The 2023 Nissan Ariya is finally the second electric vehicle from Nissan in over a decade. Nobody quite understands why Nissan didn’t take advantage of its head start with the LEAF to dominate the EV space. Or why it didn’t do like Hyundai and create other models based on that car. Whatever the reasons, Nissan’s back with an EV punch called the Ariya, a vehicle that sits right smack in the middle of one of the hottest automotive segments right now. Does it deliver? Yes, it does, but I also feel that it could do more.
2023 Nissan Ariya Review: That’s A Good Looking Car
I think it’s fair to say that the 2023 Nissan Ariya is a good-looking vehicle. I received a ton of positive feedback when I was driving this thing. I personally love how it resembles some sort of Murano from the future. I’m not sure I’d get one in the Sunrise CopperPearl paint job pictured here, though. While it is an eye catching hue, one that helps the Ariya look good during a photoshoot, it’s the kind of color that you love until you end up selling the car because you can’t stand being seen in it.When I say that the Ariya sits in one of the hottest automotive segments, I mean that it’s a midsize electric SUV, a category of vehicles where the competition is now very tough. The obvious main rival here is the Tesla Model Y, but the Ariya also faces the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Volkswagen ID.4, the Hyundai IONIQ 5/Kia EV6 twins, the Toyota bZ4X/Subaru Solterra, the VinFast VF 8 and the upcoming Honda Prologue and Chevrolet Equinox/Blazer EV cousins.To take them all on, the Ariya comes in a wide range of trim levels so it can cover a large pricing spectrum. Here in Canada there are no less than 6 versions for this car. Some are front-wheel driven, while others get a dual-motor all-wheel drive system that Nissan comically calls e-4FORCE. There are also two different battery capacities. For instance, while the entry level, front-wheel drive Ariya Engage ($55,834) is powered by a 63-kWh usable (66-kWh nominal) liquid-cooled lithium-ion unit, the all-wheel drive Platinum+ you’re seeing here gets the larger 87-kWh (91-kWh nominal) battery pack. This allows the Ariya to cover different range targets, the lowest being 348 km and the highest, 489 km.In the configuration you see it here, the Ariya has a total combined output of 290 kW, or the equivalent of 389 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. Its retail price of $72,034 sits at the top of the pricing ladder. All Ariyas are compatible with a 130-kW fast charger in ideal conditions, although that number is low compared to some rivals. Home charging on a level 2 unit pulls at the rate of 7.5 kW, again, nothing game-changing here.
The Plush, Comfortable One
I’ll begin with what I really liked about the 2023 Nissan Ariya, the way it rides. While most EVs try to blow you away with intense performance, the Ariya, while quick off the line, rather focuses on how you and your occupants feel inside. This is by far the plushest electric SUV I’ve driven so far, more so even than those posh Mercedes-Benz EQs.Perhaps those massive 19-inch wheels have something to do with it, or rather because they’re wrapped in thick 55-grade rubber. This gives the Ariya a much softer ride than most of its rivals. Remember, EVs are inherently heavy due to their battery. Carmakers need to compensate this by fitting the cars with large wheels and stiff dampers. The Ariya, on the other hand, isn’t stiff. It rides like any other SUV of this caliber. This therefore allows it to become a formidable daily driver, especially when you’ve got a family to carry around.It’s also beautifully put together, with luxury grade fit and finish. Extra points go to the suede-like material that covered the dashboard of my tester. Not only is this interior spacious, there’s a neat Japanese design theme all over, with cool ambient lighting at night that makes you feel like you’re sitting inside an Asian restaurant.I totally dig the haptic feedback buttons integrated directly into the dashboard or inside the wood grain on the center console. The seats are plush, comfortable and supportive, and while I do find that the large moving console and the electronic central glove box are silly gimmicks, they’re quintessentially Japanese details, adding to the Ariya’s unique charm.Unfortunately, the 2023 Nissan Ariya also disappoints on many levels. The first being that 130-kW charging speed in a world where most rivals will pull 200 plus. Then there’s the fact that Nissan essentially deleted the e-Pedal and replaced it with a thing called eStep. Remember, Nissan was one of the first carmakers to implement one-pedal driving with the e-Pedal in the LEAF. You’d think that it would have kept it, or improved it for the Ariya, right? Wrong.Yes, eStep allows you to slow down the car using only the throttle, but you can never really bring the car to a stop. It always creeps. Things get even more confusing when you realize that the car also has a B mode. What was the point of adding that eStep junk, then? And why can’t the Ariya come to a full stop using only one pedal?Here’s what Nissan’s spokespeople told me during the North-American launch of this thing. They removed one pedal driving because, apparently, the people who will purchase an Ariya will be coming out of a gasoline-powered vehicle. Nissan says that one-pedal driving would be too scary and unusual for these drivers, so it preferred removing the feature altogether. Are you fucking kidding me, Nissan? Have you ever heard of an Off switch? So that. The fact that there’s no one-pedal driving from the company that essentially helped pioneer one-pedal driving is one area where the Ariya pisses me off. It’s also not particularly efficient. Again, disappointing coming from a carmaker that apparently spent over a decade perfecting EVs.During my week with the car, during a cool late autumn, I recorded a 25.8 kWh/100 km energy consumption average. This translates to a real-world range figure of only 337 km. That’s only fine. And why is its battery so damn big?The 2023 Nissan Ariya is therefore a fine EV in the sense that it looks super cool, it’s very well put together, it’s spacious, comfortable and its cabin feels like something taken out of a Manga cartoon. For all these reasons alone, it’s worth considering when shopping for your next electric vehicle. But considering how fast this industry is changing and that Tesla and Hyundai offer way more technology, performance and range for similar money, the Ariya sadly doesn’t generate a big enough ripple to matter.
Review of the 2023 Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE by William Clavey
Midsize Electric SUVs
- Beautiful exterior design.
- Lots of versions at competitive prices.
- Spacious, comfortable and attractive interior.
- No one-pedal driving.
- Low charging speeds.
- Mediocre energy consumption and range.
7.5 / 10
Clavey’s Corner is located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Prices and trim levels discussed in this article reflect the Canadian car market.
Special thanks: Nissan Canada
Photography: Guillaume Fournier
Contact the author: [email protected]