How good is the electric Nissan Ariya?
The electric Nissan Ariya is the long-awaited follow-up to the Leaf, which was actually the world’s first versatile EV when it was introduced in 2010. In addition to the Leaf, the new, larger and much more modern Nissan Ariya has a lot of lost time to make up for and also has to contend with some very strong competitors. Will the Nissan Ariya succeed in its overtaking attempt? We are testing the version with a 242 hp electric motor and 87 kWh battery pack in the most complete Evolve version.
In which market segment does the Nissan Ariya operate exactly?
A spacious five-seater family car, the electric Nissan Ariya is based on the same modular platform as the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric. The battery of the car is integrated in the floor. Nissan offers a choice of multiple power variants and multiple battery sizes, with which the Ariya operates one or two market segments above the Renault Megane. This is reflected in its size: with a length of 4.60 meters and a wheelbase of 2.78 meters, the Nissan is much larger than the Renault. And with a height of 1.66 m, the Ariya even towers considerably above the Hyundai Ioniq 5.
Price-wise, the Nissan Ariya also operates in a different class than the Renault. While Megane E-Tech Electric (from just under €38,000) competes with compact EVs such as the Volkswagen ID. 3, the Cupra Born and the BYD Atto 3, the Nissan Ariya ventures into the territory of larger electric SUVs, such as the said Hyundai Ioniq 5, the Skoda Enyaq iV and the Tesla Model Y. At Nissan, prices of the Ariya start at €51,000.
If the Nissan Ariya is such a large car, does it have a lot of space to offer?
There is essentially no lack of seating space, but due to the streamlined design with sloping roofline and flat rear window, the space in the back of the Ariya is not excessive. In the back seat, the passengers sit quite close with their heads against the ceiling. The Evolve version we tested is equipped with a panoramic glass roof as standard, which also claims a few precious centimeters of headroom. Really tall people are also better off sitting in the front before they thoughtlessly order the Evolve with its glass roof. Because the headroom is certainly not over in the front either.
With a capacity of 468 liters, the luggage compartment of the Nissan is no more than an average size. The advantage is that, thanks to the low floor, there is more height than in, for example, the Hyundai Ioniq 5. This is due to the position of the electric motor, which is not in the back of the Nissan, but in the front. However, an extra luggage space under the front cover – a ‘frunk’ – is missing.
If you lay the back seat flat, a flat loading floor is created. Nissan does not disclose what the volume of the cargo space is. You can also choose to adjust the height of the separate panels of the loading floor. The Nissan Ariya is allowed to tow a trailer with a weight of 750 kilos. That is considerably less than, for example, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 tolerates on the towbar: 1,300 kilos.
Is it easy to find your way behind the wheel of the Nissan Ariya?
You can think of the Nissan Ariya as a living room on wheels. The seats are very comfortable; in the Evolve version they are electrically adjustable, heated and ventilated. The interior is finished with ‘warm’ materials such as suede and moldings with a wood grain. A nice detail is the white mood lighting with creative pattern in the footwell. The fact that the center console can be moved is quite practical. However, the usefulness of an electric adjustment eludes us. Very annoying in the Ariya is the armrest in the door, which is placed too low for most drivers.
The instruments are, of course, fully digitized. In the beautiful sloping screen combination, the use of color looks a bit old-fashioned and messy, while the menu structure of the very extensive multimedia system is not always logical. For example, both the instruments and the central touchscreen have a settings menu, where it is not clear why one can be found on the left and the other on the right. Searching longer than desirable is soon the order of the day. Fortunately, Nissan’s navigation is well done, where it neatly – if somewhat pessimistic – predicts the amount of remaining power at the destination.
What options are there in terms of power and battery capacity?
The price list of the Nissan Ariya is very clear. You have three different power variants: with 217 hp, 242 hp or 306 hp. The latest version is powered by two electric motors, one on the front and one on the rear axle. In addition, there are two different batteries. The basic version with 217 hp draws its energy from a battery with a net capacity of 63 kWh, the two more powerful engine variants benefit from 87 kWh of usable capacity. In both cases, that is considerably more than Hyundai can deliver in the Ioniq 5. That model comes with a battery of 58 kWh or 77.4 kWh.
If we look at the performance of the test car, which is powered by the 242 hp electric motor, we see neat figures. The car accelerates from standstill to 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 160 km/h. Nissan specifies a range of 533 kilometers (WLTP) for this version. During our test, the weather conditions were certainly not ideal: the temperature remained at 14 degrees. Still, with a range of 486 kilometers, we were not that far from the distance specified by Nissan.
Fast charging is possible with the Nissan Ariya with a maximum power of 130 kW. This means that the car is certainly not decisive in its segment. For example, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 charges with a peak power of 233 kW and the Tesla Model Y RWD with 170 kW. Incidentally, the Nissan retains its load capacity for a long time; only when the battery is 60 percent full does a drop begin. The versions with an 87 kWh battery are supplied with a 22 kW on-board charger as standard.
How does the Nissan Ariya behave on the road?
The relaxed atmosphere of the comfortable interior is emphasized with a good dose of silence and a pleasantly tuned chassis. Admittedly, the light steering is quite numb and sometimes the shock absorbers have difficulty processing short bumps. With 242 hp, the Ariya has a lot of power. When the driven front wheels threaten to slip, the power is noticeably cut off. As a result, the Ariya sometimes makes a less alert impression than many other electric SUVs.
What is standard on the Nissan Ariya?
The equipment options are just as clear as the motor range. Nissan offers the Ariya in two versions: the Advance and the Evolve. The Advance is already quite complete in its features: 19-inch alloy wheels, an electrically operated tailgate, digital radio reception, steering wheel and seat heating, voice control via Amazon Alexa, a wireless phone charger, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the heat pump that is so attractive for an EV.
In addition, the Ariya in Advance version already has a very extensive package of safety features. A 360-degree camera, blind spot warning, automatic high beam, an active lane assist with lane keeping, traffic jam assistant and an emergency braking aid with recognition of pedestrians, cyclists and oncoming traffic at intersections … the list goes on.
If you want even more luxury, the Evolve offers leather and suede seat covers, headlights with adaptive beaming, the panoramic glass roof, a Bose audio system, seat ventilation, a head-up display and automatic parking assistance. For an additional charge, you can opt for full leather upholstery and 20-inch wheels.
The choice of AutoWeek test coordinator Marco Gorter
If you want to use the Ariya as the first and only car, you would do well to save for the larger battery, so that you also have a decent range in winter. Moreover, the 22 kW AC charger is then immediately standard, which can certainly come in handy abroad. The standard Advance version has everything you realistically need on a modern car.
– Thanks for information from Autoweek.nl