First Drive: Posh and Pampered in the Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE All-Wheel Drive Fully Electric SUV

Ariya E-4Orce Awd Ev

And it was totally worth the wait.

We have been waaaaiiiting for the Nissan Ariya. The newest electric car from the world’s number one electric car maker – yes!– has been on display at auto shows and we’ve seen it starring in TV ads. Finally, I got my chance and lucky for me, while there is a front-wheel drive model, I got to drive all over beautiful Sonoma, California in the all-wheel drive Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE, the newest model set to hit dealerships soon.

Priced from $43,190 USD/$52,998 CAD, the e-4ORCE starts at $51,190 USD/$60,598 CAD, and the top of the line Platinum edition starts at $60,190 USD/$69,198 CAD. Unfortunately, since the Ariya is built in Japan,  it does not qualify for US Federal tax incentives though it does qualify for both Federal and Provincial credits in Canada.

Ariya E-4Orce Awd Ev

I love the rear light-bar. Photo: Connie Peters

Posh, Pampered and Delightful to Drive

When I say ‘posh and pampered’ I mean the Ariya e-4ORCE made me feel like I had made a visit to a Japanese Spa, with the Cherry Blossom touches, wood trim, back-lit haptic touch buttons and a customizable center console.

Not only was I feeling pampered, I felt a little posh and peppy too; the acceleration in this is no joke. With 389 horsepower and a 0-60 MPH of 4.8 seconds, I had all the pep in my step I needed. This electric SUV is built for “people who love to drive” according to Nissan, and that describes me to a TEE. The Ariya e-4ORCE didn’t disappoint.

Ariya E-4Orce Awd Ev

Another stunning color for the Ariya: Sunrise Copper. Photo: Connie Peters

Plenty of Battery Range For Daily Life or Travel

While the FWD version of the Ariya gets about 305 miles/490 km of range on a single charge, the AWD only gets 267 miles/426 km. But we’re okay with that. Personally, and as an electric car driver, I think that range is more than sufficient. I don’t commute but I do schlep my kids to school, run errands, do meetings, classes and activities every day. We even road-trip as a family and with proper route planning, road-tripping in the Ariya e-4ORCE would be a breeze.

Related: A Sporty, Family Crossover for All Seasons: The 2021 Nissan Rogue

Ariya E-4Orce Awd Ev

That cool front ‘desk’ in Ariya. Photo: Connie Peters

Special Touches, and Lots of Easter Eggs

The Ariya made me feel ready for the future with its unique touches and Easter Eggs – those fun little iconic images that remind you you’re in a special car. With a nod to its Japanese roots and ‘Timeless Japanese Futurism,” the beauty of cherry blossoms, the elegance of a wood dashboard with back-lit haptic buttons for controlling the climate (a detail we have seen in the BMW iX), and all controls such at the e-Step regenerative braking control and the moveable console all made me feel solidly in sync with the Ariya’s designers: relaxed, comfortable and with every control where I want or need it.

Ariya E-4Orce Awd Ev

Cherry Blossoms inside the center console as a little Easter Egg. Photo: Connie Peters

Who this car is for

  • Small families ready for their first Electric SUV
  • Nissan Leaf owner ready to step up their game
  • Tech-forward women entrepreneurs on the go
  • Urban dual-income-no-kids-with-a-dog (DINKWAD) families
  • Busy singles living their best life
Ariya E-4Orce Awd Ev

The wood and lit haptic controls are clean and modern. Photo: Connie Peters

Does it fit my life? In a Word, Yes

I mentioned schlepping my kids and road-tripping. But I didn’t mention daily joyrides. I often hop in the car for a long drive just to listen to my favorite playlist, clear my head, or brainstorm. The Ariya gives me the best of both worlds, the premium Bose sound system allowed me to blast my favorite tunes today, and the quiet smooth electric drive let me open the windows, turn of the music and fully soak in the beauty of the day, especially when it’s filled with clean air and positive energy.

A Girls Guide To Cars | First Drive: Posh And Pampered In The Nissan Ariya E-4Orce All-Wheel Drive Fully Electric Suv - Dashariya

Ariya e-4ORCE AWD EV

Nearly Autonomous Driving comes standard in the Ariya e-4ORCE

The Ariya has Nissan’s Pro Pilot Assist 2.0 which, while is essentially advanced adaptive cruise control, allows you to take your hands off the wheel for extended periods of time on specific highways while cruise control is active. It will change lanes for you too, but wants your hands on the wheel for that.

Ariya E-4Orce Awd Ev

The Ariya e-4ORCE is all-wheel drive and handles well in hilly terrain. Photo: Nissan Canada

I tried this on a freeway for about 15 miles and loved the feeling of freedom, no hands on the wheel, no feet on the pedals, and just having a sip of my water while still paying attention to the traffic and lanes around me. The screen is incredibly clear, and displays images of the cars around you and warns you to put your hands on the wheel when you’ve put on the turn signal to change lanes.

I found it interesting that we had a high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) or carpool lane to the left of us and it wouldn’t change lanes into that for me. I’m not sure if that is because the system doesn’t know that I had multiple passengers with me, or perhaps the software doesn’t have the permission settings to move into a restricted lane (thanks for preventing me from getting a ticket when I’m alone, Nissan!)

Unfortunately, Canada won’t be getting Nissan Pilot Assist 2.0, yet, due to regulations. Guess I’ll have to return to California to try this system out again.

Related: Self Driving Cars Just Got a Little More Real Thanks To Wejos Internet of Cars and Autonomous Vehicle Operating System

Ariya E-4Orce Awd Ev

Nissan Ariya Rear seats offer plenty of space thanks to the battery storage under the SUV’s floor. Photo: Connie Peters


Ariya E-4Orce Awd Ev

Putting the Ariya e-4ORCE to the test with driving exercises. Photo: Nissan Canada

The Drive is Incredibly Smooth

The folks at Nissan have figured out a way to make regenerative braking and near one-pedal-driving feel a lot less nausea-inducing by creating back force with the rear motor when lifting off the accelerator so that the car doesn’t jerk back and forth so much, which creates a smoother feeling for both driver and passenger when in stop and go driving.

Ariya E-4Orce Awd Ev

The unique front shield on the Nissan Ariya. Photo: Connie Peters


The Ariya Feels premium; is it Nissan’s Nicest SUV?

Ariya E-4Orce Awd Ev

The landscape and the Ariya are stunning together. Photo: Nissan Canada

The Ariya steps up the premium game for Nissan in my opinion. I have sometimes felt underwhelmed with interiors in Nissan SUVs, but the Ariya is in a category all on its own. The beautiful interior combined with a futuristic yet stunning exterior body lines won me over. In the Ariya, Nissan sets the stage for the future of the brand’s design and electric driving.

Disclosure: I was a guest of Nissan Canada for this media drive; travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.

Connie Peters is a mother of 3 girls in suburban Vancouver, Canada and has been an online entrepreneur since... More about Connie Peters