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For compact SUVs, the competition is good and only getting better. However, Nissan makes a compelling argument with the newest version of the Rogue. The 2023 Nissan Rogue and the 2023 Subaru Forester are both formidable contenders in the competitive small SUV market, offering a range of features and capabilities that cater to different preferences. While both vehicles have their merits, the 2023 Nissan Rogue stands out in several key areas: design, technology, and fuel economy.

The 2023 Nissan Rogue beats the Subaru Forester in style

When it comes down to it, the design of the 2023 Nissan Rogue is pretty agreeable. I drove the Nissan Rogue Platinum for a few days, and I found that Nissan made good use of the space inside the cabin. The exterior looks updated without being too modern. This compact SUV starts at $27,360 for the base model, while a fully loaded Rogue is around $38,640.

Even though the Rogue is small, the cabin is well-appointed and uses quality materials. The Rogue boasts a sleek, modern design that turns heads on the road. Its bold front grille, distinctive headlights, and sharp character lines give it an upscale appearance that exudes confidence. The 2023 Rogue has 31.6 cubic feet of space behind the second row and 36.5 cubic feet behind both rows.

The 2023 Subaru Forester, while functional, lacks the same level of visual appeal. This compact SUV has a more utilitarian design that may not appeal to those seeking a more upscale look. Some might even argue that the Forester leans more toward a wagon than a compact SUV with the design. The interior is well-built and spacious but a lot more basic. That might be ideal for some buyers, but others might want more comfort. This year, the Forester starts at around $26,395, while a fully loaded version is more like $36,495.

Tech in the Nissan Rogue beats the Subaru Forester

There is a long list of standard driver-assistance features on the 2023 Nissan Rogue that are beneficial. Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 works well but isn’t intrusive. Automatic Emergency Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Blind Spot Warning are helpful in any situation these days. Lane Departure Warning and High Beam Assist are also standard.

Subaru included many standard driver assistance features on the Forester, but some critical systems are available on higher trim levels. Traditional systems include Lane-Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, and Adaptive Cruise Control. Adaptive headlights make life easier, but Blind-Spot Monitoring and other methods would be more helpful as standard systems.

Both SUVs earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick award for this year. That includes high marks on the main crashworthiness tests, headlights, and crash avoidance segments.

Nissan’s 2023 Rogue gets better fuel economy than the 2023 Forester

Nissan Rogue pros and cons
2023 Nissan Rogue | Amanda Cline, MotorBiscuit

The 2023 Nissan Rogue Just Makes Sense for $29k

Nissan offers the 2023 Rogue with both front and all-wheel drive, which impacts fuel economy. The front-wheel drive Rogue gets 30 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. When equipped with all-wheel drive, Nissan’s compact SUV gets 28 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. While driving the Rogue around, our test vehicle returned better fuel economy in mostly city driving.

All Forester models come equipped with Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system, which is helpful for extra power and traction. It slightly impacts the SUV’s fuel economy, which sits at 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Those who opt for the more rugged Forester Wilderness might see 25 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

Even though the Subaru Forester is close, the Nissan Rogue pulls ahead in these three areas. If these areas are not necessarily high on the priorities list, the Forester might make more sense.