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Flagship model packs an extra motor for four-wheel drive and a bigger battery

On our first acquaintance back in July, it felt like the sweet spot of the Nissan Ariya range had quickly been stumbled upon. The entry-level front-wheel-drive version of this new electric crossover felt nicely specced with 215bhp and a 250-mile range, bolstered by plenty of kerb appeal and decent dynamics. 

The modularity of electric car architectures has allowed Nissan to quickly add new models to the line-up in time for its UK rollout, now under way, including this range-topper. 

The 63kWh battery of the entrylevel car is swapped for an 87kWh version here and a second electric motor is added, at the rear, to give the car four-wheel drive (called e-4orce, a spellchecker’s worst nightmare) and 302bhp. You can also have the bigger battery without the e-4orce system, giving a range of 331 miles, whereas the e-4orce car here gets 311 miles. On our test route in cooler conditions, we saw an indicated 230 miles. 

We were able to drive front- and four-wheel-drive cars back to back and there wasn’t a night and day difference between them. The extra power and torque (which is doubled to 443lb ft) offered by the rear motor is noticeable, but still restrained in its delivery. 

Nissan ariya 4wd rear driving

Traction is improved, but again it’s subtle, even on the sodden roads of our Danish test route. Marginal gains, then, to the drivetrain, and the excellent refinement of the standard car is retained after the addition of extra power and battery capacity. One-pedal driving is nicely judged with the e-Pedal activated. 

That extra capacity has also resulted in extra weight and this has an impact on the handling. It’s stable and secure but quite dull and uninvolving, let down further by quite springy steering. Hit the Sport button to sharpen the responses, and you’ll instantly be reaching to turn it off again as it makes the car emit a grating high-pitched whirr. The ride is not the most comfortable either. 

Nissan ariya 4wd infotainment

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While the interior looks great, ergonomically it is a little off, with the buttons on the dashboard a bit awkward to reach out to, and the ones on the centre tunnel requiring an equally awkward bend of your arm to reach back and down to. Still, it feels a huge leap forward in perceived quality and pleasing design over the Nissan Leaf inside, which goes with the smart exterior looks and nice proportions. This is an electric car with real presence, and a confident style. 

There will be people who’ll want the extra range, power and driven wheels, and be prepared to pay for them. The bigger battery adds £5750 to the list price and e-4orce  an extra £2700. In doing so, they don’t make the Ariya any sweeter to drive, so the original verdict remains: the sweet spot in the range can be found much lower down.


Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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Peter Cavellini 9 October 2022

Wow! , there a lot of Handbagging going on here!, as was said, your all bright enough to have a discussion,it's not a points winning excercise, if you can't agree, then , don't reply, much simpler, more effective. The Car,too expensive for me, not suited to my needs anyway, I'd be spe money for the sake of it, we'll see what the sales figures are in a year or so.

Jeremy 8 October 2022

The Citroen Oli concept has shown that some manufacturers realise that overweight (and expensive) EVs are not the future. I just hope the brilliant themes in that car make it to market.

567 7 October 2022

Just awful!