It’s tough to please car enthusiasts with concepts, isn’t it? Things that are too wild get dismissed as abstractions, then we’re presented with something vaguely practical it feels boring. The Nissan Ariya concept seems inoffensive but I’m having a hard time feeling anything resembling excitement for it.
I see some blogs and sites are describing the Ariya as “ready for global driveways” and “basically production-ready” because the vehicle’s proportions look realistic, which, sure, but all Nissan officially states is that the concept car “signals the dawn of a new era” and “could make it into production in the near future,” which is in pretty much every concept car press release.
The design is supposed to be an evolution of the 2017 Nissan IMx concept. Since I’m sure you’ve forgotten that, if you can’t be bothered to click the link I’ve provided, imagine the Ariya you’re looking at here but also a paper airplane.
The Ariya trotted out at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show does have a much more realistic-looking interior than the IMx, with a pretty standard steering wheel and minimalist dash dominated by a wide infotainment display.
Here’s how Nissan sells it:
“Characterized by the concepts “sleek,” “seamless” and “sexy,” the Nissan Ariya Concept features examples of this new design language throughout the exterior, including wide front fenders, super-thin LED headlights, as well as the front shield (typically a grille on a gasoline-powered vehicle) which is emblazoned with a bespoke, illuminated Nissan emblem. The shield incorporates a subtle geometric pattern that reveals itself when the electrified V-motion signature is illuminated.”
The Ariya concept is 181 inches long, about 76 inches wide and 64 inches tall, making it a little smaller-but-fatter than a Nissan Rogue (185 inches long, 72 wide and 69 tall) for your reference. So, it’s a fairly diminutive vehicle despite big 21-inch wheels.
If Nissan’s going to take a real swing at the electric car market, a small crossover is certainly a logical place to move to from the competent but compact Leaf. This is a hugely popular class of car and offering electrification there could go a long way toward continuing widespread adoption of EVs.
I’m seeing a lot of Tesla Model X with a dash of Audi Q8 in the Ariya’s silhouette, but then again I can never resist looking for comparables in new cars.