Tuesday, 23 July 2024

2023 Nissan Ariya expands the brand’s EV footprint Featured

Posted On Sunday, 26 November 2023 15:50 Written by
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The Nissan Ariya is the new addition to the Nissan EV lineup. The Nissan Ariya is the new addition to the Nissan EV lineup. Photo courtesy of Nissan

As all automakers work to step up their game in the EV sector, Nissan is finally growing its EV presence with the new Ariya SUV.

An early adopter with the Nissan Leaf EV being on sale for more than a decade, Nissan has now delivered a strong second EV entry. All new for 2023, the Nissan Ariya delivers a bold look unlike anything else in the Nissan lineup, and expands the brand’s EV footprint beyond the long-running Nissan Leaf. 

The Ariya represents a logical step into the EV world for fans of the top-selling Nissan Rogue SUV, as the Ariya is sized similarly to the Rogue.

I spent some time behind the wheel of a 2023 Nissan Ariya Empower+, and I’m back with a full report on how it holds up in a growing and competitive EV market with offerings from Tesla (Model Y), Kia (EV6/EV9), Hyundai (Kona), Ford (Mach-E Mustang), Volkswagen (ID.4), Chevy (Bolt EUV) and more.

LOOKS

The short but sharply designed Nissan Ariya features a different design than you’ll typically find on Nissan’s SUVs. From its grille to its side profile and rear, it embraces futuristic design elements that are fitting for a cutting-edge EV. This type of styling may not be for everyone, but I’m of the opinion that we must embrace some changes in design standards as we move onward with the EV revolution, so I’m good with the Ariya’s design.

My test vehicle featured 19-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, power folding and heated outside mirrors, a power panoramic moonroof with power sunshade, and a power liftgate.

The vehicle falls squarely in the compact SUV segment, with comfortable seating for five people. The Ariya is about 183 inches long, and offers about 23 cubic feet of space for cargo, or about 60 cubic feet with rear seats down.

If you’re looking for a unique color design, the Ariya is offered in a variety of sharp two-tone exterior paint combinations, all of which feature a black roof.

When you first step inside the Ariya, you’ll notice a unique, sparse and minimalistic design that’s once again very future-themed, and unlike any of today’s vehicles. It features a very small shifter, and there are touch-sensitive buttons embedded into the wood on the dashboard for key functions. This unique, futuristic look gives the front seat a very spacious feel, and makes the Ariya stand out in the segment.

Other interior features on the Ariya includes a heated steering wheel, heated seats in both rows, dual-zone automatic climate control, and optional leather upholstery,

Climate controls work effectively, and the level to which you use climate features in the Ariya will impact overall fuel economy.

One shortfall of this sparse design, however, is a limited number of spots for small item storage. However, there is a nice Easter Egg in the form of a fold-out tray.


HOW’S THE RIDE?

Numbers on the front-wheel drive 2023 Nissan Ariya I tested were decent, but not highly powerful, at 238 total horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. If you opt for a dual-motor all-wheel drive model, range drops but power numbers go as high as 389 horsepower and 442 pound-feet.

Depending how you configure the Ariya, it can come in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. This is a change from the Leaf, which is only a FWD offering.

And depending on the model you choose, 0-to-60 times can flirt with the 5-second line, or be closer to 7.5 seconds.

Battery power comes in a couple different size options: One at 63 Kilowatthour (kWh), and the bigger option at 87 kWh. A single motor FWD setup is standard, with the dual motor AWD setup (also known as E-4orce by Nissan) is offered on select models.

Regarding the quality of the ride in the Ariya, while it’s certainly smooth, comfortable and composed, I didn’t find the driving experience overly thrilling compared to other similarly sized EVs.

The one-pedal driving capability was a positive element, as you can get 95 percent of the way to a full stop by simply lifting off the accelerator. The vehicle also features a regenerative braking system to help increase range.

Just don’t come into the Ariya expecting a flashy driving experience, as it’s strictly business, and will get you where you need to go while keeping out most road noise, and also offers impressive handling and cornering abilities.


TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

Jumping into the technology setup on the Ariya, the centerpiece is the NissanConnect infotainment setup. This includes Apple CarPlay (wireless) and Android Auto (wired), Nissan’s navigation system, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth for phone calls and music, and more. 

A pair of connected 12.3-inch screens are in the vehicle, one for driver information and the other for the infotainment features.

The vehicle also features Traffic Sign Recognition, rain-sensing wipers, and wireless device charging.

The size of the touchscreen was quite ample, but the graphics could use an upgrade. Voice commands worked very well and touch controls are easy enough to learn, but a bit less straightforward than systems in other EVs.

Displayed information includes such details as battery/range capability, and the Ariya is capable of receiving “over the air” updates to its software, a first for Nissan.

Moving on to safety, the Ariya is protected capably by the Nissan Safety Shield 360 system, which includes:
— Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection
— Blind Spot Warning
— Lane Departure Warning
— Rear Automatic Braking
— Rear Cross Traffic Alert
— High Beam Assist

Other safety features include intelligent Blind Spot Intervention, Adaptive Cruise Control, and an Intelligent Around View Monitor.

And a head-up display is offered to display key information directly in the driver’s eyeline.

One highlight on the 2023 Nissan Ariya is the optional ProPilot Assist 2.0 system — a basic self-driving feature that lets the Ariya take over the controls for you in certain driving circumstances, even allowing you to take your hands off the wheel at times.

It’s effective at keeping the vehicle in its lane, and will slow down to meet the rate of the traffic in front of you, but always be aware so that you may step in at any given time.

We’re still a long way from true self-driving cars, but systems like this can help ease the driver’s load, especially on longer rides.


RANGE

There are many different trim levels on the Nissan Ariya, all with a variety of range numbers. The lowest range comes in at 205 miles, and the best at 304 miles. By contrast, the Nissan Leaf tops out at 212 miles of range.

I tested an Empower+ trim level, which was rated at 98 MPGe (91 MPGe highway, 105 MPGe city). Its maximum range came in at 289 miles, a number I found to be quite accurate and large enough to serve most people’s needs.

Home charging is essential for an EV to make financial sense. For the Ariya, fully charging at home with a Level 2 240V charger will take approximately 10.5 hours (up to 216 miles) or 14 hours (to reach 304 miles). These numbers are a bit longer than I would have expected, but unless you’re planning to travel long distances, a full charge isn’t needed nightly.

I also tested charging the Ariya on a Chargepoint public fast charger. I went from 40 percent to 90 percent battery in about 40 minutes. I paid an average of 8.6 cents per mile.

It’s good that charging can be done on the road in a pinch, but outside of road trips it’s most cost effective to stick to home charging.

The estimated annual cost to fuel your Ariya with regular home charging is about $700, which is a hefty savings from what you would pay to fill up an ICE vehicle to travel the same distance each year.

PRICE

The price of my Empower+ trim level Ariya test vehicle was toward the higher end of the vehicle’s price range, coming in at just over $59K. The base model starts much lower at roughly $44K, and you have over a handful of trim levels to choose from — including Engage, Venture+, Engage+, Evolve+, Empower+, Premiere and Platinum+.

On one hand, seeing a Nissan vehicle in this price range is a bit shocking compared to where they normally rate on the price scale. But there’s also the reality that EVs are going to cost more than ICE vehicles and make it up over the long-term via fuel savings.

While its price may turn off some buyers, the Ariya is a solid middle ground between the lower-priced Nissan Leaf and more expensive EV options from other automakers.

If you want to maximize fuel mileage, you can choose the Venture+ trim and its estimated 304 mile range when fully charged.

Warranties offered with the Ariya include:

— Bumper-to-bumper warranty for three years or 36,000 miles
— Powertrain warranty coverage for five years or 60,000 miles
— Battery warranty coverage for eight years or 100,000 miles

BOTTOM LINE

The 2023 Nissan Ariya is a practical EV option for buyers seeking decent range, ample comfort, strong design and quality tech features, but who aren't focused on extreme sportiness or power from their EV. 

For Nissan fans who are looking to move up from a Rogue or other current ICE vehicles into the EV realm, the Ariya makes sense as the next step on their automotive journey.

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AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page. Follow AutoTechReviews on Instagram at @Autotechreviews. Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu



Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2023 Nissan Ariya
  • Price as tested: $59,220 (starts around $44K)
  • Best feature: Unique design, you can skip the gas station
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars     
  • Who will want this vehicle?: EV buyers seeking a small SUV with decent range; logical step up to EVs for Nissan Rogue fans 
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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