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Nissan Rogue vs. Subaru Forester: Here’s The Difference

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Subaru Forester in a field

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Compact SUVs are all the rage these days, and if you’re looking to buy from this vehicle segment, you’ve got your work cut out for you. When it comes to the modern family crossover SUV, two of the road mainstays are the Nissan Rogue and Subaru Forester.

Nissan Rogue vs. Subaru Forester, which compact SUV is better?

Comparing the Nissan Rogue vs. Subaru Forester isn’t easy since both SUVs are highly-rated and relatively popular. We’re comparing the 2022 Rogue and 2022 Forester for today’s head-to-head. Here’s how they stack up.

Exterior Features

The 2022 Nissan Rogue inherits the 2021 redesign, which is good if you like last year’s model. The Rogue’s exterior design has an aloof quality but wears it with confidence. Many drivers will appreciate the Rogue’s chiseled looks and several familiar Nissan styling cues such as the V-motion grille and split headlights.

This humble crossover gives off a truck-like facade combined with a floating roof, squared-off tail end, and a large tailgate. Overall, the 2022 Rogue may sport a familiar look, but it’s a handsome SUV nonetheless.

On the other hand, the 2022 Subaru Forester looks more generic when compared to the Rogue. For the 2022 version, the Forester benefits from a minor facelift and sports a more aggressive style - thanks to its new LED headlights and a new grille.

The Forester comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, with an 18-inch wheel upgrade for the higher trims. Going up the trims, you can add several exterior upgrades like body-color side-view mirrors, panoramic sunroof, rear spoiler, roof rails, and more.

WINNER: The Rogue beats the Forester for its more inspired design at the base level. However, as you go up the trims, the Forester Sport and Wilderness trims can go toe-to-toe with the Rogue.

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Performance and Fuel Economy

Acceleration and top speed aren’t precisely the Subaru Forester’s forte. Most people will likely be disappointed that it only has one powertrain option: a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter boxer-four engine mated to a CVT system. This engine configuration can dole out 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque.

While the Forester won’t impress with its acceleration, it offers enough urgency that’s neither energetic nor lethargic. The Forester comes standard with an AWD drivetrain, making it an ideal companion for rough weather and terrains. Like last year, the Forester has 1,500 lbs of towing capacity on all trims, except for the Wilderness with 3,000 lbs.

For 2022, the Rogue’s old naturally aspirated 2.5-liter engine has been replaced with a smaller but more potent turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder. Drivetrain options include both FWD and AWD. Paired with a CVT system, the engine has an output of 201 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque.

While last year’s Rogue felt lackadaisical, the all-new turbo-three engine proves to be a treat - the compact crossover feels more high-spirited. With the new engine configuration, Nissan did an excellent job of delivering the best-of-both-worlds in terms of performance and fuel economy.

While there are no reliable numbers on real-world fuel economy, Nissan claims that the new Rogue with its new powertrain can be up to 33 mpg combined. Meanwhile, the Forester has an EPA-estimated rating of 26 mpg/city, 33 mpg/highway, and 29 mpg/combined.

WINNER: The 2022 Rogue leaves the 2022 Forester in the dust for performance and fuel economy, with more fuel to spare.

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Interior and Cargo Space

The Rogue’s interior design borrows many styling cues from the Altima sedan. Cloth seats are standard, mid-range trims get faux-leather upholstery, and high-end models have genuine leather. The all-new Rogue boasts a modern-looking interior, reinforced by attractive features like a bi-level dashboard, soft-touch materials, storage cubbies, and a squared-off shift knob.

Furthermore, the Rogue offers a competitive cargo capacity with a standard 36.5 cu-ft of cargo and a generous 74.1 cu-ft by folding the second-row seats - just slightly behind the segment leader, Honda CR-V. The Rogue comfortably seats five adults with ample head, shoulder, and legroom, even for taller passengers. Also, there’s no shortage of miscellaneous storage spaces like storage bins, glove boxes, and cup holders.

On the flip side, the 2022 Forester’s interior is also a pleasant place to be, thanks to its generous space, good interior materials, and excellent build quality. The dash and center controls are thoughtfully laid out and easy to use. The Sport trim, in particular, features colored accents and stitchings that make the interior pop and easy on the eyes. In the Wilderness trim, you get the water-repellent StarTex and copper stitchings.

The Forester offers good storage space for a compact family SUV with a standard 28.9 cu-ft of cargo space. With a 6040 split configuration, your storage increases to 74.2 cu-ft or 69.1 cu-ft for models with a sunroof. This storage space is good enough for outdoor-inclined people to keep their luggage and gear safe. As a five-seater, the Forester should have no problem accommodating five adults in comfort, thanks to its generous leg and headroom. 

WINNER: The Rogue and Forester have excellent interior designs and layouts. However, the Rogue snags another win in terms of cargo capacity.

Infotainment and Safety Features

The Forester includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment display standard on the Base, Premium, and Sport trims. A larger 8.0-inch unit is optional for the Sport trim and standard on Limited and Touring models. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support are both standard, and in-car WiFi is standard on all models except the base.

The 2022 Forester has a full 5-star rating from the NHTSA but missed out on the IIHS’s Top Safety Pick+ award. Despite that, the Forester offers a wide range of standard and available safety features, including adaptive LED headlights, emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, etc.

Meanwhile, the 2022 Nissan Rogue offers an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display as standard, with an available 9.0-inch unit for SL and Platinum trims. On top of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, high-end features such as in-dash navigation and premium Bose stereo system are available as add-ons.

Safety-wise, the Rogue only scored a 4-star rating from the NHTSA and no results from the IIHS. Still, the 2022 Rogue is well-equipped with standard and advanced safety features like automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and semi-autonomous driving mode.

WINNER: The Rogue has more to offer in the infotainment department than the Forester. However, the Forester is shaping to be a safer SUV than the Rogue.

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Nissan Rogue vs. Subaru Forester: Which Compact SUV is Better?

As per usual, we end this Nissan Rogue vs. Subaru Forester debate by citing their starting prices. The 2022 Subaru Forester is available for $25,195 MSRP, while the 2022 Nissan Rogue has an MSRP of $26,700.

With both vehicle prices neck-in-neck, the 2022 Rogue offers more, especially when accounting for performance, fuel economy, and cargo space. But that doesn’t take away anything from the excellent 2022 Forester with its rugged capabilities and top-notch safety scores.



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