Best electric family cars

Looking for an electric car that will do same job as your current family runaround? We've got plenty of great options right here

Simon Ostler Murray Scullion
Oct 29, 2019

Are you swaying towards the prospect of driving an electric car? You aren't the only one. The growth of the electric car market has continued through 2019 and the idea of ownership is becoming increasingly viable for the majority of Britain's driving public.

With huge progress being made in the technology both inside the cars and within the wider infrastructure of charging stations, going electric is not such a can of worms as it was even 12 months ago. 

Firstly, the issues surrounding range have become less prominent, with a great surge of electric cars becoming available claiming well over 200 miles with a single charge. A healthy pinch of salt is required here, as you're unlikely to match the laboratory conditions within which those figures were achieved, but anyone travelling less than 100 miles in a day should have absolutely no problem.

One major cause for this surge is the enthusiasm with which manufacturers are throwing resources at their electric offerings. Tesla were the early adopters almost five years ago now, but since then, Kia, Hyundai, Jaguar, Renault, BMW and Volkswagen have all produced numerous electric iterations of existing models or even brand-new, electric only models.

 

It has made for a very competitive sector, and the popularity of these cars continues to grow steadily, if not astronomcally. So we've decided to put together this list of 10 great electric cars for you and your family.

Best electric family cars

1. Kia e-Niro

Latest Kia Niro Hybrid deals from £12,750
Monthly finance from £174
Range 282 miles

Key to the e-Niro’s first place on our list, is its surprisingly huge range. At 282 miles officially, with 253 miles realistic, most families will only need to charge once a week.

It doesn’t look particularly special, but that will be appealing to some people not keen on outwardly showing off about their flash new electric car.

The dashboard houses a modern touchscreen, and there is plenty of safety and driver assistance features. There’s room for three kids in the back too, and the 451-litre is more spacious than the Nissan Qashqai’s (430-litres).

Kia Niro buyers' guide

2. Hyundai Kona Electric

Latest Hyundai Kona Electric deals from £29,531
Monthly finance from £458
Range 279 miles

Don’t adjust your screen, or get your eyes checked - the Kona is very similar to the e-Niro above, and it even shares mechanical bits with it.

Its main differences are that it has a slightly lower range (279 miles) and a slightly smaller boot (332 litres compared to 451 litres).

But it’s cheaper, and dare we say it, better looking too. It’s more of a small crossover than a small SUV, something that many families will prefer.

Hyundai Kona Electric buyers' guide

3. Jaguar I-Pace

Latest Jaguar I-Pace deals from £49,500
Monthly finance from £673
Range
292 miles

Jaguar’s new I-Pace heralds a brave new era for the British brand. It’s a Tesla competitor with a similar range, and like the Tesla Model X, the Jaguar I-Pace a large crossover that’s practical and looks great.

There’s acres of space in the front and rear, and the boot is a cavernous 656 litres. That’s even more space than a Hyundai ix35, a conventional petrol powered SUV.

Power from those batteries equates to 90kWh, giving it a range of 292 miles. This makes it the car with the longest electric range that has been measured using the latest WLTP tests.

Jaguar I-Pace buyers' guide

4. Nissan Leaf e+

Latest Nissan Leaf deals from £18,490
Monthly finance from £273
Range 239 miles

If a brand-new Tesla is as desirable as a free month-long holiday to the Seychelles, the Nissan Leaf, on the face of it at least, is more like a business trip to Scunthorpe.

However, dig a little deeper and you’ll find a very practical car with a loyal following. The Leaf is probably the most ‘normal’ electric car on this list too. So much so, that local councils across the UK were some of the early adopters of the car. In fact, you’ve probably seen one silently ferrying around council workers between meetings.

A new version, called the Leaf e+ hit the ground running in 2018 - and it’s definitely better looking than the previous model. Plus it has an official range of 239 miles.

Nissan Leaf buyers' guide

5. BMW i3

Latest BMW i3 deals from £12,500
Monthly finance from £230
Range 188 miles

The BMW i3 came onto the scene in 2014 and looked massively futuristic. Five years down the line, and it still looks like nothing else on the road today - make of that what you will. It’s not all style without substance either. There’s enough room inside for at least four, and it has a surprising turn of pace.

From 0-40 mph it’s quicker than a lot of very expensive sports cars. In fact, from 50mph to 75mph it’s only 0.6 seconds slower than a sportscar from the same manufacturer, the BMW M4.

The car’s batteries are kept underneath the flat floor, and the rear doors open the opposite way to what you would normally expect, with an interesting rear hinge setup like you'd find on a Mazda RX-8. This makes getting inside easier - assuming that you’re not parked in a tight space.

BMW i3 buyers' guide

6. Tesla Model S

Range 393 miles

Tesla’s co-founder, Elon Musk, is constantly in the news for his electric car exploits. Many people see him as a bond-villain like character, but trust us, he can make a great car. After all, Tesla really nudged electric cars from mildly interesting to desirable when it launched its Roadster in 2008.

The company's best known car is the Model S. Specific model names and prices have changed throughout the years, but the one you’ll be looking out for is the 100D. These get a massive (19in) central screen to control everything, a 90kWh battery capable of around 393 miles between charges, and autonomous capabilities. You can’t hand over control of the car entirely, and you do need to be alert at all times. But it can change lanes on the motorway for you, which is helpful.

The five-door hatchback shape is remarkably conventional for such an unconventional car, which lends itself to family-life really rather well. The all-electric power takes up less room than a conventional petrol or diesel powered car, which means there’s more space in side. There’s also a big boot, which can house two extra seats, making it a seven seater. The rear seats are only suitable for children, but the same can be said for most people carriers.

7. Renault Zoe

Renault Zoe front

Latest Renault Zoe deals from £6,700
Monthly finance from £131
Range 186 miles

We’re not just playing up to the fact it’s the only French car on the list, but the Zoe is by far the closest to chic on this list. Seriously, if you’ve been to London lately you’ll have noticed them loitering with intent in some of the more fashionable areas. Especially in Azure Blue, which it looks fantastic in.

The newest Zoe models also come in a fantastic purple called, dark metallic Aconite. Speaking of new Zoes, the latest, most powerful Zoe was released in 2017. There are two batteries to choose from - one with a real world range of around 100 miles, and another with a real world range of around 186 miles.

Its stylish looks are teamed with practicality too. Its boot can hold 338 litres - some 38 litres more than a Renault Clio. Room up front is good, but the batteries are stored beneath the rear passenger seats, meaning they sit slightly higher up, and therefore have less headroom.

Renault Zoe buyers' guide

8. VW e-Golf

Latest VW e-Golf deals from £12,999
Monthly finance from £239
Range 144 miles

When most people think of Volkswagen, they think of the Golf. Understated, reliable, and a best-seller all around the world. Volkswagen appears intent on replicating that understated image for its electric e-Golf.

And it works beautifully. It really is hard to tell the difference between an e-Golf and a regular petrol or diesel powered version on the outside. Hint: different wheels and badging are the main giveaways.

There’s seating for five, still plenty of headroom, and the interior is still solidly put together. It drives like a Golf too - except that it’s a bit nippier than a typical petrol or diesel Golf off the line - and it’s still solid and composed while cornering too. It easily cruises at motorway speeds, however, as with every electric car, high-speeds can have an adverse effect on battery life. Volkswagen claims that the e-Golf’s range is around 144 miles, but we’ve found it more to be around 125. Still not bad at all if you have a regular charging source, or only do small miles.

Volkswagen e-Golf buyers' guide

9. Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Latest Hyundai Ioniq Electric deals from £17,999
Monthly finance from £303
Range 174 miles

The Ioniq comes in three flavours. Hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fully electric. The fully electric one is the most expensive, but is cheaper to run because it doesn’t rely on petrol. The electric-only version has a real world-range of around 174 miles.

On the outside, the Ioniq is much more conventional than many electric cars, and the inside has a higher level of standard equipment than most conventional cars. Expect to find sat-nav, parking sensors, plus a reversing camera. Other tech includes autonomous braking, adaptive cruise control (automatically adjusts speed on motorway) and blind spot detection.

The whole family can come along too - there’s room for five and the boot is decently sized. In fact, the Ioniq has a larger boot than a Toyota Prius. It even comes with a spare tyre, something lacking in most new cars today.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric buyers' guide

10. Nissan e-NV200

Latest Nissan e-NV200 deals from £12,495
Monthly finance from £294
Range 124 miles

And last but not least, the Nissan e-NV200. It's not strictly a car, but bear with us.

Its van underpinnings make it massive, meaning there is room for seven fully sized seats, and it claims to be the only electric MPV out there.

Its 40kWh battery delivers a range of around 124 miles. That’s plenty of trips to school, work, football training, gymnastics, swimming, and possibly the pub, without needing to charge.

OK, so it’s not the most sophisticated vehicle on this list. The rear doors open sideways like a van, and the windows in the back only slide across (instead of rolling down) as well. The driving position can’t hide its van underpinnings - you sit high and very upright. All of the buttons on the centre-console and the sat-nav remain very car-like though.

Not the best car here, but to be fair, it’s not really a car. Plus if you need to transport six other people in near silence, only Tesla offers seven seats. And the Nissan is around £50,000 cheaper than a seven-seat Tesla Model X.

 

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