It’s hard to overstate the importance of the Ariya all-electric crossover for Nissan, especially since Leaf sales have been declining lately and the company is not in great shape financially.

The electric compact crossover can’t come soon enough for the Japanese automaker, but as you probably know, its launch has been delayed. Initially, the Ariya was supposed to launch in the United States in the second half of 2021 for the 2022 model year, but Nissan later pushed back the debut to sometime in 2022. It's anyone's guess if it will launch as a 2022 or 2023 model, though.

You will be able to take a close look at the Nissan Ariya earlier than that, though, as Nissan has announced that its first electric crossover will attend the 2021 Chicago Auto Show, running Thursday, July 15 through Monday, July 19 at McCormick Place in Windy City. 

Mind you, Nissan’s electric crossover has already been spotted testing on US roads, as these photos posted by a user of Ariya Forums can attest. 

Gallery: Nissan Ariya Spotted Charging In Vermont Parking Lot

The test prototype was photographed charging in the parking lot of a hotel in Vermont, but unfortunately it was completely covered. So how did the spotter know it was an Ariya? Well, besides the proportions, it was the shape of the charger door that blew its cover. 

It would have been nice if we had been able to see more than the charger door, especially since this particular Ariya test car donned a different color than the Akatsuki Copper launch hue. One of the commenters describes it as “light blueish gray,” but looking at the model's color palette, it looks like Gun Metallic.

First shown in July 2020, the Nissan Ariya promises a range of up to approximately 300 miles (483 km) in long-range 2WD guise. Besides the 160-kW (215-HP) single-motor FWD model, Nissan will offer a 290-kW (389-HP) dual-motor e-4ORCE AWD variant. 

Two battery packs will be on offer, one with 65 kWh (63 kWh usable capacity) and another with 90 kWh (87 kWh usable). Nissan estimates a starting MSRP of around $40,000.

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