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The popular compact crossover SUV now has more to offer for value conscious shoppers than ever before.

COURTESY PHOTO: NISSAN - The 2022 Nissan Rogue was completely redesigned last year and now comes with a new turbocharged 1.5-liter three liter engine.Most manufacturers don't make big changes in the second year of a complete redesign. Credit Nissan with fixing the last issue with its otherwise successful 2022 Rogue, replacing the adequate carryover engine with a more powerful one that gets better mileage, and updating its Xtronic continuously variable transmission to take advance of it.

Not that I expect many Rogue customers to base their buying decision on that, and I don't blame them. The compact crossover has long been Nissan's top seller for other reasons, like being a good value.

COURTESY PHOTO: NISSAN - All trim levels of the 2022 Nissan Rogue are available with front- or all-wheel-drive.

I've always enjoyed testing new vehicles, especially head-to-head among similar models on public roads and closed courses where differences really stand out. What enthusiasts don't enjoy comparing zero-to-60 and slalom times? And the annual Mudfest competition organized by the Northwest Automotive Press Association includes off-road comparisons of all-wheel-drive equipped crossovers, SUVs and trucks.

But I also understand the results don't really prove which models are "best." That is a subjective judgement. Different buyers have different tastes and needs, including cost.

COURTESY PHOTO: NISSAN - The interior of the 2022 Nissan Rogue features a clean design that can still be outfitten with just about every advanced automotive technology.

The Rogue has been a frequent competitor in the compact crossover category at Mudfest. Although it has never finished in first place, sales figures prove there are plenty of buyers who are happy with it.

That's true even though the Rogue was not as advanced as most competitors for many years. I and other reviewers have frequently referred to it as a value leader because of the affordable prices of its lower (but still well equipped) trim levels. Nissan upped its game last year with a complete redesign that even increased the power of its standard 2.5-liter four cylinder engine, however.

COURTESY PHOTO: NISSAN - The Zero Gravity seats in the 2022 Nissan Rogue are among the most comfortbale of any vehicle.

"Rising to the challenge, the 2021 Nissan Rogue is now fully qualified to go head-to-head with its rivals on every level. The new styling is bold and boxy, giving the Rogue a much more rugged look than in the past. The interior has been upgraded with a higher center console, more sophisticated dash, and better materials. The infotainment system is the best yet, intuitive and easy to use, even when driving down the road. And the 'Zero Gravity' seats are among the most supportive and comfortable of those found in any compact crossover, regardless of price," I wrote of last year's model.

The 2022 Rogue continued to impress me with its improved ride and available safety systems. But it also surprised me. Instead of playing it safe with no major changes in the second year, Nissan replaced the standard 2.5 four with — get ready for this — a turbocharged 1.5 three-cylinder engine. Three bangers have alway been a niche design intended to maximize fuel efficiency at the expense of refinement in very small vehicles. But the new T3 is not only smooth but more powerful that the 2.5, producing 201 horsepower compared to the 181 from year's model. It also gets better mileage, with an EPA rated 30/37 up from 26/34 for the front-wheel-drive version.

COURTESY PHOTO: NISSAN - The Xtronic continuously variable transmission in the 2022 Nissan Rogue is one of the best.

Given rising gas prices, some may be disappointed Nissan isn't offering a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or even all electric version of the Rogue. But most take years to pay for themselves. They still cost more than conventional gas-powered vehicles because of the high price of batteries. There's nothing wrong with playing it safe in these times.

A big key to the Rogue's success is frequently a weakness in other vehicles, it's continuously variable transmission. They were invented to improve fuel economy by eliminating the shifting between gears in automatic transmissions. But the earliest ones delivered lackluster performance and were noisy to boot. Nissan doubled down on their Xtronic version early on, however, increasing drivability and mileage. Some other manufacturers have only recently caught up. And Nissan has redesigned it for 2022 for even better performance and mileage.

COURTESY PHOTO: NISSAN - The all-wheel-drive system in the 2022 Nissan Rogue can be adjusted for difference terrains and weather conditions.

My test 2022 Rogue was a top-of-the-line Platinum model with optional all-wheel-drive and multiple drive modes, include economy, pavement (auto), snow, mountain, and sport. Although I appreciated the chrome trim, alloy wheels, two-tone faux leather interior and additional safety features, most reviewers recommend the SV trim as, yes, the "best value." That is likely to be music to the ears of Nissan buyers on a budget looking for a good buy.

2022 Nissan Rogue Platinum AWD

Base price: $28,445 (base S)

Price as tested: $41,930

Type: Compact SUV

Engine: Turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder (201 hp, 225 lbs-ft)

Transmission: Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission

EPA estimated mileage: 30/37 (28/34 as tested)

Overall length: 183 inches

Curb weight: 3,411 pounds

Final assembly: Smyrna, Tennessee

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