I drove Nissan’s best-selling Rogue SUV and was impressed by its controversial 3-cylinder engine.

    A 2024 Nissan Rogue SL in blue.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    The Nissan Rogue compact SUV is Nissan’s best-selling model in the US.I was impressed by its turbo 3-cylinder engine, comfortable cabin, and efficiency.I was disappointed by its transmission and interior material quality.

    In 2022, Nissan boldly decided to replace the 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine in its compact Rogue SUV with a turbocharged three-cylinder.

    We’ve seen this engine configuration in small economy cars like the Mini Cooper but never in a 3,500-pound SUV.

    The move was particularly daring considering that the compact Rogue SUV is far and away Nissan’s most popular model in the US.

    Fortunately for Nissan, consumers have responded positively to the new engine, with Rogue sales up 45.6% in 2023 over the prior year. In fact, the Rogue’s US sales are equivalent to the combined sales of Nissan’s entire sedan lineup.

    The third-generation Rogue, which originally launched in 2021, received a refresh in 2024, featuring updated looks and new infotainment tech.

    I recently spent a week driving an all-wheel-drive 2024 Nissan Rogue in SL trim. The 2024 Nissan Rogue SL.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    I was impressed by the Rogue’s comfortable cabin as well as the power and efficiency of its three-cylinder engine.

    Unfortunately, the Rogue was let down by the inconsistent performance of the continuously variable transmission (CVT) and the poor quality of the plastics in its cabin.

    My test car costs $40,120.The 2024 Nissan Rogue SL.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    The base front-wheel-drive (FWD) Rogue S starts at $28,850, while the top-spec, all-wheel-drive (AWD) Rogue Platinum starts at $40,630.

    My well-equipped SL AWD starts at $36,670, but freight fees and optional extras pushed the as-tested price past $40,000.

    The Rogue’s refreshed styling includes a new front grille.The Rogue’s front facia.

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    Nissan replaced the blacked-out grille with prominent chrome bars running across the width of the front facia. Designers also updated the look of the air dam and the bumper below the grille.

    The layout of the headlights and daytime running lights remains unchanged. The Rogue’s headlight and running light.

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    In a setup that’s growing in popularity, the Rogue’s turn signal and running lights sit in a cluster atop the main headlight assembly.

    Also unchanged is the Rogue’s rear styling. The 2024 Nissan Rogue SL.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    The Rogue can be fitted with a tow hitch, but its towing capacity is limited to 1,500 lbs.

    The Rogue SL comes standard with these stylish 19-inch alloy wheels. The Rogue’s 19-inch alloy wheels.

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    Lower trim levels get 17 and 18-inch alloy wheels.

    At 183 inches in length, the Rogue is 1.5 inches longer than the Toyota RAV4 and about two inches shorter than the Honda CR-V. The 2024 Rogue SL from the side.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    The Rogue offers identical ground clearance to the CR-V at 8.2 inches but falls an inch short of the Hyundai Tucson and up to four inches short of the RAV4, depending on trim level.

    Under the hood is a 1.5 liter, turbocharged three-cylinder engine. The Rogue’s 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    The Rogue’s only powerplant option is Nissan’s KR15DDT variable compression engine. This gutsy three-cylinder engine produces 201 horsepower and 225 lb-ft of torque, which are substantial improvements over the previous 2.5-liter four-cylinder’s 181 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque.

    All Rogues send their power to the wheels through a continuously variable transmission.

    The three-cylinder engine is equipped with Nissan’s unique variable compression technology, which can vary the compression ratio within the engine from 8:1 under hard acceleration up to 14:1 for more efficient operation while cruising along.

    Nissan debuted the technology in its Infiniti QX50 luxury SUV back in 2019, but it has since been deployed in mass-market models like the Rogue and the Nissan Altima sedan.

    The SUV delivered solid fuel economy figures of 28 mpg city, 34 mpg highway, and 31 mpg combined. I got just over 30 mpg in my 120-mile test loop, which consisted of city and highway driving in the searing Georgia heat.

    The Rogue is terrific to drive. The Rogue’s front cabin.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    The Rogue delivers a friendly and pleasant driving experience. The turbocharged engine sends strong power throughout the rev range. The three-cylinders remained remarkably quiet and smooth even under the strain of hard acceleration.

    Unfortunately, the engine is somewhat let down by the inconsistent performance of the CVT.

    In theory, using a CVT instead of a traditional automatic transmission trades all-out performance for smoothness and fuel efficiency. While it does help the Rogue deliver in terms of fuel economy, it has pre-programmed shift points designed to mimic that of a regular automatic transmission. This creates an almost rubbery feeling in the throttle under hard throttle application that feels like it slows down the acceleration rate.

    I can’t really blame Nissan for this. We, consumers, demanded the addition of these shift points because many found the consistent hum of an engine at a constant RPM to be disconcerting.

    According to Motor Trend, the 2024 Nissan Rogue can do 0-60 mph in 8.4 seconds.

    Inside, the Rogue offers its occupants a really nice place to be. The Rogue’s front dash.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    Interior ergonomics are excellent and everything feels well put together. My test car had more than 8,000 miles on the clock, and yet it felt as solid as new. There were no squeaks or rattles to report.

    My only major complaint with the cabin is the quality of some of the plastic trim pieces. They just felt cheap, especially for a $40,000 vehicle. Give some of the plastic pieces on the center console and front dash a tap, and they sound hollow and a bit flimsy.

    The biggest change in the Rogues’ cabin is the addition of this new optional 12.3-inch touch-sensitive infotainment screen that replaces the old 9-inch unit. Apple CarPlay on the Rogue’s 12.3-inch infotainment screen.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    Screen quality excellent and Nissan’s updated infotainment system proved to be intuitive and with quick response times.

    Lower trim levels still get the standard 8-inch unit.

    The Rogue comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with Google Assist integration.

    The screen is also home to the Rogue SL’s surround view camera.The Rogue’s surround view camera.

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    The system stitches together images from the Rogue’s various cameras to create a 360-degree overhead view of the vehicle.

    The Rogue SL comes with three-zone climate control. The Rogue’s climate controls.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    The combination of physical dials and buttons proved to be a breeze to use.

    Under the climate controls are a pair of USB-C plugs and a wireless charging pad.The Rogue wireless charging pad and USB-C plugs.

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    The Rogue comes exclusively with USB-C plugs. No USB-As to be found.

    The Rogue comes with a toggle-style gear shifter.The Rogue’s shifter.

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    Bump the shifter forward to go into reverse, pull back once to go into drive, and pull back a second time to go into manual mode. Press the “P” button atop the shifter to go into park.

    The Rogue’s cabin provides a comfortable and relaxing place to be for long drives.The Nissan Rogue SL’s driver’s seat.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    The driver’s seat is exceptionally comfortable. Even though I would have liked a greater degree of adjustability, the seats are still one of the most comfortable I’ve experienced in this segment.

    The quality of the Rogue SL’s white leather upholstery was excellent, especially for a mass-market vehicle.The Rogue’s passenger seat.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    Lower-spec Rogues come standard with cloth and leatherette upholstery, while the top-tier Platinum gets quilted leather seats.

    My test car also came with a power panoramic moonroof that filled the cabin with sunlight. The Rogue’s panoramic sunroof.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    Unfortunately, the moonroof robs the cabin of about 2 inches of headroom.

    The Rogue’s second row 60/40 split bench seat offers room for 3.The Rogue’s back seats.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    The Rogue’s second-row boasts an impressive 41.5 inches of leg room, on par with the Tucson and the CR-V, and beats the RAV4 by more than 3 inches.

    Second row occupants get their own climate controls. The Rogue’s rear cabin climate controls and USB plugs.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    Next to the climate controls are a pair of USB-C plugs for the rear seat. Front seat occupants get wireless charging along with a set of two USB-C plugs of their own.

    Open up the power liftgate and you’ll find 31.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. The Rogue’s cargo area aft of the rear seats.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    Remove the cargo floor and space behind the second row expands to 36.5 cubic feet.

    However, that still falls short of the Tucson we recently tested’s 38.7 cubic feet.

    Under the rear cargo floor is a spare tire and the subwoofer for the Rogue’s stereo. The Rogue’s spare tire and subwoofer.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    I appreciated the fact that the Rogue maintains a spare tire in an era where the OEMs opt for the cheaper and lighter tire inflation kit.

    With the rear seats folded down, the Rogue boasts 74.1 cubic feet. The Rogue’s cargo area with rear seats folded.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    That’s on par with the Hyundai Tucson.

    The Rogue comes equipped with a host of advanced safety features. The Rogue’s steering wheel.

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    The Rogue is equipped with a complete suite of active advanced safety features, including adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and intelligent lane intervention.

    My verdict: The Nissan Rogue is a solid compact SUV with a funky little engine. The 2024 Rogue SL.

    Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

    In the harshly competitive arena of the compact SUV market, the Nissan Rogue is a standout.

    It offers a quiet cabin, loads of tech, and a funky but very gutsy little engine.

    It’s not perfect, and a traditional automatic instead of a CVT would do wonders, it’s still a highly competitive and highly capable little SUV.

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