Nissan Ariya SUV - Interior & comfort
The Ariya’s interior feels a lot more premium than you might expect, and in-car tech is a highlight
SUVs are primarily used as comfortable family transportation; Nissan knows this well as the Qashqai has long been the sovereign of the school run since its debut in 2007.
The Ariya has clearly taken lessons from the Qashqai as the electric SUV is just as refined as its petrol-powered counterpart. Nissan has tuned the car’s suspension to soak up speed bumps and imperfections in the road, with only the largest of potholes causing any real disturbance in the cabin.
Thanks to its electric powertrain, the Ariya is quiet, too. There is very little whine from the electric motor under acceleration and wind noise is not much of a concern.
Nissan is proud of its Japanese heritage, and that shows in the interior of the Ariya. The brand has employed what it describes as traditional ‘Japanese Andon-style lighting’ that sets a relaxing and premium ambience and takes inspiration from paper lanterns.
A large piece of wood trim spans the entirety of the dashboard and feels like something pulled out of a much more luxurious car – it’s a big step up in quality for Nissan. This cleverly conceals several of the Ariya’s touch-sensitive controls, which magically illuminate from behind the facia whenever the car is turned on. While we prefer physical dials for ventilation controls, the Ariya’s touch controls do at least offer haptic feedback.
Infotainment and navigation
The Ariya’s infotainment system consists of two 12.3-inch screens, mounted side-by-side. One of these displays acts as a digital instrument cluster for the driver – this can be configured to show information such as navigation directions and the current level of charge.
The display mounted to the left of the instrument cluster can be operated as a touchscreen and is the car’s main infotainment interface. As standard, this comes fitted with sat-nav, plus wireless Apple CarPlay and (wired) Android Auto functionality. While it is certainly easy to use, rivals such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 offer systems that have sharper graphics and faster loading speeds.
At launch, buyers could configure their Ariya in one of two trim levels: Advance and Evolve. However, since mid-2023, Nissan has bolstered the range with an additional two specs, offering the Ariya in cheaper Engage trim, as well as an all singing, all dancing, 388bhp (dual-motor) Evolve+ variant.
Most cars come with 19-inch wheels with aero wheel covers (top-spec cars get 20s), while things like LED lights, parking cameras and twin 12.3-inch screens are also standard. Every version also gets a heat pump, which could come in handy during the winter months.
Stepping up to Advance costs around £3,500 and adds Nissan’s ProPILOT semi-autonomous driving functions, plus things like adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition and automatic high beams. Evolve is almost £4k on top but brings niceties like a panoramic roof, heated and cooled seats and Bose stereo. These versions also get an electrically-operated sliding centre console, which is handier than you might think.
Evolve+ is pricey, but mainly because it’s only available with the raciest dual-motor setup. These cars also come with blue leather and 20-inch wheels.
If you can’t quite justify upgrading an entire trim level, then there are a few options you can add to even the basic car that could make the car feel plusher or easier to live with. You can specify a more powerful 22kW on-board charger, for example, though given how few AC public charge points operate at these speeds, the extra outlay may not be worth it.
There are dark chrome and copper styling packs, as well as things like mud flaps and carpet mats to protect your pride and joy. Finally, there are things like the Sky Pack (panoramic roof), Bose Pack (upgraded stereo and speakers) and Sport Pack (bigger wheels and blue leather) – all options that become standard the higher up the range you move.