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Review: 2023 Nissan Ariya turns over a new Leaf for brand
The 2023 Nissan Ariya not only represents the best new ground-up Nissan in years, it also reorients a brand that has seemed adrift since its erstwhile leader, Carlos Ghosn, ran afoul of the law. Yet the electric crossover is not without its problems, most notably in the recurring delays keeping it from the starting line.
Timing might not be everything, but it is definitely something. And Nissan knows this, as the first automaker to launch an electric vehicle for the masses way back in late 2010 with the Nissan Leaf. It seems like another era since then, but the past year has had an even greater effect on the Ariya. Scheduled for mid-2021 and derailed due to Covid-related chip shortages and production problems, the Ariya finally arrives at dealerships now, much later than the competition.
“The chip shortages have caused a lot of disruption,” Aditya Jairaj, Nissan’s director of electric vehicles marketing, told Green Car Reports. “We also want customers to have the right car.”
The single-motor front-wheel-drive model is the right car for now; it’s the only car. The dual-motor variant arrives early next year, but that gap was always part of the plan, Jairaj said.
So many electric cars have launched since the Ariya’s original launch date, including the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV 6, and the 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 Standard with a small battery and single motor that costs less than $40,000—the original target price of the Ariya. Now the 2023 Nissan Ariya starts at $44,485 and crests $60,000. The forthcoming Ariya e-4orce all-wheel-drive variant will add about $4,000 across the lineup.
Yet Nissan is not dissuaded.
“We feel that Ariya is hitting at just the right time,” said Brian Brockman, Nissan VP of communications.
Maybe so. Not only is the Ariya the brand’s most impressive new vehicle in years, it optimizes the interior space in such a way as to raise the bar for electric crossovers at this price.
Sized like the Nissan Rogue compact crossover but with an extended wheelbase like the Nissan Murano mid-size crossover, the Ariya has a wide open interior. It has a more rounded bulb of a roof, and a more upright stance than sportier electric crossovers such as the Kia EV6 and Ford Mustang Mach-E. . . .
There's much more. I'm still not interested, but maybe others are.