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
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Kris Culmer
23 Oct 2019 12:57

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.

10. Tesla Model X

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 or let us help you buy a Model X

9. Renault Zoe

Renault Zoe front - 19 plate

The Zoe’s main strength is that it feels like a conventional, stylish, nippy small car, and just happens to cost pennies to run. The electric motor has enough shove for the Zoe to lead the charge away from traffic lights, and the interior has room for four to sit in reasonable comfort. Even the boot is larger than you’ll find in many regular small cars; it's easily big enough for a family's weekly shopping. The Q90 version managed 132 miles in our Real Range test.

Read our full Renault Zoe review or see how much we could save you on a Zoe

8. Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf

This second-generation Leaf is a much better all-rounder than the original model. It’s faster, more sophisticated to drive, bigger inside and, perhaps most importantly of all, capable of longer distances between charges. Just make sure you resist the temptation to go for the e+ version; it may have the biggest range of any Leaf yet, but it's also expensive and hard-riding.

Read our full Nissan Leaf review or see how much we could save you on a Leaf

Next: more of our favourite electric vehicles >

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