Hot on the heels of the BMW iX3 announcement, yet another EV SUV has hit the scene and it comes from a surprising brand — Nissan. While Nissan was one of the very first brands to adopt mass-produced electric mobility, with the original Leaf, the famous Japanese brand had been quiet on the electric front over the past few years. However, while most of the Western world slept, the Nissan Ariya made its official debut and it seems like it could be a big problem for the rest of the electric crossover segment.
When the Ariya goes on sale, it will offer a choice of four different powertrain/battery combinations. The two battery choices will be comprised of a 63 kWh and an 87 kWh battery pack. Both battery sizes can come with either a single motor, two-wheel drive powertrain or a dual-motor, all-wheel drive powertrain. Thus totaling four different combinations to choose from.
The longest range Nissan Ariya will be the 87 kWh, single-motor car, which will pack a maximum range of around 300 miles, which is said to be US EPA-rated. That’s more than the single motor BMW iX3, which packs a similarly-sized 80 kWh battery pack and gets 285 miles of max range. In terms of power, that single-motor car will only make 215 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, quite a bit less than the iX3. However, in this arena, range is more important.
However, the dual-motor car will actually be quite quick. Thanks to 389 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, the Nissan Ariya will be capable of 0-60 mph in around five seconds. According to Nissan, the Ariya will also have a perfect 50:50 weight distribution (dual-motor), so it should handle well, too.
Thanks to liquid cooling for the battery pack, the Nissan Ariya is capable of 130 kW DC fast-charging. While that’s not quite as impressive as the BMW iX3, Tesla Model 3 or Audi e-tron, which are all capable of 150 kW charging, it’s better than the Jaguar I-Pace, which taps out at 100 kW.
It’s not a bad looking car, either. It’s not gorgeous but it certainly has a fun, EV-like design language that makes it looks like something more special than the average Nissan crossover. Its interior is also quite nice, proving that modern minimalism doesn’t have to be boring. Thanks to its dual-screen dashboard setup, ambient lighting that spans the entire dash and hidden haptic touch buttons in both the dash and the center console, the Ariya makes the Tesla Model 3 look like a prison cell. Though, I’ve never seen a steering wheel stripe at 6 0’clock. Odd.
I haven’t even gotten to the best part — price. The Nissan Ariya will start at around $40,000 in the US market, as far as Nissan has told US-based journos. That’s less than the BMW i3, yet has twice the range, is bigger, comes with all-wheel drive and more interior features. It’s also about $10,000 cheaper than the Tesla Model Y and comes with similar range.
For comparison, the BMW iX3 (which won’t come to the US market) has a starting price of around €68,000, which roughly translates to $77,000. So the Ariya is almost $40,000 less than the iX3 to start and is available with more range. Oh and the Ariya will actually come to the US. Hear that, BMW? Admittedly, the Ariya won’t arrive here until late next year but at least it’s arriving at all.
Obviously, luxury, comfort, technology, performance and dynamics are all still up in the air. Those factors will weigh in on customers from premium brands that might take a look at the Ariya. However, for anyone that’s looking for a good EV first and a premium car second, the Nissan Ariya will be tough to beat. It also doesn’t look great for brands like BMW that Nissan is packing more range at a lower price. Nissan just threw a big monkey wrench into the world of electric crossovers.