Best electric cars 2023
There’s never been a better time to buy an electric car, with more choice than ever before, along with an increasing number of affordable options. But which are the best electric cars to buy right now?
In 2022, electric cars accounted for 16.6% of the new car market, with overall sales second only to cars with a petrol engine. Sales will continue to grow as we hurtle towards the 2035 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.
Throw into the mix an ever-expanding charging network and realistic range estimates for most buyers, and you can see why more and more people are going electric. Here, we’ve selected 10 of our favourite electric cars in 2023.
Best electric cars
Tesla Model 3
One of the most famous electric cars in the world, the Tesla Model 3 is proving to be a smash hit here in the UK. In 2022, it was the nation’s second best-selling electric car, with the Model Y finishing top. Instantly recognisable, with a tech-laden but minimalist interior, it’s only now that rivals, such as the BMW i4 and Audi Q4 e-tron, are arriving to take Tesla on. There are three versions: a rear-wheel-drive Model 3 with a 57kWh battery and 305-mile range, plus two all-wheel-drive models with bigger batteries. The Long Range can run for 374 miles between charges, while the Performance rushes from 0-60mph in just 3.1 seconds.
Skoda Enyaq iV
The Enyaq iV takes Skoda’s common-sense appeal into the electric car arena. Derived from the Volkswagen ID.4, it is a highly practical five-seat electric SUV that brings a pleasingly straightforward approach to EVs. The line-up comprises four clearly defined base models: the Enyaq iV 60 has a 62kwh battery, while the 80 boasts 82kWh and a more powerful motor. You can also get it in racier SportLine Plus spec, offered with twin-motor all-wheel drive. The Enyaq iV is easy and refined to drive, has a range of up to 339 miles, and offers plenty of choice in terms of interior and exterior configurations to really make it your own.
Porsche is one of the most famous sports car companies in the world, so anticipation for its first ever electric car was high. The remarkable Taycan does not disappoint. Initially offered in four-seat saloon guise, it’s also now available as the Sport Turismo and Cross Turismo, both of which have a more practical estate-style rear. There are two battery sizes, 79.2kWh and 93.4kWh Performance Plus, and while most are all-wheel drive, the £79,000 entry-level Taycan is rear-driven, giving a range of up to 276 miles. Striking to look at, satisfying to sit in and scintillating to drive, it’s one of the best electric cars you can buy… albeit at a price.
Kia has been a leader in electric cars for years. The e-Niro was one of the first genuinely affordable long-range EVs. The head-turning new EV6 aims to move things on and go head-to-head with the Tesla Model 3. It has curvaceous, coupe-like lines, but is also a big, semi-crossover car with plenty of space inside for five. The line-up is simple: a single 77.4kWh battery, either rear- or all-wheel drive, and standard, GT-Line or GT-Line S trim. Rear-drive models have a range of up to 328 miles, and all versions can be rapid-charged from 10 percent to 80 percent in just 18 minutes. They’re surprisingly good fun to drive, too.
The crossover SUV big brother to the ID.3, Volkswagen’s ID.4 is quickly becoming a globally popular electric car. A former World Car of the Year winner, prices start from £39,000 and it offers a range of up to 328 miles. There’s even a performance version, inspired by the famous Golf GTI, called GTX. The ID.4 has a very spacious interior, a massive 543-litre boot and a generous level of standard equipment. Even entry-level Life models get heating for the seats and steering wheel, active cruise control and wireless smartphone connectivity. Volkswagen’s touchscreen-based infotainment system isn’t the greatest, but even this is being improved through over-the-air updates. Buy one now and this aspect will literally get better with time.
Hyundai Ioniq 5
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 looks like nothing else on the road. Its square-edged, origami-like lines make it appear more like a car that would feature in Minecraft. A notably large five-seat hatchback, the interior is just as memorable, with an open-plan, digital-first layout that really does look like something from the future. The large dimensions deliver plenty of space inside, and a comfortable ride gives a luxurious feel on the move. Naturally, being an EV, it’s also near-silent. Choose either a 58kWh or 77kWh battery; regular cars are rear-wheel drive, but the larger battery offers all-wheel drive. The Ioniq 5 has a range of up to 315 miles and the 305hp range-topper accelerates from 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds. Prices start from around £43,500.
BMW was an early EV adopter with the i3. A decade later, it’s bringing electric into the premium mainstream with the i4. A pure electric version of the 4 Series Gran Coupe, the i4 has 340hp as standard, with the i4 M50 producing 544hp. The latter is the first M-branded EV from BMW’s famous motorsport division. Compared with some EVs, the i4 is more conventional in appearance, while its interior will feel familiar to most BMW drivers. Perhaps chastened by slow sales of the quirky i3, the company expects customers to find this reassuring. An exceptionally rewarding car to drive, the i4 handles extremely well, has a comfortable ride and serves up its considerable power in a sophisticated manner. It’s a formidable challenger to the Tesla Model 3.
Nissan has a huge amount of experience in making great electric cars. It was one of the mass-market pioneers of battery-powered cars, thanks to the Nissan Leaf, which launched back in 2011. Today, Nissan is still at the forefront of the electric-car market with the Ariya SUV.
A rival to cars like the Ford Mustang Mach-e, Volkswagen ID.4 and Hyundai Ioniq 5, the Ariya takes the qualities of the very popular petrol/diesel-powered Qashqai family SUV and melds them with the latest electrical know-how.
The result is a contemporary and stylish car with a fantastic quality interior and an all-new dual-screen infotainment system to keep you and your passengers informed and entertained on even the longest journeys. With a battery range of up to 329 miles, according to official figures, those journeys can be pretty far before you need a top–up. All-in-all, the Ariya is a worthy continuation of Nissan’s electric expertise, and one of the best electric SUVs on sale today.
Renault Megane E-Tech Electric
Not to be confused with the old and rather lacklustre Renault Megane family hatchback, the Megane E-Tech is arguably the electric car the Volkswagen ID.3 should have been. Because it was built from the ground up as an electric car, there’s little in the way of compromise, so you can expect a spacious interior, a useable 280 miles of electric range and one of the best infotainment systems you’ll find in any car, regardless of price.
If you’re a fan of new tech, you’ll love the Google-based navigation system, with features Google Maps and an impressive Google voice-activated assistant. There’s also a full range of driver-assistance tech to keep you on the safe and narrow.
There’s more, because the Megane E-Tech’s interior is superb, making the most of recycled materials without compromising on quality. Cover up the logo on the steering wheel and you’d think you were sitting in a car with a premium badge.
MG is a brand on the up. Once a historic British sports car manufacturer, just a few years ago it was selling disappointing cars that were hard to recommend. But not any more. Now it’s fully embraced the electric market and is making some genuinely impressive machines, such as this MG4 EV hatchback.
Sure, it’s remarkably affordable when compared to the opposition, which includes the Volkswagen ID.3, Nissan Leaf and Vauxhall Mokka. But even discounting that, the MG4 EV stacks up well, with lots of features included, such as a navigation system, heated seats and steering wheel, and a 360-degree camera for manoeuvring.
Various battery options are available, giving you a range of up to 323 miles on a single charge. On top of all that, it’s spacious inside, looks sharp and drives well. Very few cars give you more for your money.
Are electric cars expensive?
Electric cars do currently cost more than conventional petrol and diesel cars. However, the gap is narrowing all the time. In time, as battery prices fall, cheaper electric cars that more evenly compare with established mainstream models will arrive. And as car manufacturers are keen to point out, electric cars tend to cost less to run than petrol and diesel alternatives, which offsets some of the extra upfront expense.
How do I pick the best electric car for range?
Many of our top 10 best electric cars are available with both two- and four-wheel drive. Choosing the latter gives you more grip in slippery conditions, and often more performance… but it leads to extra losses in the drive system. This means that, to get the best electric car range, you need to match the largest battery available with rear-wheel drive. For example, a Mustang Mach-E RWD with a 91kWh battery has a range of 379 miles. Pick the four-wheel-drive AWD model and, for the same battery choice, range drops to 335 miles: more than 12 percent less.
What is the best electric car brand?
For years, just a few car brands have dominated the electric car scene – most notably, Tesla. Now all major car brands are making the move to electric, mindful of the looming 2030 deadline for new cars to become electrified. Tesla has a great reputation in many ways, but models from other brands in our top 10 are just as competitive. Buy with confidence that there’s genuinely not a bad electric car on the market right now.