Nissan Ariya review: a great electric SUV

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Nissan Ariya

The Nissan Ariya offers a smooth, if not particularly exciting, ride

Tech Digest Editor Chris Price travels to Stockholm to test out Nissan’s latest EV, the family-friendly Ariya now available from £43,000…

When it comes to Electric Vehicles, Nissan certainly knows a thing or two. While other mass market manufacturers – most notably VW – have come to the EV party extremely late, Nissan has been blazing a trail with its revolutionary Leaf since 2010.

Indeed, there are now 600,000 Leafs on the road worldwide, half of them in Europe, with a satisfaction rating of 98% among their drivers according to the manufacturer. At the same time, Nisan has been at the forefront of the ‘crossover market’ with its Qashqai since 2007 with four million models currently on the road.

So to launch a new EV combining Nissan’s experience in the electric vehicle sector thanks to the Leaf with its crossover experience thanks to the Qashqai seems a little bit of a no-brainer. Welcome to the Ariya – Nissan’s new crossover EV, unveiled to Tech Digest at a special launch event in Stockholm at the end of June.

Now available to order from £43,845, it has already been named as AutoExpress ‘Car of the Year’ as well as ‘Best Mid-Sized Company Car’ so it comes with high expectations. Available in two versions – Advance and Evolve – it comes in three different battery and powertrain combinations including 2WD 63kWh, 2WD 87kWh, and e-4ORCE AWD (All Wheel Drive) 87kWh.

Nissan claims the range of the EV is up to 329 miles which, if achieved, should certainly quell the anxieties of most road users, many of whom will be making the switch from a traditional internal combustion engine and need to be convinced they aren’t going to run out of power on the motorway!

It’s a very spacious cabin with a large fascia where you can find haptic (touch-sensitive) controls

First impressions

For our test drive around Stockholm, two colours were available – black and gold. We chose the Ariya Evolve 63kWh model in a gold colour (easily the nicer of the two) with two-wheel drive.

After climbing in (it is quite a big car with a high driving position), it’s simply case of switching the car on and driving – simple really! The first thing you notice is just how quiet it is (I really thought I hadn’t switched it on). The second thing is just how spacious the cabin interior is. There really does seem a lot of room both in the front as well as the back. The boot is pretty big too which is good news for families – Nissan’s target market!

Part of the reason it feels so spacious is because of the minimalist design. In the official presentations before the drive we were told about the car’s ‘Japanese DNA’ as if the car is a living being. But while it’s easy to be cynical, they do seem to be onto something. You certainly don’t feel overwhelmed by controls when you are driving which is probably no bad thing. Instead, it feels a bit like you are sitting relaxing in your living room.

Rather than lots of different shaped and sized buttons like the aircraft pilot cockpit of some modern cars, the Nissan Ariya has what can only be described as a digital sideboard stretching across the middle of the car where you can find touch-responsive, or haptic, controls for air conditioning and heated windscreens.

In addition, there are two large colour 12.3 inch digital displays where you can access driving information, satellite navigation and additional controls as well as a ‘head up’ display so you can see information, such as speed and next turn, projected in front of you when you are driving.

The boot is pretty spacious. It can also be opened by waving your foot underneath!

Hidden features

Looks, as they say, can be deceptive. When you first get in the Ariya you assume it’s quite basic inside because the design is so minimalist. However, it’s actually stuffed full of features. One of these is the divider/arm rest between the driver and passenger where there are various mobile phone charging options including USB-C socket and wireless charging (though a minor niggle is that the phone keeps moving out of position so it isn’t always possible to charge wirelessly).

Rather than a fixed unit, this divider can be moved backwards and forwards to suit where you like to rest your arm. In fact the car will even remember your driving position, moving the seat to the right position and adjusting the steering wheel when you get in.

Other features include a digital rearview mirror which gives a much more panoramic view of the traffic behind you (handy as the back window really isn’t that big) as well as all the usual semi-autonomous driving options such as lane assist that will pull you back into the lane if you are accidentally drifting into another lane without indicating and a warning function if a car or bike is coming up quite close on your outside.

Another great hidden feature is that you can open the boot without using your hands. Just wiggle your foot under the boot and it will open automatically – handy if you are carrying loads of shopping from the supermarket.

Nissan Ariya
Touch-sensitive haptic controls are available for the Ariya’s air conditioning options

Performance

I’ve written before about how most modern cars are just not that exciting to drive, especially automatics that deprive you of all the fun of changing gear and pretending you are a racing driver.

The same is largely true of the Nissan Ariya. I guess that’s just what people want these days – a reliable car that just goes when you switch it on. True there are various driving modes (including Sport, Standard and Eco) but it’s difficult to get too excited about them.

There’s also an e-Pedal (available as an optional extra)  that allows you to decelerate and accelerate using just the accelerator pedal. First introduced on the LEAF, it’s an interesting idea and is designed to make city driving both easier and more energy efficient. However, personally I found it made my driving style a little jerky – as it slows you down quite quickly when you come off the accelerator. 

Nissan Ariya
The Nissan is a nice design. Modern without looking too futuristic

Verdict

All in all the Ariya is a very good EV. It’s extremely spacious and well designed. Minimalist yet packed full of features. And yes while it’s difficult to get too excited by the driving experience, it does tick an awful lot of boxes for those hoping to make the leap from the internal combustion engine to EV driving.

It’s spacious, offers plenty of storage, bags of features and a decent driving range to quell the fears of even the most range anxious. It looks pretty good too – kind of futuristic-looking but without being too ‘out there’ and putting off the conservative family market it’s aimed at. Recommended. 

 

Pros

High driving position will suit many
Very quiet operation
Range is very good for a large EV (329 miles)

Cons

Quite expensive (from £43K to £58K)
Small back window means you need digital rearview mirror
Battery charging rate isn’t the fastest

ARIYA Pricing
 160kW Advance 63kWh £43,845
160kW Evolve 63kWh £47,840
178kW Advance 87kWh [22kW Charger] £49,595
225kW e-4ORCE Advance 87kWh [22kW Charger] £52,295
178kW Evolve 87kWh [22kW Charger] £53,590
225kW e-4ORCE Evolve 87kWh [22kW Charger] £56,290

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Europe-market specifications Ariya 2WD Ariya AWD –
e-4ORCE
  63kWh 87kWh 87kWh
Battery Capacity
*Battery capacity estimated, subject to homologation
66 kWh (nominal)

63 kWh (usable)

91 kWh (nominal)

87 kWh (usable)

91 kWh (nominal)

87 kWh (usable)

Output 160 kW 178 kW 225 kW
Torque 300 Nm 300 Nm 600 Nm
Maximum Motor Speed 13520 13520 13520
Acceleration
(0-100 Km)
7.5 sec. 7.6 sec. 5.7 sec.
Top speed 100 mph 100 mph 124 mph
Homologated WLTP combined cycle range Up to 250 miles Up to 329 miles Up to 310 miles

(Pending final homologation)

Towing capacity 750kg 1500kg
Length 4595 mm
Width 1850 mm
Height 1660 mm
WheelBase (mm) 2775mm 2775mm 2775mm
Overhang Front (mm) 875mm 875mm 875mm
Overhang Rear (mm) 945mm 945mm 945mm
Weight (depending on version and equipment) 1.8t – 2.3t
Wheelbase 2775 mm
Luggage Capacity 2WD: RHD 466L

4WD: RHD 408L

Charging type CCS
AC Peak Power Standard: 7.4 kW

Optional: 22 kW

Standard: 22 kW Standard: 22 kW
DC Peak Power 130kW 130kW 130kW
Range recovered from 20 to 80% SOC on DC charging 165 miles in 30 minutes 217 miles in 30 minutes 201 miles in 30 minutes
Battery warranty 8 years or 100,000 miles 8 years or 100,000 miles 8 years or 100,000 miles
Front Suspension Type Independent MacPherson strut Independent MacPherson strut Independent MacPherson strut
Rear Suspension Type Multi-link independent rear suspension Multi-link independent rear suspension Multi-link independent rear suspension
Tire size
 (front and rear)
235/55R19
 255/45R20 (available as an option)

To learn more about Nissan’s line-up of electrified models on Nissan Europe consumer sites, visit www.nissan-europe.com.

Chris Price