By Mike Torpey on 2023-10-28 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE
NISSAN could be reasonably charged with having exercised a fair degree of caution before launching its second fully electric car, the Ariya.
Very much a pioneer in EV terms, the Japanese company got a head start on the mainstream opposition when it launched the LEAF more than a decade ago.
Plenty of water has passed under the bridge in the meantime, the decision-makers at Nissan anxious to ensure both the product and timing was right before re-entering the fray.
The result is the Ariya SUV, an attractive-looking crossover model with the choice of two battery sizes and front or four-wheel drive.
And in time-honoured Nissan fashion there are some unique touches aimed at making the Ariya stand out from the crowd, like the Akatsuki Copper paint finish of our model.
Inspired by the Japanese phrase for dawn, the colour mirrors the radiance of a sunrise and in doing so reflects the beginning of Nissan's new brand identity.
It looks stunning and sets the tone for the car's interior with its airy, spacious feel with high quality perforated leather upholstery and suede-effect dash and door trim.
Cabin space is vast for a mid-size SUV with ample head and legroom up front plus space for three adults across the back - and the benefit of no intrusion for a centre rear passenger's feet due to the fully flat floor.
Boot space is adequate at 408 litres - the amount available in the e-4ORCE Evolve model with all-wheel drive - though front-wheel drive variants are better served with a 466-litre capacity.
You also get plenty of kit across the line-up, which now starts at £39,645 courtesy of a price reduction that sees all 63kWh Ariyas cut by £3,000 and 87kWh versions trimmed by £3,750, and two new models at each end added to the range.
So every car comes with electric seat adjustment and a 12.3-inch digital display behind the steering wheel - flat-bottomed on high spec Evolve grade - along with a touchscreen infotainment set-up at the centre of the dash.
There's a full suite of safety measures including the likes of Intelligent Driver Alertness and Lane Keep Assist, Traffic Jam Pilot, Blind Spot Intervention, Auto Park and Intelligent Cruise Control, while features like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay plus a 360-degree camera are also standard.
The latter is especially valuable as our one quibble with the Ariya is its compromised rear visibility due to the narrow rear windscreen further hampered by a lip housing the rear wiper. Thankfully the car also has large, van-like wing mirrors.
Out on the road the four-wheel drive e-4ORCE is a really spirited mover, its 87kWh battery and two electric motors enabling it to hit 62mph from standstill in just 5.7 seconds with a driving range of an official 310 miles, though somewhere around 280-290 is more realistic.
It's certainly the power source to go for as opposed to the 63kWh option, which is of course cheaper by Â£5,000 but won't get you as far on a full charge - officially 250 miles but in practice a fair bit less.
The Ariya e-4ORCE is on the whole a comfortable, well balanced car to drive with a positive if quite light feel from the steering and a choice of Eco, Standard, Sport and Snow driving modes, the Standard setting being the most relaxing.
Eco feels quite restrained by comparison and Sport sharpens the responses and results in the Ariya making more of a humming noise.
As for charging, the 87kWH battery takes less than 40 minutes to reach 80 per cent at a public rapid charger - slightly longer than the 63kWH battery - and empty to 100 per cent is more like 14 hours using a home wall unit.
Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE Evolve
Mechanical:242bhp, 87kWh battery plus two electric motors driving four wheels via automatic transmission
0-62mph: 5.7 seconds
Combined MPG:310 miles driving range
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