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New Car Reviews

New Car Review: Nissan Ariya First Drive

Published 31st March 2022Read Time 10 min

Good Stuff 👍
High-quality cabin, spacious interior, smooth and refined electric powertrain, decent range
Bad Stuff 👎
Unknown pricing, limited supply, odd drive selector

What is the Nissan Ariya?

Nissan’s new electric SUV – or coupe-crossover

The Ariya is Nissan’s new electric SUV – or coupe-crossover if you believe the Japanese manufacturer’s hype. It’s a brand-new vehicle that shares its platform with the forthcoming Renault Megane E-Tech Electric and no, there won’t ever be a diesel one. The Ariya is bigger than the Nissan Qashqai and about the same size as the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq.

How does the Nissan Ariya look?

We may mock Nissan’s use of the ‘coupe’ word to describe the Ariya, but it is nonetheless a sharp-looking take on the family SUV recipe, thanks in part to a steeply raked rear window. It looks especially good when in a two-tone finish with the copper-coloured paint shown here. That contrasts in an appealing fashion with the black roof and black door mirrors. Though there’s no grille upfront, Nissan calls the black nose design a ‘shield’ and, along with fancy illumination, it hides sensors for the driver assistance technology. High-tech LED lights are used front and rear, too. We’ve seen the car in plain black and while not as interesting to look at as one in a bright colour, it doesn’t disguise the inherently contemporary design. It’s sure to find favour among those that want a modern-looking car, but without alienating those that don’t want something that looks weird.

What is the Nissan Ariya like inside?

The interior is probably the Ariya’s most impressive feature

Albeit the sloping roofline does impinge on rear-seat passenger headroom a little, especially if the optional panoramic glass sunroof is fitted. That’s one of our few complaints, however. In terms of space, front-seat passengers have loads of room to stretch out, a feeling that is emphasised by having the movable centre console in its rear-most position. Do that and there’s nothing between the footwells, other than a classy light, apparently inspired by paper lanterns.

Getting into the rear is a cinch thanks to notably wide-opening doors and, so long as that centre console isn’t all the way back, there’s good room for three adults of average size. The floor is completely flat, there are child seat mountings on the outer two seats, air vents and USB chargers, too. The seatback splits and folds down to increase boot space, which is comparable to the likes of the ID.4 and Enyaq.

Practicalities aside, the dashboard and centre console are simply lovely to look at, use and, well, touch. Nissan has employed some tactile new materials, conspicuously solid switchgear and some very cool new touch-sensitive controls with haptic feedback. It all adds up to a cabin that eclipses those of the Skoda and VW – and compares very favourably indeed with the interiors of the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5.

What is the Nissan Ariya like to drive?

Maximum torque from a standstill

Like all electric cars, the Ariya’s electric motor delivers maximum torque from a standstill, so it steps of the line smartly enough, though the accelerator is well-calibrated so as to make it easy to drive smoothly at low speeds. There you’ll find a decent turning circle and a complete absence of noise from the powertrain or the world outside. Indeed, the electric motor is rarely heard at any speed, and you come away from this car remembering how quiet and refined it is – even in comparison to other EVs.

Our test car was the most modestly powered one offered, with a single electric motor turning the front wheels producing up to 217PS and 300Nm of torque. Nissan quotes a 0-100km/h time of 7.5 seconds, which is ample by any normal measure. It easily accelerates from there to motorway speeds.

The smallest battery pack is a 63kWh unit, allowing an official range in this guise of up to 403km. Our drive was on a closed circuit and relatively short, so we don’t have a handle on how closely the Ariya can match that as yet.

As the track was perfectly smooth, neither can we report on the ride comfort, but the Ariya certainly can hold its own in the corners, offering safe handling and real composure, even during high-speed bends.

The Normal driving mode is the default setting, though drivers can switch into Eco to maximise the range when needed or Sport if they fancy a little quicker response and a heavier steering feel. Along with those options, there’s a button for one-pedal driving and the (rather strange and flimsy) drive selector can also be slotted into ‘B’ instead of ‘D’ for a higher level of brake energy regeneration.

Is the Nissan Ariya safe?

Not yet been evaluated by Euro NCAP

The Ariya has not yet been evaluated by Euro NCAP, but Nissan has a good record for producing safe vehicles, so we’d be confident in its ability to get a full five-star rating. Helping that will be a comprehensive safety package included as standard on all cars.

Verdict 👀

If priced right, the Nissan Ariya could outdo the existing big-selling electric crossovers on the Irish market.

Spec Check ⚙️

Nissan Ariya

Battery

63kWh

Power

217PS

Torque

300Nm

0-100km/h

7.5 seconds

Range

403km

Top Speed

160km/h

Transmission

1-speed automatic

Co2

0g/km

Annual Motor Tax

€120

Luggage Capacity

466 litres with the seats up

Price as tested

tbc

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