What is it?
It’s an electric crossover and further proof that EVs are infiltrating every area of motoring genre.
It’s probably apt that it comes from the Nissan stable, a brand that has been leading the way in terms of the EV revolution, fast becoming evolution. It’s well known Leaf has been around for more than 10 years and is a pretty common sight on our roads now.
The Ariya is a different animal altogether, a much larger SUV and built on an all-new EV platform. And it comes with the latest EV wizardry, such as liquid cooling of the batteries which allows much faster charging. There’s also a CCS connector for access to higher-power chargers.
There’s more than one Ariya from which to choose. The line-up starts with a front-drive 217hp version with a 63kWh battery, stepping up next to a longer range 87kWh battery and 242hp. The car is available in just two grades Advance and Evolve
Not only a larger battery, but you can also specify all-wheel-drive with two available outputs, 306hp and 394hp. What does this mean in terms of range? According to the WLTP figures the smaller battery is good for 250 miles and the larger 315 miles, and we’ll come to that later.
Equipment includes the latest safety and driver-assist technologies, including ProPILOT with Navi link, the most innovative iteration of Nissan’s advance driver-assistance system in Europe to date. It features Nissan Safety Shield 360, the vehicle is available with Intelligent Around View Monitor, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Emergency Lane Keeping, Intelligent Emergency Braking and Rear Automatic Emergency Braking technology.
The list of technical and safety features come as standard on all grades. The ‘Advance’ grade includes ProPILOT with Navi-Link, Intelligent Driver Alertness and Lane Keep Assist, Traffic Jam Pilot, Blind Spot Intervention, Intelligent Cruise Control, Full Auto Park, Apple Car Play and 360 degree Around View Monitor. There are also plenty of options to enhance the Advance, including the Bose Tech Pack or the Sky Pack.
The higher spec ‘Evolve’ grade adds innovative features such as Pro-Pilot Park, Windscreen Heads-up Display, a 10 Bose speaker system, Electric Panoramic Sunroof, power moving centre console, and black upholstery with synthetic leather seats and ‘Ultrasuede’ inserts.
Not cheap however. Depending on trim, prices range from around £46,000 to £59,000, but we don’t yet have a price for the 394bhp version.
What do we think?
The battery pack sits at the base of the chassis to ensure 50/50 weight distribution on the top versions and near-equal weight distribution on the 2WD versions. During its development, engineers placed great emphasis on striking the ideal balance between handling agility, secure feeling and ride comfort, something not all EV rivals are known for.
Particular attention has been paid to ensure European consumers’ need for responsive steering, high manoeuvrability and the need for additional stability at higher speeds were met. Led by the technical team in Cranfield UK, damping forces were increased to improve body control, spring rates were adjusted and retuned steering feedback to increase on-centre definition at higher speeds.
The all-new EV platform and compact nature of powertrain components made it possible for Nissan to position Ariya’s climate-control system under the bonnet. This allowed designers to use the whole length of the cabin and create a flat, open floor with a lounge-like space. The interior provides a lot of space, enhanced by the panoramic openable sunroof and power-adjustable centre console.
With the inclusion of the latest advanced technologies, Ariya provides a driver-friendly experience centred on the user, not the machine. The seats, steering wheel and power-sliding centre console are all adjustable based on the driver’s preference. They can be saved in the memory profiles for ease of use, a convenience for multiple drivers.
The adjustable console in particular sets the Ariya apart, giving drivers the option to slide the unit to create an adaptable armrest and additional space. It also suits ergonomic preferences around the position of the console-mounted gear selector and nearby controls. Customer feedback from the Lead drove the inclusion of extra space for charging cables; Ariya also offers reconfigurable dividers in the boot for increased functionality.
The dashboard display comprises two 12.3” screens to ensure important vehicle information – such as battery charge, range and navigation – can be easily accessible. By displaying multiple facets of information on one horizontal plane, oriented in a wave-like shape, information can be quickly digested whilst minimising driver distraction. Ariya is also equipped with a head up display showing practical information to the driver in a safe way.
Haptic controls have been integrated into the Ariya’s minimalist dashboard to communicate touchpoints with feedback, whilst several principal controls – the volume knob and key steering-wheel buttons, for example – remain physical. The dashboard, which blends seamlessly with the shape of the cabin, cleanly integrates these touchpoints into the sleek feel of the Ariya, with a new shifter that fits in the driver’s palm to encourage a relaxed driving position.
The Ariya is equipped with Nissan’s intelligent personal assistance technology, which feature a hybrid voice recognition system with advanced natural-language comprehension to deliver touchless in-vehicle assistance.
Intelligent Route Planner calculates the best route based on various real-time factors such as traffic, road conditions, real-time charging station availability and remaining battery. NissanConnect Services App which has the capability to lock/unlock doors remotely. Coupled with Amazon Alexa, the systems work perfectly together to create a tailored user experience. Wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto are also available.
The version we tried was the small battery, front-wheel-drive which doesn’t set the road alight in terms of absolute performance – and you’ll notice this particularly on the hills – but as with any EV there’s good acceleration when you need it.
Nissan’s WLTP claim of 250-mile range for the smaller battery is a little ambitious. I could only get an average of 198-200 miles from my 7.5kW wall charger on an overnight charge, although it did manage 217 on one occasion.
This made we wary of attempting a 170-mile round trip, particularly when the return journey promised to be dark, wet and cold. However, on the upside, when I picked the car up I faced a 146-mile journey with 141 miles on the clock. The fully expected pit stop on the way never happened as I actually got back to base with 20 miles remaining.
How could that be? a feather foot on the acceleration and ample use of coasting and brake regeneration which Nissan appears to have a really good handle on. I didn’t rally notice much difference in range when toggling between normal, sport and eco.
Overall, the ride is comfortable enough in the front, a bit hard in the rear according to the passengers and it all feel very stable on the motorway and relaxed around town.
Nissan Ariya 160kW Evolve 63kWh
P11D Value: £47,840
Battery capacity: 63 kW
Max power: 160hp
Max torque: 300Nm
Top Speed: 100mph
0-62mph: 7.5 secs
Range (WLTP): 250 miles:
Battery warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles