Whoever is planning Nissan’s news cycle of late has some explaining to do. Why in the Sam Hill would you announce the all-new Nissan Ariya in the shadow of the Ford Bronco?
But that’s exactly what Nissan did. I’m mentally shaking my head right now and throwing in a head slap for good measure.
OK. What’s done is done.
Now what in the heck is the Ariya, and why should you care about it?
It’s Nissan’s first all-electric SUV, and it carries some interesting range.
Here are the key things you should know about this all-new vehicle:
300 miles of range
One of the big things to note is Nissan is estimating 300 miles of range for Ariya. This is an interesting range number considering the current Leaf tops out at about 225 miles – and that’s for a car.
Granted this estimate is for the long-range battery pack and front-wheel drive models, but that’s a decent number. It has to be considering the Tesla Model Y will get up to 316 with its long-range battery and the Model X will get up to 351 miles.
If you want to compare to something that will be closer to Ariya’s price range, Kia Niro EV gets 239 miles of range and Hyundai Kona gets 258 miles.
We’ll be curious to see what Ariya’s short-range and all-wheel-drive model range will be.
$40k starting price
Ariya is expected to be available in the United States in late 2021, so we’re assuming this will be a 2022 model. As such, detailed pricing information is nowhere near available. Frankly, I’m impressed Nissan even released the starting point of around $40k.
For comparison, here’s the starting prices for the other all-electric SUVs currently available:
- Hyundai Kona EV: $37,190
- Kia Niro EV: $39,090
- Jaguar iPace: $69,850
- Tesla Model Y: $52,990
- Audi e-tron: $74,800
- Tesla Model X: $79,990
- Audi e-tron Sportback: $77,400
Available hands-free driving
With the likes of Tesla and Cadillac paving the way for hands-free driving, Nissan upgrades its ProPilot Assist in Ariya to add this semi-autonomous feature.
ProPilot Assist 2.0 will allow drivers to take hands off the wheel in single-lane highway driving. Nissan stipulates this is for “attentive drivers,” and includes a Driver Monitoring System on the steering column to make sure the driver is watching the road while using the hands-free feature.
This new iteration of ProPilot Assist will also work with Ariya’s navigation system to adjust the speed of the vehicle as the speed limits change. Our question is: Will this speed adjustment be like Ford’s system that allows you to set a 10-mph range over or under the speed limit and adjust accordingly, or will it be like Hyundai’s system that only adjusts exactly to the speed limit?
Continuing its safety trend, Nissan adds Safety Shield 360 as standard fare to Ariya. This includes automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and high beam assist.
One of the really cool features also included in this safety suite: automatic reverse braking. This is a BFD because Nissan is one of the only (if not THE only) automaker who offers this feature as standard.
Thinking ahead, Nissan adds some key connectivity features to Ariya – the most important for owners will be the over-the-air updates. This will take care of things like upgrades to the multimedia system, electric architecture, climate system and EV settings.
Ariya will also get standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We hope this means wireless charging will also be standard. As a bonus. Amazon Alexa connectivity will also be included.
In addition to being connected, it looks connected with a new high-tech interior design that’s punctuated by a 12.3-inch instrument cluster that visually flows directly into a 12.3-inch center display. Though we haven’t seen it in person, the pictures look pretty cool.
The bottom line
Nissan, like pretty much every other automaker, is moving toward an electrified future, and Ariya is a key steppingstone. Which is why it’s just plain weird there wasn’t more hoopla surrounding its reveal.
It’ll have standard- and long-range options, and the vehicle will deliver between 214 and 389 (!) horsepower and between 221 and 443 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers combined with the range definitely make this a vehicle worth watching.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Commenters have pointed out on my Facebook post that this is a global reveal from a market that largely doesn’t care about the Ford Bronco. While I agree, my point with this article is this: Ariya deserves attention, and it got eclipsed by another newsmaker this week — and I’m not talking about Stellantis. I’ve also heard there will be more focus on the US market as it gets closer to launch in 2021. So, stay tuned.