UPDATE: A European press release for the 2021 Nissan Ariya offers additional details on variants and WLTP-estimated driving ranges, which we've added to the body of this story as a breakout.
July 15, 2020: The 2021 Nissan Ariya crossover has been revealed, debuting as the Japanese car maker's latest electric car after the Nissan Leaf and its first electric SUV, boasting all-wheel-drive capabilities, autonomous driving technology and more than 600 kilometres of range.
The first production model to bear the brand's redesigned logo, the Nissan Ariya made its debut in a virtual unveiling on July 15, over a year after it first appeared in concept form at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show.
The electric crossover is scheduled to go on sale in Japan in mid-2021, where it will be priced from 5 million yen ($66,572 AUD), before landing in Europe, North America and China by the end of 2021.
While the car is yet to be confirmed for an Australian launch, Nissan's local arm is "keen" to add the Ariya to its line-up.
CarAdvice understands that if it were to come here, the Ariya would likely not arrive until 2022, with a local price point positioned to compete with the Tesla Model 3 – which currently starts at $73,900 before delivery fee, order fee and on-road costs.
The Ariya launches with four variants in the range – a pair of two-wheel-drive (2WD) offerings with a single electric motor driving the front wheels only, and two all-wheel-drive (AWD) offerings. The latter models feature Nissan's 'e-4ORCE' all-wheel-drive system consisting of two electric motors, one driving each axle.
Each drivetrain option comes with the choice of either a 65kWh battery or a larger 90kWh battery, with the larger battery offering up to 610km of range in 2WD guise, according to Japan's WLTC procedure. (See below for our updated WLTP information.)
Meanwhile, the 65kWh battery offers up to 450km of range in 2WD variants, or up to 430km in AWD variants.
Peak performance in the Ariya range can be found in the flagship AWD Ariya variant with 90kWh battery, which boasts top outputs of 290kW of power and 600Nm of torque and a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 5.1 seconds. Both AWD va290riants offer a top speed of 200km/h.
UPDATE: Nissan's European press release for the Ariya details an additional, lower-spec AWD 90kWh variant, offering 225kW of power instead of the 290kW already detailed in this story. That model claims a 0-100km/h time of 5.7 seconds, and a WLTP-estimated driving range of up to 460 kilometres.
In the European release, the top-spec 90kWh model is described as the '87kWh Performance' ('useable' battery capacity numbers have been rounded up by Nissan on all models from 63kWh to 65kWh, and 87kWh to 90kWh.)
Other WLTP estimated range figures include 360km and 500km for the 2WD 65kWh and 2WD 90kWh models respectively, while the e-4orce AWD models claim 340km, 460km and 400km for the 65kWh, 90kWh and 90kWh (87kWh Performance) models respectively.
The Ariya is the first Nissan vehicle to be built on the all-new electric-only platform developed as part of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, which sees the flat battery placed in the centre of the vehicle to allow for 50:50 weight distribution.
The Ariya is also one of the first production cars to receive ProPilot 2.0, Nissan's next-generation autonomous driving technology, which allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel in certain conditions and is capable of performing lane changes, passing and highway exiting with driver supervision.
The Ariya also receives Nissan's ProPILOT Remote Park, which allows owners to park the vehicle in tight spots from the outside when standing within six metres of the car – no driver required.
Design-wise, Nissan says the brief for the Ariya was "sleek, sexy and seamless", with a shield-like grille bearing the brand's new digital-friendly logo.
The Ariya also features a low, coupe-style roofline, 19-inch aluminium wheels and a two-tone black roof, which is available with 10 body paint options (including the Akatsuki copper shade pictured in this article).
Inside, there's a 12.3-inch central screen and a 12.3-inch digital instruments cluster, plus a full colour head-up display.
The minimalist dashboard houses a central wooden panel with integrated climate controls, while the car's centre console is adjustable and memory settings allow drivers to store their placement preferences.
The voice command system in the Ariya features natural-language understanding and works in tandem with Apple Siri and Amazon Echo, while the infotainment interface incorporates Amazon Alexa for vehicle-to-home commands (like turning on the air conditioning in your house while you drive home).
Boot capacity comes in at 466 litres in the 2WD Ariya models, or 408L in AWD Ariya models – the latter losing space to accommodate the rear motor.
The Ariya kicks off Nissan's plan to roll out 12 new models in 18 months, with the company hoping to introduce autonomous driving technology in 20 models across 20 markets and sell more than 1 million electrified vehicles a year by the end of fiscal 2023.
Will the Nissan Ariya come to Australia?
Nissan has yet to announce the Ariya for Australia, but it also hasn't written off our chances.
The company's local arm has confirmed it is keen and working to get its stylish electric SUV into the Australian market, although buyers should be prepared for pricing that would bring it close to Tesla's Model 3.