Best used electric cars 2023

If you’re plugged in to the idea of ditching petrol and diesel, here are six great value electric cars - for less than you might think

By Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

Electric cars are gradually moving towards a more mainstream position in the UK car market. It's no longer a novelty for only the most well-off members of society. This means it's possible to get hold of increasingly good value used car deals.

A combination of a wider choice of affordable new electric vehicles, even more affordable second-hand ones, increased range-per-charge figures making them a realistic prospect for more motorists and an improved charging network are all playing their part in the growth of the electric car. There's now a whole range of electric cars on the market that are capable of covering more than 200 miles from a single charge.

There are many things to consider before you ditch petrol or diesel in favour of electricity, though. Are you able to charge the car at home? Do you have access to a charger at work? Can you afford an electric car with a range that covers your daily commute if you drive to work? Our handy guide to charging an electric car sets out what different charging speeds and connectors mean.

We’re not here to answer those questions, but we have selected half a dozen electric cars that offer great value for money when buying used.

1. Smart EQ ForFour

Our pick: Smart EQ ForFour Premium
Used deals Limited stock

It’s not the largest electric car you can buy and it doesn’t offer the longest range, but if you cover no more than 70 miles on a daily basis - and you spend much of your time in the city - the Smart EQ ForFour makes a whole lot of sense.

We prefer it to the smaller Smart EQ ForTwo, primarily because, as the name suggests, it offers seating for four people. There might be times when those two extra seats come in handy - even if rear space is a little cramped. On the plus side, the rear seats fold down to create a 975-litre boot, which could be useful if you go a bit crazy with your weekly grocery shopping.

The 60kW electric motor delivers 80hp, and because this power is available immediately, the Forfour feels quite quick off the line, making it perfect for congested city streets. It also comes with two charging cables - one for home charging and the other for more powerful wallboxes and public chargers.

It’s packed with a long list of standard equipment, along with a range of personalisation options that create an electric car that feels distinctive. If the limited range is enough for you, the ForFour could be all the electric city car you need, but it’s about to be eclipsed by newer rivals with more impressive range figures and there are plenty of other appealing options below.


2. Nissan Leaf

Our pick: Nissan Leaf 40kWh Acenta
Used deals from £5,989
Monthly finance from £144.04*

The Nissan Leaf is the world’s most popular electric car, so there’s no shortage of choice on the used market.

What’s the appeal? Part of the reason is that Nissan stole a march on the competition. Launched in 2010, the original Leaf had broad appeal, practicality and a reasonable price on its side. The second-generation Leaf arrived in 2018 and delivered improvements in just about every department, so it's this version that we're recommending.

There are two batteries available: a 40kWh that’s good for 168 miles, and a 62kWh Leaf e+ that offers a claimed 239 mies. Standard equipment includes a full suite of safety systems, an eight-inch touchscreen media system with sat-nav, climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.


3. Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Our pick: Hyundai Ioniq Electric Premium
Used deals from £12,775
Monthly finance from £222.41*

The Hyundai Ioniq arrived in 2016, with Hyundai claiming it was the world’s first car to be planned from the start with three electrified powertrains - self-charging hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric. Of interest here is the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, specifically the updated version launched in 2019.

Thanks to a battery upgrade from 28kWh to 38.8kWh, the Ioniq is able to deliver a range of 194 miles. Using a 100kW fast charging station, the battery can be charged to 80% in less than an hour.

There are two versions: Premium and Premium SE. Both offer a generous level of standard equipment and are backed by an excellent unlimited-mileage five-year warranty. The Ioniq is far from exciting and some of the interior plastics feel a little low-rent, but the Ioniq is reasonably practical and easy to live with.

We’d recommend spending a little extra per month on a 38.8kWh model, as not only does it offer a longer range, there’s an array of new tech on offer. This includes a larger 10.3-inch display and an app that allows you to control the air-conditioning and vehicle charging.


4. Volkswagen e-Golf

Our pick: Volkswagen e-Golf 35kWh
Used deals from £7,995
Monthly finance from £179.89*

If you want your electric car to blend in, the Volkswagen e-Golf is the car for you. It’s based on one of the world’s most popular cars, and most onlookers would be hard-pressed to notice its green credentials - that’s if it doesn’t have a charging lead plugged into the socket at the time, of course.

With the arrival of a new VW Golf in 2020 and future electric VW cars being part of the company's new 'ID' brand rather than there being an electric variant future Golfs, there could be some very good deals to be found on the outgoing e-Golf. It's a sensible electric car at a sensible price.

With plenty to choose from, you get what’s essentially a standard Golf with a slightly smaller boot - due to the electric tech needed - and a range of 144 miles. It's not quite as impressive as the ID.3 (which indirectly replaced the e-Golf), but it's a lot cheaper - the cheapest ID.3 on BuyaCar costs £17,858.


5. BMW i3

Our pick: BMW i3 120Ah
Used deals from £11,897
Monthly finance from £225.11*

If the Volkswagen e-Golf is an electric car for shrinking violets, the BMW i3 is an electric car for those who like to make a statement. Even today, the i3 looks futuristic and ‘out there’.

It’s a similar story on the inside, with the i3 showcasing a futuristic cabin finished with a range of recycled materials. It even features a pair of rear-hinged back doors, just to make sure you turn a few extra heads when parked on the high street and loading people in and out of the rear seats.

Throw into the mix the fact that the i3 is as fun to drive as a conventional BMW and you’ll see why it remains a favourite, even though it's been on sale since 2013. It’s a tad more expensive than some of the other options on this list, but that’s less of an issue if you're buying a used model. Go for a newer model with the 120Ah battery for the best range - a touch under 200 miles according to official statistics, though more like 150 miles in the real world.


6. Peugeot e-208

Our pick: Peugeot e-208 50kWh Allure
Used deals Limited stock

The Peugeot e-208 is one of the new wave of more affordable electric cars that arrived in 2020. It looks very similar to the standard 208, which makes it one of the most striking small cars you can buy.

It’s designed to go head-to-head with the Renault Zoe, which has had the small electric car market to itself for years. The e-208’s range is slightly less than that of the Zoe, but in real-world conditions the difference is likely to be negligible.The Peugeot has a trump card, though: 100kW charging, while the Zoe, and many older models, are capped at 50kWh.

Remember, that since the e-208 is still very new, the entry used cash and finance costs will drop rapidly month after month. So if it's a little pricey for you just now you can either go for a cheaper used Zoe today or hold out for a more affordable e-208 in a couple of months. 

*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.