From the December 2022 issue of Car and Driver.
We get it. Your letters say it all. The rise of EVs doesn’t sit well, but the industry’s push toward an exhaust-free future has us pinned under an influx of electric utility vehicles. We’ll admit that we love reporting the euphoric effect of a 5000-rpm launch-control start and the internal-organ-displacing sensation of 1.20 cornering g’s. But Nissan’s all-new Ariya doesn’t inspire any such words, at least not yet.
Since the launch of the 2011 Leaf, Nissan has sold nearly 600,000 EVs globally—Nissan hopes the Ariya will build on that success. It comes with a single-motor front-wheel-drive or dual-motor all-wheel-drive setup. The base Engage models use a 63.0-kWh battery, while others get an 87.0-kWh unit. With the larger pack, horsepower increases from 214 to 238 in the front-wheel-drive car. The strongest all-wheel-drive variant delivers 389 ponies.
Mash the 238-hp Ariya’s accelerator, and the power meter in the instrument display leisurely swings to 100 percent as 60 mph arrives in a sluggish 7.5 seconds. The quarter-mile reveals itself in 15.9 seconds at 92 mph. After a few standing starts, the Ariya’s thermal protection shuts down any meaningful thrust and pushes the mile-a-minute time into the mid-20s.
Rivals such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Kia EV6, and the Volkswagen ID.4 place their single-motor setup on the rear axle, the rear-driven wheels incrementally increasing their base powertrains’ fun factor. Still, Nissan’s front-drive Ariya puts up a respectable 0.85-g lateral performance and stops from 70 mph in a commendable 168 feet.
Though abrupt acceleration and powerslides aren’t in this Ariya’s playbook, it shines as an urban commuter. Around town, the spacious minimalist interior is elegant relative to the humdrum exterior, and supremely hushed. Only the sharpest road imperfections jar occupants. The front seats are comfortable, and while the rear isn’t as roomy, it’s fit for adults.
Nissan’s hands-free ProPilot 2.0 easily navigates well-marked roads, though lane changes require interaction with that round thing in front of the driver. At 75 mph, we traveled 240 miles, falling short of the EPA’s 289-mile range estimate. Unlike the Leaf, the Ariya is capable of fast-charging at 130 kilowatts fed through the more common CCS connection, but we saw a peak rate of only 112 kW on the way to a so-so 40-minute charge from 10 to 90 percent.
The Ariya doesn’t break new ground; it’s just a better Nissan EV. Let’s hope the dual-motor version brings more excitement.
2023 Nissan Ariya Empower
Vehicle Type: front-motor, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
Base/As Tested: $54,985/$57,850
Options: 19-inch wheels, $1900; two-tone paint, $350; garage door opener, $365; floor mats, $250.
Motor: current-excited synchronous AC
Power: 238 hp
Torque: 221 lb-ft
Battery Pack: liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 87.0 kWh
Onboard Charger: 7.2 kW
Peak DC Fast-Charge Rate: 130 kW
Transmission: single-speed direct-drive
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 13.8-in vented disc/13.0-in vented disc
Tires: Dunlop Grandtrek PT21
235/55R-19 101V M+S
Wheelbase: 109.3 in
Length: 182.9 in
Width: 74.8 in
Height: 65.4 in
Passenger Volume: 96 ft3
Cargo Volume, F/R: 60/23 ft3
Curb Weight: 4726 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 7.5 sec
1/4-Mile: 15.9 sec @ 92 mph
100 mph: 19.0 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.4 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 7.5 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.7 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.8 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 103 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 168 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.85 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY AND CHARGING
Observed: 84 MPGe
75-mph Highway Range: 240 mi
Average DC Fast-Charge Rate, 10–90%: 99 kW
DC Fast-Charge Time, 10–90%: 40 min
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 98/105/91 MPGe
Range: 289 mi
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