2022 Nissan Ariya Electric SUV Takes Aim at Tesla, Ford, Audi

2022 Nissan Ariya Electric SUV Takes Aim at Tesla, Ford, Audi

Nope, this isn’t a concept car—it’s the production version of the Nissan Ariya electric SUV shown at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, and it’s coming to the U.S. and Canada late in 2021. With up to 300 miles of range, a flat-floor cabin, a hands-off driving mode, and a $40,000-ish price tag, the Ariya promises to be the electric crossover for those who don’t want to fade into the battery-powered background of look-alike Teslas.

2022 Nissan Ariya: The Design

Compliments to the Ariya’s stylists, who certainly aren’t shy. Nissan calls the design theme “Timeless Japanese Futurism,” and while we’re not sure about the first word, the last two certainly ring true. Honestly, we didn’t know quite what to think of the Ariya when we first saw it—that downward-sloping dish in the doors is one of several elements that take some getting used to—but the more we looked at the pictures, the more we began to embrace the Ariya’s look.

Had we been shown the Ariya without explanation, we might have assumed it was a future version of the Murano, even though the Ariya is smaller—dimensionally it sits mid-way between Audi’s slightly-smaller Q4 E-Tron and Tesla’s slightly-larger Model Y (as well as Ford’s Mustang Mach E, which is similar in size to the Tesla). But it has the same bulk and swagger as the Murano, with a cleaner window line and a robot-warrior version of Nissan’s corporate SUV grille.

Nissan will offer the Ariya in six two-tone paint schemes, so clearly, it is prepared to grab onlookers by the neck and forcefully remind them that the future is now. With its massive 20-inch wheels (19s are also available), the Ariya really does look like the SUV of tomorrow.

2022 Nissan Ariya: The Cabin

Inside, the Ariya takes a minimalist approach that emphasizes the utility of its flat floor—not just for the back seats but between the front seats as well. The dashboard’s strong horizontal lines and clean surface make it seem like a time-traveler from the 1970s. Rather than fitting a “frunk”, Nissan has reserved the underhood space for the climate control system, which frees up space under the dash. The climate controls are touch-sensitive with haptic feedback, and are integrated into the wood trim of the dashboard.

The two-screen setup with steering wheel controls is a nice middle-ground between traditional interiors and the stark futurism of the Tesla Model Y, though some might argue that the central entertainment screen seems rather old-fashioned compared to the giant tablet displays in the Mach E and the Tesla. The center console storage box is disconnected from the dashboard and fully adjustable; besides storage space and a wireless charging pad, it houses the palm-sized shifter and touch-sensitive drive-mode controls that go dark when the Ariya is shut off.

2022 Nissan Ariya: The Electric Drive System

The Ariya will be available with either a single motor and front-wheel drive or the “e-4ORCE” dual-motor all-wheel-drive system, which we sampled earlier this year in a prototype mule built from a Nissan Leaf. The single-motor Ariya delivers 215 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, while the all-wheel-drive Aryia produces 389 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque.

Both powertrains will be offered in standard and long-range versions, the former with a 65-kWh battery (63 kWh usable) and the latter with 90-kWh battery (87 kWh usable). Nissan estimates a battery range for the single-motor long-range version of around 300 miles.

2022 Nissan Ariya: Safety & Technology

The Ariya will come with a full suite of active safety and driver assistance systems, including Nissan’s answer to Tesla’s Autopilot, which it calls ProPILOT Assist v2.0. Under certain conditions—primarily divided highways that aren’t too twisty—ProPILOT will allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel. Like Cadillac’s Super Cruise, the Ariya has a monitoring system that attempts to ascertain whether the driver is paying attention to the road ahead. We had a positive experience with the lane- and speed-keeping features of ProPILOT Assist in our Four Seasons Infiniti QX50, so we are optimistic that this next generation of the system will work even better.

As you’d expect, the Ariya will be loaded with infotainment tech, including compatibility with Amazon Alexa as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Most car functions will be adjustable by voice command. The Ariya will be capable of over-the-air software updates, not just for the infotainment unit but for the powertrain, chassis, and climate control systems.

2022 Nissan Ariya: Price & On-Sale Timing

The Ariya goes on sale in Japan in mid-2021, and is scheduled to arrive in the U.S. and Canada in late 2021. Nissan says U.S. pricing will start “around $40,000,” which would undercut the current base price of the Mustang Mach E by $4,000 and the Model Y by $13,000.

While the styling may be a bit, er, polarizing, we think the Nissan Ariya will appeal to the cutting-edge futurists who first embraced the Tesla, while the relatively low price and Nissan’s experience in EVs—it has sold a half-million copies of the Leaf—should bring more cautious buyers into the fray as well. The Ariya looks set to serve as a solid bridge between the cars of today and the electric SUVs of tomorrow. We’re eager to take one for a drive—or perhaps to let it take us for a drive.

2022 Nissan Ariya Highlights

  • Drivetrain: Electric
  • Range: up to 300 miles
  • Price: around $40,000
  • Performance: TBD, but should be peppy in AWD form
  • Prime feature: The Ariya combines electric drive with advanced driver assistance technologies at a relative bargain price.
2022 Nissan Ariya Specifications
ON SALE:Late 2021
PRICE:$40,000 (est)
ELECTRIC DRIVETRAIN:65- or 90-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, single or dual synchronous motor(s)/215-389 hp, 221-443 lb-ft
ELECTRIC RANGE:Up to 300 miles (est)
TRANSMISSION:Single-speed
LAYOUT:4-door, 5-passenger, front- or front/rear-motor, FWD or AWD SUV
L x W x H:182.9 x 74.8 x 65.7 in
WHEELBASE:109.3 in
WEIGHT:4,500 lb (est)
0-60 MPH:4.8 sec (AWD, est)
TOP SPEED115 mph (est)