Electric SUVs

Speed, space and silence: electric SUVs from Audi, Mercedes, Hyundai & Jaguar head a green revolution, with over 200 miles from one charge

Simon Ostler Dominic Tobin
Apr 13, 2022

If the current trend of car buying is anything to go by, you would expect electric SUVs to remain the family car of choice for many of the UK's drivers. With their mix of practicality, comfort and ease of driving, their appeal is no surprise. Add the instant acceleration that comes with electric power and they might just become even more popular.

Like them or not, manufacturers have understood the demand for these high-riding family vehicles, and proceeded to fill the market with model after model, ensuring every single possible base is covered, from compact crossovers to huge, lumbering luxury SUVs and everything else in between.

So, it seems likely that electric SUVs are set to be the next big thing, which is slightly strange, because it was only a few years ago that drivers of these tall and aggressive-looking SUVs were branded climate criminals because they were (and still are to some degree) notoriously inefficient and produced huge amounts of exhaust emissions. Now, the continued popularity of these rugged machines means that they are leading the charge towards emissions-free motoring.

As manufacturers are all beginning to focus the majority of investment on electric cars, upmarket brands like Audi and Jaguar are already releasing battery-powered SUVs with the e-tron and I-Pace, while the likes of BMW, Mercedes and Volvo are joining in too.

There are less expensive offerings too from Hyundai and Kia both promising an electric range of more than 200 miles on a single charge with the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro, as well as other options not on this list like the Skoda Enyaq and Vauxhall Mokka-e.

If you like SUVs, and the thought of driving an electric car is something that excites you, this list of seven such cars will be right up your street. They haven't all been released yet, but, within the next year or so, we should begin to see a great surge of electric SUVs hitting British roads.

Best electric SUVs

1. Audi e-tron

Range up to 252 miles
Our pick Audi e-tron Technik 50 quattro
Used deals from £46,499

The Audi e-tron is now an entire family of SUVs, made up of a regular SUV and a coupe-like 'Sportback' SUV, similar to the BMW X6. There are also sporty 'S' variants of both, meaning a total of three power options in two different styles, each with between 200 and 260 miles of electric range.

As with most other EVs and hybrids, taking your foot off the accelerator increases the resistance on the eletric motors, slowing the car down so much that you’ll rarely need to use the brake - like the e-pedal on the Nissan Leaf. Audi says that you can charge the battery with an extra mile's-worth of range by travelling a mile downhill with your foot off the accelerator. That's with little to no wear on the brake pads, unlike petrol or diesel-powered cars.

It's likely that the e-tron’s real-world range will be lower than official figures suggest, although the car is extremely aerodynamic which aims to optimise efficiency. That’s partially thanks to the optional rear-facing small cameras that replace side mirrors and display their view on screens inside the car.

It's roughly the same size as the Audi Q5, so the e-tron should include plenty of space for five adult occupants.

AUDI E-TRON BUYERS' GUIDE
AUDI E-TRON SPORTBACK BUYERS' GUIDE

2. BMW iX3

Range up to 285 miles
Our pick BMW iX3 M Sport
Used deals Limited stock

While the BMW iX3's rivals are dedicated electric vehicles (like the e-tron above), the iX3 is closely related to the X3, and forms part of BMW's push for electric cars, which launched at a similar time to the larger iX SUV and i4 (an electric sibling to the 4 Series Gran Coupe). 

Existing BMW drivers will find the interior familiar: the gear selector is where you'd expect it, and there's a 10.3-inch media system mounted on the dashboard. Expect standard equipment to include three-zone climate control, a panoramic glass roof and an electric tailgate.

An official range of 285 miles is promised, which is impressive considering it uses an 80kWh battery while the longer-range Audi e-tron models use a 95kWh battery.

READ MORE ABOUT THE BMW IX3

3. Hyundai Kona Electric

Range up to 300 miles
Our pick Hyundai Kona 64kWh Premium
Used deals Limited stock

The vastly more expensive cars on this page might be attracting most of the attention, but it's the Hyundai Kona that could really change the way that drivers look at electric cars.

It's affordable for a start - or at least more affordable than the larger alternatives on this page - but it still has a real-world range of over 250 miles if you opt for the 64kWh version.

For a small SUV, the Kona is reasonably spacious. Tall adults won't need to contort themselves to fit into the back seats, but there isn't a great deal of room to stretch out once you're there. Only the 332-litre boot seems a little meagre, with less space on offer than in a Nissan Leaf or Volkswagen e-Golf.

HYUNDAI KONA ELECTRIC BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Jaguar I-Pace

Range up to 291 miles
Our pick Jaguar I-Pace EV400 HSE
Used deals from £39,500

Jaguar stole a march on most of its rivals by launching its all-electric SUV first. Even though Mercedes, Audi and BMW have joined the fray, there’s every chance that the Jaguar I-Pace will remain at the head of the field because it’s an excellent car. The flowing design is low for an SUV, but it feels spacious inside, thanks to the extra room available by not having an engine.

The high-tech dashboard, with dials that appear to float above one of the touchscreens, is fitting for a car of the future, while its performance and nimbleness make it sporty to drive.

Its official range between charges - around 290miles - should equate to more than 250 miles in real-world driving, which is more than enough for the vast majority of journeys. A high-speed charging network is planned that will charge the battery to 80% capacity in 45 minutes, but public charger speeds are slower now, and with a large 90kWh battery, the I-Pace can take a long time to fully charge depending on charging speed.

JAGUAR I-PACE BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Kia e-Niro

Range up to 282 miles
Our pick Kia e-Niro 64kWh '3'
Used deals from £31,623

Kia is part of the Hyundai Motor Group, which is why the electric version of the Niro comes with the same battery and motor setup as the Hyundai Kona Electric. This means that you can expect a real-world range of at least 200 miles from the largest 64kWh battery, with the potential to reach almost 300 miles with careful driving.

The Niro is larger than the Kona, which is most noticeable in terms of boot space: the 451-litre loading area is bigger than you'll find in Volkswagen Golf or Vauxhall Astra. Together with the promise of nimble performance and a generous level of equipment, and it has become one of the more affordable options on the electric SUV market.

KIA NIRO BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Mercedes EQC

Range up to 255 miles
Our pick Mercedes EQC 400 AMG Line 4Matic
Used deals from £56,980

The statistics for Mercedes’ electric SUV suggest that it’s similar to the Jaguar I-Pace in terms of performance, range, size and price. It’s more conventional in design, though, with a taller shape and a large grille that's more typical of petrol- or diesel-powered cars.

An official range of 255 miles should translate to more than 200 miles when driven normally and, like its rivals, the car will accelerate swiftly from 0-62mph. In this case, it takes 5.1 seconds, thanks to the instant response from the electric motors.

At 4.7 metres long, it’s bigger than the family-friendly Mercedes GLC and a little shorter than the larger GLE.

MERCEDES EQC BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Tesla Model X

Range up to 348 miles
Our pick Tesla Model X Dual Motor
Used deals Limited stock

For maximum range, space and performance from your electric SUV, the only car to choose is the Tesla Model X. You will pay for it, though, as prices for a brand new one start from over £100,000.

As with any electric car, maximum power can be delivered to the wheels as soon as you press the accelerator, which gives this big SUV sports car-like acceleration. It’s extremely practical too, with a good-sized boot, an extra luggage compartment underneath the bonnet and five-, six- and seven-seat options.

Getting in the back might be the highlight of Tesla Model X ownership for some: the so-called falcon wing doors are hinged at the top, and rise dramatically over the car. They require little space on either side of the vehicle, which is useful in tight car parks but they are slow to open.

TESLA MODEL X BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Volkswagen ID.4

Range up to 320 miles
Our pick Volkswagen ID.4 Pro Performance Life
Used deals from £38,990

Following on from the success of the ID.3 family hatchback, the ID.4 makes a good choice for growing families who need the space to carry everything that comes in hand. The 543-litre boot isn't quite what you'd get from a VW Tiguan (615 litres), but is more than you'd get in the Audi Q4 e-tron (520 litres) with which the ID.4 shares many of its mechanical parts.

There are currently three power combinations on offer, making use of a 52kWh battery capable of 213 miles or a 77kWh battery, which Volkswagen claims will do around 320 miles on a full charge. Most drivers will find the smaller battery pack will achieve around 180 miles from a full charge, although this could plummet further as the weather gets colder.

READ MORE ABOUT THE VOLKSWAGEN ID.4

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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