Nissan Ariya vs Tesla Model 3: In-Depth EV Comparison

As an electric vehicle industry analyst, readers often ask me: "which is the better electric vehicle – the new Nissan Ariya or ultra-popular Tesla Model 3?" With EVs entering the mainstream, this battle between Nissan‘s first long-range crossover and Tesla‘s mass-market sedan has major implications on consumer adoption. That‘s why I‘ve undertaken this comprehensive head-to-head analysis for you as a guide. Follow along as I compare every key metric – from performance, charging tech and interior space to styling and value. You‘ll finish understanding precisely how the Nissan Ariya and Tesla Model 3 electric vehicles stack up across all attributes you care most about. Let‘s dive in!

Overviewing the Contenders

First, let me set the stage on the Nissan Ariya and Tesla Model 3‘s backstories so you understand the EVs involved in this cage match comparison:

Nissan Ariya – As Nissan‘s first entry into the red-hot luxury EV crossover segment, the Ariya brings 300+ miles of range, smooth handling and concept car styling. Pricing starts around $45,000 for impressive tech like ProPILOT automated assistance. Nissan banks on the Ariya appealing to eco-conscious families needing efficiency wrapped in a high-riding, adventure-ready package.

Tesla Model 3 – Ever since its launch, the Model 3 propelled Tesla into an auto industry powerhouse. With seating for five adults, prices starting under $50,000 and up to 358 miles range, the Model 3 made long-range electric mobility wildly successful. Sleek styling plus innovations like huge touchscreens and advanced self-driving Autopilot complement scintillating acceleration as quick as 3.1 seconds 0 to 60 mph!

Now that you understand where each EV comes from, let‘s commence the nitty-gritty comparison of how they differ.

Performance and Powertrain Showdown

Performance directly impacts the smiles per mile you‘ll experience driving either EV. Let‘s examine what propulsion systems power these electric vehicles and how they influence real-world acceleration, handling and more:


  • Nissan Ariya – Dual electric motors (e-4ORCE AWD) outputting 389 hp & 442 lb-ft torque
  • Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive – Single electric motor with up to 283 hp & 317 lb-ft torque
  • Tesla Model 3 Performance – Dual electric motors (AWD) producing 450 hp & 471 lb-ft torque

Acceleration (0-60 mph per EV Database)

  • Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE – 5.7 seconds
  • Tesla Model 3 RWD Long Range – 4.2 seconds
  • Tesla Model 3 Performance – 3.1 seconds

We see the Tesla Model 3 enjoys a power advantage and wins the critical 0-60 mph acceleration metrics. The range-topping Performance model specifically unlocks legitimate sports car quickness hitting 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds!

However, the Ariya still provides satisfactory accelerating performance according to US News ratings. Its 5.7 seconds 0 to 60 time competently merges and passes at highway speeds. All models deliver smooth, quiet operation free of engine noise. Drivers ultimately trade off sharper Model 3 dynamics for the Ariya‘s slightly more compliant ride and taller seating better seeing over traffic.

Winner: Tesla Model 3 – Superior acceleration, AWD performance and sharp handling help the Model 3 claim the trophy for driving enthusiasts.

Charging Showdown: Tesla Supercharger Network Domination

Easy access to fast charging critically enables long-distance electric road trip adventures. Here Tesla‘s industry leading proprietary Supercharger Network handing the Model 3 a decisive win:

Public Fast Charging Network Comparison

  • Nissan Ariya – Compatible with non-Tesla DC fast charging stations utilizing CHAdeMO connector standard
  • Tesla Model 3 – Access to exclusive Tesla Supercharger Network with over 40,000 stations worldwide

Charging Speed Comparison

  • Nissan Ariya – 130 kW fast charging adds 200 miles range in 30 minutes
  • Tesla Model 3 – 250 kW fast charging replenishes 200+ miles in just 15 minutes

Clearly the Tesla Model 3‘s Supercharger access offers superior charging convenience and speeds. Drivers simply navigate to the next Supercharger for hyper fast juice ups in about the time it takes to grab a quick bite. By comparison, Ariya owners must find available third-party stations compatible with the CHAdeMO plug.

Simply put – the Tesla Supercharger network‘s vast scale, hyper fast charging speed and convenience for long distance travel is massively ahead of other automakers currently like Nissan.

Winner: Tesla Model 3 – Its expansive, ultra fast and convenient Supercharger Network enables easier long-distance e-travel.

Autonomous Driving Tech Battle

Today‘s EV buyers expect more than just zero emissions and digitized gauges – luxury vehicles should also automate mundane driving chores! Smart driver assistance technology brings both convenience and confidence to daily commuting. Let‘s examine how Nissan‘s ProPILOT stacks up to Tesla‘s cutting-edge Autopilot:

Autonomous Driving Comparison

Nissan ProPILOT Assist 2.0

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane centering assist
  • Semi-automated highway driving
  • Traffic jam assist
  • Driver attention warnings

Tesla Autopilot / Full Self Driving Capability

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automated lane changes
  • Self-parking
  • Navigate on Autopilot (auto highway driving including interchanges)
  • Recognizes traffic lights/stop signs for city streets (with Full Self Driving upgrade)
  • Autopark

While both systems handle fundamentals like radar guided cruise control and lane centering – Tesla‘s more advanced capabilities take the lead. Autopark automatically parallel or perpendicularly parks itself with no driver input required. Navigate on Autopilot even handles highway interchanges and exits by itself. Upgrading to Full Self Driving extends semi-autonomy to neighborhood streets as well, stopping at lights and signs.

However, ProPILOT 2.0 still rates highly for smoothly centering lanes and slowing for highway curves. Yet missing true automated driving features like auto lane changes or navigation integration leaves it a step behind Autopilot.

Winner: Tesla Model 3 – Class-leading automation technology offers sophisticated self-driving functionality the Ariya lacks.

Interior Space and Practicality Analysis

While EVs flaunt futuristic styling outside – owners spend far more time inside experiencing the cabin. Let‘s compare how comfortably each EV transports passengers and gear:

Passenger and Cargo Room

  • Nissan Ariya – Roomy cabin fitting 5 adults. 60.8 cubic feet cargo room.
  • Tesla Model 3 – Seating for 5 adults. 15 cubic feet cargo area.

Utility Comparison

Nissan Ariya Advantages

  • Greater rear legroom
  • Larger cargo area
  • Available heated rear seats
  • Higher ground clearance better for adventures

Tesla Model 3 Advantages

  • Surround view camera
  • HEPA particulate air filtration
  • Available tow hitch package (2,000 lbs capacity)

With its taller body, the Nissan Ariya easily bests the Tesla Model 3 for practically carrying passengers and gear. Over 12 inches more cargo room plus available all-wheel drive gives the Ariya better capability packing for road trips or navigating inclement weather conditions. Combined with the overall smoother ride from its crossover chassis, families favor the Ariya‘s total utility.

The Tesla fights back with exclusive advantages like its advanced HEPA filtration reducing pollen/viruses and standard surround view cameras improving parking visibility. Available tow hitches also enable small scale towing lacking in the Ariya. However, passenger space and cargo volume slightly trails what Nissan offers.

Winner: Nissan Ariya – Greater cargo and passenger roominess combined with available AWD gives Ariya owners added flexibility.

Styling Showdown: Which EV Looks Better?

Electric vehicle shoppers expect both performance AND stunning design raising eyebrows. While highly subjective to personal taste, important styling distinctions exist between the Tesla Model 3 and Nissan Ariya:

Exterior Styling Comparison

Nissan Ariya

  • Futuristic, concept vehicle appearance
  • Distinct front grille graphic
  • Sleek tapered roofline
  • Two-tone paint themes available

Tesla Model 3

  • Iconic smooth, aerodynamic shape
  • Flush door handles and badgeless surfaces
  • Signature front/rear LED light bars
  • Long wheelbase/short overhangs communicate agility

Interior Styling Comparison

Nissan Ariya

  • Horizontal displays spanning dashboard
  • Glide-wing shaped instrument panel
  • Playful geometric door inserts/accents
  • Climate controls integrated into displays

Tesla Model 3

  • Clean, minimalist cabin styling
  • Single 15-inch touchscreen display
  • Open feeling with panoramic glass roof
  • Premium appointments like open pore wood

The Nissan Ariya pushes boundaries with love-it or hate-it avant garde flourishes resembling a concept car brought to life. Flamboyant exterior colors and patterns combined with artsy door inserts announce the Ariya is anything but boring transportation.

Conversely, the Model 3 practically pioneered the understated high-tech appearance now commonplace luxury EVs. For a futuristic sensation less brazen than the Ariya, the Tesla dials down superfluous ornamentation to instead highlight aerospace-inspired efficiency.

Beauty resides in the eye of the beholder. But important distinctions in personality exist – the Ariya experiments more dynamically while Model 3 centers refined subtlety.

Winner: Draw – Owners seeking flashier curb appeal lean Ariya; the Model 3 ravishingly seduces through sheer technical artistry alone.

Cost and Value Comparison

With these high-tech electric vehicles carrying luxury price tags, it‘s prudent comparing what you receive from each product investment:

MSRP Pricing

  • Nissan Ariya – Starts around $45,950 ( fwd ) / $50,750 ( AWD )
  • Tesla Model 3 RWD – Starts around $48,000
  • Tesla Model 3 Performance – Starts around $63,000

Value Considerations

Nissan Ariya

  • $7,500 Federal tax credit advantage
  • More standard advanced safety features
  • More interior roominess factors

Tesla Model 3

  • Vast proprietary charging infrastructure
  • Technologically advanced driver assistance systems
  • Class-leading performance from Performance edition

If you prize maximum advanced safety aids like blind spot warning or 3D surround views included – the Ariya pulls ahead for value. The tax credit further reduces effective entry pricing too, while extra interior dimensions provide greater practicality.

However, the Model 3‘s technology, performance and access to Tesla‘s industry-leading charging network indirectly infuse value competing products lack access too. And contrary to popular belief – Autopilot actually comes standard now!

Winner: Draw – Depending on preferences for performance/tech vs dimensions/standard equipment, either EV justifies costs well with exclusive advantages.

The Verdict: Tesla Model 3…But Ariya Impresses

This Nissan vs Tesla bout proved closer than expected – but the reigning champ Model 3 remains king of the electric vehicle ranks in my evaluation. Decisive wins in acceleration, charging infrastructure and autonomous driving technology cement its scorecard victory. However, the Ariya‘s versatility, smoothness and daring design certainly earn it moral victories across attributes I know matter for buyers.

The Ariya represents an outstanding crossover EV debut for Nissan. Handsome sheet metal wraps great range, peppy performance and thoughtful cabin tech into a family-friendly package. Add the $7500 tax credit advantage and suddenly the Ariya seems an intriguing value play against the mighty Model 3 specifically.

So while the Tesla Model 3 retains its crown for outright technological brilliance – the Nissan Ariya deserves equal admiration for ambitiously stretching boundaries on how a modern crossover EV delivers on style and substance. Only through continued competition do electric vehicles collectively improve – and the Ariya‘s arrival nudges the Model 3 just a little faster towards further greatness.

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