Fresh off a substantial redesign for 2021, the Nissan Rogue enters its sophomore year with a new engine option. On tap is a version of the brand’s variable compression technology, applied to a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-banger good for 201 horsepower and 225 lb-ft of torque. And, as is Nissan’s apparent M.O., the CVT ‘box remains.
Those are power increases of 11 percent and 24 percent respectively compared to the standard model from last year. Nissan is also boasting a combined fuel economy rating of 33 mpg, which is a 10 percent jump over the 2021 vehicle. This change appears to make the ’21 Rogue a one-year-only vehicle since it seems this 1.5L VC-Turbo will be the only engine available across all trims.
Your author is far from an engineer, so the description of a Nissan variable compression engine makes his head spin, even more so than it does after his grog ration of Canadian Club. Suffice it to say the mill deploys high/low compression ratio technology to create a pair of different driving profiles: Nissan calls ‘em dynamic performance and eco/efficient. Stroke in the cylinder ranges from 88.9 to 90.1 mm with a compression ratio of anywhere between 8.0:1 and 14.0:1.
This wizardry first appeared on their 2.0L VC-T which found homes in vehicles like the Infiniti QX50 and Nissan Altima. Nissan says the engine utilizes a multi-link system that continuously varies piston top dead center and bottom dead center positions, permitting free control of the compression ratio. That multi-link system is in place of a traditional connecting rod to rotate the crankshaft, while an actuator motor changes the multi-link system endpoint to vary the piston reach to transform the compression ratio.
This is all great on paper but some testers of the 2.0L VC-T engine reported having a tough time eking out the type of fuel economy promised by the manufacturer. This is likely down to a driving style that prioritizes speed over efficiency. Like with Ford’s EcoBoost suite of engines, one can generally have either Eco or Boost – not both.
It’s also worth asking if John Q. Customer will accept the notion of a three-cylinder engine in a crossover of this size, no matter what its stated power output. Nissan better hope it got this assumption correct since the Rogue is literally the company’s bread and butter in this country. Mass rejection of such a small displacement engine could hamper sales and trample all over their balance sheet.
As for the CVT – Xtronic, in Nissan speak – it is said to have been imbued with a 17-percent wider gear ratio coverage and 32 percent lower friction than the previous transmission. All we’ll say is a recent drive in a new Pathfinder was notable for the nine-speed automatic which played nicely with its power team dance partner.
Prices will start at $26,700 for a front-wheel-drive S trim, on up to a $36,480 Platinum front-driver. In between are SV and SL trims for $28,390 and $33,050 respectively. All-wheel drive is a $1,500 option across the board. The 2022 Rogue will be available this winter.
Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by subscribing to our newsletter.