When it comes to concept cars, there are two main kinds. There’s the “half of this technology doesn’t exist yet” kind, like the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR we covered earlier this week. And then there’s the “new model we’re putting into production soon, but with a couple of cool touches that won’t.
” The Nissan Ariya is the second kind, and after first appearing at 2019’s Tokyo auto show, it has crossed the Pacific to meet the crowds at CES. And it’s going to be an important car for the beleaguered Japanese OEM as it’s almost certainly destined to go on sale next year as an all-electric alternative to the best-selling Nissan Rogue SUV.
Truth be told, the Ariya did exist as the first kind of concept—sort of. In 2017 Nissan unveiled the IMX at that year’s Tokyo show, which we learned would be powered by the company’s next-generation battery-electric powertrain. Comparing the two in the gallery above, you can see how the Ariya is much closer to road legality. It has conventional doors, with conventional door handles. There are side view mirrors. The bodywork doesn’t have large vertical slashes or vents that could swallow an errant pedestrian’s arm. And the interior is a little fashion-forward but basically sensible.
It’s still officially a concept, and Nissan is keeping most of the technical specs to itself for now, but we do know that it sports the company’s new twin-motor powertrain. The company also brought a modified Nissan Leaf to CES to show off the technology, which it’s calling e-4ORCE. It even let some journalists drive it, which might make this the first time I’ve felt a pang of FOMO regarding my decision not to fly to Las Vegas this year.
I’m also sure that the production Ariya will use proper active cooling for its battery pack, but feel free to print this out and mail it to me next year if that proves not to be the case.
On the inside there’s a single 12.3-inch display that combines the main instrument panel and the infotainment system. Perhaps cognizant of the distraction risk, the Ariya also features ProPilot 2.0, which is a more advanced electronic safety net that uses a proper driver monitoring system like the excellent Super Cruise from General Motors.