In-depth reviews

Nissan Ariya 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

4.5 out of 5

Performance, motor & drive rating

4.5 out of 5

Model0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
63kWh FWD7.5s100mphFront215bhp
87kWh FWD7.6s100mphFront239bhp
87kWh AWD5.7s124mphFour302bhp

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. 

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, which is plenty of performance for a family SUV. Meanwhile, the top speed stands at 100mph.

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. 

You can get your Ariya with a dual-motor e-4ORCE powertrain that produces 302bhp for a rapid 5.7-second 0-62mph time and 124mph top speed, and there is a 389bhp Performance edition Ariya still to come that’ll do 0-62mph in close to five seconds flat. However, we’ve yet to experience either AWD versions for ourselves just yet.

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.

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, where it seemed well matched to the other controls. Switching to Sport mode adds some heft to the wheel and sharpens up throttle response, but doesn’t feel necessary in a car like this.

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