2021 Nissan Ariya: electric SUV range, performance and dimensions

Tempted by the Nissan Qashqai but want your SUV to be electric? The Ariya is a fast plug-in SUV that can travel up to 310 miles per charge

Simon Ostler
Jul 16, 2020

This is the Nissan Ariya, the Japanese brand’s new electric SUV with a bold design and promising battery range figures equal to what you’d expect from a tank of petrol with many SUVs. Nissan has well over a decade's worth of experience building the electric Leaf hatchback, so the Ariya should feature tried and tested electric car tech.

While more and more upmarket electric SUVs are now on sale - from the supersized Tesla Model X to the Audi e-tron - there are only a couple of relatively affordable small and medium plug-in SUVs to choose from. These include the compact Hyundai Kona Electric and medium size Kia e-Niro, plus the soon-to-arrive Tesla Model Y.

At first glance, Nissan’s claims that the Ariya will manage at least 211 miles per charge with its smallest battery see it lagging behind the smaller e-Niro, which is capable of up to 282 miles, however pick the right model and the Ariya can travel up to 310 miles - an impressive figure for a fully electric car. Meanwhile, it’s also set to be faster and more spacious than a petrol or diesel powered Qashqai.

As with all electric cars though, you can expect new car prices to be much higher than conventional fuel-burning alternatives, with early estimates pointing to pricing of around £37,500 upwards. As always, if you're on a budget, it's best to wait a year or two to pick up a much more affordable nearly-new or used version.

2021 Nissan Ariya model range and performance

That starting price means that the Ariya lines up alongside a middle-of-the-range version of the smaller e-Niro or a high-specification Kona Electric. Considering the Ariya is by far the bigger car, this means it's likely to offer strong value.

Scheduled to arrive towards the end of 2021, this new electric SUV is expected to be filled with fancy tech and clever driving assistance systems. Five versions will be offered, with both two-wheel and all-wheel drive models available, and both 63kWh and 87kWh battery packs.

First up is a 217hp two-wheel-drive option with the 63kWh battery capable of hitting 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 99mph. Nissan is estimating a range of 223 miles per charge, according to the latest and most accurate economy tests.

The second two-wheel-drive version makes use of the larger 87kWh battery and produces 242hp, although 0-62mph will take slightly longer at 7.6 seconds - likely due to the extra weight of the larger batteries. Top speed is still 99mph but claimed range dramatically increases to 310 miles.

Then there are the all-wheel drive variants. The first makes use of the smaller 63kWh battery and produces 278hp. That's enough to reduce the 0-62mph time to just 5.9 seconds. That's pretty speedy for a car of this type. Top speed is 124mph, but the additional weight of the all-wheel-drive system cuts battery range to just 211 miles per charge.

An 87kWh all-wheel drive option producing 306hp is also on offer. This cuts the 0-62mph time down to just 5.7 seconds, while the range is a useful 285 miles - increased thanks to the higher capacity battery.

A final all-wheel drive option - a high-performance version - using the same 87kWh battery and a more powerful battery delivers 394hp, making 0-62mph possible in just 5.1 seconds, with 248 miles of range.

Performance figures for the top-level models ought to pitch the Ariya against the Tesla Model Y, but they also make this hefty SUV faster than the Volkswagen Golf GTI, and nearly as quick as the VW Golf R - one of the fastest hatchbacks you can buy.

2021 Nissan Ariya interior

As with many electric cars, the Nissan Ariya’s batteries are positioned underneath the car, freeing up a good amount of space in the cabin compared to what you would find in a similarly sized petrol or diesel equivalent.

This, along with a movable centre console means rear passengers have a good amount of legroom and the whole interior gains a much more airy feel. The dashboard is also free of clutter, with a few touch-sensitive buttons and two large touchscreen displays doing most of the legwork.

Both are 12.3-inch displays, which can be customised to present whatever information the user requires such as remaining battery range or sat-nav. How useable these touchscreens are on the move remains to be seen, though it's likely the Ariya will have some level of voice controls, as more and more new cars do.

There’s also a colour head-up display, beaming driving information onto the windscreen to provide yet more information on the go.

2021 Nissan Ariya technology

Considering the Nissan Leaf has been on sale for a decade, the arrival of the Ariya could be seen as somewhat long overdue. But it does mean there’s plenty of well-tested electric car and safety tech that can be passed on to the new model.

First off there's Nissan’s ProPILOT driving assistance software, which combines the functions of lane-keeping assist to help you stay centred in your lane, and adaptive cruise control to help you maintain a safe distance behind another car. There’s also parking assist, which can essentially park the car for you.

The Ariya will also feature the 'e-Pedal' - pioneered by the Leaf - which allows drivers to accelerate and decelerate simply by pressing down and then easing off of the accelerator pedal. This means that in all but emergency situations where full braking is needed, the car can essentially be driven using just one pedal.

Other tech includes voice recognition, 360-degree cameras and sensors to help the driver see what’s around them, and also up-to-date crash prevention tech such as a Forward Collision Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking.

2021 Nissan Ariya dimensions

The Ariya looks set to stand somewhere between the Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail in terms of size, which makes it likely to be one of the more spacious cars around.

Measuring 4,595mm long, 1,850mm wide and 1,660mm tall, it’s notably larger than the Kona Electric and around 30cm longer than the e-Niro, while the Tesla Model Y measures up 180mm longer but 60mm shorter in height.

A 466-litre boot is also much bigger than its rivals from Hyundai and Kia, even in all-wheel drive form, which has a reduced capacity of 408 litres.

Nissan also claims that the Ariya will be capable of towing up to 1,500kg, which is rare for an electric car, as many are not set up to tow. This is the same as what a two-wheel drive diesel X-Trail can manage and offers good scope for towing caravans, trailers or other loads.

 

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