We drove the Nissan Ariya : a noble e-beauty

We all know, EV’s offer refinement. Some also offer roominess and the stance of a big SUV. Nissan decided to take things a step further: they also offer pure beauty.

Indeed, the designers of the Ariya surpassed themselves: they transformed the clunky dimensions of a SUv into fluid lines, which are sleek, well proportioned and completely natural. If you look at this car, the volumes, shapes and lines are completely logical, achieving an unsurpassed purity which seduces the viewer at first hand. Nissan calls its design language “Timeless Japanese Futurism”; it certainly is. 

The interior breathes the same logical simplicity, underlined by a judicious choice of noble materials. The climate controls and the drive mode together with other essential functions on the console are – noblesse oblige in these modern times – haptic with a very positive feel. The styling of the dashboard is beautifully clean, the seats and steering wheel are electrically adjustable and soon an ideal seating position is found. One feels immediately totally at home in this Ariya, everything is totally self explaining what the commands are concerned, and a “Zen” feeling pervades you even before you have pressed the starting button.

The instrumentation has different modes and readings, you can have nice round dials if you want, the layout and functions of the touchscreen is top notch, with the “camera” functionality well placed in the top left of the screen, easy to push when you enter a tight garage entry for instance with your big Ariya. In the centre of the dashboard is an electric deploy-able tray, which is opened with one of the haptic buttons on the console.


The Ariya is of course completely silent and smooth, and one has the choice between three driving modes, eco, standard and sport. For our test, we left it mostly on standard mode, but we always used the clever e-pedal mode, which lets you, after having learned it a bit, drive with anticipation using almost no brakes. Lifting the throttle puts the electric motor in regeneration mode. You cannot completely stop the Ariya without applying the brakes however, which is actually a good thing, as you can approach the traffic light smoothly, slightly creeping and accelerate immediately again away when it turns green. It adds to driving smoothness, and smooth driving is actually what EV’s are all about. Always remember that you are driving a two tonne car, which needs to be accelerated and stopped, and this is costing much energy indeed. If you want to reach easily the official driving range of your EV, drive it smoothly in town, avoid any brisk accelerations, which disturb the “Zen” feeling of the car anyway and hardly impresses any girl above 10 years of age, just enjoy the music AND the journey. There was a 10 speaker BOSE system in our Ariya, together with a DAB radio. You can imagine how we felt in this Ariya…

It rewards you with consumption figures as low as 9 (yes nine) kWh. This was reached on a urban stretch of 2 km with FOUR traffic lights. (!) Over the test, we reached without effort a driving range of well over 500 kms. We mention here that our test car came with the 87 kWh battery pack. Reaching this range supposes of course you also have to take it easy also on the open road. Settle for a cruising speed of 95-100 km/h, just a bit faster than the trucks. You have a wonderful, silent, relaxing voyage. Yes, we know, the charging situation in our country is still abysmal. So for the time being, be easy on the throttle, and by the way, aren’t we environmentally conscious?

You can charge it up to maximum 130 kW DC. Charging times than dwindle, in 35 minutes you can charge for a distance from 44 to 348 km or let’s say, from 10 to 80 % capacity.


Let’s first point out that the Ariya is available in three versions (Ariya 2WD 63kWh, Ariya 2WD 87kWh, Ariya e-4ORCE AWD 87kWh). With performance to match… For the 178 kW (242PS) 2WD version, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h is in 7,6 seconds, top speed being limited at 160 km/h. Largely sufficient for any needs!  

Handling and comfort

The suspension is not too firm, with the suspension being a bit noisy on bumps and ridges, with a responsive and precise steering. Road noise is very well suppressed; the Ariya is very silent at speed. The Arya is quite engaging to drive at speed on winding roads, there is hardly any body roll. So yes, (sporting) driving pleasure is certainly to be had!

Just note here that the the Ariya is built on the all-new Alliance-developed CMF-EV platform that’s optimised to deliver unparalleled performance. Suspension in the front consists of independent MacPherson struts, in the rear there is an independent mulit-link setup.

Let’s talk about visibility. The visibility up front is excellent. The C pillar is a bit wide, so it obstructs the three quarter rear view somewhat. Rear visibility is also further enhanced by the built in camera in the rear view mirror. The camera’s give also an excellent 360° surround view


There is good storage space in the Ariya, and indeed, the car comfortably seats five. With enough legroom in the back and no transmission tunnel, the third passenger sits comfortably too. One even gets heated seats in the back and the obvious USB sockets of course. The boot capacity is 466 litres, which is not enormous. There is no front boot space either. But the boot cover can be stored underneath the floor when you need more space and put the rear seats down. If you want to tow things up to 1500 kilos, you need the 4WD version, the Ariya with front wheel drive will only pull a good 750 kilos.


The Ariya is very well equipped. The Evolve version we drove featured a panoramic retracting sunroof, Intelligent Rear View Mirror, head-up display, power-adjustable center console and steering column, Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) radio, Bose 10-speaker stereo and temperature-controlled front seats.  We liked the Intelligent Rear View Mirror, indeed, a special camera in the rear view mirror lets you “see through” the third passenger on the back seat… The center console can also be moved fore and aft electrically, which we liked very much and let you really settle in comfortably.


A beauty, which also gives you the ultimate “Zen” driving feeling, with its clean interior, its superb commands, excellent sound insulation, roominess and good comfort. Add to this the good, predictable handling and practicality, leaving the excellent range as a last, very decisive argument too take a good look at this Ariya. It will brighten up your motoring life…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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