Just passed your test and curious about electric cars? Our top ten’s got you covered.

Why Go Electric?

Whilst electric vehicles normally cost a little more upfront initially, they do offer excellent long term value. Plus, they’re eco-friendly. Typically, electric cars are also:

  • Very cheap to run, saving you money in the long term
  • Kitted out with high-tech features and smart driver assistance systems
  • Well-equipped as standard, even in entry-level models
  • Cheaper to maintain and service as they have less moving and less complex parts
  • Exempt from road tax and the London congestion charge as they offer zero CO2 emissions
  • Eligible for government grants and interest free loans to help cover the cost of purchase and the installation of a home charge point
  • Quicker from standstill

Is an Electric Car Right for Me?

Whether you decide to buy new or used, first be sure an EV is right for you. Bear in mind the driving range of electric vehicles and how many miles you’re likely to be driving each day. You’ll also want to consider being able to charge the car. Do you have a garage, street parking or anywhere to install a home charging point? Can you charge your car at work? If you’re going to buy a used electric car, be sure to check:

  • How well the battery maintains its charge – after all, the battery is typically the most expensive component and is certainly not cheap to replace
  • All the electric functions and features
  • What new car deals are available – you might be surprised

Top 10 Best Electric Cars for New Drivers

All the electric cars on this list that have been tested by Euro NCAP scored highly for safety. You can learn more details on the individual vehicles by reading their full reviews.

Read on to find out our pick of the best EVs for new drivers.

1. Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf was also the top pick in our list of The Best Electric Cars in the UK. What makes it such a popular choice? Well firstly it’s a well-priced electric car with good battery power. Secondly, it’s a great city car. The new model has an impressive driving range of 235 miles, you can charge the car to 80% from a 50kW quick charger in around 60 minutes, and can drive it with one pedal which just so happens to help extend the range as well.

Best features:

  • Well-equipped as standard
  • Good value for money
  • Good drivability

2. Renault Zoe

Like the Nissan Leaf, the Renault Zoe also came in second place in our list of The Best Electric Cars in the UK. For new drivers, the Zoe is one of the cheapest EVs on the market, but it doesn’t scrimp back on features. It offers an excellent driving range of up to 250 miles, as well as quick charge times. It comes well-equipped as standard, too. To get the best out of the car, it’s worth opting for a mid-spec trim like the Dynamique Nav model. Expect electric windows, a 7-inch touchscreen, sat nav, DAB radio and rear parking sensors.

Best features:

  • Good value for money
  • Good range
  • Well-equipped as standard

3. Hyundai Ioniq

Available as a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a fully-electric model, the Hyundai Ioniq makes a great EV for new drivers with the choice of powertrains alone. It allows you to find the model to suit your needs and budget, whilst also being environmentally friendly and providing low running costs. The fully-electric Ioniq has a good driving range too, offering up to 174 miles. You can also charge it from home in under five hours from a 7kW home wall-box charger. In addition, the car comes well-equipped with a reversing camera and a touchscreen infotainment system that features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Best features:

  • Well-equipped as standard
  • Agile handling and nice to drive
  • Good range

4. Volkswagen e-Golf

In many ways, the Volkswagen e-Golf is no different from its fossil fuel counterpart, which is exactly what you’d want from VW – especially as the Volkswagen Golf came in first place in our top 10 list of The Best Small Family Cars. For new drivers, the e-Golf is easy to manoeuvre, with responsive handling that’ll help build confidence. It’s fun to drive, too. However, the e-Golf doesn’t perform that well against leading rivals such as the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe, with a driving range of up to 144 miles. On the plus side, it does have a quick charge time of around six hours from a 7.2kW home wall-box charger.

Best features:

  • Good manoeuvrability
  • Fun to drive
  • Great range

5. BMW i3

If you have a slightly larger budget, the BMW i3 is a great electric car for new drivers. It’s got a good turning circle and responsive handling, making it a fun car to drive. Similar to the Nissan Leaf, you can also drive the i3 with one pedal thanks to the regenerative braking system. This doesn’t just make things easier for new drivers, but it actually makes driving more enjoyable – particularly on long journeys. On top of that, the BMW i3 offers a good range of up to 160 miles. In older models, there’s also an optional range-extender with an auxiliary petrol engine that kicks in when you need it. For charging, you can get the BMW i-Wallbox fitted to your home to charge the car to 80% in less than four hours.

Best features:

  • Fun to drive
  • Excellent range
  • Great manoeuvrability

6. Volkswagen e-Up!

The Volkswagen Up is one of the best small city cars for new drivers on the market and the VW e-Up offers more of the same. Of course, you get the much-improved lower running costs with the e-Up, as well as the pleasure of being environmentally conscientious. Like competitors, the car comes well-equipped as standard, with rear parking sensors, cruise control, sat nav and a DAB radio. However, unlike competitors, its driving range is a mere 99 miles (though the car can be charged in six hours with the optional fast charger). Its main selling point is the fact it carries with it the nimble handling of its petrol ancestor.

Best features:

  • Nimble handling
  • Low running costs
  • Well-equipped as standard

7. Kia Soul EV

While we wouldn’t normally recommend an SUV as an ideal car for new drivers, electric SUVS are somewhat of a different matter. Firstly, they’re cheaper to run than their petrol forebears and secondly, they usually come fitted with useful kit like reversing cameras as standard. The Kia Soul is such an SUV. It looks stylish with a compact crossover appeal, plus it’s comfortable and easy to drive and park thanks to its camera. It also offers a decent range of 132 miles, and its home charging time from a 7kW wall-box is competitively quick at five hours.

Best features:

  • Well-equipped as standard
  • Easy to drive
  • Stylish looks

8. Hyundai Kona Electric

Like the Kia Soul, the Hyundai Kona Electric is another SUV that’ll prove excellent value for first-time buyers. Although the Soul is placed above the Kona, the two actually compete very closely, so be sure to check both out if you like the look of one. In many ways, the Hyundai Kona is the better car. You get a leading drive range up to 300 miles, excellent acceleration and futuristic looks that compete with high-end marques costing twice the price. Like the Kia Soul, it comes with a reversing camera and lots of safety kit as standard too, making it easier to drive and park. However, it’s not as comfortable in its ride or as easy to handle as the Kia, nor does it inspire the same levels of confidence in its driveability.

Best features:

  • Excellent range
  • Well-equipped as standard
  • Good performer

9. Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius is the only hybrid on this list, which proves just how good today’s electric cars are, as well as how neat the Prius is. For first-time buyers and new drivers, the car has excellent fuel economy and a proven history of being reliable. It comes with a good level of safety kit as standard too. However, unlike other cars on this list, it’s not as engaging to drive. It does offer plenty of space though, alongside a decent boot for its size and a comfortable cabin.

Best features:

  • Comfortable
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Good reliability

10. Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S is one of the leading EVs on sale. It’s filled with high-tech and forward-thinking features (like an autopilot that’s ready for autonomous driving), and it’s a class leader in driving range with 300 plus miles. Naturally, for new drivers we’d recommend opting for the entry-level model over the crazy high-performance version – you’ll still get impressive performance power. You also get access to Tesla’s brilliant infrastructure of fast charging stations spread all over the UK, Europe and beyond. When it’s released in the UK, the Tesla Model 3 with its much lower starting price will be an even better alternative.

Best features:

  • Class leader
  • High-tech cabin and features
  • Impressive performance

Want to know more about fully electric cars and PHEVs? Have a look at our Electric Cars Guide for more information.

Back to articles May 24, 2021

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