In 2010, Nissan introduced the Nissan Leaf, the first mass-market all-electric vehicle to hit the road. Since then, more than 475,000 have been sold globally. A decade later, Nissan is now bringing a bigger EV to the market: the Ariya all-electric crossover, which it hopes will represent a new direction for the brand.
“The capitalization of experience on almost half a million cars makes Ariya a big leap forward compared to the Leaf,” said Pierre Loing, global vice-president of product planning for Nissan, ahead of the vehicle’s global online launch.
“When the Leaf came to the market, it was not at the centre. It was treading new ground,” added Giovanny Arroba, Ariya’s senior design director. “We’re grabbing the baton from the Leaf in every way. With the Ariya, we wanted to take it to a new sleek, sexy and seamless interpretation to elevate the brand language to a new height.”
The Ariya is built on an all-new EV platform. Compared to the Nissan Rogue, Ariya is wider (by 59 mm), and shorter in length (by 41 mm) and height (by 58 mm). It’ll be offered in four models: two-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations as well as two different battery sizes, standard (63 kWh) and long-range (87 kWh). Nissan estimates an electric driving range of up to 482 kilometres.
The Ariya seats five. Two horizontal, panoramic display screens take centre stage in the high-tech cabin. Buttons, dials and switches are noticeably absent, replaced with capacitive haptic switches that vibrate when touched and blend seamlessly into the wood trim on the dashboard. A full-colour head-up display projects info directly onto the windshield within the driver’s field of vision.
Engineers moved the climate-control system from the cabin to under the hood, where you’d normally find an engine. This allowed designers to create innovative elements such as a “floating” centre console, which slides forward and backward to free up extra space when needed. The small gear shifter is designed to fit snugly into the palm of your hand for a relaxed driving position. It sits on the console and also features haptic drive-mode controls. Tucked under the instrument panel is a centre storage box and fold-out tray meant to replicate a mobile office in the future.
The battery pack sits under the centre of the vehicle. With no driveshaft, there’s a flat, open floor and no awkward and uncomfortable centre hump in the rear seats. Slim contoured front seats give the rear occupants a better view of the front cabin, too.
Ariya’s striking exterior represents Nissan’s new design language, according to the company. Thin LED headlamps anchor the front grille, which is dubbed a “tech shield” because it protects vital sensors for the driver-assistance functions. In the centre of the shield is Nissan’s redesigned brand logo, which will appear on all vehicles moving forward. Six two-tone exterior paint combinations, each with a black roof, and three full-body colours are available. Copper is a predominant exterior colour and accent in the cabin. Since copper conducts electricity, it is meant to signal Nissan’s vision of the future.
Connectivity also plays a predominant role. The Ariya features two types of connectivity that work hand-in-hand: Nissan’s personal assistance tech and Amazon Alexa. The personal assistant uses voice-recognition to access a number of features such as the climate, navigation and entertainment systems, by simply saying in natural language, “Hey Nissan, take me home.” Amazon Alexa takes things a step further by connecting your car to your home, so you can perform tasks like turning on the lights or adjusting the A/C before you walk in the house. Over-the-air software updates are also available for the first time ever on a Nissan model. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard.
Ariya comes with Nissan’s latest semi-autonomous driving system, called ProPILOT Assist 2.0. The system helps drivers navigate stop-and-go highway traffic, stay centered in their lane and maintain a set vehicle speed and distance to the vehicle ahead. Nissan Safety Shield 360 is also standard. It includes a bundle of six safety features such as intelligent emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning and high-beam assist – to name a few.
The Nissan Ariya will go on sale in Japan in mid-2021, followed by North America in late 2021. Prices aren’t available yet.
2022 Nissan Ariya all-electric crossover
- Base price: TBD
- Engine: Single (FWD) / dual (AWD) electric motor
- Horsepower: 215 - 389 hp
- Torque: 221 lb.-ft. – 443 lb.-ft.
- Drive: Front-wheel drive or “e-4ORCE” all-wheel drive
- Battery capacity: 63 kWh / 87 kWh usable (total 65 kWh / 90 kWh)
- Range: 321-482 kilometres (preliminary manufacturer estimate)
- Fuel economy (litres/100 km city and highway): None
- Alternatives: Jaguar I-Pace, Audi E-Tron, Tesla Model Y
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