Second Nissan Electric Vehicle
When it introduced the LEAF to the U.S. market in 2010, Nissan became one of the first car companies to deliver a mainstream production electric car to the masses. Ten years on, the Japan-based automaker introduces its second electric model — the Ariya. A compact crossover EV with seating for five, the Nissan Ariya will achieve a range of around 300 miles and be available with all-wheel drive. Note: All photos shown are the Japan-Spec Ariya.
Much Like the Concept
At the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show last fall, Nissan provided an early look at Ariya when it premiered the Ariya Concept. At the time we observed that — unlike previous Nissan concepts — the Ariya already looked ready for production. This notion proved to be true; not much of Ariya changed in the transition from concept to production.
Part of the Plan
“The Ariya, a key model in Nissan’s plan to roll out 10 new models in 20 months, demonstrates our commitment to meeting customer demand for crossovers with the most advanced electrified, automated and connected technologies,” said Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta. “The company expects sales of its EVs and e-POWER electrified models to be more than 1 million units a year by the end of fiscal 2023. The Ariya will play a significant role in attaining that goal,” Gupta predicted.
New But Familiar Look
Obvious elements of Nissan design are visible in the new Ariya; however, this new vehicle takes things a giant step further, both for the brand and for what is likely a unique look for future Nissan electric vehicles. The signature V-Motion grille remains a fixture up front; however, Ariya possesses a broader overall stance, incorporating narrow LED headlights and running lights.
Without need for a traditional grille providing airflow to cool an internal combustion engine, designers have incorporated Nissan refers to as a shield, which features a 3D style with a traditional Japanese kumiko woodworking pattern. The shield also hides sensing equipment used for Ariya’a driver-assistance features. A large redesigned Nissan logo sits at the center, lit by 20 LEDs.
The Ariya’s silhouette gives the impression of sportiness, especially when underpinned by optional 20-inch wheels, pronounced fender flares and smooth lines from the base of the windshield to a high-mounted rear wing.
At the rear, a single light bar spans from corner to corner incorporating brake lights, back-up lights, turn signals and running lights. Whenever the vehicle is operational the entire light bar is illuminated.
Thanks to the small electric crossover’s lack of an internal-combustion engine or accompanying bulky driveline, designers were also able to give the Ariya a roomy interior that seems incongruous to its minimal footprint. Slim-profile seats utilize Nissan’s proven Zero Gravity design; these combined with a flat floor throughout results in a great deal of legroom for both front- and rear-seat occupants.
The clean design of Ariya’s instrument panel contributes to a spacious feeling within the cabin — with the only physical buttons being the audio power button / volume control and the start button. Climate controls use haptic switches integrated into a wood strip centered in the dashboard. Hidden when not in use, the climate controls light up when activated and use vibration to provide the same feeling as pushing a mechanical button.
The Ariya dashboard also integrates two 12.3-inch displays — one in the center as the main user interface as well as one for a configurable driver display. Information can be swiped between the screens so the driver can prioritize what gets displayed behind the wheel. Interfacing with Ariya can be accomplished via the touchscreen or with voice recognition.
The new Nissan Ariya also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with wireless connections for added convenience. The infotainment system also includes Amazon Alexa integration. Ariya is the first Nissan model to provide over-the-air software updated for everything from the multimedia system to the electric and electronic architecture settings.
The center console of Ariya can be moved forward or backward to create the best fit for the driver; its position can be saved along with seat position. Alongside the gear selector are hidden integrated controls for driving modes and other features.
The Ariya is built on an all-new EV platform and will be available with either a 63 kWh battery or a longer range 87 kWh battery. With either option, the battery pack is positioned under the center of the vehicle, which allows the flat interior floor as well as lowers the center of gravity for better handling.
The standard Ariya will feature front-wheel drive; Nissan will also offer the Ariya with dual motors, which will provide increased performance as well as the added grip of Nissan’s advanced all-wheel-control system called e-4ORCE. In addition to sending torque to the front and rear as needed, the system can apply independent brake control at each of the four wheels to maximize cornering stability and overall handling.
Plenty of Power
The single-motor Ariya will deliver 215 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, while dual-motor variants will bump output to almost 390 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, which should provide quick acceleration. The Ariya will also have e-Pedal — a feature introduced on the LEAF — that allows the driver to use the accelerator pedal for both acceleration and deceleration all the way to a complete stop.
Nissan says Ariya will be equipped with the latest version of Nissan’s driver-assist technology called ProPILOT Assist. The system allows drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel in certain conditions to reduce driving stress. The system can also link with the navigation system to automatically slow the vehicle for curves in the road or exit ramps. The vehicle’s speed can also be updated based on speed limit signs identified by Nissan’s traffic-sign recognition system.
Arriving Next Year
The new Nissan Ariya will go on sale in Japan in the middle of 2021, with the new EV coming to America later in 2021 as either a 2021 or 2022 model. Detailed pricing will be available closer to the on-sale date; however, Nissan has already said that Ariya will start around $40,000.
Two-tone paint treatment provides a premium look.
The unique Copper and Black two-tone color package is called Akatsuki — the moment before the dawn.
Narrow headlights give the Ariya a distinctive look, day or night.
The new Nissan logo is lit whenever the Ariya is in operation.
LED lights at the rear.
Air flows through the rear spoiler.
With an electric vehicle, no grille is needed for airflow.
Taillights appear blacked out when the Ariya is off.
The taillight bar spans the Ariya’s width.
Ariya is available with optional 20-inch wheels.
The electric powertrain eliminates the need for a transmission tunnel, leaving a flat floor.
Climate controls disappear when the car is off.
Buttons appear integrated into the wood trim.
The rear seats can be folded flat for impressive cargo space.
Split-folding rear seat adds to the Ariya’s versatility.
Even with the rear seats in use, the Ariya offers plenty of cargo space.
Wireless charging is available.
Movable center console.
Dual screen display.