Nissan unveils all-new pure electric crossover, the Ariya

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Manny De Los Reyes
Manny De Los Reyes
Manny de los Reyes, motoring editor of wheels.ph as well as its print edition, has been writing about cars since 1995. His life has been deeply intertwined with cars, having cleaned and maintained the family cars as a teenager, operating a paint shop and entering national car shows in college, before joining Nissan after graduation. He handled car brands as a copywriter afterwards. Today, when he's not testing or writing about cars or attending motoring events, he is home reading novels or playing with his shih tzu.

When people think of all-time bestselling electric vehicles — pure EVs, mind you, not hybrids — they think of the Nissan Leaf, the world’s bestselling pure electric vehicle for almost 10 years.

However, Tesla, with its hot-selling Model 3 subcompact EV sedan, has recently stolen Nissan’s thunder with its claim of having narrowly overtaken the Japanese electric vehicle pioneer in EV sales at the end of last year and going into this pandemic-hit 2020, where the Model 3 is outselling the Leaf four to one.  

But Nissan is not worried. That’s because they have a new electric vehicle contender in the all-new Ariya, which made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show late last year as a concept car. The best news from them (and for them) is that the Ariya comes in the form of a compact SUV/crossover, which is probably the most popular body style in the world now, and in all probability, in the years to come. Even the most diehard environmentalists/EV lovers need more space (and would appreciate more style) than in the minimalist hatchback Leaf.

   

With a 100% electric powertrain and an estimated driving range of up to 610 kilometers, the Ariya promises powerful acceleration and smooth, quiet operation. Drivers and passengers can relax and enjoy the ride thanks to autonomous driving technology, concierge-level assistance, seamless connectivity and a spacious, lounge-like interior.

The all-new Nissan Ariya is scheduled to go on sale in Japan in mid-2021 with a price tag of around 5 million yen. The Ariya is scheduled to go on sale in Europe, North America and China by the end of 2021 and presumably in other markets beginning 2022.

The car’s all-electric drivetrain combines excellent power delivery, charging capabilities and range. Owners can choose from multiple configurations to meet their individual needs. These include two-wheel drive and e-4ORCE all-wheel drive versions, as well as two different battery sizes (65 and 90kWh).

The e-4ORCE all-wheel control system balances the powerful performance with all- weather capability. The system’s twin electric motors provide a balanced, predictable ride, with sports car-level power delivered in the blink of an eye. The top-of-the-line 90kWh AWD variant delivers a stunning 600Nm of torque and can accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in a sports car-like 5.1 seconds. The entry-level 65kWh 2WD variant with 300Nm does it in a still-brisk 7.5 seconds. Top speeds for each are 160 and 200 km/h.   

Drivers will feel more confident and less stressed thanks to the ProPILOT 2.0 advanced driver-assist system and the ProPILOT Remote Park and e-Pedal features. Also standard across the Ariya lineup is Nissan’s Safety Shield system. This includes Intelligent Around View Monitor, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Emergency Braking and Rear Automatic Emergency Braking technology. It rolls on 235/55R19 tires with 255/45R20 rubber available as an option.

While the Ariya features impressive driving range, it also boasts remarkable range recovery and quick-charge performance, thanks in part to its battery thermal control feature, which constantly optimizes the operating temperature of the liquid-cooled battery. Using peak 130 kW charging, the Ariya can recover up to 375 kilometers with a 30-minute quick charge using Japan’s CHAdeMO charging system.

An all-new human-machine interface lets customers use natural speech to adjust car settings. Over-the-air firmware updates keep the Ariya feeling fresh and exciting. The Ariya also includes Amazon’s Alexa to help customers simplify and organize their lives.

The Ariya’s striking looks represent Nissan’s new design language, Timeless Japanese Futurism. It is characterized by a distinctive Japanese approach, conveyed in a simple yet powerfully modern way. It will come in nine two-tone (black roof) and five full-body-color finishes.

Nissan’s designers took advantage of the car’s new EV platform, which allows for a flat floor over its long 2,775mm wheelbase, and its compact climate control components to give the Ariya the most spacious cabin in its class. The lounge-like interior, featuring Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats, provides a welcoming and comfortable environment for driver and passengers alike. The Ariya is one substantial automobile, weighing in from 1,900 to 2,200 kilograms, depending on the model. Weight distribution is an almost perfectly balanced 50:50, thanks to the battery positioned under the floor in the middle of the car. The battery pack’s case is low and flat and serves as a stiffening crossmember for the chassis. Shades of BMW and Lotus in the design and engineering of this car. Elon Musk has reason to be worried.

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