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The best new electric cars for every budget 2023

As the car industry charges towards an electric future, we look at some of the best new electric cars for every budget on sale right now

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As 2023 progresses, the electric car market continues to grow and evolve. 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 steadily growing, with 176,000 new electric cars cars finding homes in the first seven months of this year – a 38% increase over the same period last year. One electric car sits in the annual top ten best-sellers list as of August 2023, with more than 21,000 Tesla Model Y SUVs have been sold in the UK since the turn of the year.

The last year has seen the introduction of several competitively-priced electric models, but with the retirement of the Smart EQ ForTwo and EQ ForFour hatchbacks there are now no electric cars available for below £25k. You can get a pint-sized Citroën Ami for around £8k, but that’s a quadricycle that does not come with airbags and is illegal to drive on the motorway.

Now starting with new models available for under £30k, 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 £30,000: MG 4

MG 4 Trophy Extended Range

There still aren’t many brand-new EVs that you can pick up for less than £30,000, but there have been several new entrants to launch in this budget bracket in the last year, led by the appealing MG 4.

Not only does this family-sized hatchback offer a low price point that makes it an attractive gateway to EV ownership, reviewers also conclude that it is one of the best options in its class, thanks to its competitive battery range and its comfortable and rewarding driving experience.

As of August 2023, the MG 4 has an Expert Rating of 80%, with reviewers also commending the car for its long warranty, though the hatchback has been criticised for some cheap interior plastics and its rather poor rear visibility.

If you consider a compact city car to be more your style, 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: Peugeot e-208

Peugeot e-208 (2020 onwards) - Expert Rating

With the first-generation Hyundai Kona Electric now out of production, the small Peugeot e-208 hatchback is now the best choice in the under £35k bracket, according to our Expert Rating Index.

Cheap to run, well-equipped as standard and comfortable to drive, the e-208 has won several industry awards, including ‘European Car of the Year’ back in 2020. It shares many of its parts with the popular Vauxhall Corsa Electric, but the Peugeot’s Expert Rating of 73% is 11% higher than the Vauxhall.

The e-208 has also received considerable praise for its design and interior quality, but reviewers have also commented that the car is pretty cramped in the rear, and that some of its rivals can travel further on a single charge.

If you’d prefer something a bit larger, the Kia Soul EV is another capable choice in this price bracket. Commended for its nippy performance and competitive battery range, the Soul EV has received very positive reviews, but has been criticised for its rather divisive exterior looks.

Also, keep an eye out for the second-generation Hyundai Kona Electric which has just launched in this price range. It has been given several great review scores so far, and offers more interior space than the e-208 and Soul EV.

Best EV under £40,000: Kia Niro EV

Kia Niro EV | Expert Rating

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 Kia Niro EV is the best choice that sits below that threshold.

The Car Expert‘s ‘Best Small SUV’ of 2022, the Kia Niro EV builds on its highly-regarded predecessor the e-Niro by offering a longer battery range, fresh exterior looks, more user-friendly on-board tech and a more spacious cabin. Add in Kia’s reputation for reliability and the SUV’s seven-year warranty, and it’s clear to see that the Niro EV is an impressive package.

As of August 2023, the SUV holds an Expert Rating of 79% – a score that is hindered by the car’s pricing. Top-spec models can get fairly expensive, with the price extending well beyond the £40k mark.

If you would rather something more exciting to drive, why not check out the Cupra Born? The Car Expert‘s ‘Best Hot Hatch’ of 2022, the Born is a capable family car with sporty looks and a competitive battery range.

Best EV under £50,000: Kia EV6 or Hyundai Ioniq 5

Upping your budget to £50k brings access to some of the best electric cars on the market, and the best choice in this price range is a tie between two sister models with excellent review scores.

The Car Expert‘s ‘Car of the Year’ for 2022, the Kia EV6 is 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.

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.

As of August 2023, the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 both hold an outstanding Expert Rating of 88%, which means that they currently sit at the top of the currently the medium car class in our Expert Rating Index.

If you would rather a saloon car, the Tesla Model 3 is another great choice for under £50k, praised for its performance, driving dynamics and minimalist style.

Best EV under £75,000: Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar I-Pace (2018 onwards) Expert Rating

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 under £70,000, the Jaguar I-Pace has an excellent Expert Rating of 83% from 18 reviews, which makes it the highest-ranked medium SUV in our Expert Rating Index.

Too expensive? Prices for the BMW i4 range start at £50,000. 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: Porsche Taycan

Porsche Taycan (2019 onwards) – Expert Rating

The Porsche Taycan range embodies all that we have come to love about Porsche performance in an all-electric package. The regular Taycan sports saloon has been widely commended for its ride quality, pace, battery range and its handsome looks, while the more expensive Taycan Cross Turismo estate is one of the most complete all-electric motoring packages money can buy, offering all that performance but with 80 litres of extra boot space.

With an entry-level price tag of around £79k for the Taycan (and £88k for the Taycan Cross Turismo), you would have some room in the budget for some added extras should a £100k purchase be within your means. Be careful however – Porsche has a tendency to put most of the features you want on the options list, for expensive additional fees.

While the Porsche Taycan holds an excellent Expert Rating of 89%, the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo holds an exceptional Expert Rating of 91%, making it the highest-ranked electric car in our Expert Rating Index.

Interested in the Taycan? You should check out the closely-related Audi e-tron GT too. It also delivers blistering performance in near silence, and combines the alluring looks of a hypercar and the practicality of a four-door family car.

Money is no object: Mercedes-Benz EQS

Mercedes-Benz EQS | Expert Rating

If you are looking for a luxurious family car and your budget can easily stretch beyond the six figure mark, our Expert Rating Index recommends that you take the Mercedes-Benz EQS for a test drive. This high-end saloon is as sophisticated as all-electric motoring gets, featuring unparalleled interior opulence, loads of on-board tech and a class-leading battery range.

The flagship model in the Mercedes-Benz EQ family and The Car Expert‘s ‘Car of the Year’ in 2021, the EQS currently holds an Expert Rating of 87% – a score slightly hindered by reports of rigid ride comfort, and complaints about the car’s eye-watering price tag.

The equally expensive BMW i7 has also been widely praised for its spacious and refined cabin filled with cutting-edge technology, but its exterior styling has divided reviewer opinion.

What else has arrived in the last year?

The electric car market has been growing rapidly over the last 12 months, with brand-new EVs arriving from almost every manufacturer. Starting with the newcomers, we have had the first all-electric contenders from Chinese brands arrive in the UK with affordable pricing, including the oddly named Ora Funky Cat, and BYD’s Dolphin and Atto 3.

The electric SUV sector has become even more crowded, as Jeep has now introduced its compact Avenger, Renault has electrified its Mégane, the BMW iX1 and Genesis GV60 have arrived, the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra are now on sale, and since Smart decided to discard its former model range in favour of a fresh restart with its #1 family car.

Volkswagen turned reviewer heads with the launch of its all-electric ID.Buzz people carrier, while Hyundai introduced a saloon version of its Ioniq 5 hatchback, the Ioniq 6. Mercedes-Benz added two further models to its EQ range, the EQE saloon and EQS SUV, while Rolls-Royce unveiled their first lavish electric car, the Spectre.

Finally, some manufacturers have started targeting the hot hatch market with their latest EV launches. The high-performance Abarth 500e and MG 4 XPower are already on offer, as well as the larger Kia EV6 GT.

Coming soon

There are plenty more EVs at every price point on their way before the end of 2023 and into next year. Here’s just a few of the new models planned for launch over the next 12 months.

The starting price for electric cars will also come back down soon as cars like the new BYD Dolphin (starting at £25K) arrive in the UK in coming months, as well as Dacia’s first electric model, the Spring small SUV. Other new Chinese brands will help put pricing pressure on European car brands as well, which is good news for buyers.

Car enthusiasts will see an increase in the number of EV models specifically tuned for performance. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 N is expected to arrive imminently, and Alpine’s first hot hatch – the A290 – is set to arrive in 2024.

There will be more electric models from mainstream brands on offer as well. The Renault 5 hatchback is planned for a 2024 release, while two new electric Fiats are close to entering production – the pint-sized Topolino quadricycle (based on the Citroën Ami) and the mid-size 600e crossover.

Premium brands will continue to add more electric models to their line-ups. The next Maserati GranTurismo range will include an electric ‘Folgore’ model, Lotus has unveiled its new Evija hypercar and Eletre SUV, American brand Fisker is expecting to introduce its Ocean SUV next year, and the Polestar 3 SUV is still in the works.

As the electrification of large cars increases, Volvo has now started taking orders for its huge EX90 SUV, which will soon be rivalled in size by the new Kia EV9.

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 35 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.

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Sean Rees
Sean Rees
Sean is the Deputy Editor at The Car Expert. A enthusiastic fan of motorsport and all things automotive, he is accredited by the Professional Publishers Association, and is now focused on helping those in car-buying need with independent and impartial advice.