2023 Nissan Ariya: First Drive Review

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2023 Nissan Ariya
The 2023 Nissan Ariya is the first all-electric crossover from Nissan. The sharp vehicle has a new exterior design language, a simple, modern interior and excellent use of available interior space. Offered initially in front-wheel-drive configuration, Ariya will eventually have more powerful e-4ORCE all-wheel-drive versions. One of the first manufacturers to offer an all-electric model, Nissan has sold 600,000 LEAFs over the last 11 years, putting all of that experience into this new Ariya electric crossover.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceModel Lineup
The 2023 Nissan Ariya is offered with front-wheel drive in five trim levels: Engage, Venture+, Evolve+, Empower+ and Premiere, a launch edition with limited availability. The Ariya will also be offered with a second electric motor and all-wheel drive in four trim levels: Engage e-4ORCE, Engage+ e-4ORCE, Evolve+ e-4ORCE and Platinum+ e-4ORCE. The entry trim levels Ariya Engage and Engage e-4ORCE both feature a 63 kWh battery for a U.S. EPA-estimated range of 216 miles for Engage and 205 miles for Engage e-4ORCE. All other trim levels add an 87 kWh battery for an estimated range of 304 miles for Venture+ and 289 miles for the other front-wheel-drive trim levels. For the all-wheel drive trims, Ariya Engage+ e-4ORCE and Evolve+ e-4ORCE offer an estimated range of 270 miles, with the Platinum+ e-4ORCE rated at 265 miles.

© Nissan North AmericaCharging
According to Nissan, with a DC fast charger the Ariya will charge from 20 percent to 80 percent battery capacity in 35 minutes at 130 kW. Ariya purchasers will receive a $500 charge credit at EVgo charging stations.

© Nissan North AmericaPowertrain Lineup
The electric motor for Ariya Engage is rated at 214 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, and all front-wheel-drive trims are rated at 238 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. Total power output for Engage e-4ORCE is 335 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, and other all-wheel drive trims are rated at 389 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan Ariya Pricing
Pricing for 2023 Nissan Ariya with front-wheel drive begins with Engage at $43,190, followed by Venture+ at $47,190, Evolve+ at $50,190, Empower+ at $53,690 and Premiere at $54,690. The all-wheel-drive trims start with Engage e-4ORCE at $47,190, followed by Engage+ e-4ORCE at $51,190, Evolve+ e-4ORCE at $54,190, and Platinum+ e-4ORCE at $60,190. Prices do not include a destination and handling charge of $1,295.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceStandard Equipment
All trim levels of the 2023 Nissan Ariya include as standard equipment a 12.3-inch Advanced Drive-Assist display; a 12.3-inch center display with wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto and Amazon Alexa; Nissan Safety Shield 360 (a suite of six active safety features); and ProPILOT Assist with Navi-link, a hands-on driver-assistance technology. All trim levels except Venture+ also include heated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a color head-up display and a powered sliding center console. Evolve+ adds power a panoramic moonroof, wireless device charging and a Digital Intelligent Around View Monitor.

© Nissan North AmericaUpper Trim Levels
The 2023 Nissan Ariya Empower+ adds ProPILOT Assist 2.0 and ProPILOT Park. The Premiere Launch Edition features 19-inch alloy wheels with a unique aero wheel cover color and illuminated kick plates. The top-of-the-line Ariya Platinum adds a motion-activated power liftgate, cooled front seats, Nappa leather and a Bose premium audio system with 10 speakers.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceExterior Design
Unrestrained by the limitations of packaging an internal-combustion drivetrain, Nissan designers created a new philosophy that the automaker calls “Timeless Japanese Futurism,” with a simple, powerful new look. The Ariya design is sleek, smooth and seamless, highlighted by the front shield — a new style of grille for an all-electric vehicle. The new grille incorporates a 3D traditional Japanese kumiko pattern just under a smooth surface, which protects the sensors for driver-assist functions.

© Nissan North AmericaRedesigned Logo
Nissan’s redesigned logo sits at the center of the shield and is illuminated with 20 LEDs. The lower section of the shield is also illuminated, and thin LED headlights include four mini-projectors to create Nissan’s signature V-motion design.

© Nissan North AmericaExterior Design
In profile, a single horizontal line emphasizes the 2023 Nissan Ariya’s smooth flow from front to rear, connecting the front and rear facias. The C-pillar is steeply raked and a bright trim strip beginning at the base of the A-pillar traces the fast sweep of the roofline. A rear spoiler takes position above the rear glass. A full-width light blade at the rear includes the rear combination lights and was designed to look blacked out when parked but possessing red illumination both day and night when Ariya is in operation.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceExterior Colors
The 2023 Nissan Ariya will be offered in six two-tone color combinations, each with a black roof, as well as three full-body colors. A special package known as Akatsuki combines copper with black, which takes inspiration from the colors of the sun just before dawn.

© Nissan North AmericaInner Space
Inside the 2023 Nissan Ariya, the smooth, simple design theme continues with a dual-screen instrument panel and a horizontal dash that flows into the doors. Designers take full advantage of available interior space by locating the climate control system under the hood where the gasoline engine would typically be, and positioning the battery at the base of the chassis for a flat, open floor. Aside from the volume control knob, buttons and switches are eliminated by incorporating climate-control functions into a wood panel across the base of the dash.

© Nissan North AmericaInnovative Features
Under the center of the instrument panel is an available storage box and a fold out tray that can hold a tablet or laptop when needed. The center console features a new shifter design and haptic controls for drive mode selection. The available powered center console can be adjusted to the driver’s preference and saved as part of the driver profile, along with seat and mirror position.

© Nissan North AmericaProPILOT Assist 2.0 and ProPILOT Park
The 2023 Nissan Ariya offers ProPILOT Assist 2.0, which allows drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel in certain conditions on the highway. Also available is ProPILOT Park, which will take over parking maneuvers when selected by the driver for both parallel parking and back-in parking.

© Nissan North AmericaOn the Road
In Nashville, Tennessee, Nissan offered us the opportunity to drive the 2023 Ariya Premiere, a front-wheel-drive version with the 87 kWh battery and the electric motor producing 238 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. In this configuration the Ariya is not all that quick, but there is enough power for good all-around drivability. From a standstill, even pushing the accelerator aggressively, power builds gradually, probably to prevent wheelspin if maximum torque were applied instantly. Once moving, the Ariya’s full torque is readily available at any speed, providing the quick response one would expect from an electric vehicle.

© Nissan North AmericaDriving Impressions
The 2023 Nissan Ariya is smooth and quiet, making it comfortable to drive. The steering is responsive and the ride well controlled — not necessarily sporty but overall what one would expect from a compact crossover. The all-wheel-drive Ariya e-4FORCE was not available to drive, although when it arrives in a few months with double the maximum torque and power delivered to all four wheels, we anticipate the e-4FORCE will be much quicker and a more engaging drive.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceAriya Design
The Nissan Ariya offers a distinctive design — one that is attractive, modern and well balanced. The comfortable interior feels spacious, also reflecting the vehicle’s smooth, modern, minimalist design. The movable center console, open space in front of the console and the hidden storage/tray under the center of the dashboard are nice touches. The buttons integrated into the lower wood trim are a nice touch that feels elegant and upscale.

© Nissan North AmericaProPILOT Assist 2.0
When equipped with ProPILOT Assist 2.0 on the top trim level, the 2023 Nissan Ariya will allow hands-free driving in certain situations. When the cruise control is turned on, an indicator in the head-up display will alert the driver when lane-keeping assist and hands-free driving are available. When the system is turned on the indicator glows white and turns to green when lane-keeping assist is available. When the indicator turns blue, the driver may remove hands from the steering wheel but must keep attention focused ahead on the vehicle’s intended path. Driving with hands removed from the steering wheel has a learning curve — a sensation that drivers will find takes some time to get used to. Given our reluctance to entirely give in to hands-free vehicle operation, for now it’s still calming to have hands on the wheel, ready to respond and take action if necessary. With increased hands-free time behind the wheel, most drivers should become more relaxed with ProPILOT Assist 2.0 in control.

© Nissan North AmericaRight for You?
After years selling the all-electric LEAF, Nissan now offers an attractive and comfortable electric crossover. Possessing a distinctive design and a modern, spacious interior, Ariya offers a wide selection of colors and trims. The dual-screen instrument panel is modern and upscale, and the control buttons integrated into the wood trim — along with the hidden storage and movable center console — are innovative additions. Drivers seeking an electric crossover should take a closer look and test drive the 2023 Nissan Ariya for themselves.

© Nissan North AmericaRating: 8.0
Pros: Modern design; comfortable interior; smooth and quiet; decent driving range.
Cons: Not too quick off the line.
Bottom Line: The new Ariya is an attractive, comfortable crossover from an innovator of production electric vehicles.

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