NISSAN ARIYA e-4ORCE: big SUV is one for the family

ONE of the first things you notice about electric cars is the distinct lack of a good old fashioned front grille.

In its place will be a large slab of solid bodywork, because with no engine upfront needing cooling air flowing over it, the slats of old are about as much use as mudflaps on a tortoise.

But it’s still all about airflow and low drag co-efficient, hence the slippery shapes you see on the roads.
Take the Nissan Ariya here. Big solid black front panel, but shaped at the sides for the air to flow along the flanks. It’s a big looking car and builds on Nissan’s reputation for building decent family orientated SUVs. Every model in their range includes some form of electric power and with the all-electric Leaf now in its second generation, the commitment to battery technology is evident.

Similar in size to the X-Trail, so plenty of family practicality, Ariya takes things a step further in the quality stakes as well as ticking the boxes for its all electric drive.
There’s plenty opposition in the family car class, and Ariya gives you a choice of a 63kWh model with a 250 mile range, or the 87kWh variant with a range of up to 329 miles. Go for the
e-4ORCE dual motor all wheel drive with its extra performance and range takes a modest hit to 310 miles.

You won’t be scratching your head over a lengthy choice of spec – just two on offer here, Advance and Evolve. What might make you scratch your head is the sheer quality of the interior finish. It’s among the best you can get in this class.

There’s subtle use of grey wood-effect trim which marries up well with the alcantara and leather trim used across the dash and seating. Subtle shades that work well for a cosy environment.
It comes with a lot of kit, and there are touch controls for the heating and ventilation set in a smooth panel below the 12.3 inch infotainment screen that actually work very efficiently.

The sliding centre console is a neat touch too, housing a phone charging pad and the ability to move the whole ensemble fore or aft for the most comfortable position for the driver. With no transmission tunnel, there’s a big open space down by your feet, so beware of any badly places handbags that might slide across unexpectedly….

Ariya is a tall and heavy machine but the overall driving experience is one of a car that doesn’t have as much body roil as you might expect, helped by the big battery pack giving it a low centre of gravity. The ride is comfortable, the steering is precise and there’s an overall feel of confidence in the way it deals with corners and pretty well any road condition you throw it at.

Prices range from £36,645 to £59,025.


Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE Evolve

Price: £54,840 (£57,410 as tested)
Engine: Electric motor, 87kWh battery 
Power: 239bhp
Torque: 221 lb/ft
Transmission: single speed auto
Top speed: 124mph
0-62mph: 5.7 seconds
Range: 322 miles
CO2 emissions: 0 g/km

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