Yet another entrant into the increasingly crowded electric segment is the all-new 2023 Nissan Ariya. With the fit and finish fitting of an Infiniti product and a range of almost 500 kilometres depending on configuration, the crossover is impressive for the brand’s first attempt at a gas-free utility offering.
The styling is influenced by the Japanese term “iki,” which means refinement, translated aesthetically through elements like the shield grille that appears solid black at a distance; however, up close, there is a fine 3-D traditional pattern beneath the smooth surface. It also serves to protect the many driver assistance sensors concealed from view. Both the revised company logo and sides illuminate gently once the vehicle is on, and above each ultra-thin headlamp is comprised of four 20-millimetre mini-LED projectors.
A single elegant character line runs along the top of the doors connecting the front fascia and rear, the side panels otherwise smooth and devoid of visual clutter, where the latter features a one-piece light blade stretching across the squared-off liftgate. The subtle Nissan script above the license plate is reminiscent of a modern Lexus RX, and the window spoiler behind the steeply raked C-pillar adds a little sportiness to the compact SUV.
All Ariyas wear two-tone paint with black roofs. Darpan’s press loaner was sprayed in the signature copper colour, supposed to represent the moment just before dawn, I personally haven’t seen it on an automobile before, and it looks especially striking in direct sunlight.
The cabin boasts a lot of innovation as well. The absence of a conventional transmission and clever packaging of the onboard battery allows the centre console — which is powered and can move forward and backward, by the way, even if a bit gimmicky — to be disconnected from the dash, creating a flat front floor area. The resulting extra legroom is quite significant and takes some getting accustomed to.
Other highlights include a storage compartment under the floating 12.3-inch infotainment display doubling as a miniature table when open, illuminating haptic controls hiding underneath the wood trim controlling climate and drive settings, and Amazon Alexa integration so users can ask the virtual concierge to play music, place calls, control smart home devices and more. The only thing missing was a nice set of aluminum covers to spice up the drab, dark pedals.
Our Evolve+ FWD model utilized a 178-kilowatt electric motor and an 87-kilowatt-hour battery good for 238 horsepower, 221 lb-ft of torque and up to 458 kilometres of range on a full charge. The crossover feels quick to accelerate and is light on its feet courtesy of a front strut/rear multi-link suspension setup and near 50:50 weight distribution. Charging takes approximately 14 hours at Level 2, or 35 minutes (10 to 80 percent at maximum 130 kilowatts) via Level 3.
Another first is the availability of ProPILOT Park in North America. If equipped and activated, the vehicle takes over steering, throttle and shifting to park in a space automatically. The 2023 Nissan Ariya Evolve+ FWD starts at $64,998 MSRP.
Motor: 178-kilowatt electric motor
Horsepower: 238 (net)
Torque (lb-ft): 221 (net)
Gearbox: single-speed automatic
Layout: front-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 2.4 Le/100 km (manufacturer estimate)