Skip to main content

Electric SUVs are becoming more popular, so the 2023 Nissan Ariya is right on time. The Ariya is the Japanese automaker’s first foray into the EV SUV market and the newest electric offering next to the Leaf. I have the privilege of driving the Ariya this week, and so far, I’m impressed with the car’s design, power, and battery life. Let’s take a closer look.

The 2023 Nissan Ariya has a timeless and futuristic look

A rear view of the 2023 Nissan Ariya
2023 Nissan Ariya | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

I’ll admit that I thought the 2023 Nissan Ariya looked weird in pictures, but it looks much better in person. My tester for the week has a Passion Red and black two-toned paint scheme that makes it stand out among the bland-looking Prii and Teslas on the road. EV shots fired, I know.

Jokes aside, Nissan incorporated its new design philosophy, “Timeless Japanese Futurism,” into the Ariya’s design. A large shield upfront takes the place of a normal grille since the EV powertrain doesn’t need as much airflow. The shield has a 3D “Kumiko” pattern that works well with the thin LED headlights and hides the front parking sensors. It’s bold, but it works.

A horizontal line links the front fascia with the side of the car and extends to the rear. In the back of the car, an LED “light blade” taillight treatment, a small rear window, and a sporty spoiler give the Ariya a more distinct road presence. Overall, I think the car’s design should withstand the test of time as it looks futuristic but not overbearing – like the Juke.

The Ariya has plenty of power, but its brakes are questionable

The electric motor in the 2023 Nissan Ariya
2023 Nissan Ariya | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

If you include the AWD trims separately, the Nissan Ariya comes in eight different trim levels. My test car is the top-trim Platinum + model with the brand’s e-4ORCE AWD system. It uses a dual-motor 87-kWh setup, with a motor between the front and rear axles, for a combined power rating of 389 hp while spinning all for wheels.

Like all EVs, the power gets put through the wheels in an instant, and the torque is tremendous when you put the right pedal to the floor. There are no complaints there. However, I will complain about the brake pedal, which feels soft compared to every other car I have driven.

The brakes bite halfway down the pedal travel, which makes it feel like they are worn out. Have you ever driven a car with worn brake pads or warper rotors? That’s what the Nissan Ariya’s brakes feel like right out of the box – and my tester only has around 5,000 miles on the odometer.

I will note, though, that my Ariya test car is a pre-production model. That’s a chance that not all production-ready Ariyas have brakes like this, but it’s good to note regardless.

The Nissan Ariya has plenty of electric range for my daily errands

A view from the steering wheel in the 2023 Nissan Ariya
2023 Nissan Ariya | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Last month, I tested the 2023 Lexus RZ, which only had around 190 miles of range. I had to charge a few times during the week I had it to ensure I didn’t run out of juice while running errands – granted, I drove around a lot that week.

On the flip side, the Nissan Ariya has over 260 miles of range, which is more than enough for my week of driving. It brings me peace of mind knowing that I won’t need to charge it. Although, I probably will charge it anyway to test out how long it takes to do so.

Check back for our full review of the 2023 Nissan Ariya, which will include more of its specs, features, and my impressions.