The Ariya is desired. The Covid-19 crisis and the shortage of semiconductors have disrupted the plans of Nissan, which had planned a sensational entry of its first 100% electric SUV in the European car market in autumn 2021. The bodywork is not yet seen, but the manufacturer has opened orders (price from €46,400) for an introduction in June on the French network. In the meantime, some competitors such as the Skoda Enyaq, the Volkswagen ID.4 or the Tesla Model Y have established themselves well in this familiar market for electric SUVs.
to catch, Nissan makes the crossover the headliner of its new offensive, which plans to launch a range of six electrified models by the summer. The Japanese know it. Like the rest of the manufacturers, it has no choice but to follow the trend and boost its electrification strategy to comply with the new European CO2 emission standards.two. Get out of the Leaf in the lead, and hello, Arya! This is one of the messages presented by the brand during a press conference in which we were able to learn more about its latest addition. A presentation that intervenes after discovery in static of the vehicle last year. At best to say it immediately: this squeeze was brief, since we were barely allowed thirty minutes on the circuit (Jarama, near Madrid). Driving in single file, marked with cones and other prominent points designed to simulate different road routes. But this first handling of a pre-production model equipped with a 63 kWh battery has already allowed us to appreciate the capabilities of this Ariya, waiting to find it for a first full test.
Range and price Nissan Ariya
Before we get behind the wheel, let’s take a look at a crucial point of electric models, their autonomy. It differs according to the three versions available, as evidenced by the autonomy approved in the WLTP cycle:
- 403 km for the 218 hp Ariya with a 63 kWh battery;
- 520 km for the 242 hp Ariya with an 87 kWh battery;
- 493 km for the 306 hp Ariya 4 x 4 with an 87 kWh battery.
This latest version has a second electric motor on the rear axle, which doubles the torque value (600 Nm compared to 300 Nm for the Ariya with traction) and inaugurates a called all wheel drive e-4orcme. Unfortunately, at €60,400, this latest generation Ariya loses the bonus, limited to €1,000 in lower versions, because the first price is displayed above €45,000 (see all prices, equipment and bonuses on the next page). To refuel at a fast terminal up to 80%, Nissan promises recharging times of no more than 35 or 40 minutes thanks to a tolerated power of 130 kW. Regarding the load in alternating current, the power is limited to 7.4 kW as standard, and it is necessary to add €1,000 to benefit from the 22 kW on-board charger (only available with the large battery and not before March 2023!). For this first lap, we had the entry-level Ariya at our disposal, with 218 hp, 300 Nm of torque and a “small” 63 kWh battery. A precious baby that already weighs 1,914 kg, more than 400 kg more than its older brother the Qashqai e-Power.
At the wheel
So it’s time to drive on the circuit, interspersed with artificial chicanes to slow you down. As a good electric SUV, the Ariya offers dynamic starts and revives with enthusiasm between two obstacles. It is appreciable, we feel that the couple is immediately available. These jerky accelerations then decrease as speed increases. Despite its heavy weight, the SUV is responsive in turns. The dough especially remembering our memory when it comes to braking.
Nissan has not renewed the “one pedal” solution, as in the sheet, which allows you to take your foot off the accelerator to restore significant slowdowns until the vehicle comes to a complete stop. According to him, customers did not want it. Then we discover the “e-Pedal Step” system: braking, which takes place via electrical regeneration and mechanical friction, reduces the speed of the vehicle between 5 and 6 km/h, but requires the intervention of the driver to bring it to a complete stop at the end of the race. We only activated the e-Pedal very little during this short period of time. We also found it impossible to fully test the three driving modes called Eco, Standard and Sport. Each influences the strength and behavior of the regenerative braking system, but also the responsiveness of the accelerator pedal or the level of steering assistance.
The latter also seems to be well calibrated. It makes the Ariya maneuverable and stable. The comfort seems very correct and the suspension quite flexible, although it is still difficult to accurately judge this point on a perfectly smooth circuit. The most appreciable thing is of course the silence. Forget the noise of the engine, rolling and wind… at least during the few seconds of the section at 130 km/h.
Sophisticated ambience with a touch of minimalism is how we would describe the interior of the Ariya. The spacious cabin offers plenty of space in the front and rear despite the sunken roofline. As a reminder, the SUV is based on the form of CMF-EV plate dedicated to the electric vehicles of the alliance with Renault; a technical basis also used for Megane E-Tech.
This makes it possible to adopt a completely flat floor and eliminate any separation between driver and passenger. Those new to the electric vehicle may be pleasantly surprised by this arrangement.
Finishes appear clean despite a significant amount of plastic surfaces. Good point though: Nissan has cleaned up to remove the more conventional buttons and keep only the vent buttons, embedded in the wood-effect material (tactile controls with haptic feedback). For the rest, all the useful information is under the driver’s nose as it is projected on two 12.3-inch touch screens, one for instrumentation and one for infotainment. A fairly easy set to handle.
Rear passengers will be won over by the slightly reclined backrests and generous legroom, even in the center seat, thanks to the electrically sliding console between the front seats (high Evolve trim only). With a volume of 468 l in five places, the trunk is still less spacious than that of the Volkswagen ID.4 (543 l) and the Skoda Enyaq (585 l). It is even reduced to 415 l in the 4 x 4 version with the second electric motor at the rear. However, it is still sufficient for daily use, while loading will be facilitated by the removable double floor and by the motorized tailgate fitted as standard from the first level of the range.
Find test results, prices, equipment and options, as well as the Nissan Ariya technical sheet on the next page.