New Nissan Ariya vs Kia EV6: practicality

Nissan’s first electric SUV really is in at the deep end as it goes head to head with its most formidable rival, our reigning Car of the Year. Will it sink or swim?...

Nissan Ariya 2023 rear seats

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

Both of our contenders provide plenty of space up front, with enough head and leg room for really tall occupants. And because both cars are quite broad inside, the chances that you’ll find yourself clashing elbows with the person sitting next to you is low.

When it comes to interior storage space, both cars offer a pair of cupholders between the front seats, with a second storage ledge beneath. The Nissan Ariya also comes with a secondary ‘glovebox’ that drops down from a central position beneath the air-con controls.

Kia EV6 2023 rear seats

The Ariya’s boxier shape lends it more head room for those in the back, but anyone up to around 6ft tall will be fine in the Kia EV6. On the other hand, while the long-legged will be happy in both cars, only the EV6 allows occupants to stretch out as if they were in a luxury limo. That’s crucial, because there isn’t much space for feet under the front seats of either car, especially if they’re set as low as they’ll go. They have completely flat floors, so a middle passenger won’t have to straddle a chunky tunnel like they would in most petrol or diesel cars.

You can alter the angle of the backrest in each of our contenders (to a greater extent in the EV6) to boost comfort levels on longer journeys. The only fly in the ointment for the EV6 is that its roof curves down at the outer edges, making it feel a little more claustrophobic than the Ariya by restricting the view out (as well as making access a bit trickier).

Both cars are on a par when it comes to rear seat storage space, with a pair of cupholders in the fold-down centre armrest, storage pockets on the backs of the front seats and space for a drinks bottle in the door cubby.

Nissan Ariya 2023 underfloor storage

On paper, the Ariya’s 466-litre boot falls short of the 490 litres that the EV6’s offers, but thanks to its greater width and depth, we managed to fit eight carry-on suitcases in, beating the seven we squeezed into the EV6. However, the EV6 also conceals a separate storage area under its bonnet; this may only be big enough to hold the charging cables, but it does keep them separate from your luggage – particularly welcome in wet or muddy conditions.

Both cars provide height-adjustable boot floors to boost versatility, plus 60/40 split-folding seatbacks for when you need to carry as much as possible. On top of this, the EV6 has a ski hatch so you can thread longer items through between two rear seat passengers, although the Ariya hits back with a powered tailgate.

Boot space

Nissan Ariya

Nissan Ariya 2023 boot

Boot capacity 466-1348 litres Suitcases 8

Kia EV6

Kia EV6 2023 boot

Boot capacity 490-1300 litres (plus 52 litres front) Suitcases 7

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