There are plenty of less shallow and more subjective reasons for looking forward to the Ariya. I’m getting the e4ORCE model, which means more power and four wheel drive. I was lucky enough to try out this system on ice and snow in the Alps last autumn and know it is really clever, sending power to the wheel with the most grip far faster than a petrol 4x4 could manage.
It also means our Ariya has the bigger 87kWh battery. After running a Cupra Born with a 58kWh pack for a year, this has come as both a relief and a shock. The relief comes from the longer range, which so far has been a genuine 300 miles most days. That meant I could drive from home near Hitchin in Hertfordshire to an event in Henley, to the Goodwood Festival of Speed and then back home without even thinking about a charger.
The downside is that it takes much longer to top up. That’s simple science of course, but I do all of my home charging at the cheap rate overnight on Octopus Go, which means I’m limited to four hours at 7.2kW. If I’ve done a battery-emptying long journey, it’s still a surprise when it takes three nights to get near full again.
If you do need to stop for a charge, the Ariya makes things very comfortable. I’d say it has one of the best interiors of any electric car, with excellent quality and some lovely touches. It makes the efforts of Volkswagen, Tesla and even Audi look a bit downmarket. Even the carpets feel like a Bentley’s.
Our car also has a standard 22kW AC charger. This means it can make use of the cheaper non-rapid points which are springing up in public places such as station car parks and supermarkets. We found one on holiday in Lincolnshire earlier this month next to a beach. We parked up, plugged in, went for a swim and had some lunch knowing that the car was charging at three times the speed it would at home. Three hours later we had plenty to get us back home to Hertfordshire without having to stop.
There are only a couple of niggles so far, and one only requires me to read the manual and make a decision.
That’s around the locking. The Ariya has a clever feature where the car unlocks as you walk towards it with the key in your pocket. It will also lock automatically as you walk away. In most situations this is really handy, but if you leave someone in the car while you pop to the shop or back into the house to grab something you’ve forgotten it will set the alarm off and scare them witless. It will also do the same if you leave the sunroof or a window open.
I’m sure I can turn it off, but I’m not sure I want to yet. Maybe I’ll give it a little longer.
The other issue is around the ProPilot Assist, which is Nissan’s name for the semi-autonomous driving system. It works really well, keeping you in lane and sensing the speed of traffic you are following well. But the sensors bleep and shout at you if you don’t keep your hands on the steering wheel at the nine and three o’clock positions. For me this isn’t necessarily the most comfortable or natural, especially on long stretches of motorway or in traffic.
I have some more long journeys planned, so I’ll see if I can find a compromise that gives both my foot and arms a rest.
About our Ariya
Our Ariya is the 87kWh Evolve, which after the recent price cut of £3,750 costs £54,840. The Aurora Green paint we love so much is actually the only ‘free’ paint colour – all the others are a cost option. Our car also has the Sport Pack, which includes 20-inch alloys and a blue leather. In hindsight, the blue doesn’t really go with the exterior colour and the black or grey would have worked better.