Nissan Ariya review
Comfortable, refined and striking, Nissan’s follow-up to the pioneering Leaf is a strong contender in the electric family-car class
- Excellent visibility
- Very spacious and refined
- Looks great inside and out
- Premium price
- Average boot space
- Charging could be faster
|Model||Range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|63kWh FWD||250 miles||10hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)||31mins (10-80%, 130kW)|
|87kWh FWD||329 miles||14hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)||35mins (10-80%, 130kW)|
|87kWh 4WD||310 miles||14hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)||35mins (10-80%, 130kW)|
In 2011, the Nissan Leaf came to market and thrust electric cars into the mainstream. But, despite that car’s success, it’s taken Nissan over a decade to launch an electric SUV – the Ariya – which is going up against a sea of acclaimed rivals, including the Kia EV6, Volkswagen ID.4, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Skoda Enyaq iV and Toyota bZ4X. So naturally, expectations are high.
Right away, the Nissan Ariya is certainly a striking EV to look at, thanks to that sleek coupe/fastback-like roofline, the slim LED daytime running lights tucked under the equally skinny headlights and the refreshed Nissan logo sitting proud on the smooth and dark front panel.
As soon as you open the door, you immediately notice the vast amount of space in the cabin. There’s a flat floor all the way across the front from the driver’s to the passenger’s side. Instead of a tall, wide centre console making you feel cocooned in your seat, the Ariya’s can slide back and forth electronically to where you want it, which gives the cabin a much more airy feel.
The minimalist dashboard incorporates a pair of 12.3-inch screens housed in a single glass panel. The driver’s digital instruments are customisable and the central screen operates the majority of infotainment systems. The graphics could be slightly sharper compared to the setups in the Nissan’s rivals from Toyota and VW, and responsiveness could be improved, too, but functionality is good at least. Located just below the central screen is a wood-effect panel, where you’ll find the haptic climate-control buttons that do work well and look very smart.
On the road, refinement in the Ariya is particularly good and there’s plenty of performance for a family SUV. The ease at which you can get the Ariya up to speed makes the car feel relaxing while on the move, with very little motor whine coming through when cruising. The suspension is a little on the firm side, but the setup is compliant and manages to handle bumps smoothly, so the ride in the big Nissan is comfortable overall. Plus, we found both the front-wheel drive versions we’ve tested so far to be very efficient.
The Leaf’s ‘e-Pedal’ one-pedal system has been altered for the Ariya; it’s now called ‘e-Pedal Step’ as a result. The company says it has tuned the pedal to feel like that of an internal-combustion-engined model, perhaps with EV newcomers in mind. This means it’s not able to bring the car to a complete halt on its own, but the level of regeneration is strong enough to rely on the accelerator alone in urban settings or on country roads. You rarely have to touch the brakes, which again contributes to the Ariya's laid-back driving experience.
Prices start from just under £44,000, which is on par with the Audi Q4 e-tron, Toyota bZ4X and other premium-feeling rivals. But you do at least get a lengthy list of standard kit including a heat pump, LED headlights, heated seats, a powered tailgate and a 360-degree camera setup. Range in the base Ariya is 250 miles, but you can get a larger 87kWh battery which increases the car’s range to 329 miles and the price tag to £49,500. Meanwhile, the dual-motor e-4ORCE model starts at £52,300, which is around the same as a Tesla Model Y or Ford Mustang Mach-E.
Overall, the Ariya stands out in the electric family SUV class thanks to its unique styling, wonderfully spacious cabin, excellent functionality and decent on-board technology. Performance and refinement are impressive, too, as is the range and efficiency of both versions we’ve tested so far. This is by no means the cheapest zero-emissions family car around, but it’s a premium-feeling product that gets loads of kit for the money. For a more detailed look at the Nissan Ariya, read on for the rest of our in-depth review…
In This Review
- 1Verdict - currently readingComfortable, refined and striking, Nissan’s follow-up to the pioneering Leaf is a strong contender in the electric family-car class
- 2Range, battery & chargingReal-world range and rapid-charging speeds are both decent, but could be better
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe Ariya should be reasonably cheap to run and maintain, not to mention a very tempting company-car option
- 4Performance, motor & driveThe Nissan Ariya is a refined and comfortable family SUV, with plenty of poke even in front-wheel drive form
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfortNissan’s first electric SUV isn’t the cheapest on sale today, but is priced competitively against its premium-feeling rivals
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe Ariya’s cabin is more spacious than its rakish roofline might suggest, but rivals offer significantly more boot space
- 7Reliability & safety ratingA lengthy list of driver assistance systems and brand-new EV platform suggests safety shouldn’t be a concern with the Nissan Ariya