The 2022 Nissan Rogue has been updated with a new engine for higher trims that the automaker promises is more fuel efficient without sacrificing power.

Newly available in higher trims of Nissan’s most popular model is a 1.5L variable compression (VC) turbocharged three-cylinder engine with 201 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque. The current 2.5L four-cylinder engine is naturally aspirated and makes 181 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque, and with all-wheel drive is rated to burn a combined 8.3 L/100 km of fuel. With the addition of the VC turbo motor, this naturally aspirated engine will only power the two base trims going forward.

Nissan says the new engine has an estimated fuel economy of a combined 7.6 L/100 km, a figure it claims makes this a segment leader.

The Rogue was completely overhauled for the 2021 model year, so the only change for 2022 is the availability of the new VC turbo engine and tweaks to the powertrain. Nissan says it’s also made some improvements to the SUV’s automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) to make it smoother and more responsive. Nissan also says the towing capacity has increased slightly with the new engine.

While drive time with the new powertrain was brief, we have a full review and video if you want details on the rest of the Nissan Rogue experience.

Peppier than Before

During a brief test drive of about an hour covering a little more than 50 km of highway with some traffic and a short sprint around suburban roads, the 2022 Nissan Rogue powered by the new engine was showing fuel consumption of 7.6 L/100 km – bang-on the brand’s estimates. As a bonus, Nissan recommends regular-grade gas with this new engine, which is great because some turbo engines require premium fuel. I drove it in the default auto mode, but there’s also an eco mode that might help drivers get even better fuel economy.

While the new engine’s fuel economy is an incremental improvement over the 2.5L engine, the bigger draw is that it feels slightly more eager from behind the wheel. I was worried a three-cylinder engine wouldn’t be up to the task of motivating an SUV of this size, and combined with the CVT, I assumed the performance would be laggy, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Off the line, the turbocharged three-cylinder engine felt strong, and accelerating to highway speeds or completing a convincing pass on the highway to get past an 18-wheeler was not the white-knuckle experience I was expecting. It’s not going to light the tires on fire and it’s far from the “thrilling driving experience” Nissan says it is, but it should be more than adequate for most people’s day-to-day driving needs.

The CVT also works smoothly and unobtrusively, and while the engine and transmission sound quite harsh under full throttle, the SUV never felt strained or like it was running out of steam. Nissan simulates gear changes in its CVT so it feels more natural, and this new version has a wider gear ratio, so it feels more responsive more of the time.

Final Thoughts

More power and better fuel economy seems like a win-win for the 2022 Nissan Rogue. Combined with a strong suite of standard safety and driver assistance features and one of the best adaptive cruise control systems in its class, the updated SUV makes a strong case in its crowded segment.

The 2022 Nissan Rogue will be available early in the new year. Nissan hasn’t announced pricing yet, but expects the price of the SV AWD, SV Premium AWD, SL, and Platinum models equipped with the new 1.5L three-cylinder engine to increase by between $600 and $1,000 over 2021 prices.

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