Nissan Ariya Concept: Shape of Things to Come

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Mazda wasn’t the only Japanese automaker to lift the sheet on an electric crossover at the Tokyo Motor Show today. Nissan got in on the game, revealing a crossover “concept” that looks ripe for the production line.

As opposed to past concepts like the IMk and IMx, this Nissan has a name — Ariya, which one assumes is pronounced “area.” The compact EV crossover also dispenses with the usual gee-whiz concept car trappings, looking very much like a vehicle bound for showrooms. Nissan leaves no doubt that the Ariya, or something almost identical to it, could soon become a reality.

“Although it’s a concept vehicle, the crossover EV’s bold styling and unconventional interior and exterior elements could make it into production in the near future,” the automaker stated.

Sporting two electric motors of unspecified output and a dedicated EV platform, the Ariya boasts a coupe-like roofline and sharply raked rear glass. Its design falls under the banner of what Nissan dubs “Timeless Japanese Futurism,” with smoother flanks and sharp creases only at the beltline and where the sides transition to a scalloped, aerodynamic rear. Corey will be excited to use the word “heckblende” when describing the full-width taillamps. (This writer would rather commit seppuku than use the term.)

Filling each wheel well are 21-inch hoops; big, but within the realm of possibility, unlike other concepts. Up front, the automaker endowed the vehicle with what appears to be a grille, but is actually a sensor-embedded “shield.” It’s better than bare real estate.

Elsewhere, copper-colored accents spring up in the wheels and the division between roof and bodyside. “It symbolizes the dawn of a new automotive era while also giving a nod to traditional Japanese artisans who formed copper into works of functional art,” Nissan stated, despite the fact that the golden metal is just as often associated with electricity as it is the rising sun.

The cabin of the vehicle is a minimalist affair, as the future is all about being inside one’s mind, we suppose. Haptic touch controls and an absence of protruding knobs and buttons are on offer, just like in a sci-fi movie (or a first-gen Chevy Volt). Actually, there is one knob for the 12.3-inch infotainment screen, and climate controls will require physical articulation of movable objects.

Beneath the Ariya’s floor lurks a battery pack of unknown proportions. Nissan hasn’t talked up battery size or projected range, though it did confirm to Roadshow that buyers of vehicles built on this architecture can expect a range of battery sizes, as well as a single-motor, two-wheel drive option. Being a value brand, it would be weird for Nissan to not offer a lower-end configuration.

Will the Ariya or something like it make it stateside? No one’s saying, though the fully-baked concept’s name has been trademarked in the U.S.

[Images: Nissan]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • JOHN One is for sale on an ebay car donation site.
  • Scott So they are losing hundreds of millions of dollars and they are promising us a “Cheaper EV”? I wonder how that will look and feel? They killed the Fiesta because they claimed that they couldn’t make a profit on them and when I bought the first one in late 2010 they couldn’t deliver the accessories I wanted for it! Then I bought a 2016 Fiesta ST and again couldn’t get the accessories for it I wanted. They claimed that the components were going to be available, eventually. So they lost on that one as well! I don’t care about what they say anymore. I’ve moved on to another brand.
  • Michael S6 CX 70 or 90 will not be on my buying list. Drove a rental base CX 90 and it was noisy and the engine noise was not pleasant. Ride was rough for a family SUV. Mazda has to understand that what is good for Miata isn't what we expect in semi luxury SUV. My wife's 2012 Buick Enclave has much better Ride and noise level albeit at worse gas millage. Had difficulty pairing my phone with Apple CarPlay
  • Michael S6 What is the metric conversion between one million barrels and the number of votes he expects to buy.
  • NJRide This could give Infiniti dealers an extra product maybe make it a sub brand