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  • Writer's pictureCory Fourniquet

2023 Nissan Ariya: First Drive

The 2023 Nissan Ariya is Nissan's first all-electric crossover SUV, offering quick acceleration and smooth, quiet operation, making it the perfect partner for daily commutes and road trips alike. In our first chance to hop behind the wheel, we explore what sets this EV apart from its main rival in the Toyota bZ4x as well as give you some insights into its driving character.

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The Ariya represents a significant redefinition of Nissan's design philosophy, embracing the Japanese term iki, which characterizes Ariya's chic, cutting-edge nature. Its front appears seamless, elegant, and fresh, highlighted by a shield incorporating a 3-D traditional Japanese Kumiko pattern, while the redesigned Nissan logo is prominently placed at the center of the aerodynamic “shield” (no longer a grille). Thin LED headlamps, constructed with four 20-millimeter mini-projectors, reinvent Nissan's signature V-motion design.

The back of the Ariya is characterized by a steeply raked C-pillar that blends flawlessly into the rear deck. The one-piece light blade, composed of the rear combination lamps, has been engineered to give a blackout effect when parked and a consistent red illumination, day or night, when in use.

The Ariya interior is defined by the Japanese term ma, referring to its spatiotemporal qualities of belonging to both space and time. Nissan wants it to feel more akin to a sleek café lounge on a starship, evoking performance and intrigue, rather than a traditional automotive cabin. The flat, open floor – made possible by the location of the battery at the base of the chassis – and the slim-profile Zero Gravity seats – result in vast amounts of legroom and easy interaction between front- and rear-seat passengers. The EV drivetrain and the generous use of sound-absorbing materials result in a quiet cabin, which was compromised a bit on our drive down highly textured roads, allowing occupants to relax and enjoy lounge-like space.

The minimalist instrument panel is devoid of buttons and switches found in conventional vehicles. Primary climate control functions are integrated into the wooden center dash in the form of capacitive haptic touchpoints that offer the same feeling as mechanical buttons by vibrating when touched. Tucked under the center of the instrument panel are an available innovative center storage box and fold-out tray.

Built on an all-new Alliance-developed EV platform, the Ariya is the ultimate expression of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, Nissan's vision is to further improve the appeal of its vehicles and achieve its ultimate goal of a future with zero tailpipe emissions and virtually zero vehicle fatalities.

The Nissan Ariya's all-electric powertrain delivers smooth and linear acceleration, typical of modern electric vehicles. Our Empower+ model boasts 238 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. The Ariya is available in either front-wheel drive like our tester, or e-4ORCE all-wheel drive configurations, with the latter providing instant torque to all four wheels for a stable and confident drive. The e-4ORCE system also features twin electric motors – one on each axle – providing exceptional traction and handling in all conditions.

The Ariya is equipped with Nissan's Intelligent Driving technology, featuring a suite of advanced safety and driver assistance features. The ProPILOT Assist 2.0 system provides semi-autonomous driving capabilities, including hands-free single-lane highway driving and the ability to automatically pass slower vehicles. The system also includes a feature called ProPILOT Park, allowing the driver to park the vehicle hands-free.

The 2023 Nissan Ariya is an impressive all-electric crossover SUV, providing a sleek, futuristic design and impressive performance features. Its spacious cabin offers lounge-like comfort and style that exceeds the competition, and its intelligent powertrain and advanced driving technologies make it a joy to drive. Nissan's commitment to a zero-emissions future is embodied in the Ariya, making it an excellent choice for environmentally-conscious drivers who want a stylish and comfortable vehicle.

2023 Nissan Ariya EMPOWER+ Specs:

  • Single Electric Motor

  • 87 kWh Lithium-Ion Battery

  • 238 Horsepower

  • 221 lb.-ft. of Torque

  • Front Wheel Drive

  • 3 Drive Modes:

    • Normal

    • ECO

    • Sport

  • Standard Battery Heater

  • Regenerative Braking with e-Step One-pedal Driving

  • Variable Electric Power-Assisted Steering

  • ProPILOT Assist 2.0

  • ProPILOT Park

  • Intelligent Cruise Control

  • Dual 12.3-inch Screens for Instrumentation and Multimedia

  • Wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ Compatibility

  • Color Head-Up Display

  • Power Sliding Center Console

  • Qi Wireless Phone Charging

  • USB charging ports

  • Panoramic Roof with Power Sunshade

  • LED Headlights, Running Lights, Fog Lights, and Turn Signals

  • Roof Rear Spoiler

  • Heated Outboard Seats Front and Rear

  • Leatherette Seating Surfaces

  • Dual-Zone Automatic Climate Control

  • Heated Steering Wheel

  • Power Liftgate

  • Nissan Intelligent Key with Push Button Start

  • Nissan Safety Shield 360

    • Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection

    • Blind Spot Warning

    • Lane Departure Warning

    • Rear Automatic Braking

    • Rear Cross Traffic Alert

    • High Beam Assist

    • Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention

    • Intelligent Around View Monitor

  • EPA-Estimated 98 MPGe

  • EPA-Estimated 289 Miles of Range

  • Starting MSRP $43,190

  • Price as tested: $59,220

***This video is sponsored by Lectron EV chargers.***

If you would like to purchase a charger like the one we used in this video through our Amazon Affiliate page, click the link below:

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