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Nissan Ariya is a 300-mile all-electric crossover with a $40,000 price tag

The Ariya is Nissan's first all-electric SUV.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The long-anticipated Nissan Ariya has broken cover offering futuristic design language, 300 miles of range, and available all-wheel drive. The crossover is a big leap forward for Nissan, which has been sidelined by the competition in recent years by a lack of hybrid and all-electric model offerings, as well as a shortage of progressive design.

Its introduction marks a significant step in a four-year plan meant to enhance Nissan's reputation for innovation, craftsmanship, customer-focus and quality. A component of that initiative is introducing 10 new models in the next 20 months (it was 18 but it looks like the COVID-19 outbreak has pushed plans back a bit).

2022 Nissan Ariya The model comes with a fuel-saving wheel design.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Ariya is the company's first all-electric SUV offering. It will be sold globally and some features may not be available in all markets.

The Ariya is a two-row, five-seat crossover that takes advantage of platform design and battery power to have a flat load floor, compact climate controls, and spacious cabin. Its dimensions are nearly identical to the 2021 Nissan Rogue, though it is about two inches skinnier and one inch shorter.

Its exterior is extremely similar to the Ariya concept model shown in 2019. It has body styling that helps it blend in with its Nissan stablemates, including a floating roof, but features a fresh take on the company's signature V-motion grille that's been adapted for advanced technological offerings.

LED headlights up front feature a striking diagonal design that is horizontal and slim up top but follows the downward slope of the grille below. Smack dab in the center of the grille is the new Nissan logo, which will illuminate.

2022 Nissan Ariya The back is pinched to feature a LED light bar running the width of the vehicle with the letters "NISSAN" spelled out across the tailgate.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Earlier this year, Nissan explained that the Ariya concept had something called a "sensor shield" up front, which served to house the vehicle's sensors and cameras. It looks like that design approach has followed the concept to reality.

The model Nissan is showing off in the debut has a fair amount of black accents - something on-trend with what today's shoppers are looking for - on window surrounds, fascia, and fenders. Twin black antennas sit atop the roof.

The model rides on 19- or 20-inch wheels, wrapped in 235/55R19 or 255/45R20 tires, depending on grade.

Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard in the model and e-4orce all-wheel drive (AWD) is available. Nissan will sell the Ariya in four variants: front wheel drive with standard or long range, and all-wheel drive with standard or long range.

2022 Nissan Ariya In place of a traditional grille is something Nissan calls its "sensor shield".Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Ariyas equipped with FWD are powered by a one electric motor while AWD models have two. FWD Ariyas have their motor paired with a 65-kilowatt-hour battery (63 kilowatts are usable) and AWD versions have a 90-kilowatt-hour battery (87 kilowatts are usable). The driver's information display showcases the projected available range in kilometers/miles and percent of charge remaining as well as a power meter to show how much energy is being used to perform current driving functions in terms of percent.

The model will be equipped with driving modes. Photos indicate that there is a Standard mode. An Eco mode is likely as is another that is, perhaps, sportier. Drive modes are chosen using a haptic button on the center console that illuminates. That button sits alongside an automatic parking button that is above the e-Pedal control.

The vehicle supports Level 2 charging speeds of up to 7.2 kilowatts. DC fast charging via a CCS connection is capable of charging up to 130 kilowatts. The charging port is located on the side of the vehicle, not at the front where the LEAF has it.

2022 Nissan Ariya The new Nissan logo sits up front and illuminates.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan's internal estimates put the car at having an all-electric range of up to 300 miles.

The Ariya is capable of producing 214 to 388 horsepower and 221 to 443 pound-feet of torque.

Ariya has a unique shifter that goes away from push-button designs like what you'll find in the Hyundai Nexo and instead heads into BMW territory with more of a moving module design.

The D-shaped steering wheel design incorporates controls for traditional functionalities. Operations for volume control, seeking, pulling up a menu, ProPilot Assist, phone call operations, and following distance all appear to be haptic controls. Other buttons and dials control scrolling, cancelling, and lane change technology. The housing appears to show a multi-way electric wheel positioning control.

2022 Nissan Ariya Nissan has designed the interior of the model to be like a lounge.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan ProPilot Assist 2.0 enables hands-off single-lane highway operation. The car also offers one-pedal e-Pedal driving capability that uses only the accelerator pedal to accelerate and decelerate.

Nissan's "Timeless Japanese Futurism" design aesthetic translates to the interior where large, tablet-like screens have no place. Though design by Volvo, Ram, Mercedes-Benz, and Tesla have showcased such screens in their vehicles, Nissan is going the way of Hyundai and Kia, which are relying on more traditional screen size and placement.

It looks to have the same 12.3-inch infotainment screen that was in the Ariya concept with one of matching side directly in front of the driver. This is similar to what Polestar showed off in its Precept concept car earlier this year. These appear to be twin screens in one housing rather than one large screen like in the redesigned 2021 Cadillac Escalade.

The clean design of the driver's information screen leaves a fair amount of room in the center to show the vehicle surroundings, including the car in front of it. There's likely more to the screen than that, plus the usual time, temperature, and activated systems alerts but we'll have to wait to learn more.

2022 Nissan Ariya The car features two large screens, one in front of the driver and the other in the center console.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Haptic climate controls rest below the infotainment screen on the dashboard, next to the push-button start. A volume control knob is cleverly built into the vents between the two. The climate controls and design on the volume knob and start button illuminate when the vehicle is turned on.

The SUV isn't big on cargo space. FWD models hav just 16.5 cubic feet of space while AWD models have 14.6. That's less than half the space afforded by the new Rogue. It has 60-40 split-folding second-row seats.

What the model doesn't have in rear storage, it appears to make up for slightly in the cabin where minivan-like attention to small item storage spaces has found its way into production as well as a fold out tray that is housed under the center armrest. The 2021 Ford F-150 also recently introduced a foldout tray for its front seat occupants to utilize.

The cabin was designed to feel like a lounge. It has thin-profile Zero Gravity seats and a padded center console that features contrast stitching. The seats, door panels, and steering wheel is covered in leather (or an equivalent synthetic material). Rear passengers have vents and possibly their own set of climate controls (photos reveal some, but not all of the rear of the center console). Ambient lighting surrounds the cabin adjacent to widow sills.

2022 Nissan Ariya Haptic controls on the center console change drive modes, initiate e-Pedal, and more.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Drivers will be able to use natural speech to adjust car settings.

The car is capable of over-the-air firmware updates, which utilize the vehicle's embedded modem.

Amazon Alexa is included as are wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A charging pad in the center console allows for wireless smartphone charging.

Each model in the Ariya lineup comes standard with Nissan Safety Shield 360, a suite of safety and driver assist technologies that includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, and high beam assist. The company's Intelligent Around View Monitor and Intelligent Forward Collision Warning technology will also be available.

The Nissan Ariya is scheduled to go on sale in Japan in mid-2021, followed by the U.S. and Canada later in the year. U.S. pricing will start around $40,000.

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The Nissan Pathfinder is just at home on the trial as it is on the road.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

One of my favorite poems is Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken". The message is about making choices and, how the road taken made all the difference. Often in life and on the road, we have to make one choice. Take one road. No turning back. I thought of this poem on my recent test drive in the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder in the hinterlands of Montana, when I could take two different roads—paved and dirt—and that made all the difference!

Nissan has redesigned and retooled its fifth-generation Pathfinder instilling greater latitude for buyers who want to travel both types of roads and expand their adventure footprint. After seven decades of off-road development, 35 years in the business of selling Pathfinders, and with more than 1.8 million sold in the U.S., this Japanese automaker has moved the needle with a ground-up revision of the previous-gen model.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is a capable off-roader.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The full-sized sport utility is available in four trims (S, SV, SL and Platinum) and two- and four-wheel drive versions; Nissan expects that nearly 60 percent of buyers will choose four-wheel drive. The Pathfinder is in a segment that has grown larger each year as more families want a vehicle for around-town, school and playdate runs and for weekend getaways with traction technology that allows travel in the backcountry and good towing capability. Direct competitors are the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, and Ford Explorer.

A day-long drive of approximately 150 miles on tarmac and over a variety of dirt roads and tracks provided the opportunity to assess the Pathfinder's updates. A late-spring snowstorm added slickness to all the road surfaces in the region and allowed the Pathfinder to show off its traction capabilities at both slow and higher speeds and with lane change and emergency-braking maneuvers, when towing. I concentrated my evaluation on the augmented hardware and software designed to enhance the crossover's capabilities for backcountry travel and towing.

What I found most notable over every road surface was the comfortable ride and responsive handling that come from a collection of upgrades—and, in particular, as a result of the following: the gearing on the new nine-speed transmission, with paddle shifters for personal and more precise shifting for sport driving and slowing over rough terrain; the new terrain mode system that's engineered for different driving conditions; the four-wheel drive system that moves torque more quickly to avoid wheel slip; the improved suspension system; and new tires with a larger contact patch and more aggressive tread pattern, among other changes.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Pathfinder's drive modes are designed to inspire confidence. Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Pathfinder provided sure-footed motoring and comfort over uneven surfaces. Its 7.1 inches of ground clearance easily maneuvered over the small obstacles on the trail and hill descent control took the reigns without hesitation for steeper and longer downhills on traction-compromised surfaces.

I was also impressed with the Pathfinder's towing competence and appreciated the standard trailer sway control onboard all trims. It offered notably strong, mannered acceleration from a standing start and excellent straight-line braking without porpoising for either exercise.

The new 2022 Pathfinder brings off-road and towing attributes that are important to families who are seeking to spend time in the backcountry for days trips and longer and for overlanding in terrain that doesn't require a true off-road vehicle with a low range. It's will appeal to buyers who want don't want to have to choose only one road.

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The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder arrives on dealer lots this summer.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder doesn't have to be capable of rock crawling or deep water fording. What it has to do is service the needs of families in their daily life and give them the opportunity to competently go off-roading on rocky trails should they desire. The new, fifth-generation models does just that and adds in enough nifty features to make it among the most compelling choices for three-row SUV buyers.

The 2022 Pathfinder is thoroughly modern though not the boxy off-roader it once was. The SUV's styling harkens back to that time with a tilted, darkened C-pillar and a return to a more muscular body style. That styling makes straightforward visibility good but for shorter drivers seeing what is immediately in front of the grille is a challenge that necessitates using surround view camera technology (available only in upper trim levels) when navigating challenging terrain.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder can easily handle the roads less traveled.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Under the hood is a 3.5-liter V6 that offers up 291 horsepower and torque - plenty to do the job without complaint. The SUV's nine-speed automatic transmission replaces the continuously variable transmission (CVT) from the previous generation and delivers smooth shifts. Though low-end torque isn't as robust as I like it to be, once up over 35 mph, the Pathfinder's powertrain delivers smooth, powerful sailing.

The redesigned architecture and components underpinning the Pathfinder make it stable on the road and don't allow it to wallow on winding roads. Even off-road, the suspension provides the right blend of stability while the drive dynamics allowing the driver to feel engaged with their surroundings whether on freshly paved roads, city streets, or muddy trails.

Nissan has given the Pathfinder a 6,000-pound towing capacity and even when maxed out the engine's functionality is strong as ever. The transmission can get held up in a gear mid-range when performing this function, however, with 5,000-6,000 rpms registering on the tachometer but a quick release of the gas pedal recalibrates the offering bringing it down to a more traditional 2,000 rpm range.

The eight-seater Pathfinder clearly has the Toyota Highlander in its sights, with good reason. It's the top-selling three-row SUV in the country. Nissan boasts that three adults can fit across the rear bench seat of the Pathfinder and, as long as they're average size or smaller, the marketing talking point holds up. There is gobs more room back there than there is in the Highlander.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Nissan has given the Pathfinder ample cargo space.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Getting in and out of the third row is easy thanks to one-touch buttons on the outboard side of the second-row chairs that move the SUV's captain's seats forward creating enough room to get through to the back. Smartly, Nissan's engineers have put duplicates of these buttons on the back side of the same seats allowing third-row passengers to simply press the button to move the seat up.

The third row can also be accessed via a split between the captain's chairs as well, a space traditionally occupied by a center stowage bin/cup holders/arm rest. Owners can quickly remove the center console by opening a panel on the front and pulling the release mechanism. The one-handed operation takes seconds and the console can be easily stored in the under-floor trunk space behind the third row seat for ease.

Speaking of cargo space... The Pathfinder is one of the most spacious midsize SUVs on the market today for both passengers and cargo. There is a substantial amount of room behind the third-row seat and the under-floor storage area is nearly twice the size of the one in the Highlander. Plus, it has a feature that allows the area cover to be automatically propped up when pushed up by a user. This is especially help when carrying groceries or plants home and keeps them from being crushed.

The first- and second-row seats are suitably comfortable, even for extended periods of time and standard trig-zone climate control makes finding the right in-cabin mix easy. Bottle holders in the pockets of the front doors are exceptionally large, fitting even bulky water bottles.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder's front row seats are comfortable.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

In front of the driver is a standard tachometer, speedometer, and 7.0-inch driver information display. Buyers can upgrade to a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster and head-up display but they're not reason enough to upgrade to the top-tier Pathfinder Platinum on their own.

Nissan packs the new Pathfinder with a host of desirable features that make living with the Pathfinder easier including one-touch auto up/down windows, a wireless phone charger, grocery hooks in the rear cargo area, USB ports in all three rows, second-row sunshades, rear door keyless entry, wireless Apple CarPlay, and a motion-activated lift gate.

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is priced to start at $33,410 for the two-wheel drive S base model and $35,310 for the four-wheel drive S base model. The model tops out around $50,000 with destination and delivery included, which seems fair when comparing the Pathfinder to other vehicles in the market.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder can tow up to 6,000 pounds.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

If you're thinking of purchasing a Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Honda Pilot, or Highlander, do yourself a favor and schedule a test drive of the new Pathfinder when it arrives at a dealer lot near you. You may just be surprised how seamlessly it fits into your daily life compared to the competition.

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