Nissan’s Transformation Starts With All-electric Ariya SUV

The all-new 2022 Nissan Ariya electric SUV introduced last night is a vehicle many people have been waiting for a long time—not just customers and EV enthusiasts but also everyone at Nissan.

In order to explore the Ariya’s design and what it means, The Car Guide took part in a roundtable with Nissan Canada director Steve Milette, Nissan program design director Giovanny Arroba and Nissan global vice president of product planning Pierre Loing. Here’s what we learned…

Photo: Nissan

While the LEAF joined the lineup as a bit of an outsider about a decade ago, the Nissan Ariya was developed as a core product and an icon for the brand going forward. It marks the debut of a new era and will set the tone for future products and strategies.  

In fact, Nissan is introducing at the same time a new logo with a simplified, more modern look. It will be rolled out gradually in physical and digital communications, at dealerships and on upcoming vehicles. In the case of electric models like the Ariya, the logo will be illuminated by 20 LEDs to signal Nissan’s electrified shift.

As an embodiment of what the automaker calls “Timeless Japanese Futurism,” the Nissan Ariya was designed to “put a show car in driveways.” Just look at the production version and you’ll realize it’s extremely close to the concept presented in Tokyo last fall.

Photo: Nissan

Furthermore, the idea was to convey the pureness and power of the electric drivetrain in the exterior and interior design. This translates into a highly aerodynamic profile and a spacious, relaxing cabin. During the discussion, Arroba and Loing said that some of the inspiration came from the Shinkansen bullet trains.

As you can see also, the front end of the Ariya reinvents Nissan’s “V-Motion” grille treatment. Part of it will be found on other vehicles down the line, while some elements like the kumiko-pattern panel will be exclusive to EVs.

Photo: Nissan

The use of an all-new electric platform called Alliance gave designers a lot of freedom. Of course, the battery placement under the floor and the missing transmission tunnel allow for more legroom as in other EVs, but here’s another example: the climate control system is mounted under the hood, which created space for an innovative centre storage box with a fold-out tray that doubles as a mobile office or on-the-go picnic table.

Elsewhere, the adjustable centre console can be moved to suit the driver’s personal preference and saved as part of the driver’s profile for automatic adjustment in future outings. The surface hosts a new shifter that fits in the palm of the hand as well as haptic drive mode controls. Similar haptic buttons can be found on the woodgrain dashboard, contributing to the futuristic aspect of the interior environment.

Photo: Nissan

Finally, sustainable, eco-friendly materials are used to further highlight the Ariya’s green side, such as synthetic leather instead of natural leather. Designers preferred to focus on textures, contrasting accents and lighting to give the cabin a premium, high-tech feel. One cool feature is the illuminated line that circles the cockpit.

The 2022 Nissan Ariya will offer FWD and AWD variants along with a choice of two batteries, with 321-482 kilometres of range and 214-389 horsepower. It will go on sale in Canada near the end of 2021.

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