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The 2023 Nissan Ariya is the Japanese auto giant’s latest EV offering, and it’s a major departure from the cheap and popular Nissan Leaf. Unlike the Leaf, the Ariya is a compact crossover SUV, which should help it do well in the SUV-obsessed American car market. There are other reasons why the 2023 Nissan Ariya may do well, and one of them may be helpful for first-time EV owners in particular.

A look at the 2023 Nissan Ariya

J.D. Power recently got a chance to test drive the Nissan Ariya, which was deemed a solid EV option overall. Nissan designed the car on a dedicated EV platform, which has some obvious design benefits. For example, the floor is flat, and rather than having a frunk, the SUV’s climate control system is where the engine bay usually is. The Ariya starts at about $43,000, but due to its small size, it won’t have much cargo capacity for the price.

With the rear seats folded down, the Nissan EV has a max of 59.7 cu. ft. of space. Like many other EVs, the Ariya has a variety of powertrain configurations. When equipped with the 238-hp electric motor and the 91-kWh Extended Range battery, the electric SUV should get about 265 miles on a single charge. That’s not out of the ordinary for an EV, but what’s unique about the Ariya is how it drives.

The Nissan Ariya drives like a gas-powered car

A bronze paint color 2023 Nissan Ariya all-electric (EV) compact SUV model driving past fields of wheat
2023 Nissan Ariya | Nissan Motor Corporation

The electric crossover SUV segment is booming with SUVs like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6. However, compared to how those cars drive, the 2023 Nissan Ariya feels more like a gas-powered car, according to J.D. Power. This is difficult to describe, as many drivers haven’t driven an EV before. Overall though, due to how electric motors work, EVs tend to have a lot of torque, which allows many EVs to accelerate quickly.

This is a good thing for some drivers, as fast acceleration times can be fun and helpful for overtaking. However, some drivers may not like this aspect of EVs, as they’re not used to the fast acceleration times that regular EVs tend to get. The Ariya, meanwhile, takes about 7.5 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph with its standard motor. That acceleration time is a good middle ground between being too fast and too slow.

The electric SUV drives like a gas-powered car in other ways, too. Its braking and overall handling were “composed, direct, and distinctly lacking in drama.” Its suspension also felt like a gas-powered car, as EVs tend to feel heavier when driving around a corner. Due to how similar the Ariya feels to a gas-powered car, it can make an excellent first EV, as drivers won’t have to relearn everything.

Other great things about the Ariya EV

Many EVs offer many high-tech features, and the Japanese automaker did something similar with the Nissan Ariya. This was an area that J.D. Power liked about the electric SUV, as Nissan had a relatively unique take on its infotainment system. The EV’s infotainment system features a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster display and a 12.3-inch digital display. 

However, one central part of its infotainment system is the voice-recognition system. The EV uses Amazon Alexa and other technologies to allow drivers to access features with the sound of their voice. The Ariya also comes with a long list of smart safety features, and the EV has access to ProPilot Assist 2.0, Nissan’s semi-autonomous self-driving system.

Related 5 Things You Should Know About the 2023 Nissan Ariya EV SUV

5 Things You Should Know About the 2023 Nissan Ariya EV SUV