Best electric cars 2023
Tax free, green and cheap to run. Here are the best electric cars on the market
As the electric car market continues to gradually build momentum as we race towards a ban of petrol and diesel cars, there has never been a better time to make the switch to an electric model. There were around 40 different electric models on sale as we entered 2021, with even more arriving over the course of the following 12 months. That number looks set to expand further over the next year, too.
But it's not just about how many options there are. Where you were once restricted to cars like the BMW i3 or Nissan Leaf that certainly won't have appealed to everyone, you now have the choice of more mainstream options such as the Peugeot e-208, the Mini Electric, and the Vauxhall Corsa-e.
Fortunately, there are already plenty of used versions of all these models available on BuyaCar, so even the high price of electric cars can be swerved to some degree. Options range from small city cars to tall SUVs, with ranges that stretch beyond 200 miles on a single charge.
You do need to take into account the optimistic figures for electric car range. In real-world driving, these can be around 15% less than stated, with drivers seeing a significant drop in the colder months. 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 currently on sale below.
Best electric cars 2023
Best electric car for no fuss
Official range 180 miles (39kWh), 282 miles (64kWh)
Used deals from £15,400
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 almost £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 leather-upholstered heated 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. The e-Niro comes in two flavours, though, and it's worth noting that the 'mid range' model promises an optimistic 180 miles between charges.
Best electric car for luxury
Jaguar’s first attempt at an electric car boasts Porsche-beating acceleration, a vast interior, and an official range of up to 292 miles. New car prices start at over £65,000, making the I-Pace competitive in comparison to the Tesla Model X, Mercedes EQC and Audi e-tron. You can already skip the waiting list with a used car.
Flush-fitting door handles, a high-tech digital interior and rapid acceleration make this Jaguar feel futuristic, but it also gets the basics right, with a spacious interior, large boot and four-wheel drive.
Be aware that, while the 200-plus-mile range sounds impressive, it uses a large 90kWh battery to do this that costs more to fill up than smaller and more economical electric cars.
Best electric car for battery choice
Official range 189 miles (39kWh), 300 miles (64kWh version)
Used deals Limited stock
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 a similar long range of almost 300 miles between charges and the same brisk performance, and you've also got a similarly competitive price, which starts at just over £35,000 from new. The Kona falls behind the e-Niro because, although there's space for four adults, it has slightly less room in the back and boot.
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 under £29,000 when the government grant is included.
Best electric car for families that need over 150 miles of range
The latest Nissan Leaf picks up where the old one left off, as a mass-market, affordable vehicle - by electric car standards, at least. 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. A smaller range means fewer batteries, and a more affordable price. The more expensive e+ model promises almost 240 miles, but starts at almost £35,000.
Best electric car for performance, range and seven seats
Official range 405 miles (Long Range), 396 miles (Plaid)
Used deals Limited stock
The Tesla Model S is absolute proof that an electric car can have the performance to match a Ferrari. The most powerful Plaid+ model will accelerate from 0-60mph in 1.99 seconds and there’s an official range of around 400 miles. That’s considerably more than any other car on this list.
You'll need to drive for several hours to exhaust a fully-charged car. When you do so, you'll benefit from Tesla’s high-speed Supercharger network that can recharge the car with around 170 miles of range in half an hour.
The price for this specification isn't cheap: new cars can cost well over £100,000 for the ultimate Model S with all option boxes ticked. 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. Newer models lost this option, but you can still find used examples with seven seats fitted.
Best electric car for smooth ride and agile handling
Official range 190 miles (120Ah)
Used deals from £11,897
As with most new electric cars, the BMW i3 is a purpose-built model that's designed around its heavy battery pack in the floor. 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 120Ah battery, providing at least 150 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 new price looks more reasonable with the government grant in place. Used cars continue to fall in price, but remember, older models had a much shorter range and smaller batteries.
Best electric car for value
Official range 238 miles (52kWh)
Used deals from £6,500
The Zoe is one of a number of smaller electric cars on the market, but it still feels spacious inside. It’s a superb city car that’s quiet and smooth over bumps, as well as being nippy too thanks to the instant acceleration that you get from an electric motor. There's an eco mode that limits the top speed to around 65mph, as well as holds back on acceleration. With this disengaged, the Zoe feels positively quick.
Older versions of the Zoe promised around 100 miles of range, though this could almost be halved at high speeds and in cold weather. Fortunately, the latest models are more on par with rivals. They're also a lot more expensive.
Best electric car for interior space
Volkswagen thinks the ID.3 will be the third big step for the company, the first two being the original Beetle and the Golf. Currently, the ID.3 comes with four battery and power options, the 150hp 45kWh Pure Performance, 5hp 58kWh Pro, 204hp 58kWh Pro Performance and 204hp 77kWh Pro S. This is meant to represent the choice usually offered by conventional engines, where electric versions have usually come with just one option.
The exterior dimensions are similar to a Golf, but Volkswagen says it should feel like a Polo in town. That's because of its short overhangs and good turning circle. Thanks to a wheelbase that's longer than a Passat's - that's the distance between the front and rear wheels - there's plenty of space in the back for two or even three adults. The boot is almost identical in size to the latest Golf.
Best electric car for the looks and practicality of a conventional car
Official range 225 miles (50kWh)
Used deals Limited stock
This version of the 208 went on sale in 2019 with a handful of petrol and diesel engines, and for the first time ever, an electric option. Rather than Peugeot building this car to have distinctive and futuristic looks, the e-208 looks almost identical to the petrol- and diesel-powered 208.
The e-208 isn't just restricted to the top-level trim, either - you can have it in every trim that you can have a regular 208 in. All models get alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a seven-inch touchscreen and rear parking sensors.
The e-208 shares many of its underpinnings with the Vauxhall Corsa-e, which also makes for a good choice for those wanting the looks of a conventional car. Both models promise over 200 miles between charges, which should be enough for most people's weekly commutes.
Best electric car for low-cost quality
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. Add to that the fact the Leaf is more fun to drive with its intuitive e-Pedal and you'll have to be seriously financially motivated to pick the Ioniq.
*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:
48 monthly payments of £192
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
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