Nissan Ariya review

Nissan Ariya

We road test the distinctive Nissan Ariya mid-sized electric SUV…

It’s taken Nissan more than 10 years to follow-up the game-changing Leaf with a brand new EV model. So, is the Ariya as good as it looks?

Let’s start by going back to basics. The Ariya (we think it’s pronounced ‘Arr-Ee-Yah’) is a mid-sized five-door SUV, so its rivals include the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Skoda Enyaq, Volkswagen ID.4 and Tesla Model Y.

First impressions count and two things stand out. Its futuristic looks are like nothing else on the road, while its plush interior is a real step-up for Nissan.

Nissan Ariya

There’s a choice of two battery sizes- a standard 63kWh unit or the ‘extended range’ 87kWh, which Nissan claims can travel 250 miles and 329 miles respectively from a full charge.

Starting at £46,145, entry-level models use a single electric motor to power the front wheels, producing 214bhp (63kWh) and 239bhp (87kWh).

All-wheel drive versions (marketed as ‘e-4ORCE’) get the larger 87kWh battery and an extra electric motor, delivering a total of 302bhp. However, range takes a hit, resulting in a claimed 285 miles.

Nissan Ariya

The front-wheel drive 63kWh is capable of a 0-62mph sprint in 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 100mph, while the all-wheel-drive 87kWh has a 5.7-second 0-62mph time and can go on to 124mph.

Standard equipment is generous and there are just two trim levels to choose from – Advance and Evolve.

Entry-level Advance is fitted with full LED lighting, a heated windscreen, climate control, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, a navigation system, 360-degree cameras and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Nissan Ariya

Evolve adds a panoramic sunroof, a video-based rear-view mirror, ventilated seats, heated rear seats and a Bose sound system, among other features.

The extensive list of safety and driver assistance aids standard on all grades includes Intelligent Driver Alertness, Lane Keep Assist, Traffic Jam Pilot, Blind Spot Intervention, Intelligent Cruise Control, Full Auto Park and a 360-degree Around View Monitor. Extra goodies on the Evolve spec include Pro-Pilot Park and a Head-up Display.

The Ariya can be charged at speeds of up to 130kW (slower than some rivals such as the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5), meaning you can top up from 10-80% in around 30 minutes, while an overnight charge from a 7.4kW wallbox will take 10 hours.

Nissan Ariya

Our 63kWh Advance test car looked stunning in Akatsuki Copper with a pearl-black roof. Somewhere between a traditional and coupe-styled SUV, it’s no shrinking violet and is on the tall side.

Up front, the large closed-off grille is flanked by sharp LED daytime running lights and headlights, while the swooping roofline leads to a full-width LED light bar at the rear of the car.

Inside, it’s smart and minimalist. Stylish wood-grained trim spans the width of the dashboard and it has a premium feel.

Nissan Ariya

Touch-sensitive controls with haptic feedback are hidden within the trim, illuminating when the car is switched on. More of these ‘buttons’ are conveniently placed on the sliding centre armrest, which can be moved via the press of a button to provide additional foot space in the front or the rear.

The Ariya’s infotainment system consists of two 12.3-inch screens, mounted side-by-side – a driver’s digital instrument cluster, plus a main infotainment interface complete with sat nav and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

The cabin is spacious and light with plenty of room in the back for rear passengers to travel in comfort.

Nissan Ariya

Single motor models get a decent 466-litre boot capacity (1,348 litres with the back seats down), reducing to 408 litres if all-wheel drive is chosen.

The overwhelming sensation on the road is of a relaxing driving experience. Not only is it comfortable and well insulted inside the cabin, it’s been well put together and the delivery of all that instant torque is smooth and quiet.

There are three driving modes (Eco, Sport and Normal), though we found the latter will do just fine. As you’d expect from Nissan, there’s also an e-pedal option, which winds up the regenerative braking and can bring the car to a halt simply by lifting off the accelerator.

It feels planted at high speed and on flowing country roads, but try to hustle in more challenging corners and its weight and height become more obvious. There’s a bit of body lean and 2.2 tonnes to slow down, which tends to blunt the driving engagement.

Nissan Ariya

That said, grip levels are good, though as we found with our front-wheel drive test car, it is possible to spin the front wheels when setting off on loose surfaces and in the wet if you’re too heavy on the accelerator.

Otherwise, the steering feels nicely judged, and the commanding driving position offers good visibility (plus there’s a rear wiper, unlike some rivals!).

We haven’t tried the 87kWh all-wheel drive e-4ORCE model yet, but we suspect the increased grip, power and range (we’d estimate the real-world range in our 63kWh test car is closer to 200 miles) might be worth the extra expense.

Verdict: Safe, spacious and surprisingly classy, the Nissan Ariya family SUV boasts serious kerb appeal. Easy to drive and comfortable, it’s at its best cruising along stylishly and smoothly.

Nissan UK

Nissan Ariya

Kia XCeed review

Kia XCeed

It’s time to get back behind the wheel of Kia’s popular XCeed compact crossover, which has just been treated to a facelift…

The XCeed is an important car for Kia in the UK, accounting for 10% of the South Korean company’s sales in the country during 2021, and more than half of all Ceed family sales over the same timeframe.

Just to recap, the XCeed is longer and taller than a standard Ceed hatch, and features a higher ground clearance and driving position, bigger wheels and a more rugged look.

The makeover brings a fresher exterior design, more kit and a new ‘GT-Line S’ trim level.

Kia XCeed

The design tweaks are subtle. Outside, there are updated LED head and taillights, a revised front grille and bumpers, plus new colours such as Sprint Green.

Interior upgrades are harder to spot, but apparently the lower portion of the instrument panel has been redesigned, with touch-sensitive buttons, dials and switches that control the audio volume, heating, and ventilation systems.

Meanwhile, the choice of engines is now between a 1.5-litre turbo petrol and a plug-in hybrid.

Priced from £23,395 to £32,995 for the PHEV, the XCeed line-up now consists of ‘2’, ‘3’ and ‘GT-Line S’ trim levels with GT-Line S replacing the old range-topping ‘4’ model.

Kia XCeed

Entry-level 2 grade comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, and 4.2-inch driver instrument cluster. There’s also a reversing camera system, cruise control, speed limiter, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, plus safety systems such as collision avoidance assist and pedestrian/cyclist recognition.

The 3 adds 18-inch wheels, privacy glass and LED indicator lights on the door mirrors. Inside, there’s a 10.25-inch touchscreen, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, along with front seats that are heated and have electrical lumbar adjustment.

The range-topping GT-Line S gets a 12.3-inch driver’s digital display, plus a 10.25-inch central touchscreen. Other goodies include special 18-inch wheels, a bespoke body kit, a panoramic sunroof, black leather and suede seats that are heated front and rear, a powered tailgate, an upgraded JBL sound system and a wireless phone charger.

The interior is perfectly decent, but compared to newer Kia models, such as the Niro, Sportage and EV6, it looks dated up front where there’s a curvy instrument binnacle and separate centre touchscreen instead of the merged panoramic, dual 12.3-inch screens.

Kia XCeed

That said, the XCeed’s infotainment system is a perfectly good and intuitively laid out display, while the interior itself is well put together with plenty of soft-touch surfaces.

The driving position is comfortable and there are no complaints in the visibility department.

There’s ample space in the cabin for adults front and rear. Boot capacity is 426 litres with the seats up and 1,378 litres with them folded down, though the PHEV’s boot is smaller at only 291 litres (1,243 litres in total).

We tested the plug-in hybrid and petrol versions of the new XCeed.

Kia XCeed

The entry-level 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engined car (badged T-GDI) develops 158bhp and can sprint from 0-60mph in 8.7 seconds (top speed 129mph).

Economy is up to 44.8mpg, while CO2 emissions are 143g/km. Drive sensibly and 45-48mpg is quite possible.

The engine itself is punchy, but vocal when pushed. That said, it settles down nicely on the motorway, while the six-speed manual shifts well.

The steering is light and accurate, body lean is well controlled and overall the XCeed is agile and delivers a decent drive.

Kia XCeed

Some may find the suspension a little on the stiff side and it’s not the most sophisticated of rides on poorer surfaces, but it feels planted and it’s more dynamic than you might think.

The PHEV combines a 1.6-litre petrol with a 8.9kWh battery and electric motor (producing a combined 139bhp) mated with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

With a top speed of 99mph, it takes 10.6 seconds to sprint to 60mph and offers up to 30 miles in electric-only mode.

In theory it can return as much as 200mpg. The reality is that your economy will depend on your journey lengths and whether you keep the battery charged up.

Kia XCeed

Drive with the battery depleted on longer journeys and you’re looking at closer to 40mpg.

Crucially, especially for business users who get tax benefits, tailpipe CO2 emissions are just 32g/km.

The XCeed PHEV is generally more refined than its ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) sibling. The hybrid system itself is smooth and switches between petrol and electric, and vice versa, almost seamlessly.

It feels planted on the road and zips along surprisingly swiftly in Sport mode, while the six-speed auto box is particularly slick.

Kia XCeed

Yes, you heard right, the XCeed PHEV isn’t afflicted with a CVT gearbox like most plug-in hybrids, so no high-revving din under heavy acceleration.

More comfortable than sporty, spirited drivers will find body lean well controlled in more challenging corners.

It’s also worth noting that the XCeed PHEV can (unusually for a car of its size and type) tow a braked trailer of up to 1,300kg.

Verdict: The refreshed Kia XCeed is better than ever. Whether you go for a straight petrol or the plug-in hybrid version, it’s more comfortable than engaging, but still a great all-round package. Add the affordable price and generous seven-year warranty and it’s no wonder it’s been selling so well.

Kia UK

Genesis GV60 review

Genesis GV60

We road test the first pure electric car from the new, upmarket Genesis brand…

Before we begin, let’s start with a quick refresh. Genesis is the luxury arm of the Hyundai Motor Group, which also includes Kia. So, think Lexus/Toyota and DS/Citroen. Only launched in the UK in the summer of 2021, its impressive stable of prestige cars includes saloons, SUVs and an estate.

Up until now, the range hasn’t quite matched up to the equivalents from BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.

The good news for Genesis is that we think the fully electric GV60 will go down as the brand’s breakthrough model.

Genesis GV60

Developed alongside its award-winning cousins, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, the GV60 is arguably the most successful of the trio in the looks department.

Slightly shorter than the Ioniq 5 and EV6, it’s nicely proportioned with a curvaceously muscular stance and short overhangs. There are flush-fitting door handles along its flowing profile, plus the option of rear-facing cameras instead of conventional door mirrors. Slim, stacked headlights and a broad black grille are highlights up front, while its sexy derrière is a candidate for Rear of the Year.

Priced from £47,005, the new Genesis GV60 is available in three trims (Premium, Sport and Sport Plus) and all versions come with a 77.4kWh battery, but different choices of electric motor.

Genesis GV60

It’s not worth listing the differences between the grades when it comes to goodies. Let’s just say, the GV60 is generously equipped, though obviously you should compare. Perhaps more importantly, it’s the technical differences that matter.

The GV60 Premium gets a single 225bhp electric motor that drives the rear wheels, giving up to 321 miles of range.

Sport versions come with dual motors producing a total of 314hp. These cars are four-wheel drive, but range is down to 292 miles.

Genesis GV60

The top-spec GV60 Sport Plus we tested gets a more powerful dual-motor setup that produces an impressive 483bhp in total, though range is down again to a still decent 289 miles on a single charge.

It’s worth noting that there’s a boost button on the Sport Plus which unlocks a 10-second blast of gut-wrenching power. Oh, and those 0-62mph times range from 7.8 seconds for the Premium down to 4.0 seconds for the Sport Plus.

The Genesis GV60 also comes with a state-of-the-art 800-volt electrical system that lets you charge it using ultra rapid 350kw chargers from 10-80% full in just 18 minutes.

Genesis GV60

Alternatively, a 10-80% charge via a more common 50kW connection will take 73 minutes, while a 10-100% boost from an 11kw home wallbox takes seven hours 20 minutes.

The cabin is spacious and faultlessly finished, though it’s worth test-driving the GV60 is you regularly carry taller than average rear passengers because of the sloping roofline.

Two wide 12.3-inch digital screens take care of infotainment duties, but thankfully there’s also a good balance of traditional buttons and dials to easily access commonly used functions.

Genesis GV60

The interior’s party trick is the gorgeous crystal ball in the middle of the centre console (Genesis calls it a ‘Crystal Sphere’) which revolves to reveal a rotating dial with Drive, Reverse, Park etc when the GV60 is ready to go.

The boot has a useful 432-litre capacity to the parcel shelf, expanding to 1,550 litres with the rear seats folded down. There’s also space under the bonnet – the perfect spot to store your charging cables.

My only criticisms of the cabin are that the brushed metal effect used extensively has a plastic feel to it – not unlike a much cheaper Hyundai. Also, visibility through the small rear window isn’t the best, and there’s no wiper.

Genesis GV60

The GV60’s driving position is comfortable, if fairly high, and the car itself certainly feels substantial.

Obviously it’s quiet, refined and very fast. The Sport Plus we tested had adaptive predictive suspension, which uses information from the front camera and navigation system to adjust damping in advance, delivering an impressively comfortable ride.

There’s good body control in corners, but ultimately the GV60’s agility will always be compromised by its width and two-tonne weight. In other words, you’d need some track time to have the confidence to take it close to the limit.

Genesis GV60

That said there’s a serious amount of grip and traction from those epic 21-inch Michelin-shod wheels, so you can still have fun and a play with the various drive modes.

We found Comfort mode does just fine and the GV60 is at its best cruising effortlessly along at the legal limit. Oh, and a special mention for the steering wheel paddles which let you vary the amount of brake regeneration through five levels, from frictionless coasting to one-pedal driving.

Finally, the steering is light and accurate, but there’s not much in the way of feedback, while the brakes are progressive, unlike many EVs.

Genesis GV60

Before we sign off, it’s worth remembering that Genesis is no ordinary brand, offering a completely different VIP ownership experience.

There are no dealerships. Instead, you visit a studio where you can interact with a Genesis Personal Assistant (GPA), who’s under no pressure to make a sale and is employed on a commission-free basis.

It’s hoped the GPA will remain a direct point of contact throughout your ownership experience, delivering cars for test drives and purchases, and collecting your car for servicing (providing a like-for-like Genesis while your car is away).

What’s more, Genesis’s 5-Year Care Plan includes servicing, roadside assistance, courtesy car, mapping and over-the-air software updates.

Verdict: The all-new Genesis GV60 is a class act. Big, practical, comfortable, safe and a joy to drive, it’s one of the best electric crossovers on the market with serious kerb appeal. Add the unique sales and aftercare package and it’s sure to appeal to buyers who prefer the finer things in life.

Genesis

Kia Niro review

Kia Niro Hybrid (

We test drive the Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid and EV versions of the all-new second generation Kia Niro…

The Niro compact crossover is an important car for Kia. After the slightly larger Sportage, it’s the South Korean brand’s second most successful model.

A genuine game-changer when it was launched in 2016, it was available with self-charging hybrid, plug-in hybrid or 100% electric powertrains and offered practicality, peace of mind and economy at an affordable price.

Fast forward six years and more than 70,000 have been sold, while 55% of all Niro sales are fully electric. In fact, the e-Niro was the UK’s second best-selling EV in 2021.

The success of the all-electric version especially was no surprise, given the value for money it offered, plus that 282-mile range.

Kia Niro Hybrid

Now it’s time for the second-generation Niro. Again, there are hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric versions, and this time round it’s slightly bigger (65mm longer, 20mm taller and 10mm wider) and the interior features a higher proportion of sustainable and recycled materials.

Pricing starts at £27,745 (Niro Hybrid), followed by the Niro Plug-in Hybrid (£32,775) and the popular Niro EV from £34,995. Note, it’s no longer badged ‘e-Niro’.

There are three trim levels (‘2’, ‘3’ or ‘4’) and a choice of eight colours, with top spec ‘4’ models offered with an eye-catching two-tone paint option which features the C-pillar in contrasting Steel Grey or Black Pearl, depending on the chosen body colour.

Naturally, there are differences in spec and equipment between the trim levels, but as standard you get goodies such as LED headlights, rear parking sensors and camera system, a touchscreen display with DAB radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus driver assistance technologies such as Forward Collision Avoidance with car, pedestrian and cyclist recognition and junction crossing – and Smart Cruise Control.

Kia Niro Hybrid

Top-of-the-range ‘4’ grade models get a head-up display, twin 10.25-inch touchscreen, an instrument cluster display, heated rear seats and ventilated front seats, a power operated tailgate, electric sunroof, an uprated Harman Kardon premium sound system, driver’s side memory seating, and front passenger lumbar support.

There’s also Remote Smart Parking Assist, Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist and PU vegan leather seat coverings, containing Tencel from eucalyptus trees.

The all-new Niro EV combines a 64.8kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and a 201bhp electric motor.

Torque is rated at 255 Nm, and it can accelerate from 0-to-62 mph in 7.8 seconds. More importantly, an electric driving range of 285 miles is claimed.

Kia Niro Hybrid

Recharging from 10-80% takes as little as 45 minutes – up to nine minutes quicker than the outgoing model.

In colder months, the system uses navigation-based conditioning to pre-heat the battery when a charge point is selected as a destination, which helps shorten charge times and optimise battery performance.

The Niro Hybrid has a 1.6-litre petrol engine paired with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. There’s also a 43bhp electric motor and small 1.32kW battery, delivering a combined maximum power output of 139bhp.

It can accelerate from standstill to 60mph in 10.4 seconds, fuel economy is up to 64.2mpg, while CO2 emissions are 100g/km.

The Niro Hybrid (and Plug-in Hybrid) also feature a new ‘Green Zone’ drive mode, which automatically switches to electric power based on location guidance from the navigation system, driver patterns, or manual selection by the driver.

Kia Niro Hybrid

Expected to be popular with business users because of its low CO2 emissions and tax benefits, the Niro Plug-in Hybrid uses the same 1.6-litre engine as the Hybrid, a larger 11.1kw battery (it takes about 2.5 hours to charge it at home) and an 83bhp electric motor, producing a combined 180bhp and 265Nm of torque.

Crucially, it has an electric-only driving range of up to 40 miles – more than enough to complete the average daily commute in the UK.

The Niro Plug-in Hybrid can cover the 0-60mph sprint in 9.4 seconds, CO2 emissions are just 18g/km, while fuel economy could be as high as 353mpg (in theory).

Whichever version you go for, the new Niro is a much bolder looking crossover than the outgoing car with angular design cues and a hint of the larger Sportage. And those sharper looks continue to the rear corners which feature high-set upright boomerang-shaped lights.

The smart interior is attractive, and well designed, with twin 10.25-inch displays giving the dashboard a wow factor. Featuring slick, sharp graphics, the infotainment system is intuitive to use – something of a Kia trademark. Broadly speaking, the quality of the cabin, in terms of materials used and build quality, is good, but it won’t worry premium rivals.

Kia Niro Hybrid

There’s a real feeling of space and plenty of leg and headroom for adults in the back, while luggage capacity varies depending on the model chosen. For the record, the Plug-in Hybrid has 346 litres, the Hybrid gets 451 litres, and the EV boasts 475 litres. Flip the rear seats and you get 1,342, 1,445 or 1,392 litres.

You sit quite high in the comfortable seats so there’s a commanding driving position. Visibility is generally good, but those chunky rear pillars leave a bit of a blind spot.

The three versions of the Niro each have their own character. Naturally, the Niro EV is the smoothest and most refined of the trio.

It’s swift without being gut-wrenchingly quick like some other electric cars. And for a crossover with no performance SUV pretensions, it handles well (with the accent on comfort). Sure, there’s some body roll if it’s pushed, but it’s well controlled and it generally feels planted.

There’s good traction through the front wheels, while the all-round grip is impressive. There are various drive modes, and you can also adjust the level of brake energy recuperation using paddles behind the steering wheel. It’s worth playing around with them, but we found the normal/mid settings worked best for us.

Kia Niro Hybrid

The Plug-in Hybrid is refined too, unless you floor it and the petrol engine kicks in. Drive sensibly and the transition between electric and petrol, and vice versa, is much smoother.

There’s more than enough performance on tap for everyday driving and it works well with the six-speed automatic gearbox. Obviously, EV mode is a joy, if not as quick as it’s pure electric sibling.

With a firm suspension and sharp steering, it’s a lively performer and more agile than you might think, but as with the EV, it’s at its best cruising along.

The lethargic full Hybrid is the most disappointing version of the Niro. It’s not a bad car, but its shortcomings are apparent when it’s tested alongside the PHEV and EV models.

Not only is it down on power compared to its siblings, but the six-speed automatic gearbox can be tiresome. It’s fine at city speeds, but can become hesitant on faster roads, meaning the engine is more vocal, resulting is a far less relaxed driving experience.

Kia Niro Hybrid

On the plus side, it will slip into EV mode for short bursts in stop-start traffic or when manoeuvring, CO2 emissions are low, and the fuel economy is comparable.

The Hybrid has a slightly softer ride than the PHEV, and again is easy to drive. Just don’t push it.

The Niro hasn’t been tested for safety by Euro NCAP, but we’d expect it to get a maximum five stars (like the Sportage and EV6) because it’s packed with driver assistance and safety technology.

Finally, the Niro comes with a large dose of peace of mind because, as with all Kia cars, it comes with a generous seven-year warranty.

Verdict: The all-new Kia Niro family-sized crossover is a step-up from its predecessor, offering a winning blend of good looks, space, safety, practicality, generous equipment levels and comfort.

Kia UK

Kia EV6 GT to debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed

Gareth Herincx

3 days ago
Auto News

The high performance version of Kia’s award-winning EV6 crossover will be taking to the Goodwood Festival of Speed’s famous hillclimb several times throughout the weekend (June 23-26).

Kia claims the all-electric EV6 GT “combines exhilarating performance, first-class long-distance travel capabilities, ultra-fast charging tech, and an impressive real-world driving range for effortless cross-country touring”.

Kia’s most powerful production car to date, its dual-motor powertrain delivers 577 bhp (585 PS) and 740 Nm torque. It can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 3.5 seconds and boasts a top speed of 162mph (260km/h).

The car features a GT button on the steering wheel, activating its ‘GT’ mode. This automatically optimises the vehicle’s e-motors, braking, steering, suspension, e-LSD and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems for their most dynamic settings for a more engaging drive.

Drivers can also tailor the car’s ride, handling and performance characteristics to suit their individual preferences by selecting the ‘My Drive’ mode.

The car will be driven throughout the weekend by rally pro Jade Paveley – 2021 British Rally Cross Country Championship (BXCC) Class T2 Champion and 2018 Junior Welsh Tarmac Rally Champion.

She is also the end-of-stage reporter for the World Rally Championship and European World Rally Championship, and Marketing Director for Llandudno Kia, a Kia dealership in North Wales.

Between drives, the EV6 GT will be on display throughout the event in the ‘First Glance Paddock’. UK customer deliveries of the EV6 GT start at the end of 2022, with the car available to order from £59,995.

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