Nissan are innovators of market segments. Don’t forget the original Leaf that was launched back in 2011 and brought electric motoring to the masses, and the Qashqai, which effectively invented the crossover SUV segment in 2007. 

Why then, considering market conditions, has it taken Nissan so long to give us another EV – the Ariya? A welcome addition to the range. Our test car is the 63kWh battery version in the Advance equipment grade. Nissan also offers a bigger 87kWh version and Evolve and Performance grades. 

With the 63kWh battery, the official WLTP range is 250 miles, although during the colder weather when we drove this car, 200 was more like it. Thankfully our Evolve spec car included a 22kW on-board charger, enabling charging at faster AC chargepoints. All Ariya models also have 130kW (DC) rapid-charging capability, equalling a 20 – 80% charge in under 30 minutes. More impressive than the range, was this Nissan’s claimed efficiency despite the cold conditions. According to the on-board computer, the best we saw during a long trip with this Ariya was 3.5 miles/kWh. 

Outside, I’m pleased Nissan resisted the urge to tone down the 2019 concept car and it is impossible to confuse the Ariya with anything else. The highlights are the tall, curved nose, sharp shoulder line and shapely roofline. I’m not sure what to make of the test car’s retro Akatsuki Copper with Pearl Black roof finish, but I can’t help feeling something more contemporary would be better. 

The inside is equally unusual and interesting, with a horizontal dashboard design with two 12.3in screens mounted on the top. More engaging, further down the dashboard are the central haptic touch points for the ventilation housed within a faux dark wood panel. There’s also a tall, movable centre console, also finished in the same faux wood finish, which is home to the gear selector, and more haptic controls for the switchgear. 

Most unusual and in my opinion unnecessary are the lit panels on the doors and the bottom of the dashboard with  the same ‘net’ design. Overall, the haptic switchgear works well, with plenty of space in the front. The driving position is comfortable with supportive seats. The back of this Nissan has the same comfortable feel, although the Ariya’s flat floor and standard sunroof fitted does compromise the headroom a little. The 466-litre boot is smaller than some rivals, but practically shaped and the rear seats fold to improve practicality even further. 

On the road, whilst this might be the entry-level battery for the Ariya, with 218hp and 300Nm of torque from the motor, it never felt short of power. Add in the e-pedal, which cleverly brakes this car and charges the battery at the same time, and you’ve got an attractive performance and efficiency mix. The ride on the standard 19in wheels is generally composed, although at lower speed, the Ariya does crash over potholes. As such, this Nissan feels most at home on the motorway, where the electric drivetrain refinement is at its best, equalling a relaxing companion. With its tall body and the battery weight, this Nissan is always going to struggle to hide its bulk. Then again, it is a crossover and not a sports car. At everyday speeds, the Ariya is a tidy enough handler – although there is some body roll in corners. 

Whilst it has taken Nissan a long time to come up with another EV after the Leaf, the Ariya impresses with its exterior and interior style. How refined and efficient it is to drive and as such it is worthy of serious consideration against rivals such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Skoda Enyaq, Volkswagen ID.4, and even the Tesla Model Y.

Nissan Ariya 63kWh Advance with Sky Pack 

P11D: £47,385

Residual value: 47.6%

Depreciation: £24,797

Fuel: £5,140

Service, maintenance and repair: £1,661

Cost per mile: 52.66p

Range: 250 miles

CO2 (BIK %): 0g/km (2%) 

BIK 20/40% a month: £15/£31

Luggage capacity: 466 litres

Battery size/power: 63kWh/218hp