Eleven. This is the number of years that separates the Nissan Leaf, the brand’s first electric car, from the new Ariya crossover. The long wait may be due to a common strategy with Renault, the alliance needs.
Flashback a bit, to 2017, the year of the presentation of the IMx, the concept car on which the Nissan Ariya is based. We’ll have to wait until 2019 for Nissan to unveil the Ariya Concept, a 95% complete electric crossover. The remaining 5% will be used to manufacture the chassis.
Finally, the Ariya was made official in July 2020. Initially, this SUV was supposed to go on sale from the middle of 2021. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic has passed and, above all, the shortage of semiconductors has had the effect of delaying its arrival on market for several months.
So it was time to get to know the Aryans, and it was on the roads of Sweden that we were invited for a short conversation. While we wait for the Airya to enter our car comparison, we’re already bringing you this coverage.
CMF-EV Alliance Common Platform
Whatever the view, the Ariya exudes a futuristic look, marked by a receding roofline and a body that boasts a curvaceous stance. Its front end features a large closed V-shaped grille adorned with a new shiny logo framed by long flashing headlights. The LED headlights are very thin, like a strip of light that adorns the rear surface over its entire width. This headliner is topped by a spoiler that gives the impression of being related to a Lexus or Audi Q8.
The trunk has a very nice texture, maybe a little too much for our taste.
The Nissan Ariya is based on the same CMF-EV Alliance platform. A total of three battery and engine combinations will be offered in Europe.
The Japanese crossover will also be available in two-wheel drive (traction) with two battery capacities: 63 kWh (total capacity of 66 kWh) and 87 kWh (total capacity of 91 kWh). They will power a 160 kW (218 hp; 300 Nm torque) or 178 kW (242 hp; 300 Nm torque) electric motor depending on the version. The maximum speed is 160 km / h. 0 to 100 km / h is hit in 7.5 and 7.6 seconds respectively. The range varies from 403 to 533 km (WLTP cycles).
For drivers looking for a change, a wheel-drive version called e-4ORCE is also offered with two electric motors with a total output of 225 kW (306 hp; 600 Nm torque) and powered by an 87 kWh battery. Top speed is 200 km/h with 0 to 100 km/h reached in 5.7 seconds. Freedom is advertised for 500 km (WLTP cycle).
In terms of charging, the SUV comes standard with a charger whose AC power is limited to 7.4 kW. Note that Nissan offers an optional 22 kW charger – only on the 87 kWh version – for a ticket of 1000 €.
Finally, the Nissan Ariya is compatible with fast charging (up to 130 kW in DC) through its Combo CCS socket. The manufacturer advertises a charge time of 30 minutes to recover up to 350 km on the 87 kWh version.
MA Japanese Philosophy
MA is the riddle of Japanese philosophy”at the heart of Japanese design philosophy and culture, where absence can be as important as presencedescribes the site Japanese house in a special article. In fact, this “void” or this “pause” – MA can be a sound or a sign -“it gives a new look and a new meaning in general“. The passenger compartment of the Nissan Ariya is therefore based on this MA where the space is empty, with minimal controls, like the air conditioning unit.
Therefore, as soon as you enter the cabin, you have the feeling of being in a Zen living room where tranquility reigns. This feeling is enhanced by the space in the legs. Rear passengers will also be catered for thanks to the 2.77 meter wheelbase.
On the other hand, the volume of the trunk – which can be split – is limited to 468 liters (rear seat raised), or even 415 liters in the all-wheel drive version (e-4ORCE 87 kWh).
Zen but inner genius
Nissan Ariya does not forget to be modern and smart. One especially thinks of this electrically adjustable center console on which is mounted the elegant gear selector. The dashboard includes a dedicated area with touch controls including the e-Pedal Step feature, launched on the second-generation Leaf. We will have an opportunity to return to this a little later.
Another design highlight, touch and haptic controls for air conditioning and heating are integrated into the headband which looks like a long piece of mulberry bark. Again, there is a nod to Japanese art. The controls disappear after the ignition is turned off.
Modernity is also felt at the cockpit level, with two digital screens of 12.3 inches (diagonal of 31.24 cm) each. The first, non-touch, serves as an instrument cluster and comes with a 10.8-inch (diagonal 27.43 cm) head system.
As for the second, tactile, it is a control tower. We can only be glad to finally see Nissan update its infotainment with a responsive screen and reading ergonomics. In terms of design, however, we are very close to what we find in the Kia EV6 or Ioniq 5.
A distance of 400 kilometers
It’s time for us to hit the road. Our test version, the Evolve end (top of the range), has a smaller battery, namely 63 kWh (useful capacity).
At first glance, despite its 1914 kilograms, the Nissan Ariya is powerful, both when starting and when restarting. On the other hand, it is better to reduce the ease when it comes to taking sharp turns, otherwise the roll is marked. There’s nothing restrictive, but the chassis styling is very comfortable, with very flexible suspension settings. The seats however provide good support. In any case, the Zen philosophy remains on the road, with excellent driving silence, certainly due to the glazing treatment.
Word on One Pedal introduced on the Leaf that transforms the accelerator pedal into a brake pedal as soon as you take your foot off. This has the effect of significantly decelerating the vehicle – and recuperating energy – until it comes to a complete stop. On our Ariya, this system – named e-Pedal STEP – is somewhat different. Indeed, as soon as the accelerator pedal is released, the car slows down, but does not stop completely. To stop completely, use the brake pedal.
The weight of the E-Pedal STEP, which acts as a regenerative brake, varies depending on the selected driving mode (Eco, Standard and Sport). Finally, ProPILOT’s semi-autonomous internal operating system is useful, while the integrated route planner is well done. We regret to turn on the battery conditioning manually, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
On the way we crossed many permanent radars. Fortunately, we were able to rely on the TomTom signature navigation system, which was quite responsive and accurately indicated road hazards.
After traveling about 180 km on various roads and in rainy weather, our average consumption was around 15 kWh/100 km. This figure suggests a range of more than 400 km, according to the manufacturer’s announcement. Of course, we will be interested in confirming these figures during a more detailed test on our French roads.
They say it’s better late than never, but in the case of the Nissan Ariya, it’s still unfortunate that the manufacturer waited so long to release a second electric car when it was a pioneer in this niche. In his defense, the Covid crisis has been there, not to mention the shortage of semiconductors.
Despite an attractive design and a welcoming and tidy interior, the Ariya will have a hard time dealing with the likes of the Tesla Model Y, Volkswagen ID.4, Skoda Enyaq iV, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the rest of the Kia EV6. Not to mention that the entry ticket of €47,300 does not allow you to benefit from the 100% ecological bonus.