The Leaf was once the best-selling electric car. On the other hand, the second Stromer from Nissan, the Van NV200 Evalia, is rather unknown. The Ariya is set to become the brand's next electric bestseller - this time in the boom class of electric SUVs.
What counts to the essence of a car, what is an accessory or even a glamor? Of course, it is not just e-cars like the Nissan Ariya that raise these questions. Especially with them, however, what actually belongs together is clearly separated into the electric drive including power storage and the rest. Under "rest" we spontaneously think of joyful driving in all its facets. But it is possible that a new electric vehicle is not primarily aimed at us, but rather at a target audience that marvels at XL screens, applauds the integration of social media accounts and cheers for language assistants who tell jokes.
You could call them gimmicks, and these are becoming increasingly important. Whereby in the Nissan Ariya they do not only come from the digital world. The highly realistic cockpit, for example, attracts the eye when entering: Its velvety surface imitating suede wants to be admired and the wood-like trim strip to be understood in the literal sense. A closer look reveals that the outlines of control panels are visible in the grain – the controls for the air conditioning. They light up as soon as you press the start button. Impressive. How does it feel to press the pads?
You actually think you can feel wood. Something only stirs as soon as you press firmly. Amazingly solid. It's only firm enough when you feel a kind of vibrating feedback in your finger. Without distraction, this will not work later when driving. Because the surfaces cannot be felt, which is part of the appeal of the design, but entails a visual inspection. And because air distribution and seat climate control have to be operated via touchscreen.
Google hardly knows the Ariya
Speaking of fingering the display: It would be big enough to display the road map in high resolution. However, if you want to discover scenically attractive local connecting roads, you have to zoom in very far into the action - and then lose track of the surrounding villages. In addition, the infotainment does not exactly stand out due to its fixed computer speed.
If you want to use Google voice control as an alternative to the adjustment, you will soon find out: It finds its way around the world of the Internet better than in the Ariya. So we better explore the dashboard further ourselves. What do you think this button does here?
The pressure on it brings out a kind of console table. You could do a few notes on it or file something briefly. Not too many possible uses come to mind spontaneously. But for the underlying storage compartment.Another is under the electrically sliding center console; it is apparently intended for smartphones. Practical, you think, until you have to fish it out of the footwell later when driving - the flat mobile phone slipped over the much too low shoulder when braking.
Well, at least they thought about the topic of variability; that should not be alien to an E-SUV like the Ariya. After all, these expansive models are family cars, which, with their not exactly discreet appearance, fuel a certain level of expectations in terms of transport capacity.
So what does the back area have to offer? The seats are tightly padded, covered with slippery artificial leather and offer little lateral support. In addition, they cannot be moved, only their backrests can be folded down in a ratio of 60 to 40 percent. This results in an almost flat trunk surface and a volume of up to 1775 liters. We also like the large compartment under the loading floor. The latter is divided into two, one element can be installed as a partition. Very nice, but still far from the possibilities of a Hyundai Ioniq 5, for example.
No rare earths
It would be a competitor and not only sets the tone in terms of variability - with its 800 volt technology it is also state-of-the-art. The Ariya, on the other hand, relies on the standard 400-volt variant. It is driven by a three-phase synchronous machine. Instead of a permanent magnet, it has a current-carrying magnetizing coil (electromagnet) on the rotor. From an environmental point of view, this means that no rare earths are required for this.
Because the magnetic field of the rotor depends on the voltage used and is not permanently applied, it can be easily regulated - also in terms of performance development. Here, the e-machine used by Nissan has the advantage that the torque and thus the thrust impression decreases less at high speeds than with other powered engines. Accordingly, a certain vitality can be expected.
Possibly even a more sporty performance characteristic? At least the Ariya thinks little of the stupid hurling out of all power reserves when accelerating, which many competing models practice.
In fact, the Nissan is anything but euphoric when thrust is requested, but then at least noticeably picks up speed - but without fulfilling the expectations that 242 hp arouse. In the group and technology brother Renault Megane E-Tech, which is over 400 kilograms lighter, the practically identically constructed, only slightly weaker drive looks much livelier.
The fact that the Ariya powers up from a standstill at least relieves the traction.The front-wheel drive vehicle has a hard time with this as soon as the front wheels are not pointing straight ahead or the road is wet: the tires spin overwhelmed until the ESP intervenes harshly. Similarly when accelerating out of corners.
The Nissan, with its low center of gravity and tight chassis, suggests dynamic intentions. superficial. In fact, the suspension is mostly bumpy and only shows interest in bumps when you pick up the pace. On the other hand, the Ariya defends itself as soon as turns come into play: the high weight pushes even when braking, irritating the fibrous hardening, at the same time indifferent pressure point. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with the delay values themselves. But on the cornering behavior.
If you steer with too much vigour, you overload the front axle and force the E-SUV into extensive understeer. If you then take your foot off the gas, the rear gets an impulse to turn - depending on the load change up to a lunge, which the ESP catches clumsily. That doesn't make you want to go for a brisk lap. Especially since the steering leaves you in the dark about the grip conditions on the front axle, but instead makes a lot of work unnecessarily with excessive restoring forces and inhomogeneous steering assistance.
The Ariya feels better off on long-distance roads with fussy radii. Of course, the superficially appealing suspension also interferes here. But the noise comfort is good at least up to about the recommended speed. Here, as on the country road, the behavior of the steering is rather annoying: Especially in Sport mode, it is magnetically drawn to its middle position and you have to counteract it with an annoying force.
In any case, it is better to preselect "Eco" despite the performance limitation. Only here is the practical freewheel, with which you can let the Ariya roll without using electricity as soon as you go slightly downhill - the most efficient way to move an electric model. If you now want to recuperate, you have to set the gear selector lever to "B"; There are no steering wheel paddles for this, let alone different selectable levels. Instead, these are bound to the driving modes.
365 kilometers real range
At least there is a kind of one-pedal drive, which can be activated via a button in the center console. This means that acceleration and braking requests can be sent off with just the right foot, so to speak. If you lift it completely, the Nissan does not come to a standstill. Others can do that more convincingly.
The test car is fully there when it comes to battery capacity with a net 87 kWh (gross 91). Large power storage=long range, this equation is also true here, especially since the heavy car draws power relatively reluctantly. If you take our test consumption of 25.2 kWh per 100 kilometers as a benchmark, then the e-SUV theoretically hums up to 365 kilometers."Theoretically" because you have to be very brave to completely drain the battery - to roll out exactly at a free charging station. The radius can be extended to up to 466 kilometers as soon as you carefully monitor your foot on the accelerator.
In a good hour, the empty battery would be refilled at a CCS column (see the charging curve, please go back to page 35). It was four hours at our editorial wall box; this delivers up to 22 kW on three phases, with the Ariya using the entire range - in the version tested here. The basic Nissan, on the other hand, has to be satisfied with a smaller battery that can theoretically draw a single-phase current with a maximum of 7.4 kW. Whereby this value at charging stations with 11 kW shrinks to 3.7 kW. Today you can only accept that as a home tap, i.e. if the e-car is plugged into your own wall box overnight. After all, the manufacturer has those on offer, they can be added when configuring.
Calculate again, please
Speaking of configuration: The basic version costs 40,312 euros, including subsidies. We can hardly advise you on this variant due to the charging deficit and the limited range. At most to the Ariya tested here, including a long range and wallbox competence. It is available very well equipped from 56,312 euros - yes, the subsidy has already been deducted. Priced so expensively, the new one is unlikely to appeal to a wide audience. Its prospects for a bestseller in the vein of the Leaf are slim.
From an electrotechnical point of view, the Nissan can only be accused of the insufficient charging strategy of the basic variant and the confused recuperation strategy. However, if you look at the Nissan Ariya as a whole as an automobile, then it devotes too much attention to the superficial accessories. On the other hand, when it comes to the main thing, such as the tuning of the chassis components, there is plenty of room for improvement. Nissan should adjust its own claim of self-confident calculation here. And reconsider the latter at the same time.
Large battery, long range, efficient drive - on the electric side, the Ariya would be worth more stars, but it disappoints when driving: moderate comfort meets susceptibility to load changes. For example.