2022 Nissan Rogue vs Ford Escape
On the hunt for a new small SUV to help you make your daily commute? You might not want to jump up to a full-size SUV if you don't need the space since gas prices have gone through the roof, but going down to a sedan might not quite be feasible. Finding an SUV that strikes a good balance between fuel economy and spaciousness can be tough.
Nissan and Ford both have a stake in the game when it comes to small SUVs. The newly overhauled 2022 Nissan Rogue delivers a good blend of power and fuel economy with it EPA rated 33 miles per gallon combined on the base Rogue equipped with front-wheel drive (FWD). Having been redesigned for 2021, the Rogue comes equipped with a lot of the newest features you can get from the automaker, and for the price you pay, you get a ton of them. The Rogue also offers a comfortable ride quality and plush seats, not to mention the massive and utility-oriented cargo area. To top that all off, all of the advanced driver aids - of which there are many - are straightforward and easy to use. But the Rogue does suffer from a lot of road and wind noise, not to mention its wonky voice recognition system and cramped back seats.
The 2022 Ford Escape is a rather formidable opponent to the Rogue. It slates between the EcoSport and larger Ford Edge. With its cozy and spacious seats, it is easy to get lost in the comfort that the Escape has to offer. Its ride quality is smooth, and the controls are pretty easy to use. With an available hybrid powertrain that gets about 40 mpg, you can avoid paying as much for fuel as other drivers. However, you will have to cope with this SUV's uninspired handling and jarring gear shifts from the transmission.
So, which of these two small SUVs will be the right fit for you? Does one offer more overall value than the other? Just how should you invest your hard-earned money? It is time to find out.
A good powertrain can make your driving experience a rather delightful one. However, a poor one can make owning a vehicle absolutely nightmarish. But there is certainly a spectrum from good to bad in the automotive world, and you need to know where your vehicle is going to land on it.
The 2022 Nissan Rogue receives its power from a standard 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, which is able to produce a power output of 201 horsepower and 225 lb-ft of torque. This engine gets paired up to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The standard drivetrain is front-wheel drive (FWD), but all-wheel drive (AWD) is available on any of the Rogue's trim levels. This is the only powertrain option available for the Rogue.
It might not be quite as sporty as the Mazda CX-5, but the Nissan Rogue is able to remain composed while rounding through turns. There is a good amount of bulk to the steering, so it does not feel floaty. The powertrain itself is a sore spot though. It takes about 9.2 seconds for the Rogue to chug along from 0 to 60 miles per hour, which is just about average for a little SUV like this. On paper, this doesn't sound too bad, but when you have to drive the Rogue every day, you will find yourself wanting more power from this engine. You have to press it into full throttle just to get a decent response for merging or passing on the highway.
Fuel economy on the Rogue with AWD equipped is an EPA estimated 28 mpg in combined city and highway driving. This is about 2 mpg better than most of the Rogue's rivals. Real-world tests indicate that these numbers hold up in daily driving scenarios, which is at least somewhat encouraging.
As for the 2022 Ford Escape, it receives its power from a base turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine that is able to generate 181 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque. This engine comes matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission. As an option for the SE and SEL - and standard on the Titanium trim - is a 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain that makes a total 200 hp. Its wheels are driven by a CVT, which is a popular choice for hybrids since it aims to be more fuel-efficient than a standard automatic transmission. If you crave more power than that, there is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (which ups the power output to 250 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque) available for both the SEL and Titanium trims. If you get the three-cylinder or hybrid powertrain, FWD or AWD are available. AWD is the only option for the turbo four-cyl engine.
Unfortunately, there isn't much to write home about with these powertrains. The turbo 4-cylinder is able to get from 0 to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds, which is snappy enough. However, the eight-speed automatic transmission is sluggish on the shifts, and upshifting is particularly jarring. You might even feel some small jolts as you downshift. Engine start-stop will send the Escape bucking back and forth more jarringly than it should. You will also get a lot of body roll while rounding through turns and feel very little in the way of road grip from the tires.
The turbo 2.0-liter engine is EPA rated for 26 mpg combined, which is better than what competitors with upgraded engines get. However, real-world tests reveal that this powertrain gets more like 20 mpg combined, which puts it below many of its rivals.
What makes a vehicle a delight or a downright nightmare to drive? When we talk about drivability, we're really talking about a set of factors that contribute to a vehicle's overall enjoyability. Is it comfortable to ride around in? Is the interior designed in a way that makes sense? Is the included technology easy to use? Does the vehicle have enough usable cargo space and small item storage spots? These are all things that need to be considered during the buying process.
The 2022 Nissan Rogue is indeed quite comfortable. The padding on the front seats is plentiful and well sculpted for optimal support, making long journeys feel relaxing. The rear seats have two reclining positions and have ample lumbar support. The suspension is tuned for comfort, and it handles all types of road surfaces with ease, dispatching bumps of all sizes even when you have the optional 19-inch wheels equipped. The downside? Some wind and road noise will seep into the cabin when you take it up to speed on the highway. The triple-zone climate control system on the SL trim level and above is a rarity in this segment and feels downright luxurious whether you are sitting up front or in the back.
With its wide door openings, getting in and out of the Rogue is quite effortless. The spacious cabin has an airy feel to it, making you think it is bigger than it really is. Also, you get a clear view all around the vehicle from your position behind the driver's wheel thanks to the wide glass panes. Even though the roof pillars in the back are considerably thick, you can use the advanced driver aids to help you see what you cannot with the naked eye. The Rogue's cabin is well crafted and has a clean, visually appeasing layout that takes little time to get accustomed to. However, rear leg space is a bit more constricted than it is in top rivals like the Honda CR-V.
As far as technology goes, you cannot do much better than the Rogue - at least, not in this segment. Since it was just redesigned in 2021, the Rogue incorporates a lot of newer features that tend to function pretty well. Smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard across the line-up, as is SiriusXM Satellite Radio compatibility. The base S trim is equipped with two USB ports, but going up one trim level to the SV adds two charge-only ports to the rear seats. A six-speaker audio system and WIFI hot-spot connectivity also come on the SV. The SL Premium package tacks on voice controls, wireless Apple CarPlay (wireless Android Auto is not yet available for the Rogue), a 10-speaker Bose premium audio system, a 9-inch touchscreen display, and an integrated navigation system. Going all the way up to the Platinum adds all of that plus a wireless charging pad and a digital instrument panel.
Nissan does their best to make use of what space is available in the Rogue, and it feels much more abundant than many rivals in its segment because of this. Nissan includes their two-tier cargo management system known as the Divide-N-Hide. In the cargo area, there is a dual-panel, low-load floor that lends a lot of versatility, creating a flat load floor fit for holding all kinds of cargo. When you put these panels into their lowest position, you get 36.5 cubic feet of cargo space, which is only slightly smaller than what other small SUVs serve up. However, when you fold the seats down, you will get 74.1 cubic feet of space to use - one of the most generous offerings in a small SUV.
The 2022 Ford Escape does what it can to compete. The Escape's front seats are well padded and offer enough support for long drives. There is enough thigh support for adults who are relegated to sitting in the back seats. The Titanium - in a rare showing for this segment - offers power adjustability on the front passenger's seat. The cabin remains quiet at almost any speed, and the ride quality feels comfortable enough. The mid-level trims don't offer dual-zone automatic climate control, though, which most of the Escape's competitors do. You cannot get heated rear seats and ventilated front seats on any Escape trim level.
That being said, the cabin's layout is concise and has easy-to-use primary controls. The Sync 3 interface looks nice and responds quickly to your inputs. The view around the vehicle is mostly clear, so you don't need to rely on driver aids. You get a feel of spaciousness inside of the cabin.
Tech is where the Escape shines. Its turn-by turn nav system gives you directional data when a point-of-interest (POI) search yields multiple locations. The bass has a good amount of punch to it on the six-speaker sound system. You don't get standard smartphone app integration though, so you'll have to upgrade in trim levels. You also won't get too many USB ports.
Its 33.5 cubic feet of cargo space is average for a small SUV. The high seatbacks and low load floor make stashing bulky cargo easier. Small items can be stored in a variety of well-sized locations throughout the cabin, and every cupholder comes with anti-tip tabs.
Safety is, of course, a top priority for automakers like Nissan and Ford. With all the driver aids coming onto the market these days, vehicles seem like they are more safety-oriented than ever before. Nissan gives the 2022 Rogue a suite of driver aids called Nissan Safety Shield that bundles together forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, a rear-passenger safe exit system, and rear automatic braking. Lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and a 360-degree camera system accompany the SV trim level. The SL Premium package gives the vehicle front and rear parking sensors, and a nifty head-up display is added to the Platinum trim level.
For the most part, these features work well enough. It is worth noting that lane centering assist and adaptive cruise control are less erroneous than their counterparts found in other vehicles and help make long-distance journeys a little less stressful. Adaptive cruise control is supposed to work in conjunction with the nav system to slow the Rogue down for upcoming curves, but this seems to not be happening in the Rogue.
Ford gives the Escape a decent smattering of safety-oriented aids as well. Lane departure mitigation, a blind spot monitor, and forward collision mitigation are standard issue. If you upgrade to the SE and add the Co-Pilot360 Assist+ package, you get adaptive cruise control, navigation, a lane keeping system, and evasive steering assist. The SEL adds parking sensors, and the Titanium Elite package gives the vehicle automated parking and a head-up display. These driver aids seem to work well, but you do have to do a lot of upgrading to get a more bountiful list of them.
Which Has the Best Value?
Value is a combination of things that lead to you getting the most bang for your buck. Which vehicle has the most value here? The 2022 Nissan Rogue has quite a lot of value, given how many tech features and driver aids get equipped on it. This long list does mean that the Rogue is somewhat more expensive than certain rivals, but with things like quilted leather and wireless smartphone app integration on the line-topping Platinum trim level, the price tag can be justified. You probably won't stick with the base trim, either. Warranty coverage is industry standard, but the quality of materials used in the cabin's construction seems a bit above average.
The 2022 Ford Escape might seem more cost-effective from the outset. There are quite a few soft-touch plastics up front, and the rear row has some nicely finished hard plastics, so the vehicle doesn't look tacky and cheap. There are some paneling gaps here and there, and you will probably find yourself yearning for more standard tech features and driver aids. The low MSRP looks nice, but once you start adding more features on and go up in trim levels and powertrains, the Escape will feel much pricier.
Which is Better?
Pound for pound, the more freshly redesigned Nissan Rogue bests the Ford Escape. There are some good things about the Escape that cannot be overlooked, but when it comes to overall value, the Rogue does it better. In fact, we'd dare say that the Rogue is well on its way to becoming one of the stronger competitors in the small SUV segment. While the price tag is slightly higher than others, you get a ton of features packed in, and most things work well. And, given how comfortable and relaxed the ride quality is, it is hard to deny the Rogue's appeal.