Nissan's Newest Designs: Stepping It Up From A To Z
Do a new sports car, great-looking electric SUV, four new concept vehicles and a large investment in new battery technology mean that Nissan is going from an also-ran to leader of the pack? Let’s take a closer look.
We know that manufacturing a car is one of the most complicated mechanical processes on Earth - the number of resources and effort that go into making just one finished car roll off the line are staggering. Anyone that’s able to produce the number of cars that Nissan has in one year – 222,651 in 2020 – is nothing to laugh at. That said, lately Nissan hasn’t exactly been doing anything groundbreaking either. Are big changes on the horizon?
Of the just-over 200,000 cars produced in 2020, 60,000 were Rogues. A frankly sad little crossover that people scroll right over when they’re looking for the cheapest rental car on the lot. This isn’t hyperbole for the sake of making a point about how much we dislike the current crop of Nissans - company leadership said they were purposefully moving into making cars specifically for rental fleets a few years ago.
So, what’s left for the car lover? It’s been a while since the Z series rocked our collective worlds, and the GT-R’s shoulders are getting sore from carrying the whole Nissan name alone. Enter the new Z - the seventh-generation entry into a long-beloved nameplate for Nissan. The Z is a model that had been waning over the past decade plus with no updates to speak of in the last twelve years. In our opinion it was a solid attempt at keeping a brand alive that had all but given up on making exciting cars for the people. Keep in mind that this is a company that just a few years earlier rolled out a new generation of their world-beating GT-R, and could look back on fun tuner cars like the Sentra SE-R, Altima SE-R, earlier generations of the Z, and interesting off-road-ready trucks.
The new Z, coming in 2022, features almond–shaped headlights and the traditional fastback shape, as well as twin turbo-charged V6. It’s looking like it will go a long way to getting our juices flowing when we hear the word “Nissan.” Nissan says the engine produces around 400 horsepower – it’s worth noting that that’s only 80 less than the GT-R originally launched with – and is available with a 9-speed automatic transmission (but we’d rather go for the 6-speed manual) as well as launch control. Is the same Nissan we’re used to?
But wait, Nissan isn’t done trying to impress us yet. The new Ariya EV is looking to push Nissan’s EV tech further than the little Leaf hatchback. The Ariya is due in 2023 and will feature a dual electric motor system and offer an all-wheel drive option all with a base range of 300 miles. The starting price is said to be around $49,000.
When you compare that to the current standard Tesla Model X, which starts at just a hair over $104,000 for 333 miles range and all-wheel drive, you start to see why this car may just be an amazing addition the EV field.
On top of all that, recently-announced news from Nissan says they’re about to make a big investment to the tune of $17.6 billion dollars to introduce 15 all-new, fully electric models by 2030. They’re also working on next-generation battery tech with double the capacity of current lithium-ion batteries. Finally, to point the way towards this new electric future, a handful of new concept cars, trucks, and SUVs show what could be next for the automaker.
Yes, Nissan, more of this please! We’re rooting for you to not just be the car we’re stuck with when we’re home for the holidays. Will this be a new beginning for Nissan? It might be too early to say for sure, but if the new Z, Ariya, and future tech are what Nissan says they are then things are looking very good.
Related: How Will Porsche Stay Popular in an All-Electric Future?
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