TOKYO — The Nissan Ariya Concept appeared practically production-ready when it debuted in 2019. But after some false starts and a long wait, the electric crossover is finally here.
Or almost, at least.
Deliveries of a limited edition Ariya have begun in Japan. But the highly anticipated electric vehicle won't start reaching overseas customers until the summer, and it won't land at U.S. dealerships until the fall — nearly three years after its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show.
After being delayed from a late March release, the base Ariya will go on sale in Japan on May 12. That is the same day Toyota Motor Corp. starts leasing its rival bZ4X EV here, even though Toyota unveiled its crossover in concept form just last year.
Birthing the Ariya was drawn out by the COVID-19 pandemic and the global semiconductor shortage. Those factors broadsided not only product development but also the preparation of Nissan's Intelligent Factory, the assembly line in Tochigi, Japan, that it built to make EVs.
But with the U.S. launch around the corner, Automotive News had a first drive. Here are some impressions.