The Ariya is one of Nissan’s best designs in a while. It feels like a return to form for the carmaker but I can’t help feel a sense of déjà vu as I take in its contours.
The Ariya looks a lot like the Murano concept sketch Nissan showed when the Murano debuted almost two decades ago and I am convinced that the Ariya owes some of its spirit to that old sketch.
Take a look at this new video which goes into detail about the Ariya’s design:
Who doesn’t love a good clay model, but the wind tunnel testing is what inspired me to make the comparison.
Now look at the design sketch of the Murano:
It might not be a carbon copy or a perfect graft but damn if the Ariya doesn’t embody the spirit of that design sketch. It just took Nissan almost two decades.
And here’s the Ariya design sketch:
Boy, I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I saw that Murano sketch. I recall encountering it for the first time and wanting nothing more than to trace it on a piece of paper. It felt like something out of time. It looked bold and new. It was daring! In the early aughts it truly felt like something out of a utopian future.
I understand that when it comes to design sketches, the essence will dilute as a car moves on through various phases and onto production. Even so, I resented the production Murano for some time afterwards, and Nissan, too. I just couldn’t forgive both for being unable to produce the same feeling as that sketch.
It may have been my reckoning with my own imagination, and a true sense of never meet your car heroes. Somehow, though, the Ariya changed very little as it went through to production.
What’s more, the Ariya not only finally delivers on the lofty design of the carmaker’s sketches, it also brings some of the carmaker’s best new tech with it.
I know I’ll be seeing the Ariya on public roads later this year, but I think it’s going to feel a little less like meeting someone new and a little more like seeing an old friend. Welcome back, Nissan.