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The Nissan Ariya is poised to become the next hit EV

The Leaf’s manufacturer is going all out with electrified cars

Leaf owners now have a crossover SUV option. PHOTO FROM NISSAN

Nissan has launched the Ariya full-electric crossover SUV. On face value alone, this thing looks like a bigger Leaf, which makes it a more practical family vehicle and more relevant in today’s SUV-crazy world. But we think it also has the right stuff to make it the next must-have electric vehicle.

Compared to the Leaf’s rather subtle styling, the Ariya appears sharp and rakish. The vehicle adopts a streamlined profile that not only looks good, but also probably does wonders for the car’s maximum range. The Ariya sports a combination of origami-like creases and flowing lines that should work in its favor as a head-turner. The V-motion grille with integrated LEDs is very stylish and should have necks craning for this crossover even at night.

The X-Trail suddenly looks old compared to this EV. PHOTOS FROM NISSAN

Contrasting the complex exterior is the Ariya’s rather plain cabin. The tiller is a simple two-spoke design, and the minimalist dashboard only has a wide display screen and the instrumentation sticking out. Being an EV does make the Ariya a very spacious cocoon for its passengers with its lack of a transmission tunnel.

Despite its intended purpose as an eco-friendly family hauler, the Ariya can be driven in a spirited fashion. While the car’s two-wheel-drive version is the ideal inner-city cruiser, the all-wheel-drive variant is the one to get for keen drivers. Its e-4orce technology has roots in the GT-R’s ATTESA E-TS system, allowing the Ariya to maintain traction even on loose surfaces. The battery pack sits low in the vehicle, so cornering is stable and sure-footed.

The car looks like it came back from the future. PHOTOS FROM NISSAN

The Ariya can be had with either a 65kWh or a 87kWh battery pack in 2WD and AWD configurations. The most powerful combination is the 87kWh battery with AWD, which is good for 389hp and 600Nm. In this specification, the Ariya sprints to 100km/h from a standstill in 5.1 seconds, and has a full-charge range of up to 580km. As for charging, the battery pack has a thermal control device that regulates its operating temperature, which maximizes its potential range. The Ariya can also recoup 375km of range in as little as 30 minutes from the Japan-specific CHAdeMO charging system.

This car comes equipped with the ProPilot 2.0 system, which is Nissan’s high-tech slew of driver-assist devices. Using a network of cameras, radar detectors and sonar, ProPilot 2.0 allows the Ariya to drive and navigate autonomously under the driver’s constant watch, monitored by a system that detects the attention levels of whoever is behind the wheel.

We like the minimalist character of the cockpit. PHOTOS FROM NISSAN

Aside from the safety tech, the car’s convenience features include the Amazon Alexa virtual assistant. This lets occupants to conveniently perform in-car functions using voice commands (such as changing climate control settings, making hands-free calls, or opening the garage door). As Nissan envisions improving the Ariya’s capabilities even further, the car can update its firmware remotely—without the need to go to a Nissan service center.

Prices for the Ariya start at around ¥5,000,000 (P2,311,000), with deliveries in Japan beginning in mid-2021. Quite pricey, but if the Leaf’s success is anything to go by, it won’t be long before we see these electric crossovers quietly cruising through the world’s city centers.

Miggi Solidum

Miggi is an editor-at-large at VISOR. Professionally speaking, he is a software engineering dude who happens to like cars a lot. And as an automotive enthusiast, he wants a platform from which he can share his motoring thoughts with fellow petrolheads. He writes the 'G-Force' column.