Nissan is officially pulling ahead of the pack in the white-hot electric vehicle (EV) race with the recent unveiling of the all-new 2022 Nissan Ariya electric crossover. It’s the first-ever EV crossover from the Japanese automaker and scheduled to join the LEAF in its North American EV lineup this year. To date, over 475,000 LEAF EVs have been sold, and Nissan expects to sell even more Ariya.
Nissan describes the Ariya as the “ultimate expression of style and technology.” It’s no wonder since the Ariya breaks Nissan’s traditional design mold with its low, wide stance and sleek body panels. The Ariya reflects a new and more modern EV styling aesthetic, as evidenced by its prominent “shield” front end that reimagines Nissan’s signature V-motion architecture. The shield is one of several components that differentiate the Ariya from its crossover siblings.
The Ariya sits on an all-new dedicated EV platform developed by Nissan engineers to scale to future models and adapt to increasingly sophisticated driverless technology. It also incorporates technology and engineering features that align with Nissan’s goal of a zero-emissions future with zero vehicle-related deaths. It’s a bold statement, taking early shape in the Ariya’s substantial array of onboard technology. The all-new, all-electric 2022 Nissan Ariya is a must-see for buyers looking to make the switch from a traditional gas-powered vehicle.
According to Nissan, the 2022 Ariya crossover represents a departure from the company’s typical design standards. Called “Timeless Japanese Futurism,” the design philosophy brings in attributes that are exclusive to electric vehicles, like special all-around exterior uplighting that enhances the prominence of the Ariya’s shield-like front end. Also, the Ariya has a unique lower and wider stance than any of Nissan’s other crossovers or SUVs.
What’s with the solid shield on the Ariya’s nose? Because EVs don’t require engine air cooling, they don’t need a traditional grille with slotted intakes. Nissan takes this engineering feature and turns it into an opportunity to embellish the Ariya with a completely reimagined shield-like front end design. As with most newer models, the headlights are razor-thin LED and contribute even more to the Ariya’s futuristic lines.
Offered in six different two-tone color combinations and a contrasting black roof, the 2022 Ariya deftly uses color to enhance its exterior lines. One of the standout available color options is a copper and black scheme, which is the color featured in all of Nissan’s published photos. It’s a unique hue that shows off the contrasting black accents even more prominently.
First off, the floor is flat. On the interior, the extra flat space provided by the absence of a combustion engine is evident. There’s no need for sacrificing interior space to accommodate traditional powertrain or venting elements, which means the dreaded middle seat “hump” is gone. The extra spaciousness also means there is less separation between front and rear-seat passengers.
Nissan equipped the Ariya with Zero Gravity seats, which are exceptionally comfortable for rear-seat passengers with the extra legroom afforded by the flat floor design. The Ariya is also buffered with an abundance of sound-absorbing materials, resulting in a whisper-quiet cabin. Combined with the absence of engine noise, it’s a tranquil driving experience.
Thoughtful touches, like a dash-mounted slide-out tray that doubles as a mobile office desktop, infuse the Ariya with as much utility as it has comfort. The console is electronically controlled and adjustable, with handy memory settings so drivers can easily maintain their preferred settings. There’s also a premium Bose audio system custom-designed for the Ariya’s cabin acoustics.
As with most EVs, both infotainment and connectivity are front-and-center, not just because drivers demand them but also because electric-powered vehicles are highly data-driven. Drivers need to know critical diagnostic information, like driving range, to plan road trips and anticipate charging needs. The Ariya puts this information right at drivers’ fingertips.
The 2022 Nissan Ariya features the ultimate expression of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, the company’s semi-autonomous and autonomous driver technology and commitment to a zero-emissions fleet. ProPILOT Assist 2.0 with Navi-Link is Nissan’s suite of semi-autonomous systems. On the Ariya, ProPILOT Assist includes a hands-free feature, letting drivers relax their active driving on connected roads.
The system relies on its embedded navigation system, which in turn operates via HD 3-D map data and GPS to monitor and adjust for speed limit and road conditions (including traffic fluctuations), as well as support actions like entering a highway exit ramp. When in hands-free mode, the system can detect if the driver takes their eyes off the road and sends a reminder alert when they do, a feature that underscores the importance of attentiveness even when the vehicle is doing the work.
The Ariya includes an Intelligent Rear View Mirror with a rear camera view, an Intelligent Around View Monitor, and an Intelligent Forward Collision Warning that can scan two cars ahead and better anticipate sudden slowdowns. Also available are Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention, ProPILOT Park, and Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection.
There are two on-board 12.3-inch display screens: one for the driver display cluster and one dedicated to infotainment and smartphone connectivity. What’s unique about the Ariya’s digital display screens is they share the same horizontal alignment, creating a more seamless interface for drivers. The screen alignment also contributes to a minimalist dash design, furthering Nissan’s futuristic theme.
The system offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the two screens can interchange data and display information, allowing drivers to swipe views from screen to screen effortlessly. It’s yet another example of how EVs differ from traditional gas-powered vehicles. By focusing on in-cabin technology, Nissan makes a statement that the Ariya is for buyers looking to automate, connect, and ultimately simplify the driving experience.
The architecture of an EV is worlds apart from traditional gas-powered vehicle engineering standards. For starters, the absence of a motor means more flexibility for battery pack placement. Because of this, Nissan located the Ariya’s power source at the center of the vehicle, which means a nearly 50-50 weight distribution and a low center of gravity.
What does that mean for ride handling and performance? Evenly distributing weight is how manufacturers prepare the vehicle for better stability and, when equipped with the right mix of suspension components and propulsion, sports car-like performance. In the case of the Ariya, Nissan has optimized its 50-50 weight distribution with several different powertrain and battery configurations.
The 2022 Nissan Ariya will be available in four trims, and two are all-wheel drive (e-4ORCE) configurations. The trim ranges vary mainly in battery power. The two-wheel drive versions offer a single-engine and 63 kWh of battery, and the twin motor all-wheel drive models feature 87 kWh of battery power. Nissan estimates the Ariya’s performance specs at 215 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque on the two-wheel drive, single motor version, and 389 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque on dual-motor all-wheel drive trims.
This trim range welcomes first-time (and budget-minded) EV buyers and those seeking more extraordinary performance and driving range. Twin-motor all-wheel drive Ariyas will cost more, but they’ll also deliver an estimated 0-60 time of fewer than 5 seconds and a maximum 300-mile driving range. That’s substantially more range than most of its competitors and more in alignment with the range offered by far more expensive vehicles.
Nissan designed the e-4ORCE all-wheel drive system as an offshoot of the torque split system found in the GT-R performance sports car. Called ATTESA E-TS, the system uses a series of sensors to continuously monitor speed, steering, tire grip, and side-to-side force to make instantaneous adjustments to traction. The system is designed for performance with a base rear-wheel-drive setting, but if road or driving conditions dictate, it can distribute up to 50 percent of the available traction to the front wheels.