with a model like the 2023 Nissan Rogue.

A white 2023 Nissan Rogue is shown from the rear driving on a dirt road.

Three-Row SUV

The three-row SUV has, as its name implies, three rows. Size-wise, three-row SUVs can be either midsize or full-size, so depending on how much room you need and want will determine which one you should look for. If you need seating for up to eight passengers, say if you have a large family or run the work carpool, then a three-row SUV is the vehicle for you.

Full-Size SUVs

Full-size SUVs are going to be very durable and rugged. They offer the best towing and hauling capabilities of the SUV family. They’ll have more powerful engines, too. With all of this, you’ll see a higher price tag and a poorer fuel economy. However, if you have a large family or need a vehicle that can fit a lot of cargo, full-size SUVs are your best bet. If you compare it to the Nissan Rogue, this vehicle looks and feels huge. It has a much higher ground clearance and a much larger body. If you don’t need three rows of seating or cargo space in the 100 cu.ft. range, then skip the full-size SUV and opt for something smaller like the Rogue to get the job done.

An SUV for Everybody

As you can see, there’s a good deal of range among the SUV family. The subcompact SUV and three-row SUV, when set side by side, do not look related at all. Subcompact SUVs feel easier to drive and offer a roomier cabin experience than a sedan, but they can still be small. Likewise, full-size SUVs offer a lot of space and capability, but you sacrifice fuel economy and driveability with these models. The best of all worlds exists in the compact SUV range, with models like the 2023 Nissan Rogue, which will offer more space and rugged handling than a subcompact SUV without the bulk and fuel inefficiency of larger SUVs.