Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Nissan Ariya review: performance, motor & drive

The Nissan Ariya is a refined and comfortable family SUV, with plenty of poke even in front-wheel drive form

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Performance, motor & drive rating

4.0 out of 5

Model0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
63kWh FWD7.5s100mphFront215bhp
87kWh FWD7.6s100mphFront239bhp
87kWh AWD5.7s124mphFour302bhp
87kWh AWD Evolve+5.1s124mphFour388bhp

Full one-pedal driving is one of the highlights of the Nissan Leaf; it’s great when you’re driving round town and is a feature we wished more EVs came with. The Ariya being one of them, as it uses a setup called ‘e-Pedal Step’, which isn’t able to bring the car to a complete halt on its own. This should make it feel more like your typical petrol or diesel family car, but the level of regeneration is still strong enough to rely on the accelerator alone in urban settings or even country roads. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

With it activated, you rarely have to touch the brakes, which contributes to the Ariya's more laid-back driving experience. Some rivals feature multiple levels of regen to suit how you want to drive, so we’d certainly welcome another mode in the Ariya, but the system is still well calibrated and easy to get to grips with.

Nissan Ariya 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

Entry-level versions of the Ariya are fitted with a single electric motor to drive the front wheels, producing a modest 215bhp, and 300Nm of torque available at an instant. It might weigh over two tonnes, but 0-62mph in even the least potent version takes just 7.5 seconds – this feels even faster than the numbers suggest thanks to the instant torque delivery.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Upgrading to the 87kWh battery also gets you a stronger 239bhp electric motor for the front wheels, so you never feel the weight of that heavier battery as 0-62mph is dispatched within 7.6 seconds. The ease at which you can get the FWD Ariyas up to speed makes the car feel relaxing while on the move, as very little motor whine comes through when cruising. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

You can also get the Ariya with a dual-motor e-4ORCE powertrain that produces 302bhp for a rapid 5.7-second 0-62mph time and 124mph top speed. The Ariya e-4ORCE is certainly swift, with the addition of all-wheel drive helping to put the power down in slippery conditions, however it can’t quite match the pace of a dual-motor Tesla Model Y which also gets dual motors for all-wheel drive. 

Also available now is the Ariya Evolve+ which features an upgraded e-4ORCE powertrain that produces 388bhp – with 0-62mph taking just over five seconds, we suspect this new model offers more punch than any Ariya buyer could ever need.

Handling

Refinement in the Ariya is very good indeed. 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. Even with the heavier 87kWh battery on board the Ariya feels composed, but particularly sharp imperfections at higher speeds can get through into the cabin and jiggle occupants around.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The Ariya also feels more agile and engaging to drive than its closest rivals, thanks in large part to the steering which feels direct and offers a nice weight in the Standard drive mode. Switching to Sport mode adds some heft to the wheel and sharpens up throttle response, but feels a tad at odds with the Ariya’s laid back persona – we doubt most buyers will be using their Ariya to attack any B-roads on a Sunday morning anytime soon.

When we drove the range-topping Ariya e-4ORCE we didn’t find it noticeably sharper to drive than the regular front-wheel drive versions. Even with the extra weight from the additional motor on the rear axle and big 87kWh battery, body roll, while noticeable in tight corners, remains about the same. 

Even on 20-inch rims, the Ariya e-4ORCE was still as comfortable, if not slightly more so, than the regular Ariyas we’d driven, while the all-wheel drive provided a little extra security on slippery roads. Unless you really think the extra AWD grip is necessary where you live, we’d stick with the front-wheel drive models and save a chunk of change in the process.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Welcome one and all, I’m Ellis the news reporter on Auto Express, the brand’s former online reviews editor and contributor to DrivingElectric. I’m proud to say I cut my teeth reporting and reviewing all things EV as the content editor on DrivingElectric. I joined the team while completing my master’s degree in automotive journalism at Coventry University and since then I’ve driven just about every electric car and hybrid I could get my hands on.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

New Dacia Spring has landed and could be UK’s first really cheap electric car
Dacia Spring reveal - front
News

New Dacia Spring has landed and could be UK’s first really cheap electric car

Dacia Spring is coming to the UK with a new face, upgraded tech and a potential starting price of £16k
21 Feb 2024
New Ineos Fusilier plugs the ‘electric Land Rover Defender’ gap in the market
Ineos Fusilier
News

New Ineos Fusilier plugs the ‘electric Land Rover Defender’ gap in the market

Ineos’ first electric off-roader has been revealed and looks very much like the larger, petrol-powered Grenadier
23 Feb 2024
New cheap Vauxhall Corsa Electric YES Edition says ‘no’ to expensive EV prices
Vauxhall Corsa Electric YES Edition - front
News

New cheap Vauxhall Corsa Electric YES Edition says ‘no’ to expensive EV prices

New entry-level Vauxhall Corsa Electric arrives with exclusive red paintwork and a £5,500 cheaper starting price
23 Feb 2024