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2023 Nissan Ariya

Starting from CAD $55,834

Nissan isn’t new to the electric car market, they launched the Leaf in 2011, a plug-in electric car. The 2023 Ariya showcases that experience, thanks to an impressive range, an exceptionally comfortable ride, an upscale interior, and an attractive exterior design which is highlighted by an illuminated logo that adds a touch of sophistication. These are just some of the things that make Ariya a compelling choice in the growing segment of electric vehicles.

Performance & Comfort

In terms of performance, the Ariya doesn’t necessarily prioritize a sporty experience, but it offers ample performance for most buyers. We tested the PLATINUM+ e-4ORCE variant, equipped with dual motors generating 290 kW and achieving a respectable 5.5-second 0-100 km/h time. This acceleration is more than sufficient for highway merging and overtaking other vehicles. However, opting for the less expensive FWD trims results in a slower acceleration time of 7.6 seconds “Nissan’s Offical Estimated Time”. Nevertheless, these models offer more range, allowing buyers to choose what they prioritize more: quicker acceleration or maximizing driving distance on a single charge.

While the Ariya falls short in the handling department, it focuses on comfort, prioritizing a smooth ride over sporty performance. The suspension system is designed to enhance comfort, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a plush and enjoyable driving experience. Both the front and rear seats are exceptionally comfortable, providing good support and comfort for long road trips. The driver’s seat is also equipped with 8-way power adjustability and 4-way lumbar support, ensuring a customizable seating experience. For added comfort, heated seats are standard, while ventilated seats are exclusive to the Platinum+ and Premier trims. Although there is some road noise present at higher speeds, it’s more apparent due to the vehicle being fully electric and not having an engine to mask the sound.

Surprisingly, the Ariya lacks a full one-pedal driving mode, a feature present in its smaller counterpart, the Nissan Leaf. While there is some deceleration when lifting off the gas pedal, coming to a complete stop requires using the brakes. The Ariya does have a brake hold function, which essentially holds the brake for you when the vehicle is stopped, allowing you to lift your foot off the brake.

Interior

The Ariya’s interior punches well above its weight, thanks to a minimalist design that includes wood-trim pieces and leatherette on the dash, giving the cabin an upscale and luxurious feel. Unlike traditional buttons, the Ariya features haptic touch control buttons seamlessly integrated into the dashboard. Activated by touch, these buttons provide feedback through haptic responses. While visually appealing, the haptic touch controls aren’t the most practical and take some time to get used to. Nissan’s minimalist design choice also means that certain climate control functions, such as turning on heated seats and steering or changing the air direction can take a little longer as they require using the touchscreen. Although the touch-sensitive buttons enhance the interior’s minimalist design, some buyers may find them a little irritating. Apart from that, the interior design is excellent, and the placement of everything in the cabin reflects a thoughtful design.

The cabin offers a sense of spaciousness, amplified by the minimalist design that creates an open and airy atmosphere. The Ariya’s battery layout allows for a flat floor which adds to this effect. Both rows provide ample legroom and headroom for adults, and the wide-opening doors facilitate easy entry and exit. The power sliding center console further enhances versatility – at the touch of a button, it can be moved to create additional space either in the first or second row.

The Ariya has a respectable 1691 L of cargo space, more than sufficient for grocery runs or when going on a road trip. The cabin also offers ample storage for smaller items. However, accessing it can be a bit tricky. The center armrest lacks sufficient space for anything beyond a phone or wallet. Although Nissan provides a power center storage that emerges from the dash with the push of a button, it does take some time to open, which can be an annoyance. The open flat space, however, between the front seats can accommodate larger items, but there’s a potential drawback—it may move around, posing an inconvenience and safety risk for the driver.

Technology & Connectivity

The Ariya shines when it comes to technology, with a notable exception—the infotainment user interface could be more refined. The 12.3-inch digital screen takes center stage on the dashboard, incorporating both the instrument cluster and infotainment system. The screen is visually appealing and functions seamlessly. The instrument cluster provides ample customization options, allowing drivers to tailor it to their individual preferences. The infotainment user interface, while responsive to inputs, feels a bit dated compared to the more advanced interfaces of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. This isn’t necessarily a Nissan Ariya issue but rather a challenge that affects most car brands, as their interfaces aren’t on par with what Apple and Android offer. The Ariya also impresses on the safety front, featuring most safety and driver-assist technologies, even on the base model. Some of the safety tech includes:

Intelligent Lane Intervention
Lane Departure Warning
Rear Automatic Braking
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention
Intelligent Forward Collision Warning
Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection


In terms of driver-assist technology, our experience was a bit interesting. While testing the radar cruise control with steering assist, we found that while the radar cruise control system works smoothly without abrupt braking or acceleration, the steering assist feature is more of an annoyance than a help. The car struggles to consistently detect when your hands are on the wheel, requiring a frequent and firm grip on the steering.

For music lovers, the Evolve+, Platinum+, and Premier models come with the Bose Premium Audio system. This system has 10 speakers—a significant upgrade as it has four additional speakers compared to the standard system. Whether driving around in the city or cruising on the highway, the immersive sound quality from this Bose sound system ensures that every beat is vibrant and crystal clear.

Range & Charge

Navigating the Ariya lineup can be a bit confusing as there are six trims, each offering a different range. The Venture+ trim leads the pack with an impressive range of up to 490km, while the more budget-friendly Engage trim offers up to 348km. Our test model, the PLATINUM+ e-4ORCE, falls in the middle with a range of up to 426km.

During our testing, we covered close to 350km before the battery dropped below 10% and required a recharge. This means that you can go on most road trips with a single charge. Nissan Canada also provides a useful section on their official website, highlighting routes you can take on a single charge. This section showcases some popular Canadian road trips, such as Toronto to Ottawa, Vancouver to Kelowna, and Calgary to Jasper

Pricing

The Ariya offers six different trims, and interestingly, the most expensive one doesn’t necessarily provide the longest range. However, each trim presents a compelling value proposition.

Starting with the Engage trim, it’s ideal for budget-conscious individuals entering the electric vehicle market seeking an SUV with a decent range. Priced at $55,000, it’s relatively affordable, especially when compared to other electric vehicles. Don’t let the badge mislead you—the Ariya offers a level of luxury one might expect from Infiniti, the luxury division of Nissan.

For range-focused buyers, the Venture+ stands out with the most extensive range among all trims, boasting up to 490 km. This trim is particularly appealing for regular drivers, addressing any concerns about charging anxiety.

Now, if you’re looking to maximize your Ariya experience, excluding range considerations, the Premiere trim is the top choice. Priced $5,000 more than the Evolve+ and slightly higher than the Platinum+, it has all the bells and whistles, making the vehicle feel luxurious and elevating your daily driving experience.

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