The long-anticipated Nissan Ariya has broken cover offering futuristic design language, 300 miles of range, and available all-wheel drive. The crossover is a big leap forward for Nissan, which has been sidelined by the competition in recent years by a lack of hybrid and all-electric model offerings, as well as a shortage of progressive design.
Its introduction marks a significant step in a four-year plan meant to enhance Nissan’s reputation for innovation, craftsmanship, customer-focus and quality. A component of that initiative is introducing 10 new models in the next 20 months (it was 18 but it looks like the COVID-19 outbreak has pushed plans back a bit).
The model comes with a fuel-saving wheel design.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America
Ariya is the company’s first all-electric SUV offering. It will be sold globally and some features may not be available in all markets.
The Ariya is a two-row, five-seat crossover that takes advantage of platform design and battery power to have a flat load floor, compact climate controls, and spacious cabin. Its dimensions are nearly identical to the 2021 Nissan Rogue, though it is about two inches skinnier and one inch shorter.
Its exterior is extremely similar to the Ariya concept model shown in 2019. It has body styling that helps it blend in with its Nissan stablemates, including a floating roof, but features a fresh take on the company’s signature V-motion grille that’s been adapted for advanced technological offerings.
LED headlights up front feature a striking diagonal design that is horizontal and slim up top but follows the downward slope of the grille below. Smack dab in the center of the grille is the new Nissan logo, which will illuminate.
The back is pinched to feature a LED light bar running the width of the vehicle with the letters “NISSAN” spelled out across the tailgate.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America
Earlier this year, Nissan explained that the Ariya concept had something called a “sensor shield” up front, which served to house the vehicle’s sensors and cameras. It looks like that design approach has followed the concept to reality.
The model Nissan is showing off in the debut has a fair amount of black accents – something on-trend with what today’s shoppers are looking for – on window surrounds, fascia, and fenders. Twin black antennas sit atop the roof.
The model rides on 19- or 20-inch wheels, wrapped in 235/55R19 or 255/45R20 tires, depending on grade.
Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard in the model and e-4orce all-wheel drive (AWD) is available. Nissan will sell the Ariya in four variants: front wheel drive with standard or long range, and all-wheel drive with standard or long range.
In place of a traditional grille is something Nissan calls its “sensor shield”.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America
Ariyas equipped with FWD are powered by a one electric motor while AWD models have two. FWD Ariyas have their motor paired with a 65-kilowatt-hour battery (63 kilowatts are usable) and AWD versions have a 90-kilowatt-hour battery (87 kilowatts are usable). The driver’s information display showcases the projected available range in kilometers/miles and percent of charge remaining as well as a power meter to show how much energy is being used to perform current driving functions in terms of percent.
The model will be equipped with driving modes. Photos indicate that there is a Standard mode. An Eco mode is likely as is another that is, perhaps, sportier. Drive modes are chosen using a haptic button on the center console that illuminates. That button sits alongside an automatic parking button that is above the e-Pedal control.
The vehicle supports Level 2 charging speeds of up to 7.2 kilowatts. DC fast charging via a CCS connection is capable of charging up to 130 kilowatts. The charging port is located on the side of the vehicle, not at the front where the LEAF has it.
The new Nissan logo sits up front and illuminates.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America
Nissan’s internal estimates put the car at having an all-electric range of up to 300 miles.
The Ariya is capable of producing 214 to 388 horsepower and 221 to 443 pound-feet of torque.
Ariya has a unique shifter that goes away from push-button designs like what you’ll find in the Hyundai Nexo and instead heads into BMW territory with more of a moving module design.
The D-shaped steering wheel design incorporates controls for traditional functionalities. Operations for volume control, seeking, pulling up a menu, ProPilot Assist, phone call operations, and following distance all appear to be haptic controls. Other buttons and dials control scrolling, cancelling, and lane change technology. The housing appears to show a multi-way electric wheel positioning control.
Nissan has designed the interior of the model to be like a lounge.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America
Nissan ProPilot Assist 2.0 enables hands-off single-lane highway operation. The car also offers one-pedal e-Pedal driving capability that uses only the accelerator pedal to accelerate and decelerate.
Nissan’s “Timeless Japanese Futurism” design aesthetic translates to the interior where large, tablet-like screens have no place. Though design by Volvo, Ram, Mercedes-Benz, and Tesla have showcased such screens in their vehicles, Nissan is going the way of Hyundai and Kia, which are relying on more traditional screen size and placement.
It looks to have the same 12.3-inch infotainment screen that was in the Ariya concept with one of matching side directly in front of the driver. This is similar to what Polestar showed off in its Precept concept car earlier this year. These appear to be twin screens in one housing rather than one large screen like in the redesigned 2021 Cadillac Escalade.
The clean design of the driver’s information screen leaves a fair amount of room in the center to show the vehicle surroundings, including the car in front of it. There’s likely more to the screen than that, plus the usual time, temperature, and activated systems alerts but we’ll have to wait to learn more.
The car features two large screens, one in front of the driver and the other in the center console.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America
Haptic climate controls rest below the infotainment screen on the dashboard, next to the push-button start. A volume control knob is cleverly built into the vents between the two. The climate controls and design on the volume knob and start button illuminate when the vehicle is turned on.
The SUV isn’t big on cargo space. FWD models hav just 16.5 cubic feet of space while AWD models have 14.6. That’s less than half the space afforded by the new Rogue. It has 60-40 split-folding second-row seats.
What the model doesn’t have in rear storage, it appears to make up for slightly in the cabin where minivan-like attention to small item storage spaces has found its way into production as well as a fold out tray that is housed under the center armrest. The 2021 Ford F-150 also recently introduced a foldout tray for its front seat occupants to utilize.
The cabin was designed to feel like a lounge. It has thin-profile Zero Gravity seats and a padded center console that features contrast stitching. The seats, door panels, and steering wheel is covered in leather (or an equivalent synthetic material). Rear passengers have vents and possibly their own set of climate controls (photos reveal some, but not all of the rear of the center console). Ambient lighting surrounds the cabin adjacent to widow sills.
Haptic controls on the center console change drive modes, initiate e-Pedal, and more.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America
Drivers will be able to use natural speech to adjust car settings.
The car is capable of over-the-air firmware updates, which utilize the vehicle’s embedded modem.
Amazon Alexa is included as are wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A charging pad in the center console allows for wireless smartphone charging.
Each model in the Ariya lineup comes standard with Nissan Safety Shield 360, a suite of safety and driver assist technologies that includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, and high beam assist. The company’s Intelligent Around View Monitor and Intelligent Forward Collision Warning technology will also be available.
The Nissan Ariya is scheduled to go on sale in Japan in mid-2021, followed by the U.S. and Canada later in the year. U.S. pricing will start around $40,000.