Best electric cars 2021

Electric car sales are booming, and no wonder: the best are quiet, cheap to run and smooth to drive. But which are the bright sparks worth considering – and which are the loose connections?...


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What Car? team

Best electric cars

Electric cars are now entering the mainstream, accounting for 6.7% of new car sales in September. What's more, their rise is only going to accelerate as rules are introduced to limit the kind of vehicles allowed into major cities.

The main thing that has traditionally prevented them selling in greater numbers is range anxiety – the fear that you won’t have enough juice to get to where you’re going. However, with plenty of models now capable of covering more than 200 miles between charges, this is becoming less of an issue.

So, which electric cars should you consider? Here, we count down our top 10 and tell you the one to avoid.

10

Seat Mii Electric

What Car? Target Price from

£22,800

RRP from £22,800 to £22,800

If you're looking for a small electric car to primarily use in the city, the Mii Electric should definitely be on your shortlist. It might not have the battery capacity – and therefore range – of some alternatives, but that means its price is lower, and the 111 miles that it managed in our Real Range test is still enough for many people's needs.

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Pros

  • Competitive pricing
  • Comfortable ride
  • Great in town

Cons

  • Only four seats
  • Rivals go farther
  • Old-school interior
9

Polestar 2

What Car? Target Price from

£49,900

RRP from £49,900 to £49,900

The second model from Volvo spinoff Polestar (hence the name) is a thrillingly quick electric executive car with an exquisite interior and the ability to go a long way between charges. Just bear in mind that the similarly-priced Telsa Model 3 Performance is better to drive, more practical and has access to a better charging network.

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Pros

  • Brilliant performance
  • Decent official range
  • Classy interior

Cons

  • Road noise
  • Weight compromises agility
  • Limited rear head room
8

Audi E-tron

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£55,509

RRP from £60,600 to £93,500

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The Audi E-tron doesn’t feel as sporty to drive as the rival Jaguar I-Pace, and it has a shorter range. However, it’s the classier of the two inside and the quieter cruiser. In a first for a production car, buyers can improve the aerodynamics by opting to remove the E-tron’s door mirrors and replace them with cameras that feed into small screens inside.

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Pros

  • Cosetting ride
  • Very smooth and quiet
  • Spacious and luxurious interior

Cons

  • Disappointing range
  • Fiddly infotainment system
  • Jaguar I-Pace is more fun
7

Hyundai Kona Electric

The powerful 64kWh Kona Electric blasts range anxiety out of the water, travelling 259 miles between charges in our hands. It's also reasonably priced and well equipped, although the closely related Kia e-Niro offers more rear space and is better to drive.

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Pros

  • 250-mile-plus range in real-world driving (64kWh battery)
  • Strong acceleration
  • Even the base model is well equipped

Cons

  • You’re unlikely to get a big discount
  • Rear seat space is limited
  • Doesn’t ride as well as the Kia e-Niro or Peugeot e-208
6

Renault Zoe

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£26,480

RRP from £29,995 to £34,495

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The Zoe’s main strength is that it feels like a conventional, stylish, nippy small car, and just happens to cost pennies to run. The electric motor has enough shove for the Zoe to lead the charge away from traffic lights, and its interior has room for four to sit in reasonable comfort. Even the boot is larger than you’ll find in many regular small cars; it's easily big enough for a family's weekly shopping.

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Pros

  • Longer range than similar-priced alternatives
  • Smart interior – particularly on the posher trim levels
  • R135 has punchy acceleration

Cons

  • Rear head room could be better
  • Driving position is flawed
  • Automatic emergency braking unavailable on entry-level trim
5

Jaguar I-Pace

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£62,448

RRP from £65,195 to £74,395

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The I-Pace SUV is Jaguar’s first electric car, and can drive for more than 250 miles between charges in real-world conditions. It can also be charged to 80% of capacity in just 90 minutes, and its futuristic interior features two 12.0in screens and another 5.5in screen for climate settings. Add in fun handling, and it's a very appealing option.

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Pros

  • Big range between charges
  • Entertaining handling
  • Futuristic looks

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Poor rear visibility
  • Road noise
4

Porsche Taycan

What Car? Target Price from

£83,635

RRP from £83,635 to £139,221

If you're looking for all the usual electric car benefits but want something that's also absolutely thrilling to drive, the Porsche Taycan is the car for you. It's even reasonably practical and wonderfully classy inside, although all of this does come at a high price.

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Pros

  • Staggering performance
  • Stunningly capable and fun in corners
  • Wonderful interior quality

Cons

  • Very expensive...
  • ...and you’ll still want to add options
  • Range isn’t spectacular
3

Kia e-Niro

What Car? Target Price from

£32,845

RRP from £32,845 to £39,395

The e-Niro is another car that banishes range anxiety, managing 253 miles when we put it to the test. It also offers good practicality, performance, comfort and equipment – and all for a competitive price. In fact, we rate the e-Niro so highly we made it our 2019 Car of the Year.

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Pros

  • 64kWh model’s 250-mile-plus range in real-world driving
  • Quick acceleration in 64kWh
  • Well equipped

Cons

  • A fair bit pricier than an MG ZS EV
  • Doesn't charge as quickly as a Tesla Model 3
  • No Euro NCAP safety rating
2

Peugeot e-208

Small electric cars don't come any better than the Peugeot e-208; it has a higher quality interior than the rival Renault Zoe, along with more rear head room and extra safety kit. There's no compromise on boot space compared with petrol versions of the 208, either, and you can expect to do almost 200 miles between charges.

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Pros

  • Eye-catching, classy-feeling interior
  • Decent to drive
  • Well equipped

Cons

  • The Renault Zoe can cover more miles between charges
  • Mushy brake pedal
  • Not the cheapest electric option
1

Tesla Model 3

What Car? Target Price from

£43,490

RRP from £43,490 to £56,490

Few cars received as much hype before their launch as the Model 3, and even fewer can match what it offers in reality. Tesla's most affordable car yet is great to drive, packed full of tech, fast (ridiculously so in Performance guise) and surprisingly practical. Factor in a competitive price, especially given its sheer pace, and it’s not only a great electric car but one of the best executive cars you can buy, too.

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Pros

  • Savage acceleration
  • Long range between charges
  • Surprisingly practical
  • Fast charging via Tesla's prolific Supercharger network

Cons

  • Build quality could be better
  • Handling not as entertaining as petrol rivals
  • Some may find the ride a touch firm

And the electric car to avoid

Smart Forfour EQ
Smart ForFour EQ 2020 LHD press tracking

Although the Forfour EQ is relatively cheap to buy, you could get a Renault Zoe for similar money, with the latter offering more space and more than double the range between charges. Read our review

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