2023 Nissan Ariya E-4ORCE Review: First Drive

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick


Motor: 2x permanent-magnet synchronous motor
Battery Capacity: 87.0 kWh
Output: 389 hp, 442 lb-ft
Transmission: 1AT, AWD
US fuel economy (MPGe): 93/87/90
CAN fuel economy (Le/100KM): 2.5/2.7/2.6
Range: 267 mi / 428 km
Starting Price (USD): $48,525 (inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (USD): See text
Starting Price (CAD): $62,693 (inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (CAD): See text

This is the 2023 Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE, the pronunciation of which I’m reminded a few times is almost certainly not ee–four-orce.

The son of Leaf arrived on the scene late last year in front-drive form, but this dual-motor option promises more power and more all-weather capability. It’ll cost you in terms of range and price, however. Does Nissan’s second EV make sense in this new AWD form? Let’s find out.

Get a Quote on a New 2023 Nissan Ariya

What’s new?

So what’s new here? That merger of number and letters, basically. Nissan has added a second electric motor, working on the rear axle. There are still two battery capacity options: the base-model 63.0-kWh pack, or the larger 87.0-kWh option. Go for the former and the Ariya e-4ORCE puts down 335 horsepower; the bigger battery choice brings that up to 389 electric horses. That’s the one we’re driving here, which also spits out 442 pound-feet of torque. It’s important to note that almost no other EVs offer up that choice of smaller battery pack and AWD, so Nissan has a unique advantage there.

That bigger battery pack catapults the Ariya to the front of the mainstream EV pack in terms of horsepower. I’ll explain why that doesn’t necessarily matter a little later.

There are no visual changes to the exterior to hint at the extra power, other than the small badge on the tailgate. I had yet to see an Ariya outside of the show floor, but I’ve gotta say, in this red, it’s an attractive single-volume shape. The big faux-grille up front keeps all the various sensors safe, gives the Ariya a recognizable face, and provides a contrasting backdrop for that light-up Nissan logo. The streamlined body is fuss-free but not boring, with a confident style that traces its lineage right back to that milestone first-generation Murano. Speaking of Nissan’s now-aging ‘tweener, the Ariya offers up very nearly as much interior space as it, but in a footprint more Rogue-like.

If you’re watching this from Canada, don’t get too attached to these 20-inch alloy wheels—they won’t be available in the True North Strong and Free.

Power is nice, but comfort is better

Now, you might be thinking the Ariya is something of an electric GT-R in a family-friendly shape, given that hot rod power figure. That sort of positioning worked for the Mustang Mach-E, right?

Banish the thought. The Ariyas has the power, but this is one of the smoothest, calmest EVs you can buy. The go-pedal metes out power smoothly and evenly, with none of the frenetic surge of some other electric models out there. This can make the Ariya seem a little slow, but the muscle is best displayed at on-ramps, where the Nissan will reel in just about anything.

There is a GT-R connection, after all. Nissan says it has applied the lessons it learned from the icon’s ATTESA all-wheel drive system to the e-4ORCE setup. The dual-motor system constantly monitors available grip at all four corners, adjusting the front and rear motor outputs as well as controlling the front and rear brakes. On a makeshift wet test course, one can feel the system working, shuffling power and applying the brakes every which way to keep the Ariya pointed in the intended direction. On smooth roads, it’s one of the most comfortable, calming EVs I’ve driven.

Introduce some unevenness into the route, however, and the Ariya’s suspension tends to fidget, making for a chatty ride. There’s a lot of side-to-side head motion on windier roads, too. Again, the Ariya is very deliberately not a sporty choice—which is why the Sport driving mode feels especially incongruous.

Like so many other EVs, the Ariya benefits from regenerative braking. There are just two settings, however: e-Step pedal on, or off. It’s not a full one-pedal setup, with regen pretty much disappearing under about 5 mph (8 km/h). Nissan has taken advantage of having a motor on each axle, however. Unique e-4ORCE tuning allows the rear motor to keep the keep the Ariya more level under deceleration.

SEE ALSO: Kia EV6 vs Hyundai Ioniq 5 Comparison: Sibling Rivalry

Well-stocked, well-trimmed interior

I’m just going to come right out and say it: the Ariya’s interior design might be my new fave in the segment. It’s a classy space, the blue-black-and-copper color scheme putting it on a level with the BMW iX. Alcantara covers most of the dashboard, while a long slice of black wood houses a handful of glowing, haptic-feedback controls. Nissan has embraced its Japanese heritage with intricate Kumiko patterns along the doors, footwell, and even the pillar-mounted speakers, with the former two featuring soft ambient lighting, too.

The seats are typical Nissan Zero Gravity goodness, but even with the wide range of adjustments, I can’t quite find the right placement. My legs always end up feeling awkwardly folded up. There is no doubt a ton of space both here and out back though, more than enough for adults—and with the added natural light of a large pano moonroof.

There are a few interior aspects that don’t quite land, at least for me. The power storage cubby in the center of the dashboard requires constant pressure on the button, so get ready to awkwardly pose waiting for it to spit out your sunglasses. The skip track toggle on the far side of the volume dial is a little hard to make out—and use, as it blends with the vent trim. Finally, I find the square

Nissan loads up the Ariya with a bunch of useful and appreciated tech. Available features include heated and ventilated front seats (plus heated rear outboards), a 360-degree camera, digital rearview mirror, head-up display, and that curved, twin 12.3-inch display, which is standard on all trims. So is navigation.

ProPilot Assist 2.0 is also available in America, debuting on Ariya. This latest evolution now allows for hands-free driving on thousands of miles of highways in the US. Lane changes still require the driver’s hands on the wheel, however. It works well enough, keeping the Ariya centered through corners, and responding naturally to changes in speed and cut-ins. Unfortunately, 2.0 won’t be available in Canada, and Nissan had no expected timeline for it, either.

SEE ALSO: 2023 Nissan Z Second Drive Review: Zee Grows Up

2023 Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE Review: Range and charging

The Ariya e-4ORCE’s range depends on the battery pack. The smaller pack is good for 205 miles, or 330 kilometers in Canada. The 87.0-kWh battery bumps that up to 272 miles or 428 kilometers, with a slight 5-mile penalty in the US if you go for the very top Platinum+ trim.

According to its maker, the Ariya will take about 35 minutes to do the typical 10-to-80-percent charge with the 63.0-kWh battery, or 40 minutes with the 87.0-kWh unit. Fast-charging tops out at a low-ish 130 kW, but Nissan says it has focused on a more consistent rate than brief spikes of higher rates. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to test that ourselves during the day. Our tester showed 251 miles (404 km) at 96-percent, and consumption throughout the day suggested that was bang-on.

2023 Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE Review: Dollars and sense

As expected, the Ariya’s price tag does climb north with the addition of e-4ORCE. You can still buy it with the smaller battery pack however, which keeps the price at $48,525, including destination. Meanwhile, the entry point in Canada is $62,693. That isn’t a full apples-to-apples comparison, since both markets offer up a slightly different “base” trim.

Our US-spec Platinum+ model rings in at $62,220, though that doesn’t include the price of those chunky 20-inch alloys. The top Canadian trim is the $72,093 Premiere, which is the closest equivalent to this.

Is that more than most of the competition? Yes. Does the Ariya offer more tech and more space? Also yes.

SEE ALSO: 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 First Drive Review: Locally Sourced, Base is Ace

Final thoughts: 2023 Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE First Drive Review

The 2023 Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE was a necessary addition to the lineup. The AWD pushes the price into serious territory, but the Ariya justifies that sticker price with lots of creature comforts. It reinforces this model’s spot in the EV hierarchy, a little larger and a little more powerful than most other options out there. Make no mistake, however: the Ariya is a comfort-first EV, all serene near-silence and smooth, measured responses. If that sounds like your kind of ride, the new model deserves a spot on your shortlist.


How much does the 2023 Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE cost?

The new model starts from $48,525 USD when equipped with AWD, including destination. Canadians get a slightly higher trim (Evolve instead of Engage), which is why the cost of entry is comparatively higher at $62,693 CAD.

When can you buy the 2023 Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE?

Dealerships will begin stocking the Ariya e-FORCE this spring.

What is the range of the 2023 Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE?

The official range is anywhere from 205 to 272 miles (or 330 to 428 km in Canada).

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  • Classy, spacious interior
  • Smooth operator
  • Budget-friendly AWD/small battery combo


  • Not as sporty as other EVs
  • Fidgety rough-surface ride
  • Gets to be pricey
Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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