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The electric car segment is growing thick and fast with new models being added all the time. In fact, with this rapid rate of expansion, there are more options than ever, with all manner of manufacturers jumping in with their own fully electric models.
Because of this, buyers already have plenty of choice when it comes to new EVs. But which one should you check out? Here, we’re going through the top 10 EVs on sale today – and the ones coming up next year.
But why should you opt for an electric car? Well, the running costs are significantly lower than those associated with a conventional petrol or diesel car. Those who are able to charge their cars at home will see this particularly, but even those who rely on public charging will be able to make a saving.
In addition, electric cars cost less to maintain and tax, so other bills associated with motoring will be lower too. And then there’s the environmental take. Of course, electric cars are only as clean as the power they’re supplied with, but given that they emit no emissions, they’re much cleaner for the planet on a day-to-day basis.
Read on to find out our pick of the best EVs of 2021:
Audi’s e-tron kicked off the firm’s electric offensive, integrating a battery-powered setup into a stylish and attractive SUV bodystyle. Needless to say, it has gone down a treat and has spawned a new e-tron sub-brand under which all future electric Audi models will be placed.
The e-tron is packed with smart features such as a widescreen infotainment setup. Plus, in big-battery versions you could see up to 271 miles from a single charge. Thanks to fast-charging capabilities, the e-tron can also be charged up to 80 per cent in as little as 30 minutes, ensuring that lengthy weight times are a thing of the past. A pair of electric motors bringing 355bhp means a 0-60mph time of 5.7 seconds – not bad at all for a car of this size and more than enough to scare many sports cars away from the lights.
One of the e-tron’s best features is its practicality. At 605 litres, the boot you get in the e-tron is a really decent size and more than large enough for most occurrences. But a secret weapon that the e-tron has on its side is a secondary ‘frunk’ in the nose of the car; it’s here where you’re able to store the charging cables, saving them from impeding the rear boot’s space.
Used prices from: £43,790
Skoda might’ve only had a relatively diminutive presence in the EV world with just its Citigo-e, but it has recently made up for this with the introduction of its Enyaq iV. Bringing an impressive range of up to 327 miles, the Enyaq iV also incorporates all of the features that Skoda has become known for, namely space, practicality and value-for-money.
In fact, given that the tip-top big-battery version costs under £43,000 from new, the Enyaq undercuts many of its rivals. It’s also jam-packed with many of Skoda’s ‘Simply Clever’ features, including dedicated smartphone pockets in the seatbacks and extra storage in the centre of the car that comes courtesy of the lack of a transmission tunnel. If you’re looking for your first foray into EV ownership, the Enyaq is a great place to start.
One of the best features about the Enyaq iV is simply how easily it can take over from a normal petrol or diesel car. From its impressive range to the fact that it can charge at speeds of up to 125kW – resulting in a 10 to 80 per cent charge taking 38 minutes – this isn’t an electric car with too many drawbacks.
There’s also a very usefully sized boot, measuring in at 585 litres with the seats in place or 1,710 litres with them folded down.
Used prices from: £36,950
Nissan’s ever-popular Leaf has been a consistent presence in the EV segment for many years now. It was a real pace-setter for electric cars, helping to bring battery-powered driving to the masses. The most recent model has really taken things further again, with a range of up to 239 miles – on larger battery versions – ensuring that the Leaf stays competitive. It’s also packed with assistance systems, including Nissan’s clever Pro Pilot semi-autonomous driving software.
But because the Leaf has been on sale for so much longer than many of its rivals there’s far more choice available on the used market. This means that you’re able to get a slice of the EV action for a lot less than with other models, but that doesn’t come at the detriment to usability and technology. Though earlier Leaf versions might not be able to return the same amount of range as more recent models, they’ll still pack enough juice to ensure that they can be used day-to-day.
One of the best features on the most recent Leaf is Nissan’s clever ‘e-pedal’. Essentially, this is a way of using the car’s regenerative braking instead of the conventional brakes. You simply use the accelerator to go and, when you want to slow down, let off the pedal. The regenerative brakes will bring reduce the car’s speed and you’ll only really need to use the standard brakes in the event of an emergency.
Though it takes a little getting used to, it’s a system that you very quickly get into the swing of using. Once you’re up to speed, you’ll wonder how you ever used a ‘normal’ car.
Used prices from £4,395
Mercedes was relatively late to the EV party. The EQC marked the firm’s first proper foray into all things battery-powered, combining the SUV styling that buyers love at the moment with a powerful yet efficient electric powertrain. It also introduced a really eye-catching design, with a full-width light bar at the front giving it a particularly futuristic look out on the road.
But all of this stylish design is backed up by a really clever powertrain. It features an electric motor placed on each axle which, in turn, gives the EQC four-wheel-drive. When just travelling at normal speeds the EQC predominately sends power to the front wheels, but if more performance is required then it can divert to the rears. Mercedes claims that the EQC should return up to 259 miles on a single charge, while rapid charging can return a 10-80 per cent charge in 40 minutes.
The interior of the EQC is a real standout feature. It’s dominated by a widescreen setup, which uses two separate displays housed underneath one piece of glass to create a wraparound effect. Here, you can access the satellite navigation and media functions, while the display ahead of the driver controls all of the major readouts such as speed and range but can also be configured to show features such as the song you’re listening to or your navigation directions.
It just helps to back up that futuristic feel that you get from the exterior of the EQC even more.
Used prices from £56,600
BMW announced itself as one of the first ‘premium’ manufacturers to introduce a mass-produced electric car when it brought the i3 to market. Despite being first revealed in 2013, the i3 has soldiered on to this day – which just goes to show how ahead of its time it was. Its innovative interior was particularly striking, combining loads of eco-friendly materials and high-end displays to create a genuinely good place to be. The i3 also used doors fitted ‘suicide’ style which granted easier access to the rear of the cabin, too.
BMW added a more performance-orientated i3S model later on in the car’s life which helped to boost its appeal even further. With a range of up to 160 miles, the i3 is also just right for those conducting shorter journeys, too, while earlier models helped stretch this out with the option of a range-extending petrol motor.
One of the best aspects of the i3 – as it is with so many BMW models – is how good to drive it is. The really well weighted steering helps you to enjoy the bends, while the ride isn’t too bad either. The i3 corners keenly, while the electric powertrain gives you plenty of power to accelerate out of the corners.
In fact, the i3 will manage the 0-60mph sprint in a very respectable 7.2 seconds. As with all EVs, this feels far quicker on the road than it appears on paper thanks to the instant delivery of torque that comes from the electric motor.
Used prices from: £9,990
Much like the Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe was one of the very first ‘popular’ EVs to hit the market. Compact and well-suited to the city, the Zoe took Renault’s typically no-frills approach to its small cars but added a clever electric powertrain into the mix. Early models might’ve not offered the best range – only around 100 miles – but later models have really pushed the envelope in this area and can now deliver up to 245 miles from a single charge.
The Zoe is also cleverly packaged, with a well-made interior that manages to be compact yet spacious. Plus, thanks to the battery placement under the seats rather than the boot, the Zoe can bring the kind of boot area that you’d expect from a hatchback. In fact, there are 391 litres of space back there, which is more than enough for trips to the shops.
The sheer volume of Zoe models currently on the used market today is one of its biggest plus points. Because it’s been on sale for some time now – and maintained a degree of popularity throughout that period – there’s a wealth of choice available. Though, as we mentioned, earlier models didn’t offer the most range – particularly by modern standards – they can provide a great low-cost way of getting about.
Just bear in mind, however, that some early Zoe models operated a battery leasing scheme where the batteries were paid for separately to the car. Used models will still operate this – but the plus side is that they’re covered by the manufacturer and can be swapped out if they start to malfunction.
Used prices from: £4,995
Citroen has always championed the low-cost, family-friendly hatchback and recently it has pivoted to deliver those same positives in an electric car with the e-C4. As part of a company-wide policy, the new C4 has been offered with three powertrains – petrol and diesel and electric – with the latter proving to be the real attention-grabbing option.
Electric power really suits the C4 as it’s often found being favoured by those who do shorter journeys. With a 2170-mile range, however, it can be taken further afield, especially thanks to the ability to rapid charge its battery to 80- per cent in just 30 minutes. But Citroen has ensured that the e-C4 retains all of the practicality-focused touches that you’d expect from one of its cars. It even has a well-sized boot at 380 litres, which can be expanded to 1,250 with the rear seats folded flat.
Value-for-money is consistently at the core of Citroen models and that’s no different with the e-C4. Even base-specification ‘Shine Plus’ cars boast LED headlights and daytime running lights as standard, while inside there’s a high-resolution 10-inch display that incorporates both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
It means that if you are looking to save some money, you can opt for a lower-cost e-C4 without the fear of losing out on some features.
Used prices from: £30,000
Since Vauxhall was acquired by Group PSA it has undergone a period of transformation. Gone are the slightly dated looks and cut-price interiors, replaced instead by cars which look and feel far more expensive than they actually are. As part of this change, Vauxhall has also entered into the EV market, with one of its most popular and well-recognised names – the Corsa – benefitting from a battery-powered setup. The Corsa-e brings a range of up to 211 miles on a single charge, which puts it in the area of far more expensive models.
But Vauxhall has ensured that the Corsa-e’s looks aren’t too out-there. In fact, save for the charging port, you’d be hard-pressed to tell it apart from regular petrol and diesel models – something that will no doubt appeal to those who want an electric car that doesn’t shout about its battery setup.
One of the best aspects about the Corsa-e is its charging speed. Its 50kWh battery supports charging speeds of up to 100kW, which means that an 80 per cent charge can be achieved in 30 minutes. These quicker charging points are becoming far more commonplace in the UK and allow for a short stop-off to add some serious range to the car.
Being able to charge at quicker speeds completely changes the whole experience, particularly when you’re undertaking longer journeys and don’t want to be hanging around for too long to charge.
Used prices from: £19,990
It’s worth mentioning from the off that the Vauxhall Corsa-e and the Peugeot e-208 are largely identical in terms of powertrain, but the pair do offer something quite different in terms of design. As a result, you get the same excellent 211 miles of range as you’d get from the Vauxhall, but the Peugeot cuts a slightly different look out on the road. It’s the LED ‘blades’ at either side of the headlights which really look impressive – particularly at night – while around the back there’s a cool-looking single gloss-black section that links the rear lights together.
All cars boast plenty of equipment as standard, making used buys particularly attractive. For instance, base-level equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and a 10-inch infotainment system as standard – so there are plenty of features on offer and help to make the e-208 an even stronger prospect in terms of a used purchase.
The e-208 features a classy and well-made cabin with plenty of high-end touches. As we’ve already mentioned, all cars benefit from a large central infotainment system, which combines with a secondary screen ahead of the driver to create a particularly tech-focused feeling place to be.
This is then backed up by plenty of gloss-black finishers that help to give the e-208’s interior an even classier appearance. It allows the e-208 to feel far more expensive than it actually is.
Used prices from: £21,995
MG has really transformed its fortunes by focusing on creating value-friendly electric cars. The MG5, in particular, has a great position in the market as the only electric estate car currently on sale – meaning it’s one of the few cars with a real focus on practicality and usability. Though it has only been on sale for a relatively short time – which as a result means there aren’t that many used options – it starts off from quite a low starting price so it won’t break the bank.
But with 251 miles available in between charges – on the latest versions – the MG5 also brings an impressively long distance between trips to the plug. Plus, since it’s built around an estate bodystyle, the MG5 is a great option for those who value practicality above all else but still want to get in on the EV action.
As you might expect from an electric estate car, the MG5’s real focus is on being a no-nonsense estate car. Even brand new, the MG5 costs from £26,495, but for that you get plenty of standard equipment and a robust, hard-wearing interior.
In fact, the MG5 offers up 464 litres of boot space and you can extend this up to 1,456 litres by folding the rear seats.
Used prices from: £22,146