Update, 5/29/20: Earlier this week, Nissan released a video previewing all the new and refreshed vehicles coming to its showrooms. The all-new Z was the main attraction, but the first vehicle to be glimpsed was what appeared to be the much-anticipated electric compact crossover (as seen in the screenshot below). Given the letter “A” in the background, we’re guessing it’s the new Ariya — which, according to Financial Express, will be revealed this summer.
Look out, Tesla: It seems Nissan will launch its second electric car very soon. According to Automotive News, Nissan secretly revealed the new vehicle to dealers last month. The new car, reportedly, is a lively but practical compact crossover — exactly the sort of vehicle the American EV market has been waiting for. It will arrive in late 2021, according to the report.
The new EV crossover, allegedly based loosely on Nissan’s 2017 IMx concept, should resolve many of the major drawbacks of Nissan’s first EV, the Leaf. The new crossover’s range should be more than 300 miles, which would roughly match Tesla’s models. It should also offer much sportier performance than the Leaf, accelerating from 0-60 miles per hour in less than five seconds.
Nissan’s new crossover should also be more practical than sub-compacts like the Hyundai Kona EV. Per Automotive News, it will have the interior space of a midsize Nissan Murano within a compact Nissan Rogue-like footprint.
Why is this so important? Well, compact crossovers are the cars Americans buy. The three best-selling vehicles that aren’t pickups in the U.S. are the Toyota RAV4, the Nissan Rogue and the Honda CR-V — all compact crossovers. You’ll also find the Chevy Equinox, Ford Escape and Jeep Cherokee within the top 20.
Yet in spite of this, manufacturers have yet to bring an electric compact crossover to market. The battery packs required to produce reasonable range are large and heavy, so most EVs so far have been either super small and light to offset that, or large and heavy enough to incorporate them seamlessly. Aside from Tesla, EV startup Rivian is perhaps closest to the goal, but it has focused on full-size trucks and three-row SUVs, not smaller crossovers.
There’s a tremendous opportunity for the first manufacturer to bring to market a practical, affordable and fun medium-sized EV. Nissan’s new crossover could be that vehicle. Of course, that market’s potential means it won’t be alone; the car will have fierce competition from the Tesla Model Y, Volkswagen ID.4, and a Ford Mustang-like crossover EV, among others.