Nissan is hyping up their “New Chapter”, which opens with the Ariya - a stylish dual-motor fully electric crossover.
We’re about a decade and a half since the rise of the semi-daily drivable fully electric car, and each year the collective baseline of technology lifts slightly, making these kinds of vehicles a little more accessible and more appealing to the average car buyer.
Yet, even owning an EV is still seen as somewhat ‘out there’. You’re a rebel, an early adopter, risking your hard earned money for a tomorrow that we’re only half ready for at best. Arguably, Nissan, of all automakers, has been among the most successful in bringing electric cars to the masses with the Leaf. Its sister company, Renault, also offers a minimal-fuss entry point into EVs with the Zoe.
They’ve kept things fairly grounded so far. However, at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan rolled out the Ariya: a concept vehicle with unmistakable crossover vibes that definitely straddled the high end. There, the company’s representatives made no bones about its ambition either, so it was only a matter of time until the Ariya, in its production form, would attempt a raid on the Tesla empire.
Now that we’re into the 2nd half of 2020, Nissan has had some clear air to consolidate its plans for the finished version, which it plans to premiere within this short term span - July 15th, to be precise. And it’s looking promising.
There are only a couple of teaser videos so far but given that all indications point to surprisingly little being changed over the concept version from late last year, we can expect a rather sleek and futuristic looking and high-riding zero emissions machine, built on a Nissan’s new dedicated EV platform.
It probably won’t carry over the concept version’s 21-inch blade-style wheels, but that lower tapering roofline and bold V-Motion front fascia should make it past the pre-production stage. The Ariya also deftly blends familiar design cues with the more experimental, and overall the car would look adequately ‘next-gen’, even premium.
However, it was the interior that really impressed upon the concept’s debut, and thankfully we should see most of that translate into the showroom-ready model as well. The dashboard and usual control surfaces apart from the steering wheel, foot pedals, and climate control buttons have been replaced with haptic touch points.
Unfortunately, Nissan has yet to disclose any details on the Ariya’s powertrain and was equally silent during the concept car’s reveal last year, only saying that drive will be distributed between all wheels and through a pair of electric motors. In that case, we should be expecting some impressive acceleration figures too.
The Ariya will most definitely be a technical showcase for Nissan as well as a statement of their abilities, but it won’t be alone in the semi-premium small electric crossover arena, of course, as it will have to share the field with - most notably - the Tesla Model Y and Volkswagen ID Crozz. However, there’s also the Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia Niro EV, and, at the higher end, the Volvo XC40 Recharge Let them fight.