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The best new electric cars for every budget 2024

Looking for a new electric car? Using our Expert Rating Index, we take a look at some of the best new EVs for every budget on sale right now.

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The electric car market is more competitive than ever, with a vast and growing selection of battery-powered cars now battling for consumer attention.

New government mandates came into force at the start of 2024, which stipulate that manufacturers now have a minimum electric car sales quota to meet. This has started to slowly lower the barrier to EV ownership, as more mainstream manufacturers look to undercut their rivals by launching cheaper electric models.

While there are several new compact EVs on the way that are all vying to dominate the emerging budget EV market, all-electric options priced below £30k are currently sparse, at least for now.

Going by new sales alone, one EV really stands above the competition. The Tesla Model Y SUV is not only the best-selling electric car by some margin, but is also the world’s most popular car of any fuel type right now, and frequently appears towards the top of the UK’s monthly sales charts.

However, there are several all-electric models that are just as worthy of your attention, and some of them have a cheaper price tag too.

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

This under £30k bracket will soon be bolstered by several new budget EVs that will drive down the entry-level electric car prices. For now though, only one battery-powered family car is recommended at this price point by our Expert Rating Index – and it’s also our 2024 Car of the Year.

The appealing MG 4’s low price point makes it an attractive gateway to EV ownership, and in addition to five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, British reviewers also commend the family car for its competitive battery range and its comfortable and rewarding driving experience.

While many manufacturers have now set their sights on competing with this benchmark budget EV in the near future, offering more value-for-money than the MG 4 will be a tough challenge. The hatchback also comes with a generous seven-year warranty, and its running costs are pretty low too.

As of March 2024, the MG 4 has an impressive New Car Expert Rating of A with a score of 81%. That said, the hatchback has been criticised for some cheap interior plastics and its rather poor rear visibility.

Even cheaper than the MG 4 is the brand-new Dacia Spring. While it is available to order now, it can’t match the MG’s range and performance, and we are yet to publish the car’s Expert Rating – coming soon! If you would prefer to wait until next year, small but cheap EVs like the Citroën ë-C3, Renault 5 and Skoda Epiq could also be capable alternatives.

Best EV under £35,000: Smart #1

Smart #1 | Expert Rating

Spearheading Smart’s re-birth as a stylish and spacious upmarket EV builder, the #1 (pronounced ‘Hashtag One’) is the best pick in the sub-£35k bracket according to our Expert Rating Index.

Beyond its attractive exterior, the hatchback offers a generous on-board tech package as standard, plenty of interior practicality and refinement, and competitive performance and battery range. The car also has an excellent safety rating, and will be cheap to run on a daily basis too.

On the other hand, if you would prefer a car with physical buttons for its controls this may not be the car for you, and in its standard form it’s not that fun to drive. As of March 2024, the Smart #1 holds a New Car Expert Rating of A with a score of 79%.

This price point is a lot more competitive, with plenty of EVs priced just north of the £30k mark. Our best-of-the-rest choice is currently the compact Renault Mégane E-Tech crossover, which is equally stylish and comfortable. It isn’t as practical though, with limited rear headroom and a relatively short boot.

Best EV under £40,000: Cupra Born

Cupra Born | Expert Rating

Should you have around £40k to spend, this is where your range of new EV choices really starts to expand. Our Expert Rating Index suggests that the Cupra Born is certainly worthy of a test drive.

The Born stands out from the rest of the mainstream EV crowd when it comes to driving fun, and has been described by the motoring media as more sophisticated and sporty than the Volkswagen ID.3 hatch that it is based on. The car’s interior space and practicality also highlight its great family car credentials and, again, it should be cheap to run and service.

As of March 2024, the Cupra Born holds a New Car Expert Rating of A with a score of 81% – a score that is slightly hindered by fiddly touch-sensitive controls.

If you are looking for a higher driving position and more interior space, the Nissan Ariya SUV just squeezes into this price bracket. Its cabin is spacious, refined and well-built, and it’s just as eye-catching on the road, but the SUV’s driving experience isn’t as engaging.

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 Expert Ratings.

Our 2022 Car of the Year, 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 March 2024, the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 both hold a New Car Expert Rating of A with a score of 81%, which means that, alongside the aforementioned MG 4 and Cupra Born, they currently sit at the top of our Expert Rating Index.

We can’t move on from this section without mentioning the highly-regarded Skoda Enyaq though, which holds the same Expert Rating score. The SUV has a huge boot, offers excellent battery range and its pretty easy to drive. The Skoda is also packed with safety tech, and comes with the brand’s practical ‘Simply Clever’ niceties throughout the cabin.

Best EV under £75,000: Volkswagen ID. Buzz

Volkswagen ID. Buzz | Expert Rating

A modern retelling of the classic of the Type 2 Microbus of the 1960s, the electric Volkswagen ID. Buzz is a fantastic zero-emission choice for larger families, provided you have around £75k to spend.

The people carrier is cheaper than that of course – around £15k cheaper as standard to be more exact – but more room in your budget allows you to explore the car’s optional interior comfort, infotainment and safety tech packages with more freedom.

Currently available in a five-seat configuration with a longer seven-seat ‘LWB’ version on the way this year, reviewers comment that the ID. Buzz is one of the most practical EVs currently on sale. It’s battery range is impressive, it will certainly turn heads when driving through town, and its resale values are sure to remain strong too.

That said, some outlets have called the car’s infotainment ‘confusing’, and its price remains a contentious reviewer issue – there are other new premium battery-powered people carriers available for less. As of March 2024, the Volkswagen ID. Buzz holds a New Car Expert Rating of A with a score of 81%.

Is this Volkswagen too bulky for your taste? The new BMW i5 saloon has also been earmarked by UK reviewers as a compelling class leader that blends agile handling and impressive performance with interior class and comfort.

Best EV under £100,000: Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S – Expert Rating 2024

Our Expert Rating Index has chosen the accomplished Tesla Model S saloon as the best choice in the under £100k bracket. This is the oldest model on this list – launched in the UK back in 2014 – but don’t let its age deceive you.

The Model S has been a pioneering vehicle for the image of electric cars, almost single-handedly changing the perception of electric vehicles having poor performance and range. Reviewers still commend this Tesla for its sleek attractive looks, as well as its engaging performance and driving dynamics.

Tesla is keen to keep the model up to date with newer competitors too – its latest 2021 update including substantial on-board tech and battery upgrades. As of 2024, this flagship model is now only available in left-hand drive and in ultra-fast Plaid trim.

As of March 2024, the Tesla Model S holds a New Car Expert Rating of A with a score of 81%. The car’s long-term reliability remains an issue, though Tesla has made improvements in this area in recent years. Reviewers also comment that German rivals still offer higher interior quality.

One such German rival is the Porsche Taycan – an electric saloon that embodies all that we have come to love about Porsche performance with excellent ride quality, pace, battery range and handsome looks.

Money 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 a New Car Expert Rating of A with a score of 79% – a score slightly hindered by reports of rigid ride comfort, high running costs and complaints about the car’s eye-watering price tag.

The luxurious 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 compact crossovers, the Dacia Spring has now arrived in the UK with very affordable pricing, and Hyundai has replaced its original Kona Electric with an all-new model, which reviewers agree is a significant improvement over its well-regarded predecessor. The Honda e:Ny1 is also now available in the UK, with some less than flattering review scores.

The electric hot hatch market has become more competitive as the Abarth 500e and MG 4 XPower have now been challenged by the larger Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, which has picked up overwhelming media praise.

The electric SUV sector has become even more crowded with the arrival of the Lexus RZ, Fiat 600e, Volvo EX30 and BMW iX2, though the latter has also faced rather heavy reviewer criticism and thus sits at the bottom of our electric car rankings.

Newcomer Fisker also launched its flagship Ocean SUV, and there have been three key additions to the large SUV market – the Kia EV9, Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV and Volvo EX90. Those looking for high performance could also be intrigued by the arrival of the Lotus Eletre.

Finally, three new electric saloons are now on offer – the BMW i5, BYD Seal and Volkswagen ID.7.

Coming soon

There are plenty more EVs at every price point on their way before the end of 2024 and into next year. Here’s some of the most newsworthy new models planned for launch over the next 12 months.

While the pricing for the new BYD Dolphin has been raised above £30k, there are a host of new budget EVs looking to fill the void, such as the Citroën ë-C3, Renault 5, Skoda Epiq and the new electric Fiat Panda.

Car enthusiasts will see another increase in the number of EV models specifically tuned for performance. Alpine’s first hot hatch – the A290 – is set to arrive this year, and more expensive coupés like the MG Cyberster, Maserati GranCabrio Folgore and Lotus Emeya are arriving in the next 12 months.

The already extremely competitive electric SUV category will be bolstered by the likes of the Alfa Romeo Milano, Audi Q6 e-tron, BYD Seal U, Cupra Tavascan, Ford Explorer, Hyundai Ioniq 7, Polestar 3, Renault Scenic E-Tech and Smart #3 in the near future.

There are also new electric versions of the Mini Countryman and Porsche Macan, and that’s before we even get to the new brands without much name recognition that are looking to make an impact on the UK market.

Alongside its Ocean, Fisker is planning the release of its smaller Pear crossover, and KGM – the new name for refreshed brand SsangYong – will be launching its Torres EVX SUV as well.

Omoda has recently outlined its plans for the UK, including the imminent release of its E5 SUV, and other Chinese brands like Aiways, Nio and Xpeng are all looking to launch in Britain by the end of the year. Keep an eye out for American brand Lucid too, which is launching its upmarket Air executive saloon in the UK sometime next year.

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.