Featuring concept car looks, the all-new Ariya is something of a quantum leap in terms of technology over the Leaf. Nissan says it will have a range of 310 miles. Expect prices to start around £37,500.
Built on an all-new platform, which will be shared with Joint Venture partners, Renault and Mitsubishi, Nissan describes the Ariya as a ‘coupe crossover’. Measuring 4.59 metres, it’s closer to the X-Trail than the Qashqai in length.
It also closely mirrors the lines of the concept that was revealed at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show. That means the front is dominated by a closed grille, which is flanked by 20 LEDs making up what Nissan calls a ‘shield’. According to the carmaker, this highlights the fact the Ariya is electric-only. Nissan says there won’t even be a plug-in hybrid version.
Like the Leaf, the Ariya is a one-pedal car to drive It’s capable of accelerating and braking while following the car in front, plus it will keep within lane. Hands-off driving between motorway junctions, as long as you’ve set the navigation, is also a feature.
The Ariya boasts a long wheelbase which, at 2775mm, is again longer than that of the X-Trail. The result is a profile which looks slightly stretched, but means there’s acres of room inside for passengers. The styling is further enhanced by a ‘floating’ roofline which tapers away noticeably towards the rear.
The contrasting black roof will contrast with six additional two-tone colour combinations, while buyers will also be able to choose from four full-body paint finishes.
All very nice, but what about range and performance?
First things first: the Ariya will be available with either front or four-wheel drive. In addition, there will be two battery options, plus a variety of electric motor outputs.
The range will start with the front-wheel-drive 215bhp and 300Nm model, good for 0-62mph in 7.5secs and a top speed of 99mph. Utilising the smaller of the battery options, 65kWh (or 63kWh usable), Nissan says it will have a range of 233-miles based on WLTP.
Next model up gets the larger 90kWh battery (87kWh usable). Delivering 239bhp to the front wheels, range increases to 310 miles.
Both front-wheel drive models will be supplemented by three 4WD models. Using Nissan’s new electric four-wheel-drive system, named e-4ORCE — which can control the levels of torque delivered between the front and rear — the 275bhp 63kWh edition will cover 0-62mph in 5.9s and have a range of 211-miles. There’s also a 302bhp 87kWh version which will have a range of 285-miles.
The 87kWh Performance will be the range-topper. Delivering 389bhp and 600Nm of torque, 0-62mph comes up in just 5.1 seconds. But the performance-edge impacts directly on mileage range, with Nissan suggesting a maximum of 248-miles under WLTP.
And what about charging?
Nissan says the smaller batteries will get a 7.4kW AC charger for home connections, with the 87kWh versions including a 22kW three-phase set-up. And while the Ariya can support up to 130kW DC charging, we’ve yet to learn whether this will be standard across the model range.
The key fact though is the carmaker states the technology allows a range of around 230-miles to be added to the batteries in around 30-minutes. That’s a significant speed.
It all looks very hi-tech inside
It does. And there’s no getting away from the fact the cabin is a radical, major step-up — specifically in terms of higher-quality finishes and technology — when compared to Nissan’s current range. Dominating the dashboard is a pair of 12.3-inch screens. The first is a central display for the infotainment system, with the other an adjacent digital instrument panel that sits ahead of the driver.
And it all promises to be rather space age. According to Nissan, the two screens can function independently, But they can also unite to function as one operating environment, allowing information to be ‘swiped’ between them.
There’s also voice control. The digital assistant is activated by the phrases ‘Hello Nissan’ and ‘Hey Nissan’. There are also no physical buttons on the dashboard. Instead they’ve been replaced by haptic touch-sensitive controls integrated into the smart grained material that runs across the fascia.
What about the all-important connectivity?
With 4G connectivity, the Ariya is the first ‘always-on’ Nissan. As a result it can receive over-the-air updates to everything from the infotainment system to the chassis and EV settings. Very clever. Buyers will also be able to preset the temperature of the car’s climate control from home or the office by using the smartphone integration.
The Amazon Alexa voice control will also be operable by the infotainment system. According to Nissan, this will allow owners to check the status of the Ariya’s battery pack and range remotely. Such is the unified integration that the same function will allow drivers to activate household smart devices, such as lights and heating.
You mentioned higher-quality finishes in the cabinNissan has added a combination of either plush materials or clean, simple, textured surfaces. And there’s no question the result is an interior which certainly looks more premium than any previous Nissan. There’s even a storage box — which incorporates a slide-out tray — tucked away under the instrument panel and which, Nissan says, can turn the front cabin into a mobile office.Rear passengers should certainly benefit from the long wheelbase and flat floor, while boot capacity on the two-wheel drive cars is 466-litres. That drops to 408-litres for the e-4ORCE models as a result of the additional motor.
Finally, what about pricing and availability?Not surprisingly, given the fact Nissan says the Ariya isn't scheduled to arrive in UK showrooms until probably early in 2021, no official pricing has yet been confirmed. But, of course, we can guesstimate.Using the range-topping Nissan Leaf as a benchmark, it’s probably likely the Ariya will start around £37,500; but that would be before any plug-in car grant. As for the 87kWh Performance version? You’ll probably be closer to £50k.