The Nissan Ariya is a fully electric, compact-sized crossover.
Two battery sizes, FWD and AWD offered.
The twin-motor variant will boast 389 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque.
The push for mass electrification has started in various parts of the world, and many automakers have announced their plans to introduce a complete range of fully electric vehicles in the coming years. The all-new Nissan Ariya has now joined the list of crossover EVs that we can soon expect to see in North American dealerships.
It’s the Japanese brand’s first all-electric utility vehicle, but obviously not its first EV, as the Nissan LEAF has been on sale for about 10 years now. Using the experience gained from selling one of the most popular fully electric cars on the planet, Nissan is now taking a further step by introducing more family-oriented model that will also offer an all-wheel drivetrain.
The Nissan Ariya will hit the Japanese market around mid-2021, and should arrive in the United States and Canada later that year. We’re assuming this new crossover will be tagged as a 2022 model once it gets here. With an overall length of 182.9 inches (4,645 millimetres), a width of 74.8 inches (1,899 mm) and a width of 64.7 inches (1,650 mm), it’s about the size of a Nissan Rogue on the outside, but the company talks about Nissan Murano-like interior volume. Rivals include the Tesla Model Y, the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, and to a certain degree, the Ford Mustang Mach-E.
So far, Nissan has told us that there will be four variants of the Ariya, and while the most affordable ones will be equipped with front-wheel drive and a single motor with 215 horsepower (160 kW) and 221 pound-feet (300 Nm) of torque, the company will be introducing e-4ORCE in others—which it boasts is its most advanced all-wheel control technology developed to date.
The automaker actually started talking about e-4ORCE back in October 2019, and announcing its official name in January of this year. It basically consists of an electric motor at each axle, creating an AWD setup that can send up to 100% of available power from front to back as needed. The electronic brains can also apply independent brake control at each of the four wheels to maximize cornering force. Nissan claims the powertrain produces a combined 389 horsepower (290 kW) and 442 pound-feet (600 Nm) of torque, and is good for a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of 5.1 seconds.
“This technology offers a new level of control. New for Nissan, new for EVs,” said Ryozo Hiraku, expert leader of Nissan’s powertrain and EV engineering division in a press release earlier this year. “e-4ORCE control technology is the combination of our know-how of all-wheel drive and chassis control technology, and our EV development expertise. e-4ORCE is not a successor of one, but an evolution of many.”
Two battery capacities will be offered as well. The 65-kWh (63-kWh usable) unit is said to be “ideal for urban commuters and first-time EV owners looking for quality and style in their next-generation EV,” while the 90-kWh (87-kWh usable) battery will obviously provide greater range. The automaker claims a maximum driving range estimated at 200 miles or 321 kilometres with the smaller battery, and 300 miles or 482 kilometres with the two-wheel drivetrain and bigger battery pack. The vehicle integrates a 7.2-kW on-board charger that can juice up the battery at speeds of up to 130 kW.
The Nissan Ariya first showed off its exterior design in concept form at the Tokyo Auto Show last fall. Called “Timeless Japanese Futurism,” this new styling philosophy revolves around three key concepts: sleekness, sexiness and seamlessness. The crossover’s front end adopts a 3D textured grille pattern and smooth surfaces, along with a refreshed Nissan logo illuminated with 20 LEDs—which follows the growing trend among newly unveiled EVs. The vehicle also wears LED headlights and daytime running lamps that re-create the brand’s V-Motion grille design.
Inside, what stands out is the minimalist design, with emulated woodgrain trim and haptic surface buttons that illuminate when the vehicle is in use. The infotainment system touchscreen and the driver instrument screen—both 12.3 inches in size—are mounted in an S-shaped housing, providing a high-tech look. Since the climate control system is mounted in front area where a conventional engine would normally sit, designers were able to maximize passenger space, and install a centre storage bin on the lower portion of the dashboard. There’s also a slide-out surface that transforms the front-seat area into a mobile office or a picnic table. The three-rear seat occupants benefit from plenty of legroom, due to the flat cabin floor. Cargo space is rated at compact-sized 16.5 cubic feet (456 litres) with the rear seats in place, or 14.6 cubic feet (413 litres) in the e-4ORCE variants.
UPDATE: Nissan Canada released new cargo area dimensions on August 17th. With the rear seats in place, the Ariya boasts a cargo volume of 22.8 cubic feet or 646 litres. With the seatbacks folded down, volume increases to 59.7 cubic feet or 1691 litres.
Also on board is ProPILOT Assist 2.0, an enhanced version of Nissan’s semi-autonomous driving system that now supports multi-lane highway passing, lane changes and exit. The new 2.0 version also uses 3D map data to adjust vehicle speed according to roadway type and other factors, and also includes a driver-facing camera to make sure that person is attentive of what’s going on ahead. On the connected tech forefront, the Ariya will feature over-the-air updates, a newly designed human-machine interface, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as the Amazon Alexa digital assistant.
The Nissan Ariya will be built in Tochigi, Japan for worldwide consumption, except for the Chinese market that will get its own variant assembled in Wuhan. Pricing has not yet been set, but we can certainly expect a base MSRP of about $50,000 in Canada, while the range-topping AWD, long-range version could carry a $65,000 sticker. In the U.S., we can imagine a base sticker of about $42K and a price cap of approximately $55K.
Nissan is set to launch 12 new models in the next few months, all part of a turnaround product plan spearheaded by the new Ariya crossover EV. We’re anxious to see what else the brand has up its sleeve, but we’re willing to bet that this new fully electric model will be at least as popular as the LEAF has been over the years.