2023 Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE: Review

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceWhat Is It?
The all-new Ariya is Nissan’s second mainstream electric vehicle to join the lineup since it launched the LEAF more than 10 years ago. The stylish Ariya 5-passenger crossover EV arrived last fall as a front-wheel-drive model, and now the automaker adds the more powerful dual-motor 2023 Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE. This AWD Ariya should compete well in the growing crossover EV segment thanks to its advanced technology, a respectable driving range and the latest driver-assist systems. The Ariya is Nissan’s first step toward fulfilling plans to offer 19 new electric vehicles globally by 2030, with full-electric models making up 40 percent of Nissan’s U.S. vehicle sales by that time.

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceWhat We Drove
Nissan provided us with a 2023 Nissan Ariya e-40RCE Platinum+ painted in the premium two-tone Passion Red Tricoat/Black Diamond Pearl. Unfortunately Nissan made this color scheme available only when reservations first opened, so it is not currently offered. Since the Platinum+ is the top-level trim in the Ariya lineup, almost every feature is standard on this model. The only option on the test vehicle was floor mats. The total MSRP for came in at $62,770. Competitors to the Ariya e-4ORCE include the Kia EV6, Hyundai IONIQ5, Subaru Solterra, Toyota bZ4X, and Volkswagen ID.4.

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceNew Look
The Ariya brings a new look to the Nissan lineup, and that look will likely migrate to future electric models. Nissan’s signature V-motion grille is still there, but it has a modern interpretation with slim LED headlights and running lights that make up the “V” surrounding the grille. This styling also gives the new Ariya a wider stance, further enhanced by its sculpted hood.

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceNon-Traditional Grille
Since an EV does not need a traditional grille providing airflow to cool an internal-combustion engine, Nissan refers to the Ariya’s grille as a shield. This shield features 3D styling with a traditional Japanese Kumiko woodworking pattern that gets mimicked in multiple places throughout the cabin. The shield also hides sensing equipment used for Ariya’s driver-assistance features. A large Nissan logo sits at the center, lit by 20 LEDs for a unique look at night.

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceRear View
At the rear, a single light bar spans the rear hatch with NISSAN spelled across the bar in large letters. Whenever the vehicle is operational, the entire light bar illuminates.

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceEV Power
The 2023 Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE is powered by dual electric motors — one at the front and the other at the rear — with a total output of 389 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. Power comes from an extended-range 87 kWh lithium-ion battery pack mounted beneath the floor. The dual-motor system optimizes torque to the front and rear with the ability to apply brakes at each wheel independently to maximize handling. Like other electric vehicles we’ve experienced, the Ariya e-4ORCE is responsive and quick off the line; Nissan claims 60 mph can be reached in under 5 seconds, which is certainly respectable for a 5-passenger crossover.

© Nissan North AmericaRange and Charging
The U.S. EPA has not yet released fuel-economy ratings for the dual-motor Ariya, but Nissan expects its newest EV to achieve 105 MPGe city / 91 MPGe hwy / 98 MPGe combined, with a driving range of 289 miles. Charging the Ariya e-40RCE on a Level 2 charger (typical home charger) takes about 14 hours from empty — easily done overnight. With a DC fast charger, the Ariya can pull up to 130 kW, bringing the EV from 10 percent to 80 percent in about 40 minutes.

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceInner Space
The Ariya has a futuristic vibe with very few physical buttons — exceptions are the start button and audio volume control. A large wave-shaped screen dominates the cabin, comprised of a 12.3-inch infotainment display and a 12.3-inch drive display. A soft synthetic suede lines the dashboard and doors in a comfortable contrast to the high-tech display.

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceHaptic Controls
Although the 2023 Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE has no visible buttons, it does have hidden controls that come to life when the vehicle starts. All climate functions are integrated into the wood trim below the dash. The wooden surface remains smooth, but pressing one of the lit controls provides pulse feedback as if pushing a button. When the Ariya is off, the controls practically disappear. The concept version of the Ariya featured controls of this style, and happy to see that Nissan brought this design element through to the production model. Additional controls of this style are found in the center console.

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceUnique Features
The Ariya has a few features worth calling out since they are somewhat unusual. The center console is power operated and can move forward or backward so the shifter can be positioned perfectly for the driver; however, this feature seems to add more complexity without much value.

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceHidden Storage
A hidden storage compartment under the dash slides open using controls on the center console. This feature works well to keep valuables hidden and secure — the vehicle must be on for this compartment to open.

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceInfotainment
Nissan recently improved its infotainment system; the latest version appears in the Ariya. The screen features tiles for different functions, which can be configured to create a home screen with the most used features. Multiple pages can be accessed by swiping left or right. Static icons remain on the left side of the display, enabling permanent shortcuts to navigation, audio, communications and the home screen. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all trim levels of the Ariya; however, Android Auto requires a wired connection.

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceHey Nissan
With no center controller, the Ariya’s touchscreen display is the most intuitive way to interact with the infotainment system, although a voice interface is also available, activated by saying, “Hey, Nissan.” The natural language system worked fairly well. We were able to change the radio station, cabin temperature and set a destination — all via voice commands. However, the system had some trouble understanding the name of the hotel that served as home base for our press drive, and never figured out that particular destination.

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceFront Seats
Most electric vehicle interiors reflect a sustainability theme in keeping with most EV hype, especially regarding seat materials, so we were surprised to find seats trimmed with soft Nappa leather in the Ariya Platinum+. Both front and rear seats feature a unique asymmetrical design stitched into the seat cushions. We’ve experienced Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats in the past and, as before, these are supremely comfortable with decent support and excellent padding. We felt no fatigue even after spending many hours behind the wheel of the Ariya.

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceRear Seats
The rear seat of the 2023 Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE offers plenty of headroom and legroom, and with its flat floor made possible by the EV architecture, there’s even enough space for middle-seat passengers. The rear seats are similar to the fronts with high levels of comfort. Entry and exit are made easy by the doors that open almost to 90 degrees.

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceCargo Space
It may be an electric vehicle, but the Ariya is also a crossover SUV, offering the utility expected of such a vehicle. The cargo area provides ample space for multiple suitcases or other cargo, and the rear seats fold flat to accommodate larger items. With the rear seats folded, the cargo capacity is nearly 60 cubic feet. Items in the cargo space are kept out of sight thanks to a hard tonneau cover. Unlike other EVs, the Ariya has no frunk (front trunk). The space under the hood stores the HVAC system and other components moved forward to provide more cabin space.

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceOn the Road
Nissan invited us to northern California to properly experience the new Ariya e-4ORCE. And although unplanned, some rainy weather provided plenty of wet roads to test the traction of the dual-motor all-wheel-drive system. Even on wet roads the Ariya exhibits smooth, effortless acceleration with speed that builds quickly. Cruising on the highway at high speed or tooling through town, the Ariya remains quiet and comfortable. The vehicle doesn’t have one-pedal driving, but an e-pedal option increases regenerative braking. It won’t bring the EV to a complete stop, but it slows the vehicle significantly when the driver lifts off the throttle.

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceImpressive Handling
Nissan created a handling course for us at Sonoma Raceway to push the limits of this EV in a controlled environment. When driven through a slalom on wet pavement, the Ariya tends to lean but tracks impressively well, staying perfectly balanced and in control with virtually no understeer or oversteer. This precise control was further emphasized when we made a 180-degree turn at a good clip, and the crossover EV negotiated the turn without the traction control cutting power. Driving the Ariya on wet, winding roads outside Sonoma, we were further impressed by the Ariya’s excellent handling with predictable behavior and responsive steering.

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceHands-Free Driving
The Ariya is the first Nissan to offer ProPilot Assist 2.0, the latest version of the brand’s advanced driver assist system. Available for use on select multi-lane highways, ProPilot Assist 2.0 operates like adaptive cruise control with three levels of engagement, color-coded in the driver display. White indicates standard adaptive cruise control that maintains a distance behind the car in front and can bring the vehicle to a complete stop if necessary. Green adds steering assist, and when the lights turn blue the driver may let go of the wheel and the car will drive itself. However, the driver must pay attention to the road; if that is not occurring the system disengages.

Observed Efficiency
During the drive through northern California, the 2023 Nissan Ariya’s trip computer indicated an average consumption of 3.0 miles/kWh, equating to 101 MPGe — much better than Nissan’s estimates. Range did not suggest that the Ariya could travel as far as Nissan advertised, but we saw this improve as we drove, so the initial range, which showed just 219 miles, likely resulted from the previous driver’s behavior.

© Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 9.0
The Ariya is a significant car for Nissan — as was the LEAF when it arrived in 2010. The first of many EVs in Nissan’s global plans, the Ariya is under a lot of pressure to impress — and it has. With the range and efficiency demanded of a current EV, the Ariya delivers a comfortable ride, a spacious interior and the expected utility of a 5-passenger crossover. Ariya gets the latest high-tech features — including Nissan’s first hands-free driving system — and an advanced dual-motor all-wheel-drive system. With impressive handling and performance, the new 2023 Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE is certainly worthy of consideration.

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