Currently reading: Styling the 'Leaf SUV': Nissan design boss details bold Ariya concept
Giovanny Arroba gives us an in-depth tour of the precursor to Nissan's debut electric SUV

The Nissan Ariya concept previews the long-mooted ‘Leaf SUV’, which is expected to arrive by 2022. Revealed at the Tokyo motor show late last year, the Ariya was described by chief designer Giovanny Arroba as a “realistic vision of our future”. He added: “It’s not a blue-sky concept car, so everything there is tangible to bring to the market in the hopefully near future.”

Explaining that Nissan had pioneered the crossover segment, first with the Nissan Qashqai and then with the Nissan Juke, Arroba said: “We’ve always been on the cutting edge of introducing new segments. In this case, we wanted to have an electric crossover which is beautiful, functional and realistic for now.”

Update: the Nissan Ariya has now been revealed. Click here to see it 

We discussed some highlights of the Ariya with Arroba below.

Brand name on tailgate, rather than logo

3 Nissan ariya concept 2019 static rear

Nissan has followed its rivals by spelling its brand name across the tailgate rather than using its logo. The word is integrated into the horizontal light blade, which Arroba described as “very simple yet very iconic”. Expect to see it on a Nissan production car soon.

Interior rejig

2 Nissan ariya concept 2019 interior


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The Ariya’s roomy interior is thanks to Nissan’s new EVP platform; for example, it has allowed the air-con unit to be moved from in the centre console to under the bonnet. It’s a dramatic step up from the Nissan Leaf, but Arroba said none of it is unattainable for production. While there’s a glass panel that leads from the digital instruments to the touchscreen, switches and haptic touch-sensitive icons remain.“Everything we have done is for approachability,” said Arroba.

Futuristic front end

1 Nissan ariya concept 2019 static front

The Ariya represents a new design direction for Nissan overall. Arroba explained: “The front is a vision of our brand identity electrified. We have super-thin LED projector headlamps and there’s no traditional grille; instead, we have a shield that packages radar and cameras. We want to represent electric as beautiful. We don’t want to, through certain shapes or form, say ‘hey look!’. It’s not meant to walk into a room blaring to be different.”

21in wheels

Arroba admits that the 21in wheels are there for design purposes so are unlikely to make production. “We wanted to have a strong proportion and stance,” he said. However, the aerodynamic design could well make it to the final model. The five-spoke wheels have milled-and-machined lightweight alloys beneath and aerodynamic blades shielding the wheels and bolts to allow air to pass by without too much disruption.

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Side mirrors, not cameras

One might expect to see rear-view cameras in place of side mirrors here, as is becoming common on the latest EVs, such as the Audi E-tron and Honda E. However, Arroba remains unconvinced. “We wanted to showcase a tangible reality that’s coming upon us quickly,” he said. “We didn’t want to showcase technology which isn’t fully regulated in all regions. I’ve experienced cars with camera mirrors and the usability isn’t as seamless as with a mirror.”


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asif 19 May 2020


I saw this car in the flesh at the Tokyo Auto Show last year, and yep it's a stunner.

Hope it makes it to production as close to this as possible.

About time Nissan came in with something to offer apart from the Leaf.

Good work Nissan

MrJ 19 May 2020

Better looking than any Leaf.

Better looking than any Leaf. Nissan should built it, though whether it will outperform my Tesla is moot at this point.

nimmler 19 May 2020

Nissan Leaf> musks scam cars

MrJ wrote:

Better looking than any Leaf. Nissan should built it, though whether it will outperform my Tesla is moot at this point.


MrJ, clown comment from a musk tesla cultist. Also stop astroturfing, not every ev is a ‘tesla’ competitor.

Better looking that any Leaf? I don't know because I find women attractive and couldn't give a crap how sexy or good the car looks. ‘family’ cars are not emotional buys like a 720s or a pista so as long as its good value for money, safe, and gets from a to b without breaking down ( overpriced teslas with its non-existent reliability and shoddy build quality could never attain) looks shouldn't be high on the must haves for a family car.

Watch less top gear/grand tour and try to live in the real world.

si73 19 May 2020

@nimmler, totally disagree,

@nimmler, totally disagree, aesthetics are important, irrespective of a cars value, to many people, myself included. Every car I have owned I have bought not just because it fulfilled a brief of what I needed/wanted and could afford, but because I liked the styling over similarly competent cars.
I too think this looks better than the current or previous leaf and a high end leaf would cross into the price range of a low spec Tesla 3, in the same way a focus and 1 series intersect, thus making certain models competitors.