As 2022 progresses, things are looking up for the electric car market. More zero-emission options are available than ever before as brands continue their efforts to swap fossil-fuel cars for battery-powered alternatives.
EV sales are still growing rapidly, up 56% for the first six months of the year compared to the same period last year. In fact, EVs are the only types of car that are growing in number – one in seven new cars registered this year has been an electric car.
That said, things aren’t all rosy for the consumer at the moment. Rising demand and supply shortages have caused significant price rises across the board in recent months, with nearly every model range costing at least £2,000 more than they did at the start of year.
We’ve analysed all the electric cars available at key price points in the new car market, and consulted our industry-leading Expert Rating Index to see which models have the highest review scores from across the UK motoring media.
With comprehensive review data backing our recommendations, you can be confident that this is the definitive guide to the best new electric cars for every budget that are on sale in the UK right now.
Best EV under £25,000: Smart EQ Fortwo
We admit that the Smart EQ Fortwo is not the most impressive new electric city car around – in fact it is one of the lowest rated cars in our Expert Rating Index – but no other manufacturer can come close to matching the pricing of Smart’s EVs.
With prices starting at around £22,000, the EQ Fortwo is ideal for short commutes and city excursions. It’s an agile option for tight urban streets and heavy traffic, it charges quickly and it doesn’t cost much to run day-to-day. While reviewers aren’t that impressed overall, a few begrudgingly admit that it is pretty fun to drive too.
As of July 2022, the Smart EQ Fortwo has a rather poor Expert Rating of 44%, hindered by its limited battery range, modest performance and dated on-board tech. Despite its low price point, some reviewers also argue that the Fortwo is expensive for its size.
If you are looking for something slightly bigger, the Smart EQ Forfour is also a capable city car but with room for two more passengers in the rear. It doesn’t improve on the small boot of its cheaper sibling though.
Best EV under £30,000: Nissan Leaf
Recent price hikes mean that there aren’t too many brand-new EVs that you can pick up for less than £30,000. However, if this is how far your budget can stretch, Nissan has you covered.
The Nissan Leaf continues to be one of the most popular electric cars around the world and, considering its value-for-money, it’s not that hard to see why. Nissan offers the Leaf at a starting price of just under £29,000 – for that price you get a recently facelifted mid-sized family car with intuitive on-board tech for cheaper than some pint-sized electric city cars.
As of July 2022, the Nissan Leaf has an Expert Rating of 72%, with reviewers commending its leisurely driving experience and low running costs. That said, although the Leaf certainly gives you a lot of car for your money, its battery range is less than many newer EV alternatives.
If you consider a city car with more style to be more interesting, the Fiat 500 Electric is also now priced just below the £30,000 mark. It has been praised for its driving dynamics and interior quality – both of which are significant improvements over the regular petrol-powered Fiat 500.
Best EV under £35,000: Hyundai Kona Electric
Another great value-for-money package is the Hyundai Kona Electric – the cheapest model in Hyundai’s highly-regarded all-electric line-up. It is slightly more expensive than the Nissan Leaf, costing a smidge over £30,000, but the Kona Electric has a longer battery range and several reviewers comment that it is a fun performance package that offers more driver appeal.
As of July 2022, the Hyundai Kona Electric holds an Expert Rating of 78%, praised for its generous standard equipment list and competitive pricing, but criticised for its rather rigid ride quality and cheap interior plastics.
If you’d prefer something slightly smaller, the Kia Soul EV is another capable choice in this price bracket. It is equally commended for its nippy performance and competitive battery range. Journalists pose the same questions about the Soul EV’s interior, though, and it’s more expensive than the Kona.
Best EV under £40,000: Volkswagen ID.3
The £40,000 threshold is where the all-electric market starts to get really competitive, and at the moment, our Expert Rating Index says that the Volkswagen ID.3 is the best choice that sits below that threshold.
A serial award winner, unanimously considered to be one of the leading examples of the emerging electric car era, the ID.3 hatchback is positioned as an electric alternative to the Golf. Available for just over £36,000 new, the ID.3 has been praised for its performance and decent battery range, and is regarded as one of the safest and most comfortable models in its class.
Despite receiving consistent criticism for its confusing and fiddly infotainment system, the Volkswagen ID.3 holds an Expert Rating of 77% – a score that is also aided by the car’s strong resale values and low running costs.
Sticking within the ID family, the Volkswagen ID.4 SUV is a more spacious package on offer for around £1,000 extra, though it does come with the same infotainment issues and its acceleration is said to be a little sluggish by EV standards.
Best EV under £50,000: Kia EV6
The Kia EV6 is a very important model for its Korean manufacturer – the first of a new breed of all-electric Kia cars – and judging by its review scores, this family-sized crossover fits the bill and then some.
The EV6 arrived in the UK last year to universally positive media reception . It has received high praise for its sharp driving dynamics and impressive design inside and out, as well as its battery range and charging capabilities which set the benchmark for EVs in this price range.
As of July 2022, the Kia EV6 holds an outstanding Expert Rating of 87%, which means that it is currently the highest-ranked medium car in our Expert Rating Index, with the similarly-priced Hyundai Ioniq 5 not far behind.
Recognised for its retro-futuristic design, the Ioniq 5 has become a fan favourite among the media, commended for its spacious and practical interior and its impressive infotainment, as well as its battery range. On the other hand, both the EV6 and Ioniq 5 have pretty firm suspension that makes riding over larger potholes an uncomfortable experience.
Best EV under £75,000: Jaguar I-Pace
The Jaguar I-Pace has won countless awards since it was launched in 2018, and is still widely considered to be one of the best premium electric SUVs on sale. As Jaguar’s first all-electric model, the I-Pace has been praised for its outstandingly fun performance, its good looks, and its everyday practicality.
With a starting price of just over £66,000, the Jaguar I-Pace has an excellent Expert Rating of 85% from 18 reviews, which makes it the highest-ranked medium SUV in our Expert Rating Index.
If you would prefer to opt for a saloon instead, prices for the BMW i4 range start at just over £53,000. Equipped with BMW’s latest tech innovations and an impressive powertrain that delivers pacy performance and class-leading battery range, the i4 has also received overwhelmingly positive review scores, though its rivals have more cabin space in the rear.
Best EV under £100,000: Audi e-tron GT
Delivering blistering performance in near silence, the Audi e-tron GT is an all-electric sports saloon that combines the alluring looks of a hypercar and the practicality of a four-door family car.
With an entry-level price tag that surpasses £84,000 (and trim levels that can easily pass the £100,000 mark), it is sure to burn a pretty large whole in your pocket. But, if that cost is within your means, you would be purchasing one of the most rewarding, powerful and comfortable new cars on the market, which has received plenty of praise for its handsome exterior, as well as its battery range and charging capabilities.
Although reviewers generally agree that alternatives are more spacious, the Audi e-tron GT holds an excellent Expert Rating of 85%, which means that it is currently the equal highest-ranked Audi model in our Expert Rating Index, alongside the petrol-powered R8 sports car.
If you can see past its polarising front end looks, the BMW iX SUV offers a more relaxed and assured driving experience for the cheaper lead-in price of around £77,000 – praised for its luxurious interior which is packed with user-friendly tech.
Money is no object: Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo
If you are looking for a family car and your budget can easily stretch beyond the six figure mark, our Expert Rating Index recommends that you take the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo for a test drive. It is truly in a class of its own – who knew an estate car could be supremely cool and outstandingly quick?
Like the regular Porsche Taycan, which is an excellent EV choice itself, the Cross Turismo embodies all that we have come to love about Porsche performance in an all-electric package, but with 80 litres of extra boot space over the standard Taycan. The Turbo S variant is the range-topping spec, and for the price of £141,000, you get an estate car that can complete a 0-62mph sprint in less than three seconds. – that will give almost any petrol-powered supercar a run for its money.
The entry-level Cross Turismo models are priced at £84,000, but given Porsche’s tendency for putting most of the features you want on the options list, you’ll struggle to actually put one on the road for anywhere near that price.
If money is no object it is also worth taking a look at the Mercedes-Benz EQS executive saloon, which offers unparalleled interior opulence for the price of £102,000 and up, and won The Car Expert’s Car of the Year award for 2021.
The electric car market is evolving rapidly, and there are plenty of new models at every price point on their way before the end of 2022 and into next year. Here’s just a few of the new models planned for launch over the next 12 months.
Car enthusiasts will see an increase in the number of EV models specifically tuned for performance, like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N and the Kia EV6 GT.
There will be more electric models from mainstream brands on offer as well. MG Motors is launching its MG 4 hatchback this autumn, while the Genesis GV60 crossover is already starting to arrive in the UK. The Subaru Solterra is also on its way and Kia is launching its next-generation Niro EV very shortly.
Premium brands will continue to add more electric models to their line-ups. BMW will be launching an electric version of its 7 Series saloon (the i7), and Mercedes-Benz is set to release the electric equivalent of its E-Class saloon (the EQE). Lexus has announced that it will be launching a new electric SUV called the RZ, and Polestar will also double its current line-up with the Polestar 3 SUV this year.
As the electrification of large cars increases, Volkswagen is attempting to turn heads with the upcoming launch of its all-electric ID.Buzz people carrier.
- Electric cars – what’s on sale and what’s coming soon?
- Every new electric car on sale rated – best to worst!
For the definitive rankings of the best new electric cars for every budget, we’ve used The Car Expert’s industry-leading Expert Rating Index. The index analyses new car reviews from 30 of the top UK motoring websites, using an advanced algorithm that we have developed specifically to compare review scores.
It constantly recalculates and updates the Expert Rating score for every single car in real time to make sure you’re getting the most accurate and reliable ratings for every new car.
First published: October 2021
Last updated: July 2022