The New Electric SUV From Nissan
Nissan has arguably been at the electric-car game longer than almost anyone. The groundbreaking Leaf, introduced over a decade ago, has sold over half a million units globally, amassing the company reams of real-world data and insight. But as successful as the Leaf has been, it’s found itself pigeonholed, thanks to its relatively short range and compact size, into city-car duty. With a global goal to transform itself into an electric-first brand, Nissan clearly needed something more.
The new Ariya is that something, a mainstream electric crossover targeted right at the heart of the market, with pricing (before incentives) starting in the high forties and with a physical footprint similar to the successful Rogue. The four variations initially on offer all share an 87-kW usable battery pack, industry-standard CCS charging port (unlike the original Leaf’s CHAdeMO port), and a raft of useful technologies like wireless smartphone connectivity, Amazon Alexa, and Nissan’s Propilot 2.0 driver-assistance suite.
While it shares similar external dimensions to the Rogue, Ariya is significantly more spacious thanks to its all-new platform, designed from the start to be 100% electric. With the battery sitting under the floor, and compact electric motors, engineers were able to create an incredibly spacious cabin sitting on a wheelbase much longer than a conventional gasoline SUV. The hood has been shortened to a mere stub, and houses the heating and air conditioning system, which would normally live under the dashboard; the floor for passengers is completely flat, creating a great sense of space.
Boasting 300 Miles of Range
Thanks to that long wheelbase and low battery, the Ariya has impressive 50:50 weight distribution – something that used to be the hallmark of pure sports cars. Perfect front-rear balance and a low center of gravity should make it very stable in corners and very responsive to inputs. Front-wheel drive Ariyas (in Venture+, Evolve+ and Premiere trims) feature 238 hp and up to 300 miles of estimated range, while the all-wheel drive version (exclusively in Platinum+ trim) produces 389-hp from two motors, with a 265-mile estimated range. DC charging is not class-leading, with a maximum 130-kW fast-charge ability, meaning a 10-80% charge in about 35 minutes.
All Ariyas will also come with the latest version of Nissan’s ProPilot Assist 2.0 suite of driver aids, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, parking assistants, and other sensors and controls – making it easy and relaxing to drive in town. On certain types of freeway, ProPilot Assist 2.0 actually lets drivers take their hands off the wheel – something we have yet to experience ourselves.
A Distinctively Japanese Design
What we really like about the Ariya is its distinctive, and very Japanese design. The exterior features a new Nissan “face” with a shield up front instead of a grille. A swooping roofline looks flowing and aerodynamic, without sacrificing interior space. And we love the two-tone color options available, including the very distinctive copper and gold finishes (don’t worry, more conventional looks are also available).
The Ariya’s interior is as cool as its exterior, with a high-end look defined not by tons of controls and screens, but a simple, broad sweep of dashboard with touch-sensitive controls actually embedded into matte-finish wood, instead of glossy piano-black surfaces. The big center console, which houses some controls and a large storage area, can be power-adjusted back and forth.
As one of the pioneers in the electric car space, we’re expecting Nissan’s first foray into the competitive EV crossover market to be good.