‘Timeless and Futuristic:’ Nissan Unveils the New Ariya EV Crossover
Between its former CEO being arrested and eventually escaping, various corporate-related drama involving its top executives, and overall anemic sales, Nissan had a fairly rocky 2019. The company also has to contend with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has added to its woes.
But don’t count the Japanese automaker out just yet. In fact, its first major offering for the year—and the first post-Carlos Ghosn—is already making waves and capturing the imagination of industry professionals and automotive fans globally.
Nissan unveiled the Ariya, a fully electric vehicle (EV) crossover SUV, during a splashy global digital launch on Wednesday, July 15. The brand is, of course, no stranger to EVs, having produced the bestselling EV of all-time, the Leaf.
This time though, Nissan is pulling out all the stops in introducing the world to the Ariya. In fact, the company is calling it its most technologically advanced car in its history.
First unveiled as a concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2019, the Ariya remains virtually unchaged as a production unit, according to Nissan officials.
“When I went to motor shows when I was young I often saw exciting vehicle concepts, but when the production versions came out they looked very normal,” said Nissan’s Development Chief Product Specialist Makoto Fukuda. “I wondered why car companies couldn’t make the production version look as exciting as the concept. With the Ariya, we took it from concept to production virtually unchanged.”
Fukuda also says that the Ariya showcases all of Nissan’s Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies.
“It’s not simply the next all-new EV after the Leaf, but it is something entirely new,” he said. “For example, the Ariya has innovative interior packaging that maximizes its potential and provides a very different experience for the user, thanks to platform and IT breakthroughs. We’ve introduced a new level of experience in terms of the Ariya’s technology.”
Ariya range and specs
Pehaps the Ariya’s most impressive feature—and the one customers are most curious about—is its range. Nissan proclaims it can go up to 610 kilometers when fully charged.
The Ariya is offered in four core models, including two-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions. There are also two battery sizes: 63 kWh or 87 kWh. As for drive modes, there’s Standard, Sport and ECO, while the e-4ORCE all-wheel drive model includes an additional Snow mode.
The exterior features Nissan’s freshly redesigned brand logo front and center on the Ariya’s “shield,” or its “reimagined grille,” which incorporates a 3D, traditional Japanese kumiko pattern just under the smooth surface. The overall desig nitself is anchored on Nissan’s new design philosophy based on what it calls Timeless Japanese Futurism
There are thin LED headlamps, constructed with four 20-millimeter mini-projectors, combined with sequential turn signals, which Nissan says “reinvents” its signature V-motion design.
The Ariya comes in nine, two-tone color combination packages, including the newly-developed Akatsuki package, which is supposed to express the moment “just before dawn, as the sun marks the beginning of a new day.”
During the live product reveal, officials highlighted the interior of the Ariya, referring to it as a “lounge on a starship.” The EV platform has allowed Nissan to offer what it says is the most spacious cabin in its class. Moving the the climate control system under the hood (where a traditional gasoline engine would be) freed designers and engineers to utilize the whole inside of the cabin, resulting in much wider legroom as we all as headroom.
Instead of multiple buttons and switches typical of most dashboards, the Ariya features a minimalist digital dashboard of which has “capacitive haptic switches that offer the same feeling as mechanical switches by vibrating when touched.”
“The interior of the Ariya is a pleasant ‘living space’ for the driver and occupants to enjoy while experiencing the theater of traveling to familiar and new destinations,” said Nissan’s senior design director Giovanny Arroba. “The materials throughout the interior were carefully selected to avoid the overly traditional feel of some luxury vehicles, while giving an impression of premium futurism in technology and utility.”
The Ariya also comes with Amazon’s Alexa, which officials demonstrated during the launch. Updates to its software and infotainment system can be done over-the-air without needing to take it to a dealership. And, of course, the Ariya already comes equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wireless connectivity.
Nissan says it will begin deliveries of the Ariya in Japan in mid-2021, while North American sales will begin later that year. No word yet on when it will arrive in the Philippines. Estimated starting price is around 5 million yen, or about P2.3 million.