Nissan Ariya

Its on-paper performance stacks up well against competitiors, too. Our test car was specified in range-topping Evolve trim but with the entry-level front-wheel-drive powertrain and smaller 63kWh battery, and so offered 215bhp and 221lb ft, compared with the range-topping e4orce car’s 388bhp and 443lb ft, and an official range of 250 miles rather than the larger pack’s 329 miles. All Ariyas can charge at speeds of up to 130kW, which is usefully quick but starting to feel just about the bare minimum these days. The 350kW Hyundai and Kia will be vanishing into the sunset before you’ve finished your charging station Starbucks. 

But as with so many other cars in this segment – so obviously and overtly aimed squarely at the less dynamic-obsessed family car buyer – there’s a good chance it will be this lower-powered version that emerges as the sweet spot in the range. The power delivery is so effective as to make up for the shortfall in outright punch and driven wheels, taking the Ariya to 62mph from rest in just 7.5sec, and the rate of acceleration doesn’t tangibly tail off at any speed below the legal limit – so overtaking and merging is as slick at the limit as it would be in town. 

The car can be hustled along briskly, of course, in the effective but rarely entertaining manner so common to non-performance-oriented EVs, and with 48:52 weight distribution (it’s bang on 50:50 in the 4WD car), reassuringly responsive – but light – steering and a well-rounded chassis set-up, it’s effective through corners as well, which is to say confidence-inspiring and predictable, rather than dazzling. 

Around town, it matches the cushty Volkswagen ID 4 for low-speed refinement, too. Only the harshest bumps send a perceptible jolt through the seat base, and there’s little to speak of in terms of tyre and wind roar once up to higher speeds, although shattered UK Tarmac will serve up a more revealing verdict on ride quality. Helpfully, Nissan’s experience of engineering and building three generations of the indefatigable Qashqai in the UK should stand the Ariya in good stead, on that front. 


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