‘It didn’t take us long to realise the Nissan Ariya was a winner’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler realised he was in something special from the moment he sat in the Nissan Ariya

Opinion - Nissan Ariya

For those of us who’ve driven and judged this year’s Auto Express Car of the Year, it didn’t take us long to realise it was a winner. The very best cars are always like that – within moments of sitting in them and driving away, you know you’re in something special. And that’s definitely the case with the Nissan Ariya.

What has amazed me, though, is the speed of improvement we’re seeing in the car industry, and not only in full-electric cars. We recently drove the revised Toyota Corolla – not an all-new car, but what we’d usually refer to as a ‘facelifted’ model. Yet the changes made in the middle of its seven or eight-year cycle have transformed an already good machine into something that rivals the very best in the class.

Much as there are many multiple winners amongst those in this year’s Awards, there are some that have slipped from the top spot not through any fault of their own, but because of the brilliance of newcomers. Last year’s overall Car of the Year, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, may no longer be a winner, but it’s still a fantastic car (and one of the best pieces of automotive design, in my eyes). It’s just that a year is a long time in the automotive world.

Another example of the speed of progress is the new Range Rover Sport. I took a ride in the new car with the talented Matt Becker behind the wheel – a man whose team at JLR seem set on defying physics. Here’s a large, heavy SUV that isn’t embarrassed on a race track – which is where Becker was driving it – but can also handle a gravel surface with all the calm and poise of a luxury car.

Great-handling cars that provide a safe and comfortable ride used to be an impossibility. Now, through the wonders of technology and engineers’ genius, you can truly have the best of both worlds. According to Becker, you may soon be able to download bespoke settings to your car depending on where you drive it. It’s the Buckinghamshire pothole setting for me, then.

Do you think the Nissan Ariya deserved to be crowned our 2022 Car of the Year? Let us know in the comments section...

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