First Drive: The Nissan Ariya

Frist Drive: The Nissan Ariya

by Michael Satterfield  - Photos by Nissan - 11/24/2023 

Nissan has long been one of my favorite brands and was one of the first large car manufacturers to introduce an all-electric vehicle to the US Market, with the Nissan Leaf. It offered just 73 miles of range but it was a milestone for the brand under the Ghosn era. But while the small hatchback might have been a trailblazer, and subsequent generations have added range and features, SUVs rule car dealership lots these days. Enter the all-new Nissan Ariya, which Nissan is hoping will reenergize the brand, however, their marketing department isn't doing them any favors. Comparing 2018-2022 sales years, Nissan USA sales are down 49%, even with the pandemic, the numbers aren't good. But 2023 looks like the sales numbers are starting to turn a corner with year-over-year sales up with the end of pandemic-era supply chain issues. 

But is the Ariya good enough to save Nissan? In the fast-evolving world of electric vehicles, Ariya is competing against a crowded field, interest rates, and worries about a slowing economy. But if you are in the market for an EV the Ariya should be on your list. Here is what stood out to after a week of testing.

The Nissan Ariya

Impressive Range Options: The Ariya caters to diverse needs with five trim levels, two drive configurations (FWD/AWD), and two battery capacities (63kWh, 87kWh). Offering a range from 205 to 304 miles, depending on the chosen specifications, it competes favorably with other electric crossovers in its class.

Efficient Fast Charging: Equipped with a Combined Charging System (CCS) port, the Ariya supports fast charging at 130kW, bringing the 63kWh battery from 20% to 80% in just 35 minutes. Even the larger 87kWh battery achieves an 80% charge in 40 minutes. This feature enhances convenience and flexibility for drivers on the go.

The Nissan Ariya

Innovative Interior Design: The Ariya distinguishes itself with a thoughtfully designed interior. From a power-adjustable center console to a motorized fold-out tray that doubles as a workstation, it combines functionality with style. Japanese paper-lantern styling adds a unique touch, setting it apart from competitors. It feels more refined than the Volkswagen ID.4 and not as exotic as the Genesis GV60.

Cutting-Edge Technology: Boasting double 12.3-inch dashboard screens and comprehensive connectivity options, the Ariya provides a futuristic driving experience. Wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto and over-the-air software updates ensure that the vehicle stays current with the latest technology trends.

The Nissan Ariya

Performance and Safety: The Ariya caters to different driving preferences with Eco and Sport modes. In Sport mode, it accelerates from 0 to 60mph in about 5 seconds, providing a thrilling experience. Additionally, a suite of driver-assistance features, including ProPilot Assist, contributes to a safer driving experience.

Attractive Price Point: With a starting price in the low $40s, the Ariya positions itself competitively in the market. While it faces tough competition, its combination of features, range, and technology make it a compelling option for those considering an electric crossover. We would compare it most closely to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 in terms of content and value.

The Nissan Ariya

Despite its strengths, the Ariya faces challenges such as a slightly shorter range compared to some competitors and longer Level 3 charging times. However, for drivers seeking a well-rounded electric crossover with an innovative design and advanced features, the Nissan Ariya remains a solid choice in the evolving landscape of electric vehicles.