Ariya Drives into the Heart of EV Market
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Ariya Drives into the Heart of EV Market

May 14, 2023

CHATHAM, Mass. – A decade after Nissan pioneered battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) in the United States with its small four-door Leaf it has introduced the Ariya, an all-new, ground-up electric-vehicle, into the rapidly expanding, competitive U.S. electric-vehicle market.

The Ariya brings solid credentials to compete with offerings from Hyundai, Tesla, General Motors and Kia; credentials like up to 304 miles of range (front-wheel drive, 87kWh battery); up to 80 percent recharge within 40 minutes on fast charger; and the quiet, quick performance one expects in today's pure EVs.

My review model was a top-of-the-range 2023 Nissan Ariya Platinum+ e-4ORCE which means it was an all-wheel-drive, comprehensively equipped four-door compact sport-utility/crossover-utility vehicle (SUV/CUV).

The e-4ORCE designation indicates an AWD SUV thanks to dual, externally excited synchronous motors (EESM) motors (front and rear) producing 290 kW which translates into 389 horsepower and 442 pounds-feet of torque.

These numbers result in a very quick vehicle, able to hit 60 miles per hour from rest in five seconds (according to Car and Driver), impressive for motivating a 5,057-pound SUV (battery weight making up a significant portion of a BEV's mass).

Speaking of the 87kWh battery, in the Platinum+ e-4ORCE configuration it is rated at producing 267 miles of range, a solid number for an AWD vehicle. I never had range issues, thanks to the ability to plug into my Autel MaxiCharger AC Wallbox Home unit mounted in my garage. Yes, I sound like a broken record, but a home Level 2 charger (like this Autel unit) makes a HUGE difference in operating a BEV. No range anxiety for everyday driving; planning just necessary for long road trips.

The Ariya is built upon what Nissan calls an alliance developed platform (the alliance being the automotive group which includes Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi), this being the first one to come stateside.

The platform has been optimized for both ride & handling as well as interior room & comfort. The battery is flat and below the floor helping keep the center of gravity low which contributes to the solid handling.

According to Nissan, "by specifically managing power output and braking performance for smoothness and stability, e-4ORCE enhances driver confidence by tracing the steered driving line over almost any road surface.

"In addition to optimizing front and rear torque allocation, the system applies independent brake control at each of the four wheels to maximize the cornering force generated by each one. This delivers cornering that faithfully follows driver inputs with minimal steering adjustments."

Suspension components are optimized to take advantage of this, creating stable handling and a comfortable ride while also suppressing vibrations and noise from entering the cabin space.

In the rear, the suspension packaging, including the multi-link system and rear electric motor, creates a balance of ride comfort, handling and performance.

The four-channel, four-sensor anti-lock (ABS) braking system includes vented rotors front (14.3 inches) and rear (13), operating within 20 x 8.0-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with aero covers which are shod with 244/45R20 all-season tires.

As in most BEVs, the Ariya features regenerative braking during which the motors reverse revolution to become generators, thus both slowing the vehicle and recharging the battery. The driver can select up to three different levels of regen depending upon comfort level.

Nissan filled this Ariya with a long list of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) with the company's ProPILOT Assist 2.0 at the forefront.

Quoting the automaker, "ProPILOT Assist is a hands-on driver assist system that combines Nissan's Intelligent Cruise Control and Steering Assist technologies and includes a stop and hold function that can bring the vehicle to a full stop, hold in place and can bring you back up to speed when traffic starts moving again."

The system can allow for virtually hands-free driving on certain roads (Nissan has a national mapping system to let you know which roads) under ideal conditions. It can link with the navigation system to help with an entire road trip.

The traditional list of ADAS is extensive including Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection; Intelligent Cruise Control with Distance Control Assist; Intelligent Forward Collision Warning; Lane Departure Warning; Intelligent Lane Intervention; Blind Spot Warning; Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention; Rear Cross Traffic Alert; Rear Automatic Braking; Rear Cross Traffic Alert; Traffic Sign Recognition, and ProPILOT Park.

A solid heads-up display rounds out the driver-assistance features.

I did not spend much time talking about the Ariya's interior. The Platinum+ e-4ORCE trim level means it is a fully equipped vehicle, including the expected technology, amenities and conveniences.

The large interior features a 12.3-inch color touch screen at the heart of the navigation-equipped infotainment system. The sound comes through a 10-speaker Bose® Premium Audio system with speed-sensitive volume adjustment.

The Nappa leather covered seats are heated front and rear with fronts also featuring cooling and memory for the power adjustment. Multi-zone automatic climate-control keeps the overall environment comfortable.

All of these features, inside and out, add up to a vehicle which is fun to drive, comfortable and a thoroughly modern BEV. It handles superbly, able to use the smooth, available power at the driver's will. It nicely fits into the marketplace with competitive features, equipment and pricing.

The 2023 Ariya RWD has a base price of $43,190. Moving through the nine trim levels, which differ by number of motors, size of batter and features, reaches to the Platinum+ e-4ORCE with a MSRP of $60,190. The super premium two-tone Passion Red Tricoat/Black Diamond Pearl paint added $995, the floor mats $250 and destination & handling $1,335 which means the total for my tester was $62,770. Not inexpensive, but a lot of electric vehicle from a sound, experienced provider.

The Nissan 2023 Ariya Platinum+ e-4ORCE shows the company learned a lot from its years of producing the Leaf and is on the same level with all the BEV producers in the U.S. market.

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.