Best value electric cars

If you’re plugged in to the idea of ditching petrol and diesel, here are six great value electric cars - for less than you might think

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
May 30, 2020

The electric car is becoming a mainstream option in 2020. The combination of a wider choice of affordable new electric vehicles - plus even more affordable second-hand ones - increased range-per-charge figures making them a realistic prospect for more motorists and an improved charging network are all playing their part.

There are many things to consider before you ditch petrol and diesel in favour of electricity, though. Are you able to charge the car at home? Do you have access to a charger at work? Can you afford an electric car with a range that covers your daily commute if you drive to work?

We’re not here to answer those questions, but we have selected half a dozen nearly-new electric cars that offer great value for money. In all cases, the cars were registered in 2019 or 2020 - and they could be delivered to your home within 14 days.

1. Smart EQ ForFour

Our pick: Smart EQ ForFour Prime Premium 17kWh

Used Smart Forfour EQ deals from £13,760
Monthly finance from £215

It’s not the largest electric car you can buy and it doesn’t offer the longest range, but if you cover no more than 70 miles on a daily basis - and you spend much of your time in the city - the Smart EQ ForFour makes sense.

We prefer it to the smaller Smart EQ ForTwo, primarily because, as the name suggests, it offers seating for four people. There might be times when those two extra seats come in handy - even if rear space is a little cramped. On the plus side, the rear seats fold down to create a 975-litre boot, which could be useful if you go a bit crazy with your weekly grocery shopping.

The 60kW electric motor delivers 80hp, and because this power is available immediately, the Forfour feels very quick off the line, making it perfect for congested city streets. It also comes with two charging cables - one for home charging and the other for more powerful wallboxes and public chargers.

It’s packed with a long list of standard equipment, along with a range of personalisation options that create an electric car that feels distinctive. If the limited range is enough for you, the ForFour could be all the electric city car you need, but it’s about to be eclipsed by newer rivals with more impressive range figures and there are plenty of other appealing options below.

2. Nissan Leaf

Our pick: Nissan Leaf 40kWh Acenta

Used Nissan Leaf deals from £7,999
Monthly finance from £156

The Nissan Leaf is the world’s most popular electric car, so there’s no shortage of choice on the used market. In fact, the Leaf accounts for two-thirds of the electric cars currently for sale on the BuyaCar website.

What’s the appeal? Part of the reason is that Nissan stole a march on the competition. Launched in 2010, the original Leaf had broad appeal, practicality and a reasonable price on its side. The second-generation Leaf arrived in 2018 and delivered improvements in just about every department.

There are two batteries available: a 40kWh that’s good for 168 miles, and a 62kWh Leaf e+ that offers a claimed 239 mies. Standard equipment includes a full suite of safety systems, an eight-inch touchscreen media system with sat-nav, preset air-conditioning, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a choice of 6.6kW or 50kW charging.

The best news is that 2018 models are available for less than £20,000 - roughly the price of a top-spec new Ford Fiesta. Time to join the electric revolution?

3. Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Our pick: Hyundai Ioniq Electric Premium

Used Hyundai Ioniq Electric deals from £17,995
Monthly finance from £294

The Ioniq arrived in 2016, with Hyundai claiming it was the world’s first car to be planned from the start with three electrified powertrains - hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric. Of interest here is the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, specifically the updated version launched in 2019.

Thanks to a battery upgrade from 28kWh to 38.8kWh, the Ioniq is able to deliver a range of 194 miles. Using a 100kW fast charging station, the battery can be charged to 80 per cent in just 54 minutes.

There are two versions: Premium and Premium SE. Both offer a generous level of standard equipment and are backed by an excellent five-year/unlimited mileage warranty. The Ioniq is far from exciting and some of the interior plastics feel a little low-rent, but the Ioniq is reasonably practical and easy to live with.

We’d recommend spending a little extra per month on a 38.8kWh model, as not only does it offer a longer range, there’s an array of new tech on offer. This includes a larger 10.3-inch display and an app that allows you to control the air-conditioning and vehicle charging.

4. Volkswagen e-Golf

Our pick: Volkswagen e-Golf 35kWh

Used VW e-Golf deals from £13,999
Monthly finance from £258

If you want your electric car to blend in, the Volkswagen e-Golf is the car for you. It’s based on one of the world’s most popular cars, and most onlookers would be hard-pressed to notice its green credentials. That’s if it doesn’t have a charging lead plugged into the socket on the rear wing at the time, of course.

With a new VW Golf here and future electric VW cars being part of the company's new 'ID' brand rather than there being an electric variant future Golfs, there could be some very good deals to be found on the outgoing e-Golf. A sensible electric car at a sensible price.

And there are plenty of e-Golfs to choose from on the BuyaCar website now, with prices starting from around £20,000. For that you get what’s essentially a standard Golf with a slightly smaller boot - due to the electric tech needed - and a range of 144 miles.

5. BMW i3


Our pick: BMW i3 42.2kWh

Used BMW i3 deals from £12,300
Monthly finance from £227

If the Volkswagen e-Golf is an electric car for shrinking violets, the BMW i3 is an EV for those who like to make a statement. Even today, the i3 looks futuristic and ‘out there’ - a welcome tonic to the rather bland Leaf and Ioniq.

It’s a similar story on the inside, with the i3 showcasing a concept-car-for-the-road cabin, finished with a range of recycled materials. It even features a pair of rear-hinged back doors, just to make sure you turn a few extra heads when parked on the high street and loading people in and out of the rear seats.

Throw into the mix the fact that the i3 is as fun to drive as a conventional BMW and you’ll see why it remains a favourite, even though it's now a reasonably old car to still be on sale new. It’s a tad expensive new, but that’s not an issue when buying used. Indeed, BuyaCar deals start from just £23,000. Opt for the 42.2kWh battery pack - introduced in 2018 - for an electric range of up to 188 miles.

6. Peugeot e-208

Our pick: Peugeot e-208 50kWh GT Line

Used Peugeot e-208 deals from £24,399
Monthly finance from £379

The Peugeot e-208 is one of the new breed of electric cars that will hit the streets in 2020. It looks very similar to the standard 208, which means it’s one of the most striking small cars you can buy.

It’s designed to go head-to-head with the Renaut Zoe, which has had the small electric car market to itself for years. The e-208’s 211 miles of range is less than the 245 miles you get from the Zoe, but the Peugeot has a trump card: 100kW charging. It means 100 miles of range can be added to the batteries in just 20 minutes.

If you want to be one of the first to drive the Peugeot e-208, the BuyaCar website is offering 69-plate examples for around £26,000. Alternatively, four-year PCP deals are available from £395 per month.

Remember, that since the e-208 is still very new, the entry used cash and finance costs will drop rapidly month after month. So if it's a little pricey for you just now you can either go for a cheaper used Zoe today or hold out for a more affordable e-208 in a month or two. 

 

Latest best cars & vans

  1. Best cars for surfers

  2. Best cars for tall people

  3. Most reliable second-hand cars

What our customers say