Whether it’s to head off the beaten track, or just to add greater security and traction in poor weather, 4×4 cars are ideal for a variety of lifestyles where practicality and flexibility are a must.

A 4×4 also lends itself perfectly to being an electric car, with the instant torque delivered by electric motors, and the ability to quickly send power to a certain axle, being hugely advantageous.

There’s a difference between an electric 4×4 and an electric SUV, however, and it’s something that can open your car buying choices up further. Let’s take a look at what an electric 4×4 is and what your best options are.

How does an electric 4×4 differ from an electric SUV?

‘SUV’ has largely become an umbrella term for any high-riding vehicle, and though some of these may indeed by ‘4x4s’, not all are.

That’s because many SUVs, despite their rugged looks, are two-wheel-drive, either sending power to the front or the rear wheels, but not both at once.

That’s unlike a 4×4, which has the added bonus of being able to drive all wheels at the same time, helping out in bad weather, rough conditions and also being able to provide greater performance.

On an electric 4×4, these models generally have a front electric motor that powers those wheels, and then the rear wheels are driven by a second motor. It means a ‘4×4’ doesn’t just have to include SUVs, but also hatchbacks, saloons and estate cars.

Why should you buy a used electric 4×4?

The key advantage of choosing a used electric 4×4 is if you want the added bonus of greater traction in bad weather.

Currently, there aren’t any real ‘go-anywhere’ electric 4x4s for sale – such as a Jeep Wrangler, for example – but rather those that provide more stability in heavy rain and snow. If you live somewhere remote or have a rough drive, a 4×4 can make a lot of difference.

When it comes to electric 4x4s, however, many adopt four-wheel-drive because of performance benefits. With two electric motors working in tandem, there are significant acceleration benefits, particularly when it comes to the 0 to 60mph sprint.

What should you consider before buying a used electric 4×4?

Perhaps the main thing to think about first is whether you really need an electric 4×4. If you’re unlikely to reap the benefits of having that extra traction, you could opt for a front-wheel-drive car instead.

Though some EVs are only sold as a 4×4, when you have the choice, the front-wheel-drive model will always cost less to buy and be able to travel further on a charge.

But if you’ve settled on an electric 4×4, the next thing to think about is which bodystyle you would like. The ‘SUV’ look is the most popular, unsurprisingly, but if you want a 4×4 in a sleeker-looking passage, it’s worth taking a look at the various saloons, hatchbacks and even estate cars that are available.

The best electric 4x4s

If you’re on the lookout for an electric 4×4, we’ve rounded up the best used models, incorporating four key categories:

  • Small electric 4×4 SUVs
  • Medium electric 4×4 SUVs
  • Large electric 4×4 SUVs
  • Electric 4×4 saloons, estates and hatchbacks

Small 4×4 Electric SUVs

If you’re in the market for an electric car that offers 4×4 technology and good all-around capabilities, then a used small 4×4 electric SUV may be a great option. With big-car styling yet more compact dimensions than larger options, small electric 4×4 SUVs are a very popular choice.

1. Volvo XC40 Recharge (2021-present)

Volvo’s XC40 has been instrumental in the growth of this Swedish car firm, with this compact SUV going down a treat with buyers, as well as opening Volvo up to a new audience. While launching in 2017 with conventional engines, it was in 2021 when the line-up expanded to include an electric version.

There’s a choice of a single-motor, front-wheel-drive car or the model we’re focusing on here, which gets twin motors allowing for all-wheel-drive. Packing more than 400bhp, this unassuming Volvo is remarkably quick off the line, yet still manages to offer the comfort and refinement levels that this firm’s cars are renowned for.

While it might be relatively compact, the XC40’s interior is very practical, with a big boot and plenty of rear-seat space making it ideal for families.

Best Features

  • Powerful 402bhp electric motors mean this Volvo is especially fast.
  • Google-powered touchscreen is a game-changer.
  • Impressive claimed range of up to 333 miles.
Things to consider
  • Compact SUV still offers lots of space – do you need anything bigger?
  • Do you need the power of this 4×4 model?
  • Update in 2023 brings greater efficiency.

2. Mercedes-Benz EQB (2021-present)

The number of seven-seat electric cars on the market is quite limited, and especially at the more compact end of the spectrum. But one model that manages it is the Mercedes-Benz EQB, which comes as standard with three rows of seats, despite its relatively compact footprint.

Based on the firm’s GLB, sold with conventional petrol and diesel engines, the EQB gets a specific ‘electric’ look, most noticeably with full-width light bars at the front and rear.

All EQB models also come as standard with Mercedes-Benz’ 4Matic four-wheel-drive system, which is there predominantly to aid traction. Two versions are available – a 225bhp model and the range-topping 288bhp. The EQB is also generously-equipped and can travel up to 253 miles on a single charge.

Best Features

  • Seven seats are a rarity in this class of car.
  • LED light bars at the front and rear give the EQB a bold look.
  • Large digital displays give the EQB’s cabin a modern feel.
Things to consider
  • Do you require the seven seats? If not, rivals might make more sense.
  • EQB doesn’t have the longest of electric ranges.
  • More expensive than most alternatives.

Medium 4×4 Electric SUVs

Medium 4×4 Electric SUVs offer a great balance between practicality, style and driver experience. As one of the most popular segments, mid-sized electric SUVs are ideal for various lifestyles and there are plenty of excellent options for you to choose from.

1. Jaguar I-PACE (2018-present)

While Jaguar is transitioning to become an all-electric brand by 2025, still its first and only model is the I-PACE. Introduced in 2018, it was one of the first electric 4x4s and continues to be an impressive choice, especially used as there are some terrific deals to be had.

Every I-PACE features a four-wheel-drive system, which is called the ‘EV400’. It uses twin electric motors to produce a significant 395bhp, allowing for a 0 to 60mph time of just 4.5 seconds. A claimed range of up to 292 miles also remains competitive, even next to far newer electric SUVs.

With a high-quality interior, enjoyable driving experience and sleek styling, there are plenty of reasons to consider this Jaguar.

Best Features

  • Stunning exterior design, especially on top-spec models.
  • Twin touchscreen interior still looks modern.
  • Range of up to 292 miles.
Things to consider
  • On the more expensive side of the market.
  • The I-PACE can’t charge as quickly as newer rivals.
  • Entry-level models don’t look great with their small wheels.

2. Audi e-tron (2019-present)

The e-tron was the car that kickstarted Audi’s electric car offensive, and it made quite an impact, remaining one of the most popular premium EVs yet. It was packed with technology, including twin touchscreens, one for the infotainment and another for the climate, and was one of the first production cars available with camera-based door mirrors, known as ‘Virtual Mirrors’, which were offered as an option or fitted to top-spec e-trons.

All e-trons use a Quattro all-wheel-drive system, with a choice of ’50’ and ’55’ versions – the latter getting more power and a bigger battery. Audi claimed up to around 260 miles to a charge.

The e-tron is a practical electric SUV that offers superb comfort and refinement. It’s an ideal EV for longer trips, helped along by its impressive rapid charging speeds, while steep initial depreciation makes this Audi a great used buy.

Best Features

  • Superb refinement and comfort.
  • Packed with technology, especially range-topping versions.
  • Option of a sleeker coupe-styled Sportback model.
Things to consider
  • Audi has recently renamed the e-tron to the Q8 e-tron.
  • Will be one of the more expensive EVs to run.
  • ’50’ version doesn’t have the longest range.

Large 4×4 Electric SUVs

As the largest cars available with four-wheel drive technology, large 4×4 electric SUVs are ideal for those looking for unrivalled practicality. These cars are often the flagship of their respective brand, meaning they typically come with a plethora of advanced technology.

1. BMW iX (2021-present)

BMW’s flagship electric SUV, the iX, certainly attracted plenty of attention when it launched, not least because of its controversial design. But behind that questionable front-end styling is a seriously impressive EV.

The iX is packed full of technology and is available with all manner of options to help it feel more special. These include quilted leather, crystal-like buttons and modern touchscreens that really lift this BMW’s interior. It really is one of the best around.

All iX models also come with four-wheel-drive, with the flagship M60 version producing a monstrous 611bhp, allowing for 0 to 60mph in as little as 3.6 seconds. With an exceptional range of up to 382 miles, this is a cracking electric 4×4 SUV. Unsurprisingly, values have held up far better than other rivals.

Best Features

  • Stunning to drive with exceptional refinement.
  • Packed with technology.
  • Impressive range of up to a claimed 382 miles.
Things to consider
  • Styling splits opinions.
  • Expensive optional extras when new, so be prepared to pay more for a well-optioned use car.
  • Limited depreciation means the iX isn’t as cheap a used buy as some rivals.

2. Tesla Model X (2016-present)

Launched back in 2016, the Model X was one of the first out-and-out electric SUVs, and even against far newer rivals, it’s more than able to hold its own.

As one of the largest electric 4×4 SUVs on the market, it is hugely spacious and ideal for families wanting loads of room. It’s available with five, six or seven seats, with the latter being the most useful. Like Tesla’s other models, the Model X is packed with technology, including various assisted driving features and a large touchscreen that handles the majority of functions.

Unlike other Tesla models, all Model X examples are all-wheel-drive too, with various versions available, depending on whether performance or range is a priority. The firm boasts a range of up to 358 miles, but check individual versions as the ranges might be different.

Best Features

  • Gullwing rear doors are a real party trick.
  • Various semi-autonomous driving features available.
  • Large touchscreen dominates the interior.
Things to consider
  • On the more expensive side of the market.
  • Broad range of versions can add complexity to the search.
  • Make sure the touchscreen works properly as it’s such an integral part of the car.

Electric 4×4 Saloons, Estates & Hatchbacks

While their larger SUV counterparts make up much of the electric 4×4 segment, there are plenty of alternatives if you want something with more style. Electric 4×4 saloons, estates and hatchbacks offer a sleeker look and a more dynamic driving experience, with many of the world’s most popular manufacturers having an option for you to consider.

1. Porsche Taycan (2020-present)

You might regard Porsche for its petrol sports cars, but in more recent years, it’s built up a specialism in electrified models. Starting with hybrid versions of cars like the Cayenne and Panamera, it launched its first EV in 2020 with the Taycan.

It’s gone on to become one of Porsche’s most popular cars, and is considered as the best-driving electric car yet. Packing a stunning interior filled with the latest technology and high-end materials, it is a great premium electric 4×4.

Available as a saloon, estate (Sport Turismo) and rugged (Cross Turismo) version, the majority of models come equipped with four-wheel-drive. With a whole suite of versions, including extreme ‘Turbo’ models, and a range of up to 300 miles, it’s well worth considering.

Best Features

  • Fabulous to drive.
  • Great electric range.
  • Cool, futuristic styling.
Things to consider
  • Not all versions come with four-wheel-drive.
  • Choice of battery sizes, so some used examples might have a smaller range.
  • Not quite as practical as you might expect a vehicle of this type to be.

2. Tesla Model S (2014-present)

It was the Model S that was the car to get Tesla noticed, with this practical large hatchback being an ideal choice for showing just how usable EVs could be. At launch, all versions boasted a range of more than 200 miles (the most of any electric car at the time), with the latest versions being able to achieve double this on a single charge.

Renowned for its performance, the Model S is dominated by its large central touchscreen that handles the majority of this EV’s key functions. You can also easily access Tesla’s dedicated network of Superchargers, which are widely considered some of the most reliable and quickest around.

The majority of used Model S examples will use all-wheel-drive, but the firm did sell rear-wheel-drive models, too. The easiest way to make sure you’re buying a 4×4 version is because it will have a ‘D’ at the end of its model name – such as P85D.

Best Features

  • Fantastic performance.
  • Great electric range.
  • Practical and usable interior.
Things to consider
  • Not every Model S is four-wheel-drive.
  • Tesla build quality can be iffy, so inspect thoroughly for any signs of damage, large panel gaps.
  • Earlier Model S’ can still qualify for free access to the firm’s Supercharger network.

3. BMW i4 (2021-present)

BMW now has one of the most extensive line-ups of electric cars around, and if you’re looking for a ‘4×4’ that’s not really a 4×4 to look at, you should take a look at the i4. A rival for the popular Tesla Model 3, it arrived in 2021 as the all-electric equivalent to the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.

This is a coupe-styled hatchback that is surprisingly practical while retaining BMW’s fantastic reputation for being great to drive.

If you want all-wheel-drive, it’s only the top-spec M50 version to choose from. This is developed by BMW’s ‘M’ division and uses a twin-motor electric powertrain that develops a huge 536bhp. This enables the i4 to reach 60mph in just 3.6 seconds.

Best Features

  • Stunning ‘Curved Display’ screens dominate the interior.
  • Blistering performance from the M50 version.
  • Claimed range of 318 miles is very respectable.
Things to consider
  • Only the M50 model comes with four-wheel-drive.
  • Quite expensive to buy.
  • Some might find the new touchscreens fiddly to use.

4. Kia EV6 (2021- present)

Kia has established itself as a key player in the electric car world, with the EV6 being its first specific battery-electric model. Built around a new platform, it allows the firm to be more flexible when it comes to its design and interior packaging – both of which are apparent when you see the EV6’s futuristic design for yourself.

Helping to move Kia upmarket, the EV6 features a high-quality and practical interior that can take the fight to more premium rivals on paper.

The other great thing about the EV6 is how quickly it can charge, as thanks to an 800-volt architecture, its battery can be rapid charged in as little as 18 minutes. You can choose between rear- or all-wheel-drive, but it’s the latter you’ll want if after a ‘4×4’.

Best Features

  • Especially fast charging speeds.
  • High-quality design.
  • Practical interior.
Things to consider
  • Only about half of EV6 examples are all-wheel-drive.
  • Seven-year warranty when new, so bear in mind how much coverage remains.
  • Futuristic design won’t be to everyone’s taste.

Tips for finding and buying a used 4×4 electric car

When settling on a used electric 4×4 car, the first thing to think about is what you’re using your car for. Whether that’s family life, where you might need more space, and the length of your journeys, which might dictate choosing an EV with a bigger battery and longer range.

After this, think about the type of bodystyle you want. Though SUVs are the most in-trend, there are plenty of options for electric 4×4 saloons and even estate cars if you want to try something different. Reading up on expert opinions through car reviews is a great way of figuring out which car(s) may suit your needs.

With PCP, HP and CS finance options available, it’s worth considering your budget and finance options and reviewing a vehicle’s history before you buy. While our trusted dealers ensure all cars are HPI checked, you’ll want to do your own additional checks and inspections to validate any information provided.

Frequently Asked Questions