We Toured Europe While Driving a 2024 Nissan Ariya… in Ontario

Strong points
  • Comfortable seats
  • Impressive efficiency
  • Smooth ride
  • User-friendly infotainment system
Weak points
  • Could be more athletic
  • No frunk
  • Fussy haptic controls
Full report

Nissan has a way of setting up unique media events. After inviting auto journalists to drive across the U.S. on the mythical Route 66, the Japanese automaker decided to give Canadian writers a taste of Europe (sort of) while touring Ontario in a Nissan Ariya, stopping by a bunch of towns and cities named after their more famous counterparts from the Old Continent.

The challenge? See which team could achieve the best efficiency score. Starting from Cambridge, the trip included just over 300 km of city streets and suburban roads and ended in Paris. Before we tell you all about our adventure, a word about the vehicle.

Photo: Dominic Boucher

The Nissan Ariya

Our test vehicle on that day was a top-line Nissan Ariya Evolve+ e-4ORCE ($64,998) that also came with the Platinum+ Package ($5,000). This particular model carries an MSRP of $69,998. All Ariyas are eligible to the $5,000 rebate from the federal government’s iZEV program as well as provincial incentives of up to $7,000 where applicable.

The dual-motor powertrain with e-4ORCE all-wheel drive generates 389 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque, while the 87kWh battery enables up to 428 km of zero-emission range (438 km without the Platinum+ Package). Charging the battery from 10-80 percent takes 10.5-14 hours using 240V AC power at home or 35-40 minutes with a 130kW DC fast charger.

Photo: Dominic Boucher

The Experience

Before we departed from Langdon Hall in Cambridge, we programmed the first of four routes in the navigation system and reset energy consumption data on the instrument cluster. By the way, both displays are straightforward enough and easy to use. We also set cabin temperature at 20.5 degrees with climate control in auto mode. Our first destination, going through Hamburg and Lisbon, was Stratford about 70 km away.

The Ariya offers a smooth ride and decent handling. Thanks to its compact size, it also has an easy time navigating through tight spaces around town. Steering is firm and precise, while ideal weight distribution and a low centre of gravity add to the pleasant driving experience.

Photo: Dominic Boucher

On that note, Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats (using NASA-derived technology) create a certain sense of weightlessness that completely takes fatigue out of the equation, even after multiple hours on the road. We just wish they were a bit more supportive.

Following a quick stop in Stratford to marvel at the beautiful 19th century-style city hall, we headed toward London (64 km south) where a hearty lunch was waiting for us. At that point, our vehicle was averaging 17.1 kWh/100 km.

Photo: Dominic Boucher

The third leg of the trip (84 km) took us to Vienna through Sparta and Copenhagen. This is where we put the Ariya’s 389 hp to the test. Initial acceleration is smooth but not explosive like what you might experience with some other EVs. Sport mode cranks things up a bit and makes for quick passing manoeuvres. With e-Step engaged, one-pedal driving is possible with satisfying deceleration when you release the throttle, but there are no paddles on the steering wheel to adjust the level of regenerative braking.

The e-Step button on the centre console is just one of many flush-mounted haptic controls inside this fancy crossover. They’re not exactly driver-friendly, we’ll tell you that, and we can’t help but have doubts about long-term reliability. As for Nissan’s intelligent cruise control, the system is nicely calibrated and works generally well.

Once in Vienna, we took pictures of the mural at the old Edison Museum, which unfortunately closed its doors in 2016. Completing our journey, we drove 82 km and reached Paris in late afternoon, eager to find out which pair of drivers had managed the best efficiency score.

Photo: Dominic Boucher

The Results

So, after driving the Nissan Ariya for just over 300 km across Europe, er, Central Ontario, here were the results :

  1. 16.6 kWh/100 km (1.86 Le/100 km) with 170 km of range left* 
  2. 16.7 kWh/100 km (1.88 Le/100 km) with 176 km of range left
  3. 16.9 kWh/100 km (1.9 Le/100 km) with 157 km of range left*
  4. 17 kWh/100 km (1.91 Le/100 km) with 169 km of range left
  5. 18.5 kWh/100 km (2.08 Le/100 km) with 113 km of range left
  6. 19.7 kWh/100 km (2.21 Le/100 km) with 86 km of range left
  7. 20.4 kWh/100 km (2.29 Le/100 km) with 55 km of range left

*The first- and third-place results show less range at the end of the day due to a 1-2 percent difference in battery charge level at the beginning of the day.

What does it all mean? Simple driving techniques can go a long way toward maximizing a vehicle’s range, whether it’s a gas-powered model or a full EV. Things like smooth acceleration and smart use of available technologies such as adaptive cruise control and one-pedal driving.

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