A few days ago, the Nissan Ariya made its world appearance in a virtual launch event from Nissan HQ in Yokohama. Why did it take us a few days to post? Well, we were waiting for the press kit from the local PR agency, however, we didn’t receive it. Usually, there would be info about the local markets added in there. So, we have some questions which we know you want answered which we will get to shortly.
At first glance, this beautiful full-electric crossover from Nissan really stands out and does not differ from the concept that was revealed in October last year. This is the first production unit Nissan’s new brand identity (aka new logo).
Topline, the Nissan Ariya supposedly offers ‘powerful acceleration and smooth, quite operation, fitted with a luxurious lounge-like atmosphere’. Nissan also claims an estimated range of up to 610 kilometers on the 90kWh 2WD version which is quite great. However, by the time it arrives in the Middle East, tech may have advanced that that range might not be up to mark. But, nonetheless, for the Middle East, 610 kms will be enough to cross any country on a single charge (excluding KSA).
The Ariya sets the stage for the Alliance as the this EV crossover platform will be crossed shared amongst the three (if need be). Nissan goes on about Nissan Intelligent Mobility (NIM) and the three pillars – Intelligent Power, Drive and Integration. As far as we know, to date, the Middle East has only been seeing Intelligent Power – the remaining two have not been fully available on any vehicles launched in the Middle East thus far. That’s probably why some confuse NIM with some of the tech features on the cars, where it is way more than that.
Striking Exterior that We Want
Let’s start from the front. The Nissan Ariya boasts the new Nissan badge jammed with 20 LEDs, and has an EV version of the V-motion grille (which features on all Nissan vehicles from 2019 and up in the Middle East). The grille hides and protects the sensing equipment for ProPILOT and other ‘intelligent’ features – ProPILOT is still NOT available in the region.
The LED headlamps are combined with sequential turn signals that redefine the aforementioned V-motion design.
From the side, the vehicle stands on five-spoke, 19-inch aluminum wheels (20-inch wheels also available, depending on the grade) giving it a dynamic stance and sporty nature. It’s a smooth and sleek as can be on the side, no unnecessary details.
In the back, the one-piece light blade, representing 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. Rear fender flares and a high-mounted rear wing signal the Ariya’s EV capabilities.
The Nissan Ariya will be offered in nine two-tone combinations, all with a black roof, and five full-body color combinations. Usually, not all the color combos make it here, but from the first ones we’ve seen (copper, blue, red, silver, and grey) we think the right colors will come… let’s hope the hideous gold color found on the Nissan Patrol is not on the list.
Efficient and Comfortable Cabin
Designers were given more room to play with when the engineers developed the company’s all-new EV platform, granting them more space than any other vehicle in its class. The compact nature of the powertrain components made it possible for Nissan’s engineers to install the climate control system under the hood (where a traditional gasoline engine would be), allowing the designers to utilize the whole length of the cabin without obstructions, such as a transmission tunnel or cabin systems tucked under the instrument panel. Also, a flat, open floor – made possible by the location of the battery at the base of the chassis – and the Ariya’s slim profile Zero Gravity seats result in vast amounts of legroom and easy interaction between front- and rear-seat passengers. The quiet EV drivetrain and the generous use of sound-absorbing materials result in an exceptionally quiet cabin.
Rather than going all out with a million buttons and panel to panel screens, the Nissan Ariya offers a minimalist dashboard. Primary climate control functions are integrated into the wooden center dash in the form of capacitive haptic switches that offer the same feeling as mechanical switches by vibrating when touched. The adjustable center console can be moved to suit the driver’s personal preference, and the settings can be saved as part of the driver’s profile for automatic adjustment during future outings. The surface hosts a new shifter that fits in the palm of the hand to encourage a relaxed driving position with haptic drive mode controls within easy reach.
Rear-seat passengers are treated to an abundance of headroom and legroom, with the flat cabin floor allowing them to easily cross their legs and relax. Accents and ornamentation are carried into the rear space to give all the same sense of sophistication and comfort.
Intelligent Power: formidable EV performance for a wide range of needs
Four core models offered, including two-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions, however, we are not sure what we will get here in the Middle East. Let’s bring forward what they launched recently. For first time owners, looks like the Ariya two-wheel-drive model with 63 kWh of usable battery capacity is ideal being that will be the cheapest. You get the looks, minus the optimal offered performance. We definitely think this will be made available here, since that option will feature less on the autonomous drive and NIM tech. For those looking at range and long journeys, then the option with 87 kWh of usable battery capacity is for them. Top speed on both the 2WD versions is set at 160km/h, and 0-100 km/h timing is 7.5 – 7.6 seconds.
Performance kicks in with the Ariya e-4ORCE AWD drive versions. You’ll get 0-100 km/h in around 5.1 and 5.4 seconds and top speed of 200km/h.
The Ariya e-4ORCE all-wheel-drive model with 63 kWh of usable battery capacity offers an attractive balance in performance and value in its segment. With slightly less emphasis on range, this model offers ample performance and innovative new technologies, including twin electric motors and e-4ORCE control technology that deliver balanced, predictable power to all four wheels, equal to or better than many premium sports cars. The Ariya e-4ORCE all-wheel-drive model with 87 kWh of usable battery capacity features the highest level of NIM available, including ProPILOT 2.0 which offers hands-off single lane highway driving capability.
We will not go into the two latter NIM pillars of the car, since we have no clue what will be available when Nissan Middle East decides to bring the Nissan Ariya to the region. You can read about them if interested here. You see, Nissan’s local HERO and top performing in terms of sales, profit, and likeability is the gas guzzling Nissan Patrol. Marketing the Nissan Ariya markets will be much easier than doing so here in the Middle East, especially in the oil rich GCC. Nissan has not to date launched any EVs in the Middle East, except for the 40kWh Leaf in Jordan. That launch was a local launch, not even an intro to Nissan Leaf in the wider Middle East. So, how will they go about marketing two extremes of the spectrum? Or even better, will the Ariya arrive at the same time that an all-new completely revised Nissan Patrol makes it in the region?
The all-new Nissan Ariya will hit the streets of Japan in mid-2021 and priced at around AED172,000 – prices will vary based on your options. It will then be in Europe, North America and China by the end of 2021. The response from Nissan Middle East for when it will be available here was the standard “We’ll let you know closer to the launch date.” Let’s hope it hits Middle East dealerships in 2022, but we doubt that, we think it will be available towards 2023 most likely.
As an official sponsor, Nissan Middle East will definitely not waste the opportunity to showcase the Ariya at Dubai Expo taking place next year. But, will staffers have answers for hungry customers? We’ll give you our first take when we see it there… hopefully.