Ariya concept points the way forward for Nissan's electric crossover plans
Almost as if to redeem itself for the hideous IMk concept we looked at earlier this month, Nissan has unveiled a much more attractive, if conservative, electric crossover concept in Tokyo. It heralds a production version in the near future.
The Ariya concept is based, like many electrics, on a reasonably flat chassis. The battery lives in the floor, and there are compact electric motors fore and aft delivering power to all four five-bladed 21-inch wheels. As a concept, there's no information yet on performance, capacity or range, except to say that the drivetrain is "high performance" and should offer power "equal to or better than many premium sports cars" a la what Tesla has made de rigeur in the electric segment.
The look is what's important here, as Nissan says some of its styling elements are likely to make it onto a production vehicle sooner rather than later. Things like the single, clean "horizon line" that runs all the way around the exterior at the door line, the rear "light blade" taillight that follows the horizon line across, and the sporty-looking sloping roof.
The front "grille" is a bit of a throwback to the days when cars needed grilles. But it's attractive enough, and its 3D textured surface hides radars and sensors the car needs for its ProPilot 2.0 semi-autonomous cruise mode, which can keep you in a single lane on a freeway, and manage some limited overtaking thanks to 360-degree road sensing.
The interior feels open and spacious, particularly thanks to the flat floor afforded by the skateboard-ish chassis. It's a humble and minimalist offering, with most of its control buttons integrated into smooth wooden panels. They only light up when they're available for use, disappearing when they're not, and there's haptic feedback through the panel to let you know when you've pressed one. There are some textural patterns that light up to add a technical, luxurious feel. It looks very neat.
It's not a particularly wild design; the wheels are a little out there, but the rest of the car looks handsome, clean, modern, comfortable and tidy. A mid to high end family electric crossover that would find plenty of fans in the market at the right price. Let's see how it survives the transition to production spec!
Check out a video below.