IF you have not owned a Nissan Qashqai yourself, we would be amazed if you don’t know anyone who has.
There’s a good reason for that: it’s brilliant. Spacious, generously equipped, competitively priced and built in Britain.
Although the Qashqai is still for sale, the Nissan Ariya is already, in a way, the Qashqai of the future.
The Ariya is fully electric and offers a choice of two different battery sizes.
Ours was the 63kWh battery model with 160hp and 250 miles of range, but there’s also a 87kWh model with one or two motors and up to 300hp and a range of 329 miles.
But whatever you drive, it won’t take you long to realize that the Ariya is better than the Qashqai in almost every way.
First of all, it draws the eye like a sports car on the road, and when you climb inside it reveals a stunning interior that is a pleasure to be in.
There’s a sense of spaciousness and quality never seen before in Nissans, and the quirky floating center armrest looks great and offers really useful storage space.
Then there are the touch-sensitive buttons embedded in the fake but convincing “wood” casing, which look classy and work well.
Shaggy carpets, quirky side-by-side glove boxes, a lovely dual-screen infotainment system, a decent trunk – we could go on.
It doesn’t get any less good as you drive it.
Electric drive helps in city traffic, but is also more relaxed than a motor in everyday life.
Along with its plush suspension and quiet cab, the Ariya just makes life easy.
Mixed driving, too, we got pretty close to our car’s official range, and if you’re on the go with a 130kW charger, you’ll get a 20-80% charge in 30 minutes.
So is something wrong? Well, just the price.
Our entry-level Ariya starts at around £46,000, about £20,000 more than an entry-level Qashqai.
Opt for the top-level twin engine model and you’re looking at close to £60,000.
It’s better than a Qashqai, but we’re not sure it’s ready to compete with Audi, BMW and Mercedes.
Yes, many Ariyas are being operated cheaply as company cars and yes, new car prices are rising across the board.
But disposable income has dropped, and the Ariya isn’t a cheap, privately owned engine, however you slice it.