The all-new 2023 Nissan Ariya is arriving to high expectations. Following a decade of delayed development, controversy, and Nissan’s former leadership in EVs long gone, the Ariya has a lot to live up to. For years, Nissan led the pack. Over half a million Leaf’s were sold globally by 2021. However, EVs from Tesla, Korean automakers and even General Motors eventually surpassed the Leaf’s market share in America as the 2010s came to a close.
Today, competition in the electric crossover segment is even more fierce. Will the 2023 Nissan Ariya’s pricing act as a deterrent, or will the progressive design language and decent range drive sales? Let’s dive into what this much-anticipated electric crossover will have to offer.
The Ariya’s Forward-Thinking Design Is a Concept Brought to Life
What do you picture when you think of Nissan’s brand? The affordable Altima, Frontier, maybe the bug-eyed electric Leaf? Soon, the Ariya will up the ante for the Japanese automaker’s brand image.
The 2023 Nissan Ariya features futuristic design language and a suite of next-gen tech. The exterior conjures up ideas of what a Murano might look like a decade into the future. The front fascia stands out with a large black faux grill topped off with slender LED headlights. A large, redesigned Nissan logo sits prominently front and center, illuminated by 20 LEDs.
Nissan says the Ariya is proudly inspired by Japanese culture, culminating in a delicate balance between futurism and tradition.
Footprint, Fit and Finish
The general body styling fits a lot of usable space into a relatively compact footprint, all thanks to the flexibility of the new electric platform underlying the cabin. The Ariya’s crossover stance is supported by 7 inches of ground clearance, width of 75”, and a length of 183”. At a height of 65 inches, the Ariya is 2 inches higher than the popular Hyundai IONIQ 5.
The 2023 Nissan Ariya is available with six two-tone paint combinations and three full-body colors. Most of what we’ve seen so far is the Akatsuki copper and black package, which draws inspiration from the moment just before dawn.
Interior Design Inspired by Japanese Philosophy
The open and driver-focused front dash features two 12.3” screens, haptic controls and interior lighting (as is the trend these days). Nissan says the Ariya’s interior draws inspiration from the Japanese concept of ‘ma’, which refers to qualities belonging to both space and time. They liken the interior to a ‘sleek cafe lounge on a starship’, and that’s a reasonable comparison given the looks and feel of it all.
Interior Dimensions Take a Back Seat
It’s clear that Nissan cares deeply about the design language of the 2023 Ariya. While the result is an eye-catching crossover, it seems that interior dimensions have taken a back seat. The front and back rows do provide ample room for four to maybe five passengers, but the sloping roof design makes for just 17 cubic feet of rear cargo space with front-wheel drive. Add a second motor in the back and rear cargo capacity drops further to just under 15 cubic feet.
Inside the cabin, the few who’ve had access to the pre-production prototypes say that passenger volume is similar to what you’ll find in the Tesla Model Y. The lack of a central transmission tunnel creates an abundance of leg room throughout, which is most notable in the backseat. If you’re wanting a panoramic glass roof, you can have that on the higher trims. Nissan has not yet released official interior volume specifications.
Nissan Ariya Tech: ProPILOT Assist and the Promise of OTA Updates
ProPILOT Assist comes standard as a driver assistance feature, an admirable decision possibly taken out of the Volkswagen ID.4’s playbook. ProPILOT Assist is a hands-on assistance system that helps drivers stay centered in their lane, navigate highway traffic and maintain a set speed and distance to the vehicle ahead. The higher trims (Premiere and Platinum+) upgrade to ProPILOT 2.0, which enables hands-off driving on the highway with the help of 360-degree sensing using 7 cameras, 5 radar sensors and 12 sonar sensors.
Power and Performance
The Ariya is the first model to be powered by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance’s new Common Module Family (CMF)-EV platform. At the core of the CMF-EV platform is a 4-inch tall battery pack along the floor. The narrow battery pack opens up the cabin above to more passenger volume and design flexibility. There are two battery sizes to choose from for the Nissan Ariya: 65 kWh and 90 kWh.
What kind of battery does the Ariya have? Nissan decided to source NMC (Lithium-Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt-Oxide) batteries from Chinese battery leader CATL, who also supplies to Tesla, Volkswagen and several other global automakers.
If you’ve ever heard horror stories about the older Nissan Leaf’s battery woes, fear not. The new CATL battery is completely different and state-of-the-art. The old Leaf was a driving experiment in the earliest days of electric vehicles.
2023 Nissan Ariya Price Options
Front-wheel drive trims produce 238 horsepower (178 kW), reaching 60 mph in 7.4 seconds. Nissan clearly thinks highly of the Ariya, as the price point sits above several competitors. The Ariya Venture+ base trim’s price starts at $44,485 before incentives (and before dealer markups), and the premium Platinum+ offers AWD and 389 HP (442 lb-ft of torque) for a price of $60,190. The price for the mid-grade Evolve+ package starts at $50,190. With a 0-60 time of around five seconds, the AWD Ariya can hold its own against the other electric crossovers.
Does the Nissan Ariya Qualify For the Tax Credit?
Sadly, the Nissan Ariya does not qualify for the new federal tax credit. Where is the Ariya built? For at least the 2023 model year, Nissan will build the Ariya in Japan. The new tax credit requires North American assembly.
2023 Nissan Ariya Range: 265-300 Miles
The 300 mile target range is on par with class leaders like the Model Y and Mustang Mach-E, IONIQ 5 and EV6. However, there’s a catch. The maxed-out 300 mile range is only for the entry-level Ariya Venture+ front-wheel drive trim. This is great for budget-minded shoppers, but the opposite of what we see in the Model Y and Mustang Mach-E. Typically, higher trims equal more range in EVs. Check out the full spec sheet of range, battery capacity and power output below.
2023 Nissan Ariya Charging: Up to 175 miles in 30 Minutes
The Ariya’s max charging speed is 130 kW at a DC fast charger like those at Electrify America. There’s the chance that, like the Volkswagen ID.4, the Ariya could have a great charging curve that maintains high charging speeds longer than some competitors. In fact, Nissan told Tom Moloughney of InsideEVs that the Ariya can add 175 miles of range in 30 minutes of DC fast charging.
Charging isn’t always a deal breaker, especially if you don’t travel long distances very often. Keep in mind that most EV charging happens at home overnight. Charging at home, the Nissan Ariya can receive 7.2 kW with a level 2 charger plugged into a 240 volt outlet. That’s nearly 20% less than home charging speeds in the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4. Will it matter? If you’re likely to charge overnight, it probably won’t.
As the Nissan looks beyond the Leaf EV, they’re reaching for a different set of electric car buyers. The Nissan Ariya’s price ranges from $44,485 to $61,485, and that’s about $20,000 more than the Leaf.
The Ariya is many years in the making, but there’s a lot more to come from Nissan’s EV development team. Nissan recently shared their goal of producing 15 electric models by 2030. Hopefully early adopters of the Ariya will find that Nissan’s $17.5 billion investment is paying off.
For a 2023 model, the Ariya’s max charging speed of 130 kW is behind the curve. Three of the direct competitors in the segment offer over 250 kW charging for about the same price. That isn’t to say there aren’t some real positive things to say about this EV. If you’re ready to get in line for the 2023 Nissan Ariya, patience will come in handy. Nissan says that limited numbers of Ariyas will arrive at select dealers starting in late 2022.
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