My Car Quest

June 20, 2024

Design Critique: 2021 Nissan Ariya SUV

by Wallace Wyss –

OK I am giving in, retiring my oft-heard comment “They’ll never make a good looking SUV.”

For one thing the Range Rover I think is neat and clean and even the Ford Explorer that copies it is starting to look good. But I think Nissan’s new all electric SUV (no, not hybrid, but ALL electric) actually deserves the adjective stylish. It’s not any one thing, it’s all the views taken together, realizing what can you do with a vehicle that’s 3/4s of box?

2021 Nissan Ariya

Here’s my take:

FRONT Question: Why do electric cars need a grille? Answer: they don’t but those of us who grew up with internal combustion cars, think cars look unfinished without a grille. Theirs looks good. The four little headlights on each side are not just on Nissans but look good here, as does the slanted LED light bar to give it character. The hood is beautifully clean and free of scoops, vents, badges and blends with the fenders with the rakishness of a sports car.

2021 Nissan Ariya

SIDE The high nicely creased beltline (catwalk?) gives the whole side of the car some solidity. Though there’s lots of window lines, all being dark adjoining tinted windows minimizes them. The flat black wheel well extensions don’t detract from the design. I wonder if they will have wider ones you can order if you put on wider wheels and/or tires?

2021 Nissan Ariya

REAR You think after, oh, 70 years or more of full width taillights, that would be old, but they look good here, nestled under a built-in spoiler. I don’t like the way they wrap around on the sides, I suppose that meets some law but I would rather have only the lit up portion wrap around and have a side marker light separate and much much smaller, just big enough to meet the regs. I like the upswept rear portion, you can’t call it a bumper and the ledge below that which might be there for aerodynamics.

2021 Nissan Ariya

INTERIOR The dash has two wide screens. It is very functional, like Danish modern furniture. The seats look like they have very good side bolsters.

2021 Nissan Ariya

IN SUM Though I am not ready to go full electric, I think the nation is. Nissan needed a home run after all their management problems (Where’s Carlos?) I think this is it.

2021 Nissan Ariya

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is taking time away from driving new cars so he can finish his 30-story anthology of car fiction…



Design Critique: 2021 Nissan Ariya SUV
Article Name
Design Critique: 2021 Nissan Ariya SUV
I think Nissan's new all electric SUV (no, not hybrid, but ALL electric) actually deserves the adjective stylish.


  1. Now my wife is interested in the Nissan Ariya. Thank you.

  2. wallace wyss says

    She deserves it after suffering through those finicky Eye-talian and Limie cars…

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