While Nissan’s Ariya Concept didn’t capture as much attention as the all-new Honda Fit/Jazz or even the Mazda MX-30 at the Tokyo Motor Show (which is ongoing till 4th November), it is arguably the most intriguing exhibit at Tokyo Big Sight, the location of the biennial Japanese car show.
The significance of the Ariya is far-reaching as Nissan has termed it as ‘a complete reinvention of the brand’s design’, in short, this concept will set the design direction of future models. But more than that, the Ariya itself will make it to production ‘in the near future’ according to Nissan, which is entirely believable given that the vehicle show car already had working door handles and conventional side mirrors.
Some media outlets were quick to call the Ariya a replacement for the Murano, but this may not be the case as the Ariya sits on a new EV-only platform and its dimensions (length of 4600 mm is actually slightly shorter than the X-Trail) are more C-segment than large SUV. Besides, the relatively short front-quarter of the Ariya may not necessarily be conducive to housing a combustion engine.
Despite the modest proportions, Nissan managed to carve out a shape that’s attractive and forward thinking, based on a new ethos dubbed ‘Timeless Japanese Futurism’. The V-motion grille is still present, but in an electrified form, its silhouette subtly illuminated, with cameras and sensors housed behind the closed ‘shield’, since there isn’t an engine to cool.
Slim clusters of LEDs form the headlamps of the Ariya at the tips of the ‘V’, which is also where the shoulder line starts, running through the sides and joining a full-width illuminated strip which also incorporates tail-lamps at each end. The roof line of the Ariya is almost a perfect arc, with a steeply raked portion over the C-pillar, truncated by a sharp-looking rear end.
If the exterior doesn’t impress (unlikely), the interior surely would. Fans will be willing Nissan on to introduce the minimalist and jaw-dropping architecture of the dash layout. If this was found in a BMW or Audi, you’d believe it. Interaction is through haptic touch controls, with only a single knob to operate the 12.3-inch central display and climate control. Wow.
The Ariya is powered by two electric motors – one on each axle, so all-wheel drive is a given, but that’s the extent which Nissan revealed at TMS 2019 as far as technical specs are concerned. What we do know is that the Ariya will be armed to the teeth with the latest ‘hands off’ single lane and highway autonomous drive (under the ProPilot suite), smartphone integration, remote parking and of course, a voice-controlled virtual assistant when the Ariya is launched, in 2020 maybe?