2021 Nissan Ariya electric SUV revealed: price, specs and release date

Electric large SUV is roomier than Nissan’s conventionally powered X-Trail and heralds a new era of design for the brand...

Nissan Ariya concept

The electric Nissan Ariya unveiled at this week's Tokyo motor show is the bridge between the conspicuous IMx concept of 2017 and the much-talked-about 'Nissan Leaf SUV' that you’ll actually be able to buy.

It’s slightly shorter than today’s seven-seat Nissan X-Trail but also wider and lower. However, it’s noticeably roomier, thanks to the absence of the usual mechanicals. It’s actually based on all-new underpinnings that will be used by Nissan and its allies, Renault and Mitsubishi, to create multiple shapes and sizes of electric vehicle with variance in battery size and the number of motors. 

Nissan Ariya concept

2021 Nissan Ariya power and range

The Ariya uses two of those – one on the front axle, one on the rear – to create an intelligent four-wheel drive system that Nissan promises will deliver great ability in corners and off-road. Performance remains under wraps, but the IMx supposedly had 423bhp and a range of 373 miles. Take the latter with a pinch of salt, because even the high-end Tesla Model X gets just 314 miles on the official test.

No charging times have been suggested, either, but we do know that the Ariya, at least in concept form, uses a Chademo plug, like the Leaf. This is unfortunate, because the CCS plug is the de facto European standard, so the UK’s fastest public chargers offer only this.

Like Chademo, the design of the Ariya is distinctly Japanese, says Nissan. It’s claimed to start a new era of styling for the brand, with LED lights blended into the front grille and a full-width LED bar at the rear, plus a raked roofline that taps into the SUV-coupé trend.

2021 Nissan Ariya interior and equipment

2021 Nissan Ariya interior and equipment

The interior design also shows progress, with a pared-back dashboard featuring a 12.3in infotainment screen. This is controlled by a dial, rather than touch, which is much safer when you’re driving. Other technology includes the next evolution of Nissan’s ProPilot active safety system, which will eventually allow the car to drive autonomously within a motorway lane, plus the facility to heat or cool the car prior to leaving, a digital personal assistant and wireless software updates.

2021 Nissan Ariya price

The Ariya is expected to go on sale in early 2021, so it’s far too early for pricing. However, the current list price of our brilliant Car of the Year, the Kia e-Niro, is £36,495, so around £45,000 seems likely.

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The best and worst electric cars

If the Ariya has got you excited about the idea of owning an electric car, you'll find this story very useful, because we've named the best electric cars on the market – as well as the worst.

Tesla Model X

On paper, Tesla's all-electric family SUV seems to be the dream all-rounder, combining the luxury of a Range Rover Sport with the green credentials of an electric car. In practice, its low running costs and practical interior are hard to fault, and even entry-level versions aren't short on pace, but parts of its interior do feel a little cheap given the price.

Read our full Tesla Model X review >>

9. Seat Mii Electric

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Seat Mii Electric front three quarters

If you're looking for a small electric car to primarily use in the city, the Mii Electric should definitely be on your shortlist. It might not have the range to match larger electric cars, but that means costs are kept sensible, and we reckon 161 miles on a full charge should still be enough for most buyers. 

Read our full Seat Mii Electric review >>

8. Mercedes EQC

Save money on a new Mercedes EQC with What Car? >>

Mercedes-Benz EQC front three quarters

The EQC is a brilliant choice if you want to maximise the peace and quiet offered by going electric: it really is incredibly hushed on the move. But while it's generally comfortable on motorways, it doesn't ride as well as the very best rivals and its range is someway off the Jaguar I-Pace's.

Read our full Mercedes EQC review >>


Next: more of our favourite electric vehicles >

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