- The new turbocharged 1.5-liter engine puts out 201 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque.
- The front-wheel-drive 2022 Rogue gets 33 mpg combined, besting rivals.
- The extra power imparts more confidence behind the wheel.
2022 Nissan Rogue Packs More Powerful Engine, Better MPG
HP, torque and fuel economy get a boost
Hot on the heels of a 2021 redesign of the Rogue, Nissan rolled out an all-new powertrain for its best-selling vehicle today at the LA Auto Show.
The 2022 Nissan Rogue features a new turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission. The motor delivers 201 horsepower and 225 lb-ft of torque, a bump of 20 hp and 44 lb-ft over the previous 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, making it the most powerful Rogue ever. Nissan says it has the most torque of any standard gas engine in its class, and indeed the numbers bear witness. Even the Honda CR-V, which has a turbocharger and an extra cylinder, only produces 179 lb-ft. The naturally aspirated competition similarly doesn't even come close.
The turbo-three is the latest incarnation of Nissan/Infiniti's VC-Turbo engine, dubbed so for its variable compression technology. It can change its compression ratio based on a number of factors, promising more power when you want it and better fuel efficiency under lighter loads. The base S and midtier SV trims with front-wheel drive now sit at the head of the mpg class with 33 combined mpg, a 3 mpg boost over the old four-cylinder engine. Selecting the feature-packed SL and Platinum trims reduces this slightly, to 32 mpg combined. The standard powertrains on rivals like the CR-V, Hyundai Tucson and Toyota RAV4 are all a touch thirstier.
Changes under the hood
The 2022 Rogue is also the first vehicle in the automaker's lineup to use its third-generation CVT. Nissan says the wider gear ratio and efforts to lower friction result in better acceleration, fuel economy, and isolation from noise and vibration.
With this newest incarnation of the VC-Turbo engine, Nissan is using a new high-pressure fuel injection system to help acceleration. Other changes reduce friction and improve efficiency. The engine mount is new, with two lower torque rods that isolate more engine vibration at higher torque loads.
The variable compression tech was first introduced in the 2019 QX50, and the 2.0-liter four-cylinder has proved disappointing because of the CVT's inconsistent responses. Acceleration is nothing to write home about, and fuel economy got only an incremental bump. But when the tech arrived via an upgraded engine for the 2019 Altima, the motor offered more low-end torque and the CVT proved well tuned.
How does the 2022 Rogue drive?
Overall we were impressed by the updates for the 2021 and deemed the Rogue one of the best small SUVs around. Still, the powertrain kept us wanting. We knocked it for feeling lazy in everyday driving and making drivers plan for highway passes. In our short time behind the wheel of the 2022 Rogue, we felt confident in its power. It won't exactly feel quick when accelerating from a stop, but you're able to get it moving with some authority. You'll still hear the CVT automatic, but it doesn't have that surging drone associated with some of its kind, and it shouldn't be too noticeable especially at speed. And when you're already up to speed, the new powertrain definitely imparts some confidence in passing and accelerating when you want to, taking you from 40 mph to a quick 60 mph on a suburban artery or from 50 to 70 mph as you jump on an on-ramp. You'll easily catch up with the crowd on the highway and find your way into traffic.
So this new powertrain seems to go some way to address the complaints about the previous powerplant. It's clearly no sports car, but the Rogue's new engine and transmission combo provides better low to midrange torque for more oomph. You'll have no issue passing when you're out running errands or cruising on the highway. The steering has good heft, a change we noted with the 2021 redesign. And the 2022 stays composed in turns and brakes smoothly like the 2021 model.
The ride was comfortable in the Platinum model we drove, and we enjoyed the high perch of the driving position and expansive view of the road. The Platinum's luxe cabin seemed well isolated from bad roads. We noticed rough pavement just a bit, but driving over a manhole didn't cause judders. A shaky driver's mirror was only the noticeable snag in build quality. The airy, clean design of the cabin hasn't changed, and the Platinum felt especially cosseting with its quilted leather seats and other top-trim upgrades including a 9-inch center display with navigation, a 12.3-inch digital dashboard and wireless charging.
So, why a new powertrain just a year after a redesign? Well, the world's ubiquitous supply chain issues had nothing to do with it, Nissan says. The automaker's development schedule just aligned in such a way to make it happen for 2022, and it had planned for the 2021 Rogue to launch with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine.
The 2022 Rogue will go on sale this winter. The base model will start at $27,875, the SV at $29,565, the SL at $34,225 and the top-end Platinum at $37,655 (all including destination). All-wheel drive will set you back $1,500 on any trim.
While we can't wait to get our hands on a new model to run it through our full testing regimen, we think the 2022 Nissan Rogue's added power and torque and better fuel economy will prove a hit with shoppers and make one of the best small SUVs even better.