Green Car Journal logo

Nissan Ariya EV Blends Tradition and Tech

by Matt NelsonOctober 6, 2023
Continuing Nissan’s electrification legacy, the Nissan Ariya EV takes to the streets with traditional Japanese styling and modern technology in tow.
Nissan Ariya EV parked by water.

Nissan’s LEAF electric vehicle was groundbreaking when it was introduced in the 2011 model year and has maintained an honored spot in the Nissan lineup, but it’s on its way out. Until the time comes for a replacement, Nissan fans in search of a zero-emission option needn’t worry. There’s another choice in the new Nissan Ariya EV.

The Ariya is built on Renault-Nissan’s CMF-EV platform, also utilized by the European-market exclusive Renault Megane E-Tech Electric. It has the same exterior dimensions as the Nissan Rogue yet the same interior dimensions as the larger Murano, owing the larger space to the absence of a front trunk (“frunk”), along with a clever space-saving design.

A Pair of Powertrains

Nissan provides two powertrain choices. The standard powertrain setup is a single-motor, front-wheel-drive option producing 238 horsepower and 221 lb-ft torque. If buyers wish to upgrade, Nissan offers a 389 horsepower, 442 lb-ft torque dual-motor configuration that also boasts Nissan’s e-4ORCE all-wheel-drive system. This system is loosely related to the racetrack-dominating Nissan GT-R’s ATTESA E-TS torque split all-wheel-drive configuration. 

As for batteries, Nissan offers two of those as well. The entry-level battery is a 63 kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery with an EPA-estimated range of 216 miles. The second, more powerful option is an 87 kWh lithium-ion battery which is also liquid-cooled and offers an EPA-estimated range up to 304 miles. The Ariya is capable of charging from 20 to 80 percent in about 40 minutes using a fast charger via its front fender-mounted charge port. 

Front end detail of the Nissan Ariya EV.

Nissan Arriya EV Design

Exterior and interior design were at the forefront of the Ariya’s conception. Nissan uses many traditional and modern Japanese techniques, combining them into a rather unique finished product. The front end of the Ariya exhibits what Nissan describes as chic and timeless Japanese futurism, or iki, exemplified by its Bullet Train-inspired fascia. Its slim, four-LED V-Motion headlights are underlined by thin LED running lights, darting diagonally into the translucent front grille. Underneath this see-through cover is an example of Kumiko, a traditional Japanese pattern. Large, functional air scoops sit in front of both wheels with a diffuser-inspired gloss-black central air intake situated at the bottom of the front end.

At the sides, the Ariya assumes a more sporty appearance, but still captures some of the minimalistic elegance that Nissan has tried to convey. Cleverly designed wheels take air and push it away from the body while in motion to minimize drag. A sleek, low roofline is painted gloss-black to create a floating look.

Overhead view of the Nissan Ariya EV.

Traditional Japanese Influences

At the back, Nissan angled the rear end a bit more than most SUVs to further its sporty appearance. A large roof spoiler comes down almost to the middle of the rear window. A thin LED rear light spanning the entirety of the rear hatch is present, with a design that hints at the Nissan Z. Another air diffuser-inspired design is seen at the bottom of the rear bumper. 

Inside the Ariya, Nissan has again employed traditional Japanese design. The door panels all have an embossed paper lantern-inspired pattern around the speaker-surround and armrest. HVAC vents are hidden in the dashboard, powered by haptic-touch buttons built into the dash beneath a convex 12.3-inch infotainment screen. Along with this screen is a connected 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster with easy to locate drive mode selections. Nissan has provided plenty of rear legroom and the Ariya is capable of folding the second-row seats completely flat, providing a maximum 60 cubic feet of cargo room with the second row folded. 

Nissan Ariya EV instrument panel.

High Tech Nissan Ariya EV

Arriya integrates Nissan’s newest driver assistance platform, ProPILOT Assist 2.0. Included in this iteration is a hands-on system that aids drivers with staying in their lane, changing lanes, and exiting highways. ProPILOT Assist 2.0 also allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel, as long as the drivers eyes are squarely on the road ahead. Nissan Safety Shield 360 is also present, offering High Beam Assist, Blind Spot Warning, and Pedestrian Detection, among others. 

While coming at a cost some $15,000 higher than Nissan’s longstanding LEAF, the $43,190 Ariya crossover is more spacious, quite stylish, and offers significantly longer driving range that can top 300 miles. Overall, it represents a solid choice for buyers looking to upgrade their everyday driving experience to a zero-emission crossover from one of the industry’s EV pioneers.

Driver's compartment in a Nissan Ariya EV.