Nissan Ariya in Details

All the most interesting things about the Nissan Ariya, according to its designer

Last fall, Nissan unveiled the Ariya concept at the Tokyo motor show; the electric SUV was slightly larger than the X-Trail. Even then, we were surprised by its elegant design and interesting laconic interior that distinguished the AWD concept from both the Leaf EV and other mass-produced Nissans. The concept should soon turn into a production car and give rise to a whole line of new electronic vehicles. We talked to the main person responsible for the design of the Ariya —Giovanni Arroba.

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Before we delve into the story about the design of Nissan's electric concept, let's recall the main facts about equipment. The Nissan Ariya is based on the new CMF-EV platform. Its battery is hidden underbody, like that of the Nissan Leaf. However, thanks to a more thoughtful layout, the floor is flat (the Leaf has a noticeable tunnel in the middle). But the key difference is a Nissan e-4ORCE powertrain with two electric motors, one on each axle. Accordingly, a suspension is now different: a rear multi-link suspension has replaced a simple semi-independent one.

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A team of designers from Nissan USA, which is led by Giovanni Arroba, has embodied a new design language in the Ariya concept, also known as Silent Dynamism. The main idea is to create a dynamic form without resorting to excessive expression: the concept's sides are almost flat, with minimal decorative details and laconic contours.

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Giovanni Arroba has worked on the Infiniti Essence and the Nissan IMs, as well as the Nissan Maxima. It seems that now he has turned the direction of Nissan’s design 180 degrees. After all, the company tended to fancy forms the last ten years: sometimes it was successful (Nissan Juke), and sometimes it was not (Nissan Murano).

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In terms of overall dimensions, the Ariya roughly corresponds to the Nissan X-Trail: the new model is slightly shorter (4,600 mm), noticeably wider (1,930 mm) and lower (1,630 mm). But its wheelbase is longer by 7 cm (2,775 mm), and its engine compartment is understandably more compact, meaning the interior should be more spacious.

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The switch to electric traction made a radiator grille unnecessary. But the designers quickly realized that this deprived them of a powerful means of expression. Therefore, the Nissan Ariya has a “shield” in this place (a decorative insert made of transparent plastic that hides radar and a camera of the Nissan ProPILOT 2.0 system at the same time).

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Headlights resemble narrow LED “eyes”, running daylights — “fangs” framing a radiator grille… This is the “shield”.

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Effectively tilted C-pillars make the Nissan Ariya closer to an SUV coupe.

The Nissan has lost a rear logo, getting instead a large plate with the brand name above a license.

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The design of the Nissan Ariya is quite conservative, especially by the standards of an electric vehicle, and even a concept car. Giovanni Arroba explains that they were not creating an out-of-touch fantasy but a car that could be put into production. And it was also important to preserve “automotive” features, so that the EV would appeal to ordinary customers who are used to conventional cars, and not to just techies. Compare the Ariya with last year's IMq concept, a harbinger of the future of the Qashqai — that's where the designers came off to the fullest.

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Even side mirrors of the “Aria” are ordinary, and not cameras. Nissan explains that using displays is still too inconvenient. And therefore, the company preferred the good old mirrors.

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21-inch wheels have special aerodynamic design.

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The interior has a lot of air, subdued light from below, an ultra-laconic instrument panel and a cozy combination of warm wood with leather and artificial suede. This is probably how the term “timeless futurism” is translated from the design language into English.

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The floor is completely flat. A usually massive console with a selector of driving modes is reduced to an advanced armrest. As always with the Japanese, a whole philosophy is proclaimed here: the hieroglyph “MA” means “possession of emptiness”.

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There is a pair of 12.3- inch tablets in front of the driver. The first one is a dashboard, and the second — an infotainment system. Nissan does not approve of the passion for vertical “tablets”, as on Teslas, explaining that horizontal displays are more natural for human vision.

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It's hard to believe, but the number of glossy touch panels inside is reduced to a minimum! Most of the buttons are still touch-sensitive, they are just built into the wooden trim elements. An original solution that adds comfort!

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Thanks to designers, a sterile blue color has long been associated with electric vehicles. For example, such accents are used in the exterior and interior of the Nissan Leaf. But now Nissan will use much more comfortable copper-red inserts on its electric models — similar to copper windings in electric motors.

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Perhaps the most noticeable detail of the interior is a copper-red line of an air duct, which stretches the entire width of the cabin. By the way, to minimize a number of different equipment and to increase legspace, a climate control system is completely removed from the interior under the hood.

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Andon-lighting emphasizes the flat floor. The geometric pattern on the doors and under the fascia is called “Kumiko”. This is a reference to the national interior patterns of Japan. Nissan’s designers have already addressed this style on the anniversary GT-R 50.

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