The all-new Nissan Ariya is the first new EV at Nissan since the launch of the LEAF more than 10 years ago.
The Tesla Model Y is quickly growing in popularity and before long, should overtake the Model 3 as the brand’s best-seller.
These two electric SUVs will be joined by a number of new entries within a year from now.
If you’re not a fan of the idea that electric vehicles will soon become commonplace and, sooner rather than later, replace a large portion of internal combustion engine vehicles, best to not read this as the Nissan Ariya and Tesla Model Y signal the imminent flood of electric SUVs.
The Tesla Model Y has had it rough so far this year. Not completely unlike the Model 3 sedan before it, growing pains have plagued the SUV. Be they production delays, COVID-19, quality or reliability issues, the Model Y has not always made headlines for the right reasons. Tesla’s recently lowered its pricing in the hopes of sprucing up demand and meeting some of its competitors’ announced prices. No matter what, the Model Y has a serious head-start on the quickly expanding segment that now includes the brand-new Nissan Ariya.
The Nissan Ariya, will begin a new and hopefully brighter chapter as Nissan’s second fully electric vehicle. This large-ish compact SUV will pick up where the LEAF left off and bring content, design and technology to the table. Expectations for the Ariya are high and it will need to deliver.
For this specification comparison, we will compare what we know about the 2021 Nissan Ariya to the 2020 Tesla Model Y.
What is the pricing and when will they be available?
The 2021 Nissan Ariya is still more than a year away. As such, it’ll likely be a 2022 model year vehicle for our market. Nissan’s plan is to introduce the vehicle to the Japanese market around mid-2021, and send to Canada and the US a few months later.
Pricing is probably a year away but we suspect that the base FWD model with the smaller battery should be priced from just over $40,000 in the US and closer to $50,000 in Canada. The AWD iteration with the larger battery pack should hover around $65,000 in Canada. In the US, this same model will possibly sit near or just above the $55,000 mark.
The current Tesla Model Y is available for order now. According to Tesla’s website, estimated delivery times in the US are between four and eight weeks while the delay is five to nine weeks in Canada. The Dual Motor Long Range starts at $69,900 while the Performance is $83,990, in Canada. In the US, the Long Range begins at $49,990 and the Performance is offered as of $59,990.
Tesla was expected to introduce single motor models shortly. The Standard Range’s rated 230-mile range was deemed unacceptable and was cancelled. A Long Range RWD Model Y is planned for the next few months and could be priced below $45,000 in the US.
Which Has The More Efficient Powertrains?
The Nissan Ariya will propose a 215 horsepower and 221 lb.-ft. of torque engine on the front axle to start. The optional e-4ORCE AWD setup will provide a combined 389 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque. In this configuration, the Ariya will manage a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of 5.1 seconds.
Nissan will make two battery sizes available. The smaller 65-kWh unit is said to deliver an estimated driving range of 200 miles or 321 kilometres. The larger 90-kWh battery will provide an estimated 300 miles or 482 kilometres of range. The Ariya will include an onboard 7.2-kW charger capable of handling up to 130 kW.
The Tesla Model Y Long Range is powered by a combined output of 384 horsepower and 376 lb.-ft. of torque. It is capable of hitting 60 mph in only 4.8 seconds or 100 km/h in 5 seconds, from a standstill. The Tesla Model Y Performance is blessed with a combined 456 horsepower and 497 lb.-ft. of torque output. The power catapults this Model Y to 60 mph in a scant 3.5 seconds or 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds.
The 75-kWh battery pack enables the Model Y Long Range to cover 316 miles or 509 km in a single charge. The Performance version’s range is of 291 miles or 468 km. Through Tesla’s Supercharger locations, the Model Y can gain up to 158 miles or 275 km in only 15 minutes of charging.
Which Offers The Most Standout Features?
Trims and content details for the new Nissan Ariya are understandably non-existent, or nearly. The SUV’s very minimalistic cabin will be made available with a pair of merging 12.3-inch screens mounted in an “S” shaped housing. Over-the-air updates, a newly designed human-machine interface, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the Amazon Alexa digital assistant, should all be included at launch. A head-up display will also be offered.
Everyone aboard will enjoy plenty of room thanks to the powertrain configuration and the dashboard’s setup. Front passengers will benefit from added legroom, as well as a large power-sliding armrest. Up to three rear passengers will be quite comfortable on the rear bench, and the trunk is rated at a compact-sized 16.5 cubic feet (456 litres) with the rear seats in place. Volume shrinks to 14.6 cubic feet (413 litres) in the e-4ORCE versions.
The Tesla Model Y is well-equipped with 12-way power-adjustable front seats which are heated, as are the rear seats, Premium audio, Premium Connectivity (1 year included) with satellite maps and live traffic visualization, video streaming, Caraoke and internet browser, all accessible through the 15-inch touchscreen. Over-the-air updates are included – Tesla could be credited with making this functionality mainstream.
The Model Y offers seating for five as standard and sometime in 2021, a 7-seater configuration ($3,000 option in the US, $4,000 in Canada). We doubt however that it will be usable by normal-sized adults. First and second-row passengers are well treated with plenty of space and storage, and all are covered by a glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection.
The Nissan Ariya will be available with Nissan’s Propilot Assist 2.0, a system similar to that of Tesla’s Autopilot.
What About Styling?
Because of this, Tesla has the advantage of being instantly recognizable meaning that, in a way, few efforts are required on behalf of designers to innovate. About the Ariya, styling cues from the likes of the LEAF, the Murano and new Rogue are visible. Meshed altogether as they are in the pictures, from some angles, the body works seems needlessly busy. Perhaps it’ll look better in person.
Both car manufacturers have opted for the minimalistic approach when it comes to cabins. The Model Y’s large screen is surrounded by vast expanses of nothingness. The result is an exquisitely clean look but can take a while to get used to – the setup is identical in the Model 3. The Ariya’s interior design is a little more conventional, if mostly because some functions are accessible away from the screens.
How important are these vehicles for their respective brands?
Both of these SUVs have the potential for volume, but on different scales.
The Tesla Model Y, as noted, should eventually take over from the Model 3 as the brand’s volume leader. When the new Giga Texas factory goes online, supply should meet the growing demand for this SUV. As the Model S and Model X slowly fade (less than 10% of new Tesla deliveries in Q2 of 2020), the Model Y will support the company. That is, unless every Texan buys a Cybertruck…
The Nissan Ariya signals the “new” Nissan, brings with it a new logo and is the first new EV from the Japanese carmaker since the LEAF. This vehicle must do well for Nissan and most importantly, its brand image. It’s quite doubtful that it will generate volume as hopefully will the new Rogue however in the not too distant future, it may very well define the company.
Our Thoughts On The 2021 Nissan Ariya and 2020 Tesla Model Y
The car industry is not accustomed to seeing so many new entries launch at about the same time in one or two segments, priced between $40,000 and $100,000, with a concentration in the $40,000 to $60,000 zone. We’ve not gone over the complete list, but we estimate that roughly 25 new EV SUVs will be introduced in North America alone in the next 24 months.
Before long, offerings like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4 will hit the ground rolling and be very direct competitors to the Model Y and eventually the Ariya. They will join the Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-Pace and a number of FWD examples such as the Hyundai Kona EV which are already available. There exists a considerable price difference between many of these vehicles but this serves to demonstrate that EV options do exist and will grow in numbers.
Then, electric SUVs such as the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Audi Q4 e-tron, Mercedes-Benz EQC, Cadillac Lyriq, Porsche Macan EV, Rivian R1S, and Fisker Ocean (and so many others from BMW and Polestar, for example) will also arrive.
By the time the Nissan Ariya arrives in late 2021, it will have a ton of rivals And above all these, Tesla, for all intents and purposes, has almost a decade’s head start on everyone. For this reason, and if Tesla can sort out its quality issues, it should continue to thrive while the other ones search for their own foothold.
We cannot judge the Nissan Ariya at this point, nor can we the Volkswagen, Ford and the others. However, one thing is certain: all of these SUVs will have to be good. And we the consumers will benefit.