We test the 2023 Jeep Compass directly against the 2023 Nissan Rogue to find out which is truly worth your hard-earned dollar.
The compact SUV segment is full of options and the Jeep Compass and Nissan Rogue are two of the most well-known. Today, we’re going to pit them against one another in a battle for compact SUV supremacy. We’ll look at them on paper, talk about how they actually drive, what they’re like to live with, and hammer out what unique features each offers before picking a winner. Let’s get into this head-to-head battle between the Jeep Compass and the Nissan Rogue.
Kicking things off with the Jeep, the Compass starts at $29,995 but can cost nearly $45,000 in its ultimate spec. Every example comes with a 200 hp turbocharged inline four-cylinder that gets up to 24 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway. It accomplishes that with the help of an eight-speed automatic gearbox and part-time all-wheel drive.
It’s worth noting that while the Compass has a 4×4 badge, the system is front-wheel drive biased and disconnects the rear axle for efficiency at times. It also has a 20:1 “crawler” gear that basically locks the vehicle in first gear to get over obstacles.
The Nissan Rogue starts at $27,360 and tops out just shy of $40,000 with every option box ticked. It comes with a 201 hp turbocharged three-cylinder engine that mates to a continuously variable transmission and front-wheel drive. Notably, all-wheel drive is available. Those who stick with front-wheel power only can get up to 30 mpg in the city and 37 on the highway though.
Jeep’s powertrain in the Compass is perhaps one of the biggest highlights of this test. Sure, its turbocharged four-cylinder engine actually makes one fewer horsepower than you’ll get in the Nissan but there are two big differences. First, Jeep leverages a conventional eight-speed automatic gearbox which is smooth and efficient. In fact, it’s so efficient that the Compass gets better fuel economy than it did with a less powerful engine in the previous generation.
Jeep also incorporates all-wheel drive into every Compass which is a big selling point for some buyers. Our full review cited its excellent articulation and suspension geometry which make it more capable off-road than it might appear.
The Rogue is far more focused on providing an excellent on-road experience. To that end, it gets far better fuel economy and offers nearly identical power. Where it falls a bit short in our eyes is with the continuously variable transmission it uses. Its slowness to respond is frustrating at times and does little to maximize the horsepower available. Still, the Rogue is a serene place to spend time so long as energetic passing isn’t part of the equation.
It’s worth noting that neither of these SUVs offers what we’d call an engaging driving experience. Both the Ford Escape and the Mazda CX-50 Turbo offer more in the way of fun for about the same amount of cash. Each one is also capable of going off-road when needed.
The Compass is coming off of a huge redesign in 2022 and it shows most in the cabin. The dash is elegant and blends off-road rugged styling cues with modern lines and soft-touch surfaces. A large 10.1-inch infotainment system comes standard. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard features across the lineup. Seating is neither the most spacious nor the least in the class but we do like the supportive cushioning found in both rows. Cargo space measures 27 cubic feet behind the second row.
The Rogue feels a bit more car-like from the driver’s seat as the dash sits a bit higher and the center console acts as an armrest. The general design is clean but there are a few glaring points that stand out as cheaper feeling like the steering wheel. Despite that, the Rogue is available with high-end-feeling features like diamond-stitched upholstery and seats with even better support than you’ll get from the Jeep.
Nissan offers a standard 8-inch infotainment screen but buyers can bump up to a 9-inch version that also includes a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a 10.8-inch heads-up display. Finally, the cargo area in the Rogue measures up to 36.8 cubic feet making it the clear winner there.
Jeep kicks off the Compass trim lineup with the Sport. It has 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, cloth upholstery, a 10.1-inch infotainment system, a 7-inch digital information display in the gauge cluster, an adjustable load floor, and six speakers.
The Latitude comes next with Fog Lights, faux leather upholstery, a faux leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry, and keyless ignition.
The Limited gets automatic wipers, dual-zone climate control, ambient interior lighting, a windshield wiper de-icer, and a black-painted roof.
The SL adds 19-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a power liftgate, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, a power-adjustable passenger seat, and a 360-degree camera system.
The Platinum is the top of the lineup and it gets a 9-inch infotainment system, Amazon Alex built-in digital assistant, upgraded leather with quilted stitching, a wireless charging pad, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and a remote seat release lever in the cargo area.
These compact SUVs are both decent competitors in a crowded field but the Nissan Rogue pulls out the win for one main reason; practicality. Very few people who buy either the Rogue or Compass will ever actually take their vehicle off-road. That leaves us to focus on the main point of a vehicle in this class which is bang for the buck on public roads. Nissan delivers with better interior materials, more cargo space, far better fuel economy, and a lower price.