Nissan Ariya: electric crossover delayed again

Published: 05 April 2022

► Available to order now, priced from £41,845
► Maximum range of up to 310 miles 
► First UK deliveries arrive summer 2022

Nissan’s second pure-electric vehicle, the Ariya SUV, is available to pre-order in the UK now. Prices start from £41,845 for the cheapest Advance variant, and increase to £58,440 for the range-topping 389bhp Performance model.

There’s still some time to wait before the Ariya reaches UK roads, with Nissan expecting the first examples to reach customers in summer 2022. That could change though; a global shortage of semiconductors means Japanese deliveries of the Ariya have now been pushed back to May, after a scheduled late-March launch.

When it finally hits British roads, the new EV will offer fresh competition for the likes of the Tesla Model Y and Volkswagen ID.4.

The Ariya’s headline figures look encouraging, too. Nissan says the flagship Performance model will dispatch the 0–62mph sprint in around five seconds, while the most economical two-wheel drive variant can officially cover 310 miles on a single charge. So, it can’t compete with Tesla for outright performance, but it should have plenty enough poke for everyday use.

Sounds good. What’s powering it?

The Ariya is underpinned by the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s scalable CMF-EV platform. It’s more modular than the chassis found under the Leaf, offering buyers a choice of two- or four-wheel drive electric powertrains and either a 63kWh or an 87kWh battery pack. 

The batteries (which are long and flat) are mounted under the car’s floor and, as there’s no need to make space in the body for a gearbox or exhaust system, there’s no central tunnel. That means the floor is completely flat, which makes the Ariya considerably more spacious inside than its combustion-engined counterparts. It’s especially noticeable in the back, where legroom is similar to that of an Audi Q5.

Nissan Ariya rear three quarter

The entry-level Nissan Ariya is fitted with a 63kWh battery pack and a single 214bhp electric motor. Nissan says this setup gives the SUV a 0–62mph time of 7.5 seconds, a top speed of 99mph and, most importantly, a maximum range of up to 223 miles.

This latter figure can be improved by stepping up to the £51,090 Ariya Evolve. It’s equipped with a larger 87kWh battery pack and a slightly more powerful version of the base-model’s single electric motor, which produces 239bhp. The extra battery capacity increases the car’s maximum range to 310 miles.

Next up, there’s the dual-motor, four-wheel drive Ariya e-4ORCE Evolve. It’s priced from £53,790 and has an output of 302bhp, which Nissan says is enough for a 0–62mph time of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 124mph. It’s also powered by an 87kWh battery, but the extra electric motor reduces the car’s maximum range to 285 miles.

Nissan Ariya cornering

The range-topping Ariya e-4ORCE Performance produces 389bhp and 442ft/lbs of torque, which trims the SUVs 0–62mph down to 5.1 seconds. Range takes a hit due to the extra output, though, dropping to a maximum of 248 miles. Prices start from £58,440.

The strange e-4ORCE badge tacked on to the top two models refers to those cars’ torque management system, which can independently control the amount of power being sent to the front and rear axles. The system can’t manage the torque split across each axle, but Nissan says the Ariya can independently brake each wheel to improve its cornering ability.

Models with twin motors can also shut off the rear one when cruising on a motorway, for example. However, the system won’t be able to shut off the front one for rear-wheel drive silliness. As for weight, it comes in at a EV-typical 1800-2300kg.

What about the charging technology?

Nissan Ariya (2021) CCS charging system

The Ariya gets a Combined Charging System (CCS) connector for the European market. Charging tech includes a battery thermal control feature for its liquid-cooled and heated battery and the Ariya 63kWh versions have a 7.4kW charger for domestic use. The 87kWh version can support a 22kW three-phase charger for home charging – as long as your home does. For those using public chargers, the good news is that it supports rapid charging up to 130kW.

Design

The Ariya is a handsome thing with clean surfaces and a striking graphical face, including ‘boomerang’ LED lights and a closed off grille for aerodynamic reasons. ‘Electric power is this clean powerful energy, so we wanted to echo that clean powerful surface,’ Giovanny Arroba, Nissan’s EV Design Director (below) told CAR. 

Giovanny Arroba

Indeed, the overall teardrop shape looks honed in the wind tunnel, to boost range. Air intakes at the front of the Ariya also create ‘air curtains’ which help keep air attached to the side of the car. 

‘We wanted to express the technology that we’re bringing to market, this kind of democratisation of electric and technology, which we call intelligent mobility design,’ said Arroba. 

The replacement of the Nissan V-motion grille with a shield design is a big change in direction: ‘It was an open grille and was feeding the internal combustion engine with cooling air,’ explains Arroba. ‘That has been replaced with this technology shield which packages are radar and camera.’ 

Nissan Ariya (2021) rear view

The shield ­– along with the incisive-looking DRLs it melts into are surely the most striking part of the Ariya, and they’re a new signature for Nissan electric cars. ‘I think the shield in combination with the signature lamps, that frame that face, that combination shows our brand identity, electrified,’ he confirmed. 

‘The Ariya’s proportions show what’s possible with Nissan’s 100% electric vehicle platform, said Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s senior vice president of global design at the Tokyo motor show. ‘The surprisingly short overhangs, large cabin, large wheels and tailored two-tone paint scheme provide an elegant appearance that balances sport and luxury.’ 

It’s an entirely new design direction for Nissan, the first example of our new vision for our design language, which we call Timeless Japanese Futurism,’ said Albaisa.

Interior and technology

Nissan Ariya (2021) interior view

The Ariya isn’t all joysticks and VR headsets. There’s a conventional 12.3-inch infotainment screen and a 12.3-inch drive display. There are very few ‘real’ buttons as most are touch-sensitive with haptic feedback.‘This car lives in a world where you still can engage and drive with the tactile feel of the steering wheel,’ Arroba assured us.

The Ariya is a one-pedal car to drive, just like the Leaf. It can accelerate, and brake following the car in front and keep within lane, as well as undertake hands-off driving between highway junctions so long as you’ve set the navigation – just like the current Japanese-market Skyline. But next-gen features include automated overtaking, lane diversions and piloted exiting of the highway.

Drivers okay the transfer to automated driving via a button; the pared-back interior lighting switches at that point to signify a more relaxed state. Whether the driver stays that way depends on how polished and bulletproof ProPilot 2.0 turns out to be/

What are the autonomous car levels?

The Ariya gets the latest version of ProPilot. It also has a series of connected features. As soon as the key is detected, the seats and vehicle settings change to match the driver’s preferences. It’s connected, too, and offers ‘hey Nissan’ and Alexa voice command functionality.

More space inside

Nissan Ariya (2021) profile view

Like many other electric cars, its interior is also more spacious than you’d expect: Nissan has been able to move A/C components from the interior – where they’d usually be packaged – to the ‘engine bay’ and given back the occupants some real estate in the process. Remove the transmission tunnel, and there’s considerably more space in the Ariya than its outside shape suggests. In fact, it’s more D-segment inside, than its C-segment exterior.

As the A/C sits where a traditional engine would, there’s no frunk like with a Tesla. But the boot is big. There’s 468-litres worth of space in the front-wheel drive versions, but only 415-litres in the all-wheel drive models.

By Luke Wilkinson

Bauer Automotive staff writer. Unhealthy obsession with classic Minis and old Alfas. Impenetrable Cumbrian accent

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