RE: 2022 Nissan Ariya | PH Review

RE: 2022 Nissan Ariya | PH Review

Sunday 7th August

2022 Nissan Ariya | PH Review

The company that made the Leaf and the Qashqai now has the Ariya - but this Nissan is rather more interesting...


Electric crossovers. An inevitable and ultimately quite handy addition to our world, or simply an oversized blot on the car enthusiast landscape? The wide spectrum of intrigue served up by carmakers so far hasn’t yet really given us a definitive answer – Hyundai and Kia have knocked it out of the park with their bold Ioniq 5 and EV6, but certain VW group alternatives simply haven’t captured our imagination in quite the same way.

So what about the pioneer of the mainstream EV? Nissan has sold over half a million Leafs (Leaves?) so far, making it the most successful electric car of them all. While sales have built as exponentially as the public’s appetite for plug-in power, perhaps some of those buyers will soon be trading their Leaf back in for something bigger and more du jour – the same tech and thinking, just poured into an SUV mould.

And what a mould. The coupe-SUV aesthetic doesn’t really work in most cases, but there’s something about the Nissan Ariya’s smoothly appointed creases – ‘Japanese futurism’, in the clanging design lingo – that’s improbably arresting in the metal. Promise. Pictures may not do the Ariya justice, but it’s a genuinely good-looking thing when it’s slap-bang in front of you. Whether its impact will fade as they pour increasingly onto our roads remains to be seen.

It's probably fair to ponder what it’s doing here on PH, but there are numerous reasons why the Ariya matters to you and I. There’s a British industry story, with Nissan’s Sunderland plant soon to swell in size with the addition of a £1bn battery Gigafactory (even if the Ariya itself is made in Japan). There’s the tech story, with higher-powered Ariyas getting an intriguing four-wheel-drive system that would be a shoo-in – in one form or another – for whatever future chapter of the GT-R story we’re blessed with. Then there’s a more prosaic, but more relevant ‘two-car garage’ story. Running a car like this Monday to Friday with a petrol-powered sports car tucked away for the weekend may well prove to be how most of us embrace an electric future.

I can think of worse cars to drive on workdays than an Ariya. Many of them. It should be no surprise that a carmaker that introduced both the affordable EV and the crossover to the market has nailed a combination of the two. But the Ariya, while not exactly brimming with driving appeal, nails its brief.

You’ve a choice of two different battery sizes (63 and 87kWh) and power outputs ranging from 217 to 394hp, the latter paired with 443lb ft of torque and a 4WD system for a 0-62mph time of 5.1secs. The most efficient Ariya claims 329 miles of range on a full charge. The maximum capacity of which is 130kW; on par with most rivals, but a long way off the Hyundai and Kia’s 350kW charging potential.

Lots of options, then, but our first taste is of the cheapest, slowest FWD version. The one people are more likely to lease, in other words. While a 217hp output may no longer stagger us, it used to be the preserve of quirky Q-cars in this corner of the market. It’s not so long since a 220hp, five-cyl Ford S-Max snuck subtly onto the driveways of large families whose petrolhead embers still burned.

While it’s evidently not been tuned for fun – smooth, quiet progress is top of its agenda – the Ariya handles quite pertly given its circa two-tonne weight. You’ve a bunch of drive modes to choose from as well as different levels of brake regen and the option of one-pedal operation – called ‘e-pedal’ – but the drivetrain is smart and slick whichever selections you’ve haptically prodded yourself into, albeit prone to wheelspin (or a lunge of electronic intervention) if you’re too binary on the throttle.

It's got light and lifeless but sharply reacting steering, a neat handling balance and nice linear acceleration – hitting 62mph in 7.5secs, this particular Ariya forgoes pointlessly quick off the line tricks. Its power is instead delivered in the mid-range, right where you actually want it. And the strength of the e-pedal regen proves a neat way to shift the car’s weight forwards to tuck its nose into corners.

Not exactly relevant in this shape and size of car, perhaps. But I’ve previously tried a prototype Leaf – on indecently lovely Rays alloys – with a version of e-4ORCE 4WD beneath, which was impressive. The system will likely lend those quicker Ariyas more inherent stability and smoother straight-line manners, as well as nudge their weight distribution to a perfect 50:50.

“It’s the spiritual offspring of the Nissan GT-R's ATTESA E-TS torque split system,” its maker says, giving us more than a mere glimmer of hope that future electrified Nissan sports cars will serve up strong handling and performance with a retuned version. Which is perhaps the key plotline here for enthusiasts. Barring a U-turn worthy of the Tory leadership contest, Nissan won’t be bringing the latest Z (nor any more R35s) to Europe. For Brits, a future Nissan sports car is electric or nothing.

As for the rest of the Ariya? Well, Nissan’s done what’s most important for a family-focused EV crossover: it’s nailed the interior. The CMF-EV platform it’s based upon allows for a nice flat floor and a sliding centre console that swishes fore and aft depending on how much you value the leg space of your rear passengers. It’s among a wealth of neat interior tricks; another sees the drive mode and climate control buttons melded into wood-ish dashboard trim to blend physical and digital operation. The result looks neat and is still quite reassuring to operate. There’s a whiff of ‘gimmick’, but no more so than an Ioniq 5’s seats folding flat into a double bed. And it’s preferable to most current VW switchgear (or lack thereof).

“We did not go for fully digital controls because we wanted to make interaction in the car easy, simple and effortless,” says product manager Alexander Pasternak. “For the same reason we chose horizontal displays with a central screen that’s easy to reach.” An only mildly guarded dig at Tesla, you might assume. Either way, those displays also contain reams of driver assist functions and a voice assistant that’ll link up to connected devices in your home and a smart nav system that’ll check the status of charging stations on your route and update things accordingly if they’re full. Or broken. Naturally the car welcomes over-the-air refreshes, too.

Prices still come with something of an EV premium. It costs more than an equivalent Qashqai, that’s for sure, the entry model kicking things off at £43,845. More power and the larger battery arrive at £49,595 while 4WD versions start at £56,290. But with some of the strongest residual values ever attached to a Nissan, leasing ought to look more palatable. Monthlies start below £500.

Yup, it’s an extraordinarily sensible note to end on. Sorry. But buying an Ariya is a head-pummelling-heart purchase, no matter how swish you might find the styling or esoteric interior up close. On the electric crossover spectrum, though, it definitely sits at the more likeable end.


SPECIFICATION | NISSAN ARIYA 160KW EVOLVE 63KWH

Engine: Single 160kW motor, 63kWh battery
Transmission: Single-speed, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 217
Torque (lb ft): 221
0-62mph: 7.5sec
Top speed: 100mph
Weight:
1,914kg
Range: 250 miles
CO2: 0g/km
Price: £47,840

Author
Discussion

sidesauce

Original Poster:

2,052 posts

199 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
Although I'm not in the market for this type of car, it's not the most unpleasant looking BEV I've seen.

I like the 'futuristic' look of it...

raspy

897 posts

75 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
Great to see this finally heading here, although from what I understand, due to a number of reasons, only the low spec ones are arriving at the moment, and the higher spec versions might not be here for a while (unless someone else can tell me differently)

Kipsrs

228 posts

30 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
Seems the Japanese really do like the Toyota CHR! That side profile has many similarities. . Just my opinion.

ducnick

1,452 posts

224 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
Just look at those buttons….. because drivers of these are going to have to look at them in order to find them on their way to the crash site.

wpa1975

4,305 posts

95 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
sidesauce said:
Although I'm not in the market for this type of car, it's not the most unpleasant looking BEV I've seen.

I like the 'futuristic' look of it...
Agreed.

Plus I think it looks better than the Mustang Mach E

Groaver

40 posts

14 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
"While it’s evidently not been tuned for fun – smooth, quiet progress is top of its agenda – the Ariya handles quite pertly given its circa two-tonne weight."

And these are the answer to what?

samoht

3,783 posts

127 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all

How tall is Stephen Dobie? I ask because at 6'1 I found myself borderline short of headroom in the Ariya, i.e. with the seat as low as available, my head was rather close to the header rails. Rear accommodation also seemed a trifle short vertically. Presumably down to the underfloor battery pack.

Otherwise yeah, I found it super-relaxing to drive, the combo of a high driving position and a low centre of gravity is a very pleasant one, backed up by good suspension with a nice ride. Definitely a daily/family car rather than a sports car, but a very appealing one.


oilit

2,242 posts

159 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
Whats the difference between really relaxing and super relaxing i wonder?

That aside, I was getting excited about this as I read the article as I read it had buttons! The truth be told I then started dreaming of no screens - how disappointed I was when i saw the picture of the dash!



Edited by oilit on Sunday 7th August 09:40

essayer

8,247 posts

175 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
Notably for Nissan, CCS and not Chademo

samoht

3,783 posts

127 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
oilit said:
Whats the difference between really relaxing and super relaxing i wonder?
I think my point is that it's relaxing in ways I hadn't previously considered, due to the advantages of an electric drivetrain giving instant linear responses, near one-pedal driving and brake hold, combined with a high driving position, plus a seemingly very competent yet fairly soft chassis. So 'super' as in above and beyond the norm, as opposed to 'really' as in conventionally good to a high level.

Glosphil

3,792 posts

215 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
"Monday to Friday with a petrol-powered sports car tucked away for the weekend may well prove to be how most of us embrace an electric future."

Most of us??? Perhaps most of a very small proportion of the population.

CERBIE

193 posts

208 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
essayer said:
Notably for Nissan, CCS and not Chademo
And it will do 22KW AC charging as standard - so those of us with a 3 phase supply at home can benefit from faster top ups.

Took one for a test drive last week and was impressed. After half an hour I’d worked out all the tech. Those buttons on the dash are well spaced and high up - easier to use than the ones in an EV6.

Baldchap

5,733 posts

73 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
Article Said said:
Nissan has sold over half a million Leafs (Leaves?) so far, making it the most successful electric car of them all.
Sure about that? Tesla sold 930,000 Model 3s last year alone.

ajap1979

6,150 posts

168 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
Baldchap said:
Sure about that? Tesla sold 930,000 Model 3s last year alone.
Indeed. They’ve sold 600k MYs, and that’s only been out a short time.

samoht

3,783 posts

127 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
ajap1979 said:
Baldchap said:
Sure about that? Tesla sold 930,000 Model 3s last year alone.
Indeed. They’ve sold 600k MYs, and that’s only been out a short time.
Yeah, was the Leaf until 2020 but Model 3 has taken over since.
Wikipedia said:
The Leaf listed as the world's all-time top selling plug-in electric car through December 2019. The Tesla Model 3 surpassed the Leaf in early 2020 to become the all-time best selling electric car.

Johnnytheboy

24,370 posts

167 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
I'd say it was precisely as interesting as a Qashqai or a Leaf.

Dynion Araf Uchaf

3,540 posts

204 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
Johnnytheboy said:
I'd say it was precisely as interesting as a Qashqai or a Leaf.
Which must be pretty interesting to lots of people as the QQ is currently Britains best selling sports utility vehicle.


Look I get that you are a young an thrusting executive with the wherewithal to purchase any high performance car on earth. And that the mere thought of a leccy car immediately makes you vomit. But it’s a good solid car, built for good solid families. Maybe leave your machismo opinions for another thread.

I think the car looks good and would consider one if it could tow a race car and trailer for 200 miles. Maybe one day.

Clivey

5,008 posts

185 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
Johnnytheboy said:
I'd say it was precisely as interesting as a Qashqai or a Leaf.
Agreed. EVs are going to have to be a world apart from this terminal dullness before I’ll ever consider one.

ajap1979

6,150 posts

168 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
Clivey said:
Johnnytheboy said:
I'd say it was precisely as interesting as a Qashqai or a Leaf.
Agreed. EVs are going to have to be a world apart from this terminal dullness before I’ll ever consider one.
Checks garage. Was honestly expecting you to have something much more “interesting” than a junior BMW and some farm machinery laugh

cerb4.5lee

23,920 posts

161 months

Sunday 7th August
quotequote all
Glosphil said:
"Monday to Friday with a petrol-powered sports car tucked away for the weekend may well prove to be how most of us embrace an electric future."

Most of us??? Perhaps most of a very small proportion of the population.
I remember when a Nissan was all about affordability, and that was what realy attracted me to the S14 200SX/370Z. You need a few quid to get into an EV now that is for sure. Why are bloody electric cars so expensive?! This model isn't even fast.