A decade after the Nissan Leaf, the company has shown its second electric car, the Ariya. In the world of EVs, a decade is an epoch, and this is an epoch ahead.
Start with some numbers no Leaf owner would recognise: a 0-62 time of 5.1 seconds, and 293kW from four-wheel-drive. Or a 2WD one with 520 kilometres of range. It also charges far faster than the Leaf.
But then it needs these things, because it’ll be up against a bunch of other electric crossovers. The VW I.D.4, Ford Mustang Mach-e and BMW iX3 are no pushovers. Ariya prices for South Africa are yet to be confirmed and with our taxes, expect it to be at least over a million ZAR. It doesn’t replace the Leaf, but sits above it.
The production version of the Ariya is strikingly similar to the concept version shown at the Tokyo show last year. That applies to the interior too, the part of concept cars that usually suffers a depressing watering-down.
Outside, the simple surfaces seem to have been sliced out with a samurai sword. It’s all about clean design reflecting the clean energy, see. In front there’s a textured shield in place of a grille, providing a home for all the sensors for the ProPilot assisted-driving tech. That’s framed by oblique running lights, with super-slim LED headlamps. Air-curtain intakes reduce drag past the wheels.
The profile shows a long wheelbase, and the windscreen pushed forward to cut drag. Two-tone paint and a chrome blade aim to hide the bulk of the upper canopy.
Inside, it’s all about calm visual simplicity, as is the idiom among these EVs. At least until the screens come to life. The dash looks slim, because the climate unit is evicted to a home under the bonnet. Its controls are a set of hidden capacitive haptic-touch buttons that illuminate through the dash trim when the car is running.
Two 12.3-inch screens plus an HUD give a bunch of display options. You can choose how to divide cabin space by motoring the armrest/console back or forward.
Nissan SA is yet to confirm actual arrival or pricing but we'd hazard a guess it will arrive in SA in 2021.