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2023 Nissan Ariya crossover SUV hits Guam market

By Joseph Meyers

Stepping on the accelerator in the rapidly growing market for 100 percent electric vehicles, Nissan Guam on Thursday introduced the new 2023 Nissan Ariya crossover SUV.

First introduced globally in 2020 as a 2021 model, this is the first time the Ariya has become available in the Guam market.

While many people have been familiar with the all-electric Nissan Leaf on Guam for a decade, this new vehicle is in a totally different class. It represents a new generation of performance and capacity that is destined to compete with the plethora of competitors in the global market scrambling to gain a share in the automotive sector.

For the uninitiated, the Leaf has a range of 79 miles. The Ariya is touted to have a range several times that (depending on the trim) and able to circumnavigate Guam “three or four times” before needing a recharge, according to Glenzen Danting, Nissan sales consultant.

The first thing the casual driver or passenger will notice about the new vehicle— other than the cutting-edge colors— is the design focus.

“The new Ariya design focus is influenced by the traditional Japanese woodworking craft of Kumiko,” Danting said. “This is an art style that brings angles together smoothly without nails.”

Translated to the new Nissan Ariya, it is most noticeable on the 19-inch alloy wheels. While I admit I’m not intimately familiar with the art style, the front end certainly has a look that shows that design and attention to detail matter here. And it’s a big shift from previous Nissan design elements on more boxy SUVs like the Pathfinder.

The all-electric Ariya has just been introduced on Guam after a short several-month delay for manufacturer concerns to ensure quality.

Originally set to be introduced late last fall, the new 2023 vehicles are in stock in the showroom, ready for a test drive and available for sale. While the Ariya is manufactured with a selection of at least six main trims, three “trims” for the model are currently available on Guam.

While I wouldn’t call it entry-level by any means, the most basic trim available locally is the Engage. It has 214 HP and a 216-mile range with a 63-kilowatt-hour battery. The mid-level model, the Evolve+, comes with a moonroof, a powered lift-gate, and other upgrades and has an upgraded 87 kilowatt/hour battery for a published range of 289 miles.

While they also have in the showroom the Premier trim, and apparently have sold one already, the model we took out on Marine Corps Drive, was the mid-level Evolve+.

All of the models are front-wheel drive only, and utilize the three levels of electric charging: the level one trickle charge, the level two 240-volt charge and the level three, 480-volt fast charge which is currently unavailable on Guam.

While level one can be from a standard outlet, level two charging requires a home installation at an additional cost for consideration.

Level two full charging takes 10-14 hours, while I was told level one takes “more than 24 hours” which is not very specific.

While going for a quick drive, I made the mistake of getting into the driver's seat first only to be told by consultant and excellent driver Sandra Tedtaotao to get into the passenger seat first. Fair enough.

As a first-time driver or even passenger of an electric automobile, it was a good chance for me to get familiar with the basics of all of the various controls for the systems and displays.

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