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Cars in the City

Nissan’s Ariya is its first electric SUV

5/31/2023

The EV (electric vehicle) market is booming. Each year, automotive manufacturers jump on the plug-in band wagon, touting their new vehicles. Nissan first launched the Leaf in 2010. New for 2023, Nissan debuted its first electric SUV, the Ariya.

The Ariya Engage is a lower-end crossover SUV at $44,735. Aside from trim, what sets apart the EV models is the battery life.

The model test driven can go 216 miles per charge. A 35-minute charge gets you 80% power. A full charge takes about 10 hours. The battery size is 63 kwh. In comparison, a Hummer EV’s battery is 212 kwh, a Tesla runs from 85-100 kwh; while a Mini Cooper SE is 28.9 kwh. 

This SUV was easier to get into than other SUVs, as I didn’t have to climb up steeply with my bum knee.

The first thing I noticed was the dashboard. Where were all the knobs and buttons? There was one lone button in the center. Was this the power button for turning up the air or heat, or was it the volume? I’ve done my share of mixing up buttons, accidentally cranking the volume knob when I couldn’t figure out why it got so hot in there.

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It turns out this button was the stereo power and volume knob. The other controls are on a flat, illuminated panel, which can’t be seen until the vehicle is turned on. The sleek dash with clean lines looked classy.

As I like to rest my right arm on the console, I was surprised at the power center console. With a push of a button, it adjusts, sliding the console forward and back.

One thing I appreciate about an electric car is how quickly and quietly it takes off. This was one incredibly smooth ride, as I kept comparing it to my bumpy sedan.

The Nissan Connect app can serve as a virtual key. No more panicky “where are my keys” dilemma. Just open up the app on your phone or Apple watch to start the vehicle. You can even share access with up to seven other people. On second thought, do you normally hand out car keys to seven friends?

I typically don’t pop the hood; however, when I did, I expected to see a frunk (front trunk). The Ariya didn’t have a frunk. It was the just the motor and battery, with no extra storage, like some EVs.

In the back trunk area, the Divide and Hide cargo storage system allows six different configurations. You can buy birthday presents for the kids and hide it under a “shelf.” Or, if you don’t want your watermelon tumbling from side to side each time you turn the corner, put it in a smaller unit.

Some owners may think they can receive a tax credit on all new EVs. Check with your tax advisor. Many of those credits require that the car has final assembly in North America, and several foreign-made models don’t qualify.

The Nissan Ariya has many safety and customizable features. For Nissan’s first EV SUV, it was one smooth ride. ♦

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