New Nissan Ariya 2022 review
The entry-level version of the award-winning Nissan Ariya has a 250-mile range
The Nissan Ariya is a shining example of an EV done right. Predictable and usable range, plenty of kit on even the entry-level model, quality, space and style combine to make this a desirable car that’s backed up by solid performance and superb refinement. It also acquits itself well dynamically. After its initial EV exploits with the Leaf, Nissan was left in the doldrums when it came to electrification, but the firm has really joined the race against both mainstream and premium competitors with the Ariya.
Fresh from its victory at the 2022 Auto Express New Car Awards last month, the Nissan Ariya has proved it has what it takes to cut it with premium EV players. And a chance to reacquaint ourselves with Nissan’s latest electric car has only reinforced our opinion.
Despite its name, our Advance-spec test car is the entry-level point of the range – and range is as good a place as any to start when discussing an electric vehicle.
A 63kWh battery means an official range of 250 miles from a full charge; we got 235 miles, which translates to roughly 3.7 miles per kilowatt hour. With 130kW rapid charging, an 80 per cent top-up takes just over half an hour. There’s also a 87kWh battery car with a range of 329 miles.
A clever EV menu on the infotainment and sat-nav set-up can suggest charging stops on your journey if necessary and condition the battery so it’s in optimum charging condition when you arrive. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also come as standard; owners might prefer to use these systems on the 12.3-inch screen, even though the Ariya’s native software is sound.
That tech blends with fantastic material quality; wood-effect trim inlays house touch-sensitive climate controls. While we prefer physical dials and switches for ventilation, a gentle touch in the Ariya is registered with welcome haptic feedback.
Nissan plays on its Japanese heritage, too. The ambient LED lighting is inspired by traditional Japanese paper lanterns, for instance. It’s a cool touch that adds an injection of personality that’s important in an EV. That’s partly because without a combustion engine, a big element of how a conventional car drives isn’t present.
But we have no problems with performance. The Ariya’s 215bhp front-mounted electric motor delivers smooth acceleration and it’s more than fast enough for a family SUV, helped by a chunky 300Nm of torque that carries the car along in near-silent serenity. Refinement on the move is very good indeed, and while the suspension set-up is a little on the firm side, it still delivers enough compliance to be comfortable overall.
The Ariya is also surprisingly direct to drive for a taller, heavier SUV. The steering is light and positive; like other EVs, the battery’s mass is kept low in the chassis, but even so, the Ariya is much more agile and engaging to drive than its closest rivals.
Based on the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s CMF-EV platform, the Ariya is much softer than Renault’s Megane E-Tech Electric, for example, although it’s a bigger car so there’s more space inside. Rear-seat space is excellent and, despite the sloping roofline and the £1,295 panoramic sunroof on our car, there’s no problem when it comes to headroom for those in the back seats.
At 466 litres, the boot’s volume is merely okay, but it’s not far shy of that of Kia’s EV6, which isn’t as roomy inside, and eclipses the Toyota bZ4X. There’s also plenty of storage, including a lidded tray on the elegant centre console.
The Ariya delivers in every area, which means it’s one of the most well rounded electric cars on sale right now.
|Model:||Nissan Ariya Advance|
|Transmission:||Single-speed automatic, front-wheel drive|
|Charging:||130kW (10-80% 35 mins)|