Nissan aims to be fully electric by 2030, although, so far, it hasn’t been in a rush to do so. There was a 12-year gap between the arrival of its first EV, the Leaf, in 2010, and its second, the Ariya, which has now arrived.
It looks like it was worth the wait. Its Nissan DNA is plain to see - it looks like a taller, larger and more striking version of the best-selling Qashqai, with a wide V-shaped grille, which being an EV isn’t really a grille, and long and elegant daytime running lights.
Like the Qashqai, it is designed in London, engineered at Cranfield and built in Sunderland, but the confidence of its styling makes it a more striking-looking car than the Qashqai.
There are two drivetrains, one with 63kW and one with 87kW, although at the car’s launch in Sweden only the less powerful version was available. This had plenty of grunt and was impressively smooth and quiet, using Nissan’s Canto simulated sound tech to warn pedestrians of your presence. This is the tallest car in the segment and its clean surfaces and hidden window seals give it a neat appearance and an impressive stance.
The appearance of the Ariya is very colour-sensitive. With gold-bronze paint every crease and line is visible to admire, but in black you see none of that, and it looks much less interesting.
The cabin feels quite premium, with Alcantara trim on the door cards and haptic-touch buttons on the dashboard, which is dominated by two 12.3-inch screens and a head-up display.
Needing no transmission tunnel the floor is flat and the design of small grilles which cover speakers etc. is based on Japanese lanterns. That may sound a bit pretentious but it looks attractive, especially at night, when they are illuminated. The central armrest in the front can slide back and forth using an electric motor, although why you would want it to beats me.
There is a huge range of driver assistance, including ProPilot assistance tech with navi link, blind-spot assist, adaptive driving beam, emergency lane-keeping, intelligent route-planner, Amazon Alexa voice control, live traffic updates and over the air updates.
The 63kW battery can be charged from 10 per cent to 100 per cent in three and a half hours and has a range of up to 360km. Charging from 20 to 80 per cent takes 28 minutes, and the 87kW version should have a range of up to 500km.
To save weight the battery is 33 per cent thinner than that of the Leaf and has liquid cooling for greater efficiency.
As well as the two-wheel-drive 63 and 87kW versions there will also be an 87kW all-wheel-drive version with e-4ORCE, a system in which two electric motors control torque to each wheel and help to reduce pitching during hard acceleration or deceleration.
This version was not available at the Ariya’s launch but earlier this year I tried it out on a mule vehicle in which the system could be switched on and off for comparison and it did show improved comfort for passengers. The system also pulls the car into corners better and avoids torque-steer.
With prices from £43,845 to £56,290, this first all-electric crossover from Nissan is an elegant, well equipped and practical option which should persuade more converts to EV motoring.
Nissan Ariya 63kW Evolve
0-62mph: 7.5 secs
Top Speed: 100mph