The Nissan Ariya is an all-new electric SUV for the 2023 model year. It’s Nissan’s second EV and serves as a roomier and more powerful complement to the brand’s pioneering Leaf hatchback. However, it’s also going up against many recently introduced SUV competitors, one of which is the Ford Mustang Mach-E.
On sale since the 2021 model year, the Mustang Mach-E has earned praise from Edmunds’ experts for its performance, range and user-friendly controls. Which one of these small electric SUVs is the better buy? Edmunds compared them to find out.
RANGE AND CHARGING
The 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E and 2023 Nissan Ariya have a wide range of configurations to choose from. With the Mach-E, there are four main trim levels, two sizes of battery, and choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. The Mach-E’s EPA-estimated range varies from 224 miles upward to 312 miles on a single full charge. These are respectable numbers, and Edmunds found that the Mach-E can go considerably farther in its real-world range testing.
The Nissan Ariya offers seven trim levels, a choice of front- or all-wheel drive, and two battery sizes. Range estimates start at 205 miles and peak at 304 miles per charge. That lower range figure is less than many direct rivals, though some EV shoppers may favor this model’s lower price versus additional range. During Edmunds’ testing of the Ariya, it too exceeded its official estimate, but not nearly as much as the Mach-E.
At home, charging is pretty comparable for these two EVs, though Edmunds has found public charging to be slightly easier and quicker with the Mach-E.
Winner: Mustang Mach-E
DRIVING AND COMFORT
Depending on the trim and powertrain, the Ariya has between 214 and 389 horsepower. In Edmunds’ testing, a dual-motor all-wheel-drive Ariya with the 389-horsepower output accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in a pleasingly quick 5.3 seconds. Acceleration in the Mach-E is similar. At the Edmunds test track, an all-wheel-drive Mach-E with the extended-range battery scooted its way from 0 to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds.
Ford does one-up the Ariya with its available 480-horsepower GT trim; there’s no comparable performance version in the Ariya lineup. The Mach-E is also sportier around turns and generally more fun to drive. However, the Ariya is the more comfortable of these two EVs thanks to a smoother ride and cushier front seats. The choice here ultimately comes down whether you prioritize comfort or sportiness.
TECHNOLOGY AND INTERIOR SPACE
Touchscreens and digital displays dominate the cabins of the Mach-E and Ariya. In the Ford a huge 15.5-inch center touchscreen looks futuristic and is easy to navigate. The Ariya’s dashboard has dual 12.3-inch screens placed alongside each other. Edmunds’ experts found the design appealing, though the software and graphics make it look dated for a brand-new vehicle. Both cars offer available hands-free driving assist features, though Edmunds found the Mach-E’s Blue Cruise system to be more helpful and less cumbersome to use than the Ariya’s ProPilot 2.0 system.
Passenger space and cargo volume are similar in these EVs. Adults will be comfortable in either the first or second row. To its credit, the Mach-E holds the advantage when it comes to cargo volume and interior storage. There is 29 cubic feet of trunk space behind the Mach-E’s rear seat back versus 22.8 cubic feet in the Ariya. The Mach-E has more helpful storage nooks throughout its cabin too.
Winner: Mustang Mach-E
PRICING AND VALUE
Pricing for these EVs is neck-and-neck. Including destination charges, the 2023 Mach-E starts at $44,795 and the Ariya begins at $44,525. This gap is equally narrow when scaling to higher trims. The Mach-E GT starts at $61,795, while the Ariya Platinum+ is priced at $61,525. The number of features you get for your money is similar for both SUVs. But it’s worth noting that the Mach-E currently qualifies for a $3,750 federal tax credit; the Ariya does not.
In general, Edmunds’ experts feel the Ford delivers more for your money, both in terms of its performance and quality of its cabin materials. Inside the Mach-E features a design and trim that wouldn’t look out of place in a luxury-badged vehicle.
Winner: Mustang Mach-E
The relaxed manners of the Ariya make it a solid addition to the EV market. But we think Nissan has played it too safe here. The Mustang Mach-E isn’t as as new as the Ariya, but its blend of superior performance and practicality continues to make it one of Edmunds’ favorite electric SUVs.
Nick Kurczewski, The Associated Press