Best electric family cars 2023
Looking for an electric car that will do same job as your current family runaround? We've got plenty of great options right here
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 the beginning of the 2020s and the idea of owning one is becoming increasingly viable for many Britain's driving public.
With huge progress being made in the technology both inside the cars and within the wider infrastructure of nationwide charging stations, going electric is not such a can of worms as it was when these cars first started arriving.
Firstly, the issues surrounding range have become less prominent, with a great surge of electric cars becoming available offering well over 200 miles of driving with a single charge and a select group of models that can travel more than 300 miles from a single charge of their batteries. 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 fewer than 150 miles in a day should have no problem with an electric car.
One major cause for this surge is the enthusiasm with which manufacturers are throwing resources at their electric offerings. Tesla was one of the early adopters, but since then, Kia, Hyundai, Jaguar, Renault, BMW and Volkswagen have all stepped up their production of electric cars, and some of the most popular cars on the market such as the Vauxhall Corsa and Peugeot 208 are now available in electric-powered guises.
It has made for a very competitive market, and the popularity of these cars continues to grow steadily, if not astronomically. So we've put together this list of 10 great electric cars for you and your family.
Best electric family cars
Key to the Kia e-Niro’s first place on our list is its surprisingly huge range (282 miles officially, 250 miles realistically). Most families will only need to charge once a week, which could be a major selling point.
It doesn’t look particularly special, but that will be appealing to drivers less keen on outwardly showing off about their flashy 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).
Our pick Hyundai Kona Electric 64kWh Premium
Used deals Limited stock
Don’t adjust your screen, or get your eyes checked - the Hyundai Kona Electric 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 smaller boot (332 litres compared to 451 litres), but it's also 195mm shorter, and 5mm narrower overall, so it should appeal to drivers wanting something a little easier to park.
The Kona Electric is cheaper than the e-Niro, too, so if boot space isn't a priority the decision on which one to buy has probably been made for you.
The Jaguar I-Pace heralded a brave new era for the British brand when it launched as a competitor to the Tesla Model X. Aside from its electric identity, it's a large crossover that’s practical and looks great.
There are acres of space in the front and rear, and the boot is a cavernous 656 litres. That’s even more space than a Hyundai Tucson, a conventional petrol-powered SUV.
The 292-mile range comes from a massive 90kWh battery pack, so charging it up can be expensive compared to smaller and more efficient alternatives.
The Nissan Leaf has been a very practical car with a loyal following since its launch around a decade ago. It's 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 hit the ground running in 2018 - and it’s definitely better looking than the previous model. The e+ model with the larger battery has an official range of 239 miles.
The BMW i3 came onto the scene in 2014 and looked massively futuristic. Almost a decade later, 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. And 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-hinged 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.
Our pick Tesla Model S Long Range
Used deals Limited stock
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 limited-run Roadster in 2008.
The company hit the mass market with its Model S. Specific model names and prices have changed throughout the years, but standard equipment generally includes a large central touchscreen (portrait-orientated in older models and landscape-orientated from 2022), a large battery capable of often hundreds of miles on a single charge, and a handful of partly 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 electric motor takes up less room than a conventional petrol or diesel engine, which means there’s more space inside. There’s also a big boot, which in early models could be specified with two small, rear-facing seats, making it a seven-seater (just about). The rear seats are only suitable for children, but the same can be said for most people carriers.
If you're looking for something a little bit cheaper, but no less impressive, the Model 3 has become more popular in recent years as an electric alternative to the likes of the BMW 3 Series or Mercedes C-Class.
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 and updated a few years later. Early models are likely to achieve 100 miles from a full charge, but go light on the accelerator pedal and the latest 'Z.E.50' models could almost reach 250 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. Be aware that early models might not include the batteries as part of the price - they must be rented separately from Renault.
Our pick Volkswagen ID.3 Pro Performance Life
Used deals from £17,858
When it launched, Volkswagen thought the ID.3 could be the next best things, after the Golf and original Beetle. It represented the company's large-scale commitment to electric motoring, and was Volkswagen's first go at an electric-only car, unlike the e-Golf and e-Up which were built on existing platforms developed for petrol and diesel.
In its initial couple of years on sale, it was available with a small 45kWh battery (badged Pure/Pure Performance) and a large 77kWh battery (badged Pro S), but it's the 58kWh version (badged Pro/Pro Performance) that we recommend for its usable 200-mile range (Volkswagen claims 263 miles). The range was slimmed down in 2022, with only the 58kWh model surviving.
Several trim levels have been offered, though entry-level Life should be enough for most people. Parents will be pleased with the heated seats and heated steering wheel, while children will love the ambient lighting and standard-fit wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (early models needed to be upgraded for free to software version 2.0, so bear this in mind when buying used).
The Ioniq comes in three flavours. Hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fully electric. The 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 170 miles.
On the outside, the Ioniq is much more normal-looking 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 emergency braking, cruise control 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.
Our pick Citroen e-Berlingo XTR
Used deals Limited stock
The Berlingo has long been a favourite for families after a practical and spacious motor, and the latest version continues to deliver on this promise. Because it has been built alongside the Peugeot Rifter and Vauxhall Combo Life, there should be plenty of choice on the used market.
The electric versions of these three van-based MPVs use the same 50kWh battery and 136hp motor found elsewhere in their respective ranges, including the Citroen e-C4, Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e. The smaller car models should be able to exceed 200 miles in most conditions, but the Berlingo and its counterparts may struggle in the colder months.
There are five-seat (M) and seven-seat (XL) versions of the e-Berlingo, and a pair of trims to choose from. Entry-level Feel models come with manual air-conditioning, cruise control, and rear parking sensors, but most families accustomed to car-like creature comforts will appreciate the XTR model's reversing camera, digital instruments, and electric rear windows. Take note that there are some optional extras that first-time buyers may not have specified, like faster 11kW charging and keyless entry.
*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
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.