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Test Drive: 2023 Nissan Rogue Platinum Review

2023 Nissan Rogue Platinum
2023 Nissan Rogue Platinum / Credit: Nissan

Platinum Model Has Rogue’s Pros & Cons Plus a Steep Price

  • Trim Tested: Rogue Platinum AWD
  • Price as Tested: $43,100 (including destination charge)
  • What We Like: Spacious; upscale interior; straightforward controls
  • What We Don’t: Pricey for a compact Nissan; unsatisfying powertrain; missing wireless Android Auto

Nissan’s product portfolio is positively bursting with 2-row SUVs, with no fewer than five to choose from. The compact Rogue is right in the middle of the lineup – larger and pricier than the Kicks and Rogue Sport but less expensive than the Murano and electric Ariya. The Rogue is also their bestseller.

Our test vehicle was the Platinum version, the top-of-the-line trim that starts at $37,000. The model we drove cost $43,000 with options, which included all-wheel drive (AWD), heated rear seats, tri-zone climate control, a head-up display, and appearance upgrades for the interior and exterior. Even with those features, $43,000 is too high for what buyers get. That’s more expensive than a number of luxury SUVs, including Nissan’s own Infiniti QX50, which is nicer and more powerful.

That said, the Rogue is one of America’s most popular vehicles, so we didn’t miss a chance to get behind the wheel and test it out. Here are our impressions.

2023 Nissan Rogue Platinum
2023 Nissan Rogue Platinum / Credit: Nissan

How It Drives

The current generation of the Nissan Rogue debuted in 2021, and the 2022 model year brought a new engine and transmission. That new powertrain is more powerful than the one it replaced (201 horsepower vs. 181), but it remains one of the car’s main weaknesses.

The most significant issue with the powertrain is the way it delivers power. A powertrain is most satisfying when it feels like there’s a direct connection between the gas pedal and acceleration – press the pedal, and acceleration should feel immediate. The more lag there is, the less enjoyable a vehicle is to drive. The Rogue has a number of technologies disrupting the connection between driver and machine.

For one, it has a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which constantly varies the gear ratio instead of shifting like a conventional transmission. That leads to noisy surging when drivers put the pedal to the floor.

Then there is the turbo, which takes time to spin up to a healthy level of boost. That boost is direly needed because the engine is a diminutive little 1.5-liter 3-cylinder.

Finally, there’s the variable compression system. Nissan debuted this system a few years ago, and it’s an impressive breakthrough. It is also relatively useless, providing neither significantly more power nor significantly better fuel economy than a conventional turbocharged engine and requiring a much more complicated setup to do it. The long name – VC-Turbo with Xtronic CVT – hints at its needless complexity.

Handling, ride, and braking are just fine in the Rogue, as they are in most compact SUVs. Unless you want a little excitement on twisty roads – in which case, get a Mazda CX-5 – the Rogue will corner just fine.

Interior Comfort & Quality

The Rogue’s spacious and upscale interior is one its highlights. Our Platinum trim had quilted brown leather seats. A tasteful dashboard with stitched leather, dark wood, and other materials tied the cabin together in a simple and satisfying way. Headroom and legroom in front and in back were ample. The Platinum model also includes a configurable gauge screen, a panoramic sunroof, a 10-speaker Bose stereo, and heated seats.

2023 Nissan Rogue Platinum
2023 Nissan Rogue Platinum / Credit: Nissan

It’s worth noting that, while the Platinum trim has nice features, the SL costs less and comes with a lot of the same stuff. All Rogues get the same engine and are well-equipped, so there is little to justify getting the Platinum over a less-expensive trim.

One feature in the SL and Platinum that does seem worth the extra cash is the Divide N Hide system, a highly configurable combination of panels and plastic bins in the cargo area. I was able to store my laptop under the cargo floor to keep it away from prying eyes. Drivers can also arrange the panels vertically and use them as dividers.

Technology & Usability

The controls in the Rogue are mercifully straightforward. Big volume and tuning knobs anchor the Bose stereo system. Two large knobs control the driver and passenger temperature. The transmission shifter is a lever with a button on the side, as transmission shifters should be. The whole thing is tied together with a 9-inch touchscreen with an attractive interface mounted high on the dashboard (lesser models get an 8-inch touchscreen).

Our one qualm with the infotainment setup is that Nissan left out wireless Android Auto while including wireless Apple CarPlay. Plugging in my Pixel isn’t the toughest thing in the world, but not plugging it in would be easier – and neater. I’m not sure what beef Nissan has with Android users, but I hope they can work it out.

Read our full 2023 Nissan Rogue review for more specs and information about the entire Rogue lineup. Carfax vehicle reviews let shoppers compare a vehicle’s specs against its competitors. However, some aspects of a vehicle – performance, comfort, usability – can only be evaluated through actual driving. That’s why we evaluate as many vehicles as we can, so you’ll know what to expect.

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