The Ariya's Impressive Interior Features Show Nissan Can Make A Practical EV Feel Luxurious

Electric SUVs and crossovers may be zero-emissions, but they need to still have maximum practicality if they're to be taken seriously. Nissan's new Ariya — launched in late 2022 in front-wheel drive form, with an Ariya e-4ORCE all-wheel drive version added in 2023 — makes no compromises there, taking full advantage of its electric architecture's flexibility while also delivering arguably the best cabin we've seen from the automaker in years.

Nissan has looked to its Japanese heritage for its interior design language, and the result treads a careful line between stylish and cliche. The dashboard is a broad sweep of fabric and wood, divided by a horizontal vent for the HVAC system. The Ariya cleverly avoids the dilemma of minimizing button clutter without leaving the console looking busy by using touch-sensitive buttons instead.

When the EV is switched off, the dashboard looks like a clean panel of wood. When driving, however, controls for temperature and other HVAC settings glow through, with haptic feedback to let you know you've pressed them successfully.

Japanese-inspired lighting and a sense of space

The Japanese theme continues with the lighting, which Nissan likens to traditional lanterns. The kumiko patterned panels in the footwell and doors glow subtly, emphasizing the expanse of relatively uninterrupted floor space. Nissan points to its flat floorplan — a benefit of sandwiching the EV drivetrain components under the floor — for enabling that.

Packaging some of those components under the hood, in lieu of a front trunk or "frunk," is another part of that strategy. "We wanted to prioritize where customers are sitting most of the time, in the car, for that lounge-like experience," Ted Kreder, Senior Manager for EV marketing and sales at Nissan USA, explained to SlashGear.

Meanwhile, select Ariya trims are available with Nappa leather, a lone luxury in the EV's segment. Laminated side glass, along with extra noise isolation and absorption materials, quieter motors, and even noise absorption integrated into the tire compound help keep sounds from out of the cabin. Indeed, Nissan claims the Ariya is quieter inside than any other electric crossover of this size.

Roominess from the category above

It's not short on storage space, either. While the Ariya is akin to Nissan's Rogue crossover in exterior length, it has a wheelbase more like that of the larger Murano. That pays dividends for interior spaciousness, plus enables a big trunk: at up to 59 cu-ft, it'll hold as many as three golf bags. As well as the usual cubbies, there's a sizable center console positioned between the driver and front passenger seats. That not only can accommodate larger electronics like an iPad but also has power adjustment. Buttons on the side allow it to slide forward — maximizing rear legroom — or back.

Nissan has also added a motorized drawer in the dashboard, which slides out and can be set to multiple positions. As well as storage, it also acts as a shelf: drivers could use it to prop up a phone or tablet, for example, while they wait at a DC fast charger.

Modern drivers have certain expectations, of course, and for that, Nissan has looked to a pair of 12.3-inch displays. The driver gets a reconfigurable gauge cluster, along with the interface for Nissan's ProPilot Assist 2.0 hands-free driver assistance, while the touchscreen in the center handles navigation — including locating nearby public chargers — multimedia, and vehicle settings. The smartphone-inspired UI also supports "Hey Nissan" voice-activated control, plus bakes in Amazon's Alexa assistant.