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Long-term tests

Nissan Ariya long-term test: family EV reminds us why it's an award winner

First report: 2022 Car of the Year joins our fleet, but will it impress us as much now as it did then?

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Verdict

The market may have moved on, but the Nissan Ariya is already doing a good job of reminding us why we named it our 2022 Car of the Year. It’s not perfect, and it looks a bit pricey, but it is doing the family-EV stuff well.

  • Mileage: 8,036
  • Efficiency: 3.1 miles/kWh
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Remember 2022? It seems such a long time ago, and in the fast-paced world of the electric-car market, it really is. Back in the summer of 2022, the Nissan Ariya was crowned as the Auto Express Car of the Year. It stood out thanks to its high-quality cabin, comfort and refinement, not to mention the strong performance and 309-mile official range from its electric powertrain.

Fast forward to 2024 and the market for electric family SUVs has filled out massively. So does the Nissan Ariya still justify its two-year-old accolade in today’s market? A long-term test feels like the ideal way to find out.

The car you see here hails from the upper reaches of the Ariya range and, priced from £54,840, this dual-motor e-4ORCE Evolve version looks quite expensive on paper.

That Ceramic Grey paint job is another £745 on top of the list price, and our car has also got the £1,995 Sport Pack. This gives you 20-inch wheels and the Nappa leather interior trim of the range-topping Evolve+ models. It does not, however, extend to the power boost that bumps the Ariya Evolve+ up to 388bhp from the Evolve’s 301bhp, and drops the already-lively 5.7-second 0-62mph time by 0.6 seconds. You need more than £4,000 to upgrade from an Evolve to an Evolve+ and having tried both, we wouldn’t bother. The standard car is quick enough.

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Still, even with just these two options, our Ariya is priced at £57,580. This puts it in the same ballpark as a mid-range Audi Q4 e-tron or a top-spec Volkswagen ID.4 GTX, but the newly arrived Renault Scenic could be a bigger challenger for our Nissan.

So how do key bits of the Ariya perform, two years after its award? The cabin still looks really smart, particularly in Evolve trim, with its bells and whistles.

The deep-pile floor mats that span the full width of the cabin are a minor highlight, but winter weather means we’ll soon find out how easy they are to clean. I also love the aforementioned blue Nappa leather trim, which is accompanied by soft blue suede-type material on the dash and door inserts.

It feels very sumptuous with all the natural (and natural-looking) materials inside, including the wood-effect panel that sweeps right across the dash and houses the unusual touch-sensitive heating and ventilation controls.

Between the seats is the Ariya’s party-piece sliding centre console that can be electrically moved forwards and backwards – but it doesn’t really seem to add a huge amount in terms of practicality.

The minor controls and systems are contained within the wide infotainment screen on the top of the dash. Its resolution isn’t as crisp as on the best screens from rivals, but it is one of the easier systems to use. Nissan’s design for the menus and, particularly, the instrument cluster can look a bit cluttered, but once you actually start using the Ariya, you realise that prioritising ease of access to information over flashy graphics really does pay off.

One immediate bugbear is that the obvious place to put your phone is on the wireless charging mat under the central armrest, but Android users need a wired connection to use Android Auto (Apple CarPlay is wireless). Because there’s no USB socket near that handy phone storage area, you have to trail a long cable or relocate your phone to stick out of the slot at the front of the centre console next to the USB point.

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Our Ariya has just over 8,000 miles on the clock, most of them potentially fairly hard work on the Nissan UK press fleet. Even so, as you’d hope, it’s holding up very well in terms of the materials and the way it drives.

Our Ariya might have 301bhp and a sub-six-second 0-62mph time but, as is so often the case with electric cars, such eye-opening numbers don’t translate to a heart-fluttering driving experience. However, although the suspension is sometimes noisy, it takes the edge off the bumps very well and, after the initial lean as you turn into corners, it keeps the body relatively well controlled.

Efficiency hasn’t been quite so impressive so far, though. The cold January weather has resulted in it returning a little over 3.0 miles per kWh, with the indicated range on a full charge hovering around 210 miles.

The caveat is that my motoring life tends to involve lots of very short trips around town combined with regular journeys on the motorway. During those longer A- and B-road trips, where the car is cruising more gently between stops for traffic lights and roundabouts, the efficiency numbers tend to improve towards 3.5mi/kWh. We’ll see how that develops as the test continues.

Model:Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE Evolve
On fleet since:January 2024
Price new:£54,840 (£57,980)
Powertrain:2x e-motors, 87kWh battery, single-speed auto, 4WD
CO2/tax:0g/km/0%
Options:Sport Pack (20-inch wheels, Nappa leather upholstery, £1,995), Ceramic Grey paint (£745)
Insurance*:Group: 42/Quote: £1,387
Mileage:8,036
Efficiency:3.1 miles/kWh
Any problems?None so far

*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

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Head of digital content

Steve looks after the Auto Express website; planning new content, growing online traffic and managing the web team. He’s been a motoring journalist, road tester and editor for over 20 years, contributing to titles including MSN Cars, Auto Trader, The Scotsman and The Wall Street Journal.

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