This concept is a concept in name only; underneath it lies a production model that’s ready to roll.

The Nissan Ariya Concept has arrived at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show. The all-electric crossover concept will take its place in Nissan’s booth in the show. But the Ariya Concept is far from a show car that will fall back into the shadows when the show ends. The Ariya Concept is a production-ready prototype that will eventually evolve to become Nissan’s second mass-market electric vehicle, joining the long-standing Leaf in that lineup. The production car — it will likely be called Ariya, too — will take plenty of cues from its concept counterpart. It’s not expected to hit the market until 2020, so for now, absorb everything you can absorb with the Ariya Concept. You’ll be seeing a lot more of the crossover in the near future.

2019 Nissan Ariya Concept Exterior

2019 Nissan Ariya Concept Exterior
- image 867855

Take a good long look at the Nissan Ariya Concept. There’s a good chance that you’re going to see it for a long time. I’m not just talking about the concept itself. I’m talking about the design it’s wearing.

See, the Ariya Concept isn’t just a preview of the production model that will soon carry the same name; it’s also a preview of a new design language for Nissan overall.

This is a huge step for Nissan, which has dipped into the same aesthetic well for years without fail. But that well has all but dried up and the Japanese automaker is ready to move on to a new styling package that will define all of its models moving forward.

2019 Nissan Ariya Concept Exterior
- image 867836

The first to score dibs on that new aesthetic is Nissan’s all-new, all-electric crossover, previewed in part by the Ariya Concept. One look at the concept and you can immediately tell that it looks different. It looks different from all of Nissan’s current lineup. There’s a freshness to it that we haven’t seen from Nissan in a long time. If the concept is a sign of Nissan’s design future, then sign us up for it.

Let’s start with the Ariya Concept’s overall profile. It takes the shape of a typical crossover, as it should. But it also looks smoother.

It’s not as angular as many of Nissan’s current sharply-creased models and it has a muscularity to it that oozes the kind of confidence you rarely see in a Nissan model.
2019 Nissan Ariya Concept Exterior
- image 867861

Up front, the Ariya Concept’s super-thin LED headlamps are a sign that Nissan’s ready to embrace this trend. The lighting setup flanks an all-new grille — Nissan calls it a “shield” because a grille has no purpose in an electric car — that looks a lot more integrated into the overall appearance of the concept. LED strips run along the opposite ends of the shield. I’m not sure this will translate to the production model, but it is a nice touch on the part of Nissan’s designers.

The rear section is arguably the busiest section of the Ariya Concept.

Since the concept comes with somewhat of a coupe-crossover look to it, Nissan’s designers dialed up the aggression by throwing in a steeply-raked C-pillar that blends naturally into the super aggressive-looking rear deck.

Speaking of aggressive, how about those rear fender flares and the high-mounted rear wing? Nissan’s definitely not being subtle in this section of the concept. Speaking of which, Nissan also adopted another industry fad by throwing in a one-piece light blade with blacked-out lenses that runs across the entire width of the body.

2019 Nissan Ariya Concept Exterior
- image 867849

The concept also sits on a set of fancy 21-inch wheels. I don’t expect these wheels to make it to the production version, though. They’re too fancy. The Ariya’s Sensei Blue paint finish, on the other hand, can transition easily from concept to production. The matte-like finish is a nice touch, and Nissan even threw in a little Easter egg with the large embedded glass flakes that produce billions of light refractions, reminiscent of a comet crossing the night sky.

Overall, the Nissan Ariya Concept looks stunning from the outside. If this is a sign of things to come as far as future Nissan models are concerned, then sign us up for that future.

Nissan Ariya Concept Exterior Dimensions
Length   4600 mm
  Width (excluding door mirrors)   1920 mm
  Height   1630 mm

2019 Nissan Ariya Concept Interior

2019 Nissan Ariya Concept Interior
- image 867832

One of the best things about the Nissan Ariya Concept is that even if it carries the “concept car” label, it’s not bombarded with futuristic elements that have as much chance of making it to the production side of things like the fancy set of wheels the crossover’s wearing. On the contrary, Nissan did a great job of massaging our expectations while still giving us a glimpse of what the future holds for a lot of its upcoming models.

Take the interior of the Ariya Concept. The button-free dashboard looks futuristic, but it’s not made from anything other than what you’d expect from the production version of the concept.

The instrument panel’s wood lower section, for example, is a solid design. The two large display screens, including the 12.3-inch display monitor on the dashboard will take some getting used to, but it’s not because the setup is evolutionary. We’ve seen it from a lot of premium automakers already, just not from Nissan.

2019 Nissan Ariya Concept Interior
- image 867834

The center console looks clean, as it should for a concept. You will find the electronic shifter there. Same thing with all the touch-sensitive controls located on the center stack. The setup is a nod to what we can expect from Nissan’s future model lineup, even if it’s not exactly something that we haven’t seen before.

The new seats showcase a thinner than usual frame. Nissan says that even with the thin frame, it’s super comfortable to sit on and it offers up more interior space, particularly in the legroom department. Hard to argue against that. The seat back and seat bottoms feature perforated leather upholstery, with most of the material concentrated on the driver and/or passenger’s lower back and hip touch. The seats aren’t just new; they’re comfortable, too.

2019 Nissan Ariya Concept Interior
- image 867831

Most of the materials that you’ll see in this section of the Ariya Concept aren’t new.

Fine black synthetic leather covers the instrument panel and inner door panels. That’s not new.

A different grade of synthetic leather with textured grain lines the A-pillar and ceiling. This one’s new in the context of Nissan, but not necessarily in the industry as a whole. The real highlight, though, are the satin copper-colored aluminum accents, incorporated into the instrument panel, seats and steering wheel. They exude a sense of unity with the exterior color. This design provides an effective visual contrast and adds much-needed depth to the cabin.

2019 Nissan Ariya Concept Interior
- image 867854

There are certain elements in the interior of the Ariya Concept that might not make it to the production model. As interested as I am in seeing a button-free dashboard in the production electric crossover, that’s unlikely to happen unless Nissan throws caution to the wind when it comes to the model’s costs. But for the most part, what you see in the cabin of the concept is what you should at least expect when the production version arrives sometime next year.

2019 Nissan Ariya Concept Drivetrain

2019 Nissan Ariya Concept Exterior
- image 867848

The Nissan Ariya Concept is an all-electric crossover. Let’s not get that part twisted. Nissan didn’t specify the kind of electric powertrain it’s carrying, but it did say that the crossover generates most of its power from a pair of electric motors located on each axle of the Ariya. The real figures, including range and performance numbers, will come at a later date.

That said, it’s feasible to think that the production version of the Ariya Concept will be powered by something similar to what Nissan installed in the Leaf Plus.

That would include a 60-kWh battery pack that will work in concert with the two aforementioned electric motors. Since the Leaf Plus only uses a recalibrated electric motor that produces 215 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque, the Ariya Concept’s two-motor setup should provide more power on tap for Nissan’s second mass-market EV. Are 300 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque a possibility? It could be. As far as range goes, it’s hard to imagine the production Ariya having a range of fewer than 200 miles on a single charge.

2019 Nissan Ariya Concept Exterior
- image 867891
Part of what makes the Ariya Concept interesting in the eyes of many is the technology that’s expected to translate into the production model. Nissan’s ProPILOT 2.0 is a big part of that.

The award-winning driver assistance system is capable of providing convenience like no other Nissan tech that has come before it. At its core, the system combines navigated highway driving with hands-off single-lane driving capabilities. It’s not a full-blown autonomous driving system, but ProPILOT 2.0 does offer a glimpse into what that future could be once Nissan has the full technology in place.

Final Thoughts

2019 Nissan Ariya Concept Exterior
- image 867840

Given that Nissan hasn’t been shy in saying that the Ariya Concept will transition into a production model in the near future, we can start speculating on what parts of the concept will end up in the production model. I’m a big fan of Nissan’s new design language. The old one had run its course completely to the point that every new model didn’t have anything unique to stand on aesthetically. On that note, the Ariya Concept arrives at just the right time.

It exudes the kind of freshness and modernity that we haven’t gotten from Nissan in a long time. Combine that with the promise of an all-electric setup to go with plenty of new driver-assistance technologies, and we could be looking at the start of a new era for Nissan, spearheaded by its second mass-market all-electric vehicle. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and proclaim Nissan’s return to prominence, but if the automaker uses the Ariya Concept to bridge that transition, that return to prominence might not be as far into the future as we thought.

  • Leave it
    • Nissan has a bit to prove in this space
    • How much of the concept will actually make it to production
    • Drivetrain setup could make or break the production model

Related Articles

2018 Nissan Leaf

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: