Stepping into an electric vehicle (EV) evokes a whole different feeling than driving a conventional car. Perhaps it’s the smoothness of the ride, or the quietness. Or maybe it’s the instant power.
The feeling is hard to explain, but those who drive – or have driven – an EV will know what I mean. It’s just… electric!
The new Nissan ARIYA electric crossover is no different in that respect. It’s clearly already winning fans and has been named ‘Car of the Year’ at this year’s Auto Express Awards.
It also represents the Japanese marque’s next step in a long EV journey that started with the release of the Nissan LEAF in 2011.
Back then the LEAF could only manage 109 miles on a single charge. But that made it perfect for city goers and is just one of the reasons it’s sold over half-a-million units since its release.
What is the range like on the Nissan ARIYA?
More than a decade later, the ARIYA picks up the mantle as Nissan’s flagship EV offering.
Despite having more than 20 years’ driving experience, this was only the second time I’d gotten behind the wheel of something that doesn’t rely on petrol or diesel to get you from A to B.
Let’s start with the most important part of EV ownership – the range. The 63kWh two-wheel drive ARIYA I drove offers a combined range of up to 250 miles. That’s enough to get you from Plymouth to Bristol and back on a single charge, but only just!
Don’t worry about running out of juice, as the ever-improving infrastructure for EVs now means there are more than 42,000 charging points across the UK. Download the NissanConnect Services app, and you’ll be able to optimise your electric vehicle experience by checking and charging the battery remotely and locating chargers through your mobile device.
If you want a bigger range, you can opt for the more expensive 87kWh model which pushes that figure up to 310 miles.
And there’s also a four-wheel drive version – the e-4orce – which comes with the 87kWh
motor and returns up to 285 miles.
What is the Nissan ARIYA like to drive?
Obviously, there’s no engine noise which can seem unnerving at first but quickly becomes a welcome relief, particularly if trying to talk to passengers!
Another thing is the instant speed. In an automatic, while not actually having to change up or down, you can still feel it going through the gears. Electric power, though, is a continuous build-up which never ceases to be exhilarating.
The ARIYA glides over potholes and speed bumps quietly and smoothly as you could reasonably ask of an SUV that weighs almost two tonnes. That’s even more impressive when you consider there’s no engine noise to mask suspension thuds.
There’s also a handy E-Pedal mode, which activates full brake regeneration and effectively means you need to control only the accelerator.
Now onto the appearance, and I’m pleased to say that Nissan’s designers have come up with yet another winner.
What does the Nissan ARIYA look like?
The ARIYA is a very good-looking vehicle. It’s about the same size as the Qashqai, which has gotten better and better with each generation.
I really like the family-friendly X-Trail with its seven seats and huge boot space. And though I wasn’t a huge fan of the previous Juke, the new version is now undoubtedly one of the best-looking cars in its class.
Nissan describes the ARIYA as “the stunning expression of a new vision”. A single horizon line replaces fussy contours, with thin LED headlights that shine at night and then disappear during the day.
The final touch is a new illuminated badge which Nissan says is “to light the way forward”.
Its appearance puts it in the same group with other popular EVs like the Tesla Model Y and the ‘Marmite’ Hyundai IONIC5 – which you’ll either love or hate (I’m the former).
The futuristic stuff continues inside with large dual displays – including a HUGE screen for the sat-nav – and controls with haptic feedback.
You can also have all your apps in front of you, and use the voice function to play your favourite songs. There’s plenty of space in the boot, and the back seats can easily accommodate two children’s car seats (tried and tested).
Other things I liked were the (optional) panoramic sunroof, blind-spot assist on the wing mirrors, and the fact you can wave your foot underneath the back bumper to open and close the boot.
The UK Government plans to ban sales of conventional petrol and diesel cars by 2030, so the electric revolution is coming whether you like it or not.
For many, the thought of only being able to buy electric cars might seem a scary one. If that means driving EVs like the Nissan ARIYA, then we should all be very happy.
It’s a brave new world.
Find out more about the ARIYA range by contacting Vospers Nissan Plymouth on 01752 272297 or visit the website here.
Model: Nissan ARIYA
Price: £46,535 otr
0-62mph: 7.6 seconds
CO2 emissions: 0 g/km
Battery size: 63kWh
WLTP combined range: Up to 250 miles
Fitted options: Advance model with optional Sky Pack (opening sunroof); two-tone paint