Best electric cars to buy in 2019

Tax free, green and cheap to run. Here are the best electric cars on the market

BuyaCar team
Jan 22, 2019

Electric cars have been the butt of many jokes over the years. The Simpsons, Top Gear, and comedians have all had a crack.

But as of 2040, petrol, diesel, and some hybrid car sales will be banned from 2040.

22 years might seem like a long time away, but there are plenty of reasons to ditch the combustion engine early. Free car tax, low charging costs and quiet but powerful performance, are just a few. Plus the government's grant scheme also gives you up to £3,500 towards the purchase price.

You may still conjure up an image of the tinny G-Wiz when you think of an electric car, but there are now dozens of models available, from city cars to SUVs, some with ranges that stretch beyond 200 miles on a single charge.

You do need to take into account the optimistic figures for an electric car's range.  In real-world driving, these can be 20-30% less than stated. For those who need greater range, plug-in hybrids combine clean and cheap electric power with a petrol or diesel engine that kicks in when the batteries run low.

We've listed the ten best electric cars on sale below.

 

Kia e-Niro

Best electric car for no fuss

Official range 282 miles

It might not look particularly special, but that's one reason why the Kia e-Niro has found itself at the forefront of the electric revolution: it's an electric car that you could buy to replace a petrol or diesel model while barely changing your lifestyle.

The Niro isn't cheap at a price of £33,000, after the government's plug-in car grant has been factored in, but it's no more expensive than a well-specified Peugeot 3008 or Land Rover Discovery Sport, and comes complete with heated leather seats, modern dashboard touchscreen and plenty of safety and driver assistance features. Adults won't complain about sitting in the back, the ride is comfortable and the 451-litre boot is more spacious than the Nissan Qashqai's.

Key to it all though is the e-Niro's enormous range. Even taking the official 282 mile range with a pinch of salt, you should easily be able to travel more than 200 miles between charges, so many owners will only need to plug in once a week, an experience that, until recently, has been the preserve of Tesla owners paying three times as much.

 

Jaguar I-Pace

Best electric car for luxury 

Official range 292 miles
Latest Jaguar I-Pace deals from £63,230
Finance from £800 per month

Jaguar’s first attempt at an electric car boasts Porsche-beating acceleration, a vast interior, and a claimed range of up to 298 miles.

Prices start at £58,995, making it the first mainstream rival to the Tesla Model X, found further down in this list.

The I-Pace, like the Model X, is an SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) meaning it has a high driving position and four-wheel drive.

It’s smaller than Jaguar’s other SUV, the F-Pace, but it said to have more interior space because it doesn’t have a conventional petrol or diesel engine.
Jaguar I-Pace buying guide

 

Hyundai Kona

Best electric car for battery choice

 

Official range 292 miles (64kW version)

Hyundai generally teams up with its sister company, Kia, to build cars, and has done that with the Kona. Underneath the car's slender headlights are the same batteries and motor that power the e-Niro, and that's a very good thing.

You get the same long range of almost 250 miles between charges and the same brisk performance, and you've also got a similarly competitive price, which starts at around £33,000 from new and before discounts. The Kona falls behind the newer e-Niro because, although there's space for four adults, it has slightly less room in the back and boot.

Unlike the e-Niro, there's also a cheaper version of the car with a smaller 39kWh battery. This has a reduced range of around 150 miles in real-world conditions and costs from just over £27,000 when the government grant is included.
Hyundai Kona Electric buying guide

 

Nissan Leaf

Best electric car for families that need over 150 miles of range

Official range (40kWh) 168 miles
Latest 2018 Nissan Leaf deals from £14,950
Finance from £243 per month

The latest Nissan Leaf went on sale last year and looks to pick up where the old one left off, as the best selling electric car globally. As with most new electric cars, it has been designed to be battery-powered from the ground up, so makes the most of the space that would normally be used by an oily engine. This means that there's much more room for passengers and luggage than the dimensions would suggest.

The new Leaf brings more miles per charge and less awkward looks. It also uses Nissan’s innovative e-Pedal, which decelerates the car when you lift off the accelerator, recovering energy to boost the battery.

For most users, the car's official range of 168 miles (closer to 130 in the real-world), will mean that they'll rarely need to charge away from home. It might be below the 200 mile-range of many cars being launched in 2019, but means that the car requires fewer expensive batteries, making it reasonably affordable.
Nissan Leaf buying guide

 

Tesla Model S

Best electric car for performance, range and seven seats

Official range (60) 253 miles (75) 304 miles (90) 346 miles (100) 381 miles

The Tesla Model S is absolute proof that an electric car can have the performance to match a Ferrari. The most powerful model will accelerate from 0-62mph in 3.1secs and there’s up to 340 miles of range from the battery. That’s considerably more than any other car in this list, but then the price is substantial too: from just over £55,000 to almost £120,000 for the ultimate Model S.

It’s a big car that’s spacious enough inside to be able to accommodate a third row or rear-facing seats for children, making this a seven-seater. The dashboard is dominated by a huge touchscreen and performance is brisk on the cheaper models, but stupendous at the top level.

You also benefit from Tesla’s high-speed Supercharger network that can recharge the car with around 170 miles of range in half an hour.

 

BMW i3

Best electric car for smooth ride and agile handling

Official range 195 miles
Latest BMW i3 deals from £14,689
Finance from £220 per month

The i3 is a purpose-built electric car: designed around its heavy battery pack without any need to make space for the mechanical parts that engines require.

This has helped to create a bright, airy interior with a flat floor, good visibility and plenty of space for passengers - although boot space is tight.

You can now buy the i3 with a high-capacity 94Ah battery, providing at least 125 miles of real-world driving on a single charge. A Range Extender model, no longer on sale, adds a petrol generator that recharges the batteries on the move when they are low, providing another 70 miles-or so of driving before you need to stop.

The car can be charged up in around four hours if you’re connected to the right high-speed socket and the price looks more reasonable with the government grant in place.

 

Renault Zoe

Best electric car for value

Official range 149 miles
Latest Renault Zoe deals from £7,500
Finance from £143 per month

The Zoe is small but spacious inside because it’s a purpose-built electric car, designed around its battery and not converted from a vehicle that has space for an engine and fuel tank.

It’s a superb city car that’s quiet and smooth over bumps, as well as being nippy to thanks to the instant acceleration that you get from an electric motor. It can manage motorway journeys, but takes a while to reach higher speeds after that initial burst of acceleration.

And it’s cheap too - prices start at just over £9,000 if you take out finance, although these don’t include the battery. You’ll need to hire that from £49 a month. The cost depends on your mileage and works out roughly the same as running a petrol or diesel car.

The cheapest Zoe has a range of around 100 miles, which drops to 70 miles in cold weather. The rest of the range is now available with a bigger battery that's claimed to offer more than 180 miles of realistic range between charges.

 

Audi e-tron

Best electric car for quality

Official range 249 miles

A triple-screen dashboard and the option of cameras to replace side mirrors might mark the Audi e-tron out as futuristic, but the car's strength is that it's just like other Audis.

It's designed to look like a larger version of the new conventionally-powered Q3 and the interior uses the same familiar controls that are used across the range. More importantly, the sense of solidity is there, with components fitting tightly. It's just as well because the car is so smooth and quiet, you'd notice any rattle or squeak.

The official range of 248 miles is below that of the Jaguar I-Pace, but high enough that public charging will be a rarity for most drivers.

 

Volkswagen e-Golf

Best electric car for the looks and practicality of a conventional car

Official range 115 miles
Latest Volkswagen e-Golf deals from £23,000
Finance from £342 per month

The standard VW Golf is designed to be understated and the electric version is no different. In fact, if you don’t spot the small badges on the grille and bootlid or the aerodynamic alloy wheels, you’re unlikely to realise that the engine and fuel tank have been replaced by motors and a battery that can take the car around 100 miles between charges.

Inside, the story is much the same. The solid, straightforward dashboard is still there and there’s still enough legroom in the back for adults to sit comfortably. The boot is a little smaller to accommodate the battery, though. It's quick to accelerate but shudders over bumps more than the standard car.

The Golf’s limited range means that you’ll have to plan long journeys carefully. There is the option of installing a fast charger at your home, which takes only 30 minutes to charge the battery to 80% capacity.

 

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Best electric car for crossover looks

Official range 174 miles
Latest Hyundai Ioniq Electric deals from £22,279
Finance from £341 per month

Offering more miles (just) per charge than a Nissan Leaf, and with used models now becoming more affordable, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric is a good alternative to the latest Nissan Leaf.

Plenty of standard equipment makes the Ioniq good value, and it's reasonably spacious too, but it doesn't come up to the standard set by the newer Nissan, which has more room in the back, a substantially bigger boot and uses higher-quality interior materials. 

 

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