If you‘re considering an affordable electric SUV, two promising new options are the 2023 Toyota bZ4X and the 2022 Nissan Ariya. But which one is the better choice for your needs? I‘ve done a deep dive on specs, reviews and ownership costs to compare these electric crossovers and help you decide.
How Do These New Electric SUVs Compare on Paper?
First, let‘s look at how the bZ4X and Ariya stack up on key specifications:
The Ariya offers more powerful dual electric motor configurations, providing up to 389 hp and 442 lb-ft torque in the top E-4ORCE Performance trim. The most potent bZ4X Limited model tops out at just 214 hp and 249 lb-ft.
Nissan equipss the Ariya with larger, more energy dense batteries – ranging from 63 kWh to 87 kWh depending on trim. Toyota fits all bZ4X models with the same 71.4 kWh lithium-ion pack.
With its performance focus, the Ariya completes the 0-60 mph sprint considerably quicker. Car and Driver tests the E-4ORCE Performance model hitting 60 in just 3.6 seconds – nearly three seconds faster than the bZ4X Limited‘s measured 6.5 seconds.
Being the larger vehicle, the Ariya offers more passenger space and the bZ4X provides greater cargo capacity:
|Toyota bZ4X||Nissan Ariya|
|Wheelbase||112.2 in||109.3 in|
|Length||182.8 in||182.9 in|
|Cargo Room||84.6 cu ft max||56.9 cu ft max|
|Rear Legroom||36.3 in||38.5 in|
Clearly on paper, the Ariya offers performance advantages with its powerful dual-motor options. But the bZ4X provides greater cargo utility.
Real-World Performance and Handling
In evaluations by experts like Car and Driver, the Ariya consistently delivers quicker acceleration and higher top speeds.
"The Nissan leaps off the line and charges ahead with authority," said Car and Driver after testing the 389 hp E-4ORCE Performance model.
Reviewers agree that the bZ4X provides perfectly adequate acceleration for everyday driving. "It‘s quick enough for merging onto highways and making passes, but it won‘t pin you back in your seat," MotorTrend noted.
The Ariya also feels sportier through turns, as Car and Driver described: "The Ariya stays flat when you toss it around. The low center of gravity provided by the battery pack keeps body roll minimal."
While the bZ4X delivers confident handling, it prioritizes ride comfort over aggressive cornering. For families not concerned about sports car performance, the Toyota hits the mark. But the Ariya is the clear choice for driving enthusiasm.
Efficient and Capable: AWD Systems Compare Favorably
One key strength of both crossovers is available all-wheel drive matched to the instant power delivery of electric motors. Nissan‘s e-4ORCE and Toyota‘s Direct4 systems provide excellent traction.
MotorTrend praised the Ariya‘s precision torque delivery between axles and expert weight distribution. And reviewers uniformly compliment the bZ4X‘s rear motor and AWD components for directing torque efficiently based on wheel slippage.
While Ariya‘s sophisticated AWD allows sportier driving, the bZ4X Limited‘s AWD priortizes control in slippery conditions. Bottom line: both excel for inclement weather and mild off-roading.
Interior Space and Cargo: Roominess vs. Versatility
The Ariya‘s stretched wheelbase pays dividends in rear legroom, providing nearly 3 extra inches over the bZ4X. So if you plan to carry adults in the back frequently, the Ariya offers more comfortable space.
But multiple reviewers note the Ariya‘s raked rear roof impacts headroom, and taller passengers may find it tight. For cargo, the bZ4X‘s boxy design provides greater volume and versatility:
|Toyota bZ4X||Nissan Ariya|
|Rear Legroom||36.3 in||38.5 in|
|Rear Headroom||37.1 in||36.6 in|
|Cargo Space||27.7 / 84.6 cu ft||22.8 / 56.9 cu ft|
If you frequently haul bulky items like strollers or sports gear, the bZ4X can fit more in its hatch-like hold. The Ariya offers adults slightly more relaxed room in back.
Charging and Range: Ariya Capable of Farther, Faster Road Trips
For road trips, the Ariya‘s bigger batteries and access to faster DC fast charging gives it an edge. The 87 kWh battery pack allows over 300 miles range in RWD models, and AWD versions still reach over 265 miles per charge – substantially more than any bZ4X configuration.
The Ariya‘s 130 kW charging capability allows it to restore over 180 miles range in 30 minutes. The bZ4X is limited to 150 kW charging, and even at maximum speed, replenishes about 150 miles in 30 minutes.
So Nissan‘s SUV provides the capability to travel farther between charging stops and enables shorter recharging times when you need to plug in.
High-Tech and Connected: Similar Driver Assist and Infotainment Features
As two of the most high-tech SUVs in their segments, both the Ariya and bZ4X boast an array of the latest driver assistance and infotainment features:
- Large touchscreens with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
- Built-in navigation and voice controls
- OTA software update capability
- Surround view parking cameras
- Wireless phone charging
- WiFi hotspot capability
- Advanced safety aids like adaptive cruise/lane centering
Reviewers found little separation between the two crossovers‘ technology suites. Both Nissan and Toyota provide an excellent array of contemporary features.
Styling Showdown: Radical vs. Refined Designs
Here is where subjective preferences come into play. The Ariya follows a philosophy of futuristic refinement in its flowing, aerodynamic shape. The bZ4X takes a bolder approach with its faceted body panels and aggressive grille treatment.
If you want your EV to make a design statement, the origami-esque bZ4X may appeal more. Buyers focused on function over form will appreciate the Ariya‘s efficient, windswept profile. Both exteriors reflect the modern identity of an electric SUV.
Cost Comparison: bZ4X Holds a Price Advantage
MSRP offers the clearest price advantage to the bZ4X – Toyota‘s crossover starts around $42,000 while the Ariya opens at over $43,000. And the Ariya ranges far higher in upper trims, with the Performance model topping $60,000 before options.
Factoring in potential $7,500 tax credits, the bZ4X LE can be purchased for less than $35,000 – an exceptional value – while the Ariya lands above $36,000 at minimum.
Long-term ownership also favors Toyota‘s reputation for reliability and lower service costs. The Ariya faces unknowns as a brand new Nissan model.
So buyers seeking the most features for the money get that in the bZ4X. But Ariya offers more performance and capability to those willing to pay for it.
The Verdict: bZ4X Ahead on Value, Ariya Superior for Performance
Based on my in-depth evaluation, if I had to pick one model as the overall better choice, I give the edge to the Toyota bZ4X for value-focused buyers. With similar passenger and cargo space to the Ariya, Toyota‘s crossover provides an impressive EV experience for less money. Lower ownership costs are icing on the cake.
However, for shoppers who prioritize performance, road trip range and fast charging, the Nissan Ariya is the winner. Its powerful dual-motor configurations, big battery packs and DC fast charge speed allow it to outpace the bZ4X if those factors are your top priorities.
Either way, both Toyota and Nissan have delivered very compelling electric SUV options that balance modern EV technology with practicality and convenience. For my budget, I‘d choose the bZ4X. But if you dream of an extra dash of driving excitement, the Ariya has its appeal. So consider your needs and find the best match. Happy electric SUV shopping!