Car Dealer has had an early preview of Nissan’s new all-electric SUV, the Ariya. Here we take a look at it months before it arrives in showrooms
What is it?
It’s big news, that what. Nissan led the charge in mass-market electric motoring with the Leaf in 2010 and showed that EVs needn’t just be reserved for the milk round. In a decade, Nissan has shifted over a million Leafs worldwide and done much to change the public perception of electric cars. However, Nissan has been slow to capitalise on its head-start, and many manufactures have caught up and passed Nissan in the world of electric cars. A second-generation Leaf appeared in 2017 and though it has been successful, it hasn’t widened Nissan’s reach. That could change with the Ariya though.
Why could Nissan’s luck change? Well, the Ariya is not only Nissan’s second electric car (discounting the e-NV200 van and MPV, of course), but it’s an SUV – and we all know the appeal of those to customers at the moment.
The Ariya sits on a brand new platform called CMF-EV and is modular just like Volkswagen Group’s MEB electric car platform. The benefits of this are two-fold – as it’s been designed to be electric from the outset, that helps with the packaging of the electric batteries, and secondly, it means differently sized cars can be spun from the same platform, cutting future development costs. For instance, a larger SUV is likely to follow on from the Ariya as Nissan seeks to have 50 per cent of its line-up electrified by 2023.
Apart from the platform, the styling is a new direction for Nissan, there’s a brand new interior that really moves Nissan more upmarket and the Ariya is the first car to wear the brand’s new badge. Speaking of the badge, the one at the front is back-lit by 20 LEDs.
What’s under the bonnet?
Well, like most electric cars, there’s quite a bit of electrical stuff. There’s the electric motor for the front axle and Nissan has also cleverly put all the heating and ventilation gubbins under the bonnet, freeing up vital space in the cabin.
There are five versions of the Ariya, powered by two different batteries. The entry-level 63kWh gets a 63kWh battery, 215bhp, front-wheel drive 223 miles.
Next up is the 87kWh with an 87kWh battery, 239bhp, front-wheel drive and a range claimed to be 310 miles.
If customers want four-wheel drive, they’ll be in luck as there are all-wheel drive versions and these models are called e-4orce.
The E-4orce 63 gets 275bhp and a range of 211 miles, the 87 gets 301bhp and a range of 285 miles.
At the top of the range is the E-4orce 87 kWh Performance – the range is the middle of the all the models at 248 miles, but it does get 389bhp which is good for a 0-62mph dash in five seconds.
The charging flap is on the right-hand side of the car and, in a move that will surprise Nissan Leaf owners, the Chademo charging port has been replaced with a far more conventional CCS port. The 63kWh cars have charging capacity up to 7.4kW while the 87 cars have 22kW three-phase charging. All Ariyas can support DC rapid charging up to 130kW using CCS, though.
How does it look?
It looks very much like the 2019 concept car that spawned it, which is very unusual these days. Most cars get watered down from their earlier concept cars, but that’s not the case with the Ariya. It does share some similarities with the Juke – and we can assume with the forthcoming new Qashqai – but the Ariya very much strikes its own path.
It’s generally quite a good looking SUV that majors on the coupe-look, and appears nicely different from its chief competition including the Tesla Model Y, Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Volkswagen ID.4.
The car in the video and pictures will likely be the top of the range model when the car launches late this year or in early 2022.
What’s it like inside?
Nissan has ripped up its own rule book with the Ariya as the car is a firm departure from recent Nissans, including the rest of the brand’s current range.
A lot of time has been lavished on the design but also on improving technology and material quality. There are two smart-looking 12.3-inch displays, which will come as good news to anyone frustrated with the Leaf or the outgoing Qashqai’s infotainment systems. The screens not only look good but they promise to be easier to use, while also boasting lots of EV-specific info – something which marks the Leaf out from its rivals.
The material quality is strong and there’s a real focus on design – a lot of the buttons, for example, have been removed and been replaced with touch-sensitive controls, and the centre console even moves backwards and forwards electrically.
There’s also a lot of space up front thanks to the heating and ventilation gubbins being shoved under the bonnet, meaning there are no footwells and the dashboard is pushed forwards. Space in the back is average as is boot room – four-wheel drive models have 408-litres while front-wheel drive Ariyas have 466 litres.
When does it arrive?
Nissan is hoping the Ariya will arrive in dealers in late 2021, but it could be early 2022. Nissan revealed the Ariya in summer 2020 which means it’ll have taken the firm at least 18 months to have brought the car to market. When the electric SUV sector is moving so quickly, that delay will be frustrating for dealers – especially when the Ariya looks and feels so good.