Best small electric cars 2024
Perfect for urban use, the best small electric cars are fun to drive and stylish. Here are our top 10 buys.
Small electric cars are often the most effective. Their relatively light weight means batteries can last longer and also be smaller and lighter, while the instant torque from the electric motor can be a lot of fun when zipping around town.
Indeed, cities and towns are natural territory for electric cars and this is where small cars have always had the edge - handy for getting into small parking spots.
Electric cars aren’t cheap, though and even the least expensive small electric cars command price tags of over £25k. While you will save on running costs down the line, it’s difficult to ignore that up-front expense if you don’t have the cash to spare.
But as technology evolves, it also gets cheaper, and models such as the Volvo EX30 demonstrate that small electric cars are getting more affordable than ever, even with a premium badge. The move towards electric cars also means much more choice in the used market. Here are 10 great small electric cars you can buy now.
Best small electric cars
Best small electric car for sophistication and image
Our pick: Volvo EX30 Single Motor Extended Range
Read our Volvo reviews
Volvo’s new electric baby SUV is hot property at the moment, and for a very good reason. Not only is it highly desirable in terms of its style and sophistication, but it’s also incredibly well-priced, with the two single-motor models coming in at under £40k brand new. This is comparable with electric versions of the Jeep Avenger and Hyundai Kona, neither of which can match it for image or quality.
If out-and-out performance is your thing, then the twin-motor model is the one to go for, with Tesla-rivalling performance to complement its strong image.
The single motor will be enough for most though, and it comes in standard range (214 miles) and extended (298 miles) variants, offering enough electric range for most users.
Best small electric car for retro style
Our pick: Honda e 113kW Advance 5dr
Read our Honda reviews
Unashamedly retro in its styling, yet brimming with tech and modern features, the Honda e is without a doubt one of the coolest EVs around.
Sharp to drive and with impressive steering and nippy acceleration, it’s the perfect car for zipping about the city, while its small footprint belies a cabin that’s remarkably practical and spacious.
Its single 113kW electric motor gives it 154PS and an official 0-62mph time of 8.3 seconds, while the quoted range is 131 miles, meaning it’s far more of an urban car than a cross-country one. It’s trendy, though, with its combination of urban agility and perceived reliability adding to the appeal.
Best small electric car for driving fun
Our pick: MINI Electric Level 2
Read our MINI Electric review
While it doesn’t offer class-leading performance or range, the MINI Electric strikes a good balance between these and outright cost. New, the MINI Electric is a £30k car, but there are already some good used deals to be found on BuyaCar.
The 32.6kWh battery is good for around 140 miles off a single charge, making it one of the most efficient electric cars in terms of miles per kWh.
While it’s similar in size to the petrol and diesel MINI Hatchback, it’s only available with three doors and four seats. All models come with sat-nav, air-con and Apple CarPlay, but if you want things like a reversing camera, a larger media display or a panoramic roof, expect to fork out a lot more.
Best small electric car for a used car bargain
Our pick: Renault Zoe ZE50 R135 GT Line
Read our Renault Zoe review
The Renault Zoe is an elder statesman here, but over the years, Renault has continued to improve it, adding new tech and performance improvements. It is now a lot more advanced but it's also expensive alongside the competition.
That’s partly down to the fact Renault has decided to scrap its battery-leasing scheme. Now all Zoes come with the battery included in the price of the car – whether you finance the car or pay cash, unlike in the past when you had to lease the battery, but paid for the car.
If you want a used Renault Zoe, then you are getting a very capable small car for your money, but don’t forget to factor in that battery lease cost. With the latest 52kWh battery delivering a 234-mile claimed range, and fast charging making a full charge possible in as little as three hours, the Renault Zoe has become more than just a city car restricted to a daily run to the shops.
Best small electric car for value for money
Our pick: MG4 Trophy Long-Range
Read our MG reviews
Few would have predicted that MG would have been one of the success stories of recent years, let alone that it would be at the forefront of the electric car vanguard. Yet the company has stolen a march on competitors to be one of the best producers of good quality yet affordable electric cars.
The MG 4 was a huge surprise when we first drove it and remains one of the best electric cars on the market in our opinion. The fact it's so well priced compared to the competition makes it even better. It's very hard to justify spending more on rivals when the MG 4 is such a good all-rounder.
It's available with two battery sizes: there's the MG 4 Standard Range, which uses a 51kWh battery pack and 218-mile range, while the MG 4 Long Range has a 64kWh battery and can travel up to 281 miles between charges (depending on trim level).
Best small electric car for chic efficiency
Our pick: Fiat 500 Electric La Prima
Read our Fiat 500 Electric review
If you want the most miles per kWh of electricity, you’ll be looking at the new electric-only Fiat 500. With the smallest battery pack and 94PS electric motor, it promises 4.8 miles per kWh.
Mid-spec models – with more standard equipment – manage a still impressive 4.4 miles per kWh.
Extra battery power is retained via the Fiat 500’s regenerative braking system, which can bring the car to a complete stop, meaning you use the brake pedal less. It takes some getting used to, but adapt your driving style and it’s idea for city journeys.
Then, of course, there’s the model’s classic retro looks. The Fiat 500 is popular for a reason, and none more so than the increasingly common EV variant.
Best small electric car for fitting in around town
Our pick: Volkswagen e-Up
Read our Volkswagen Up review
Fitting batteries and an electric motor to the Up had quite an impact on the little Volkswagen’s price when new, meaning it was almost the same price as the much larger Nissan Leaf, and considerably more than a Smart ForTwo. Thankfully it’s much better value as a used car.
If you do see one of the used models for a good price, it’s worth a look because it’s an excellent option. The electric motor provides faster acceleration than the standard petrol-powered Up models and the low-mounted batteries barely affect the car’s manoeuvrability and agility in corners.
Unlike many cars that have been converted to electric power, boot space in the e-Up has not been affected, so you’ll still have 251 litres, which is plenty for a weekly shop and a substantial amount for such a small car. The latest Volkswagen e-Up is also worth a look, as today’s pricing is far more competitive.
Best small electric car for familiarity
Our pick: Vauxhall Corsa Electric Elite Nav
Read our Vauxhall Corsa Electric review
Everybody is familiar with the Vauxhall Corsa, a name that has been a familiar sight on our roads for over 30 years now. So it's no surprise there's also a Vauxhall Corsa Electric.
The electric version of the Vauxhall Corsa looks virtually identical to its conventionally powered counterparts and shares its 50kWh battery and 138PS electric motor with other models from Vauxhall, plus Peugeot and French sister brand Citroen, including the similarly sized Peugeot e-208.
All Vauxhall Corsa Electric models come with a large touchscreen media system, LED headlights and cruise control. It’s well worth upgrading to mid-spec models for heated seats, a heated steering wheel and reversing camera. The facelifted Vauxhall Corsa Electric was launched in late 2023.
Best small electric car for striking styling
Our pick: Peugeot e-2008
Read our Peugeot e-2008 review
The Peugeot e-2008 uses the same 50kWh battery and 138PS electric motor as found in other models from Peugeot and French sister brand Citroen as well as the Vauxhall Corsa-e, so should be good for around 200 miles of range in the real world.
Getting in and out of the Peugeot e-2008 is simple as there’s a good amount of space for a small SUV. Even taller adults should feel comfortable in the back seats, although we wouldn’t recommend trying to squeeze three abreast.
It’s built on the same platform as the Vauxhall Mokka-e, but we think the Peugeot’s styling is more appealing. While it’s more expensive to start with, standard equipment is strong and includes air-conditioning, rear parking sensors and LED headlights.
Best small electric car for tight spaces
Our pick: Smart EQ ForTwo Prime Exclusive
Read our Smart reviews
Electric Smart models were renamed EQ in line with larger models from sister brand Mercedes in early 2018. Before then, they were known as Smart Electric Drive. Apart from the name, little has changed.
That’s not a bad thing, because the battery-powered versions are the best Smarts. Unlike the petrol-powered cars, they are relatively quick to accelerate and considerably quieter. The car is at its best in cities, where its quick steering and ability to turn in tight spaces helps you to glide through traffic and into small parking spaces.
The car’s real-world range in the city is somewhere between 60 and 80 miles, but on faster roads, that will drop considerably as the little motor is forced to work much harder. Despite its two-seat layout, the little Smart is fairly practical - by ditching a passenger and folding down their seat, you can slide a big suitcase, or even a set of drawers in.