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2021 Nissan Ariya Will be a Tough Audi Q4 e-tron Competitor

Hot on the heels of the Audi Q4 e-tron announcement, yet another EV SUV has hit the scene and it comes from a surprising brand — Nissan. While Nissan was one of the very first brands to adopt mass-produced electric mobility, with the original Leaf, the famous Japanese brand had been quiet on the electric front over the past few years. However, while most of the Western world slept, the Nissan Ariya made its official debut and it seems like it could be a big problem for the rest of the electric crossover segment.

 

When the Ariya goes on sale, it will offer a choice of four different powertrain/battery combinations. The two battery choices will be comprised of a 63 kWh and an 87 kWh battery pack. Both battery sizes can come with either a single motor, two-wheel drive powertrain or a dual-motor, all-wheel drive powertrain. Thus totaling four different combinations to choose from.

The longest range Nissan Ariya will be the 87 kWh, single-motor car, which will pack a maximum range of around 300 miles, which is said to be US EPA-rated. In terms of power, that single-motor car will only make 215 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. However, the dual-motor car will actually be quite quick. Thanks to 389 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, the Nissan Ariya will be capable of 0-60 mph in around five seconds. According to Nissan, the Ariya will also have a perfect 50:50 weight distribution (dual-motor), so it should handle well, too.

 

Compared to the Audi Q4 e-tron, the Ariya will be quite competitive, if Audi’s concept specs are accurate. The Q4 will pack an 82 kWh battery which will give it 279 miles of range for the dual-motor car and 310 miles for the single-motor car. However, it’s to be noted that those are WLTP-rated numbers, not EPA numbers. The latter of which are always significantly lower, so it’s possible that the Nissan will have a longer range once both cars hit the ‘States.

 

In terms of power, the dual-motor Q4 e-tron will pack 225 kW (301 horsepower) and send power to all four wheels. According to Audi, 0-62 mph will happen in 6.3 seconds. So it’s less powerful and slower than the Ariya.

 

Thanks to liquid cooling for the battery pack, the Nissan Ariya is capable of 130 kW DC fast-charging. While that’s not quite as impressive as any of Audi’s e-tron products, which are all capable of 150 kW charging, it’s better than the Jaguar I-Pace, which taps out at 100 kW.

It’s not a bad looking car, either. It’s not gorgeous but it certainly has a fun, EV-like design language that makes it looks like something more special than the average Nissan crossover. Its interior is also quite nice, proving that modern minimalism doesn’t have to be boring. Thanks to its dual-screen dashboard setup, ambient lighting that spans the entire dash and hidden haptic touch buttons in both the dash and the center console, the Ariya makes the Tesla Model 3 look like a prison cell. Though, I’ve never seen a steering wheel stripe at 6 0’clock. Odd.

 

I haven’t even gotten to the best part — price. The Nissan Ariya will start at around $40,000 in the US market, as far as Nissan has told US-based journos. We don’t know what sort of pricing the Audi Q4 e-tron will have but it’s likely going to be more expensive than the Ariya. The Ariya is also about $10,000 cheaper than the Tesla Model Y and comes with similar range.

 

Obviously, luxury, comfort, technology, performance and dynamics are all still up in the air. Those factors will weigh in on customers from premium brands that might take a look at the Ariya. However, for anyone that’s looking for a good EV first and a premium car second, the Nissan Ariya will be tough to beat. It also doesn’t look great for brands like Audi that Nissan is packing more range at a lower price. Nissan just threw a big monkey wrench into the world of electric crossovers.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.