Electric Nissan Ariya SUV unveiled

The Nissan Ariya is a similar size to the Qashqai and X-Trail, and promises up to 310 miles of range

  • 0-62mph in just 5.1 seconds
  • Two- and four-wheel drive models due
  • Semi-autonomous tech to be fitted

The Nissan Ariya electric SUV has been officially revealed, with the car’s styling almost unchanged from the original concept car. Prices, full specs and a release date are yet to be announced but the Japanese company has confirmed some of the car’s performance details.

The Ariya is a five-seat electric SUV that’s similar in size to the Nissan Qashqai and Nissan X-Trail but has a much bolder look. The car is likely to go on sale in 2021, when it will rival the Skoda Enyaq, Volkswagen ID.4, Hyundai 45 and the Cupra Tavascan.

What else can you look forward to in 2021?

2021 Nissan Ariya SUV styling

Nissan first revealed the Ariya concept at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show and it appears that many of the striking styling touches will make it to production. At the front, a large closed-off grille will be flanked by sharp LED daytime running lights, while the headlights also incorporate LED technology. The car gets a subtle front spoiler and plastic body cladding, with the latter designed to make the car look more rugged.

The swooping roofline leads to a full-width LED light bar at the rear of the car. As it’s electric, the Ariya doesn’t have any exhaust pipes, giving the rear bumper a clean look. You get 19-inch alloy wheels as standard and 20-inch versions will be offered on high-spec trim levels.

Interior and practicality

Inside, the Ariya has a striking minimalist design with two large 12.3-inch screens; one showing driving information and one controlling the infotainment and sat nav functions. It’s a similar setup to the Mercedes A-Class and the new Volkswagen Golf. Nissan has even kept the concept’s integrated touch panels that replace physical buttons, while the Ariya has copper-coloured detailing (to resemble a dawn sky) rather than the eco-signalling blue details on the Nissan Leaf.

You get a large colour head-up display, keyless entry with saved driver profiles and a voice assistant that can perform functions like selecting a playlist and changing the air con temperature. An accompanying phone app can be used to preset the climate control before getting in the car, check the battery status and be notified of the best time to start your journey.

The Ariya is a similar size to the Nissan X-Trail, which comes with the option of seven seats, but has a much longer wheelbase than the X-Trail. Combined with the lack of engine and exhaust system, this means the Ariya has huge amounts of interior space. There’s a flat floor in the rear, while the boot offers 466 litres (408 for four-wheel drive models). Not many EVs are suitable for towing but the Ariya manages up to 1,500kg.

Performance

Ariya buyers will get the choice of 65kWh and 90kWh (with usable capacities of 63kWh and 87kWh batteries respectively) and a decision between two- and “e-4orce” four-wheel drive. With two-wheel drive, the models come with 214 or 239bhp respectively, and both hit 0-62mph in around 7.5 seconds.

All three four-wheel-drive models (65kWh, 90kWh and a 90kWh Performance version) offer plenty of power and quick acceleration; 65kWh models have 274bhp and a 5.9-second 0-62mph time, 90kWh models boast 302bhp and a slightly quicker sprint, and Performance models get 388bhp and a rapid 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds. Two-wheel-drive models manage 99mph, and four-wheel-drive ones can reach 124mph.

Four-wheel-drive versions add a ‘snow’ driving mode to the eco, sport and normal selection, and Nissan says the system offers ultra-precise motor and brake control in slippery conditions.

Range and charging

Even the four-wheel drive 65kWh version manages 211 miles of range but the long-distance champion is the 90kWh battery with two-wheel drive. In this specification, you can expect 310 miles on a full charge. This drops to 285 miles with four-wheel drive, and 248 miles for the Performance variant.

Versions with the smaller battery can charge at 7.4kW home or public chargers, while 90kWh models also get a 22kW three-phase home charger. Fast charging at up to 130kW is available at motorway service stations and other locations.

Nissan has been enhancing its ProPilot driver assistance systems in recent years, and the Ariya features this semi-autonomous technology that can keep you in your lane and follow the car in front at a safe distance. Other safety features include front and rear automatic braking and a surround-view monitor.

The Ariya will sit on a new platform designed by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, and this may also underpin an electric Renault SUV thought to be in development.

What does it mean for car buyers?

With the ageing Nissan Qashqai SUV still among the UK’s best-selling cars, an electric SUV of a similar size could prove to be a hit. The Ariya will probably cost more than an equivalent Qashqai - electric cars tend to be more expensive than petrol or diesel cars - but buyers can recoup big savings when they recharge. Charging an electric car costs a fraction of the price of a tank of fuel and a home wallbox allows easy charging of the car overnight.

Read our Nissan reviews here, or see where the Qashqai features on our list of the best economical SUVs.

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