I drove the electric Nissan Ariya SUV. It's a strong rival to Tesla, but not as tech-forward and fun to drive.
Nissan recently started selling its new electric SUV, the 2023 Ariya, and I got to drive it.
It's a strong rival to Tesla, but not as tech-forward and fun to drive.
The 2023 Ariya Empower+ that Nissan loaned to me costs just under $60,000.
More than a decade after releasing the pioneering Leaf in 2010, Nissan is back with its second electric vehicle.
It's called the Ariya, and I got to drive it.
Let me show you around the new Tesla rival and tell you everything you need to know.
The 2023 Ariya SUV comes in a variety of trim levels and battery sizes. The cheapest model retails for $43,190.
Choose a fancier trim and some options, and you could pay around $60,000. That's the cost of the Ariya Empower+ model that Nissan loaned me.
Read more: I drove Nissan's electric Ariya SUV — it proves that 13 years after the Leaf, the automaker can compete with Tesla
All-wheel drive is optional and adds an extra motor. The SUV I tested was front-wheel drive.
When it comes to styling, the Ariya isn't quite as futuristic looking as a Kia EV6 or Polestar 2, but it isn't boring either. It's stylish and somewhat distinctive, but not over the top.
Hop inside and you're greeted by a surprisingly spacious and upscale-feeling interior.
My test car had leatherette seats, faux-wood trim, and a big moonroof.
Without an engine taking up space, electric cars offer a lot more packaging flexibility than gas vehicles, often creating more room for passengers and cargo.
Some companies take advantage of that freedom better than others. And the Ariya feels super spacious and open.
Read more: The 14 longest-lasting SUVs that are most likely to drive 250,000 miles
Nissan created a large open space in front of the center console, which makes the whole cabin feel airy instead of cramped.
The back seats are roomy. Even with the driver's seat all the way back, I still had ample legroom.
Plus, back-seat passengers get USB ports and, optionally, heated seats.
One quirk of the Ariya: You can choose an adjustable center console that moves forward and backward using little buttons facing the driver.
Here it is in its farthest-back position.
Read more: The 23 longest-lasting cars, trucks, and SUVs that are most likely to hit 250,000 miles
Slim air vents running across the width of the vehicle and a lack of buttons add to the minimalist, uncluttered vibe.
Capacitive buttons — the kind you tap rather than click — are integrated into wood pieces on the dashboard and center console.
That means you don't have to use the touchscreen for some of the most-used functions, like the temperature and fan speed.
Open and close switches by the gear selector grant access to a funky storage drawer that electronically drops out from under the dash.
Read more: More and more Americans don't want electric cars
You can use it as a little desk if you keep the cover on.
Drivers get a digital gauge cluster and a touchscreen on a curved panel.
Both screens are easy to read and operate.
But they're pretty basic and don't offer all the tech features you'd find in a car like a Tesla.
Read more: After testing more than 25 electric cars, these 5 were the most fun to drive
My tester came with extra tech like a digital rear-view mirror. It helped with rearward visibility, since the Ariya's back window is tiny.
The Ariya drives a lot like other mainstream electric SUVs. It's quiet and smooth.
Like in other EVs, acceleration comes on abruptly and helps with quick merges. But overall, the front-wheel-drive Ariya isn't as exciting behind the wheel as other electric models.
The all-wheel-drive, dual-motor model offers more power, but I haven't tested that one.
Where the Ariya really excels is range. My tester is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency for 289 miles, and the longest-range version goes up to 304.
Read more: A 9-hour drive in Toyota's new electric SUV showed me how brutal EV road trips can be with the wrong car
I also enjoyed ProPilot 2.0, Nissan's driver-assistance feature that offers hands-free driving on some highways.
It relieved the monotony of stop-and-go traffic and uses cameras to make sure you pay attention when it's engaged. That's a nice safety feature.
All Ariyas come with a generous assortment of safety tech, including blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping, and rear cross-traffic alerts.
Between its stylish interior, straightforward controls, and healthy range, the Ariya is a great little SUV. It proves that 13 years after helping pioneer electric cars with the Leaf, Nissan is ready to challenge today's best EVs.
Read the original article on Business Insider