Best electric cars 2024 – the EVs to buy and those to avoid

Sales of electric cars are booming, and no wonder: the best are quiet, cheap to run and smooth to drive. But which are the brightest sparks – and which are the loose connections?...

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by
Alasdair Rodden
Updated19 January 2024

Electric cars have now entered the mainstream, accounting for almost a fifth of new car sales in the UK. What's more, their rise is only going to accelerate as rules are introduced to limit the kind of vehicles allowed into major cities and we get closer to the 2035 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel models

That means more buyers are thinking about switching to an electric car, but how can you decide which ones deserve a spot on your shortlist? Well, the main thing that has traditionally prevented electric cars 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, and some a lot more than that, this is becoming less of an issue.

Our experienced team of road testers pit each new model against a range of rivals to find out which offers the best all-round package, and from our extensive testing, which covers every electric car on the market, the Tesla Model 3 comes out on top.

Here, we reveal our top 10 electric cars, and tell you which models are better avoided - plus, we'll show you the very best electric car deals

Our pick: RWD 4dr Auto

0-62mph: 6.1 sec
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 594 litres
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Fast and reliable charging via Tesla's Supercharger network
  • Long range between charges
  • Surprisingly practical

Weaknesses

  • Fiddly interior controls
  • Handling not as entertaining as the best petrol-powered rivals
  • Windscreen pillars hamper visibility

Since its launch in 2019, the Tesla Model 3 has consistently been one of our favourite electric cars. Now, thanks to a recent update, it’s the model to beat – as well as being our favourite executive car.

The Model 3 is great to drive, offering sweeter handling than the rival Kia EV6 or Polestar 2. It’s fast, too (ridiculously so in Performance guise), and surprisingly practical.

The near-complete lack of physical buttons and switches (even the indicator stalk has been replaced with haptic buttons on the steering wheel) won’t suit everyone, but the enormous 15.4in central screen is at least pretty user-friendly.

Factor in that the Model 3 is also competitively priced, and that buying one gets you access to the brand’s ultra-fast and convenient Supercharger network, and it’s easy to recommend.

Read our in-depth Tesla Model 3 review

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Pleasant to drive with a comfortable ride
  • Hugely practical
  • Strong resale values

Weaknesses

  • Not available as a seven-seater - yet
  • Fiddly air-con controls and infotainment
  • Efficiency could be better

There’s so much affection for the retro design of the Volkswagen ID Buzz that its maker could easily have penny-pinched on the engineering and still sold as many as it could make.

Instead, the German brand has clearly thrown everything at the car, and this has resulted in something that combines the practicality of an MPV with the comfort and refinement of a premium SUV and the low running costs of an electric car. 

The ID Buzz is good to drive – it can sprint up to motorway speeds faster than many conventional family SUVs, such as the 1.5-litre petrol-engined Volkswagen Tiguan – and is endlessly spacious, meaning more space for passengers and luggage than you'd find in a Jaguar I-Pace or Tesla Model Y.

Read our in-depth Volkswagen ID Buzz review

Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Incredible point-to-point pace
  • More spacious rear seats than in the coupé
  • Wonderful interior quality

Weaknesses

  • You'll want to add a fair few options
  • Range isn’t spectacular
  • Non-electric rivals have bigger boots

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.

Even entry level models come with 322bhp, while range-topping Turbo versions offer up to 751bhp – enough for a 0-62mph sprint time of just 2.8sec. An incredibly low centre of gravity and impressive steering makes the Taycan feel very agile. It gives you a better connection to the front wheels than the Mercedes EQS, for example, and only the near-identical Audi E-tron GT can match it for grip.

Don’t worry about range, either; all versions of the Taycan should be capable of taking you 200 miles between charges in real-world conditions.

The Taycan is wonderfully classy inside, too, and surprisingly practical, particularly if you go for the estate-like Cross Turismo version we're recommending here. So, while the Taycan certainly isn't cheap, it's worth every penny.

Read our in-depth Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo review

Our pick: 250kW eDrive40 M Sport 83.9kWh 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 5.7 sec
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 470 litres
Insurance group: 36E
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Brilliant performance
  • Impressive official range
  • Class-leading infotainment

Weaknesses

  • Relatively expensive to buy outright
  • M50 not as sharp as Tesla Model 3 Performance
  • BMW lacks Tesla’s world-beating charging infrastructure

The BMW i4 is fast, with some versions able to reach 60mph from a standing start in just 3.8sec. The i4 is also better at putting its power down than single-motor versions of the rival Polestar 2, especially in slippery conditions. Plus, it's comfortable on long journeys, and extremely hushed at high speeds.

Factor in a decent range of up to 367 miles between charges, a great infotainment system that’s easy to get along with, as well as its plush interior and it's a compelling alternative to a Tesla Model 3

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the Model 3 comes with a significantly better-charging network – important if you cover a lot of motorway miles. Plus, whether you’re buying outright or on a finance deal, the i4 will cost you more than most rivals.

Read our in-depth BMW i4 review

Our pick: 125kW SE EV 51kWh 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 7.7 sec
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 289 litres
Insurance group: 27D
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Incredibly well priced
  • Competitive range between charges
  • Long warranty

Weaknesses

  • Some interior materials disappoint
  • Slightly unsettled ride
  • Infotainment system is fiddly

MG's latest electric car is staggering value for money – particularly in entry-level SE trim. Don’t think that by going for the cheapest choice you’ll be left lacking in kit, though; luxuries such as adaptive cruise control and rear parking sensors come as standard.

Elsewhere, the MG4 impresses with a competitive range of up to 218 miles between charges with the cheapest 50.8kWh battery. The more expensive 61.7kWh models, meanwhile, can travel up to 281 miles between charges according to official figures. If you want to match a good range with the kind of acceleration which can embarrass a Porsche Taycan 4S, then go for the MG4 XPower, which gets 429bhp and four-wheel drive.

Some rivals, such as the Cupra Born and Renault Megane E-Tech are quieter, more polished to drive and have smarter interiors than the MG, but then they also cost thousands more to buy.

Read our in-depth MG4 review

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Good range between charges
  • Relatively fun handling
  • Quiet cruising manners

Weaknesses

  • Much pricier than MG4
  • Awful touch-sensitive dashboard buttons
  • Slightly firmer ride than ID 3

Think of the Cupra Born as a slightly more fun, and slightly more classy alternative to the Volkswagen ID 3. Both models share a great deal under the skin, but with only a few exceptions, you’ll be hard-pressed to tell the difference.

Mechanically, the Born and ID 3 very similar, with a choice of 58kWh and 77kWh batteries, delivering official ranges of 264 and 341 miles – along in our real-world tests, the former returned 183 miles (winter) and 219 miles (summer), with the latter managing 235 and 285 miles. 

We think the smaller battery makes most sense because the range should be plenty for many drivers, and the V1 trim comes with pretty much everything you’d need. 

Read our in-depth Cupra Born review

Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Potentially rapid charging
  • Comfortable ride and great handling
  • Very well equipped and strong resale values

Weaknesses

  • Ionity rapid chargers are few and far between
  • Not as spacious as a Model S
  • Low-speed motor whine and gearbox shunt

Grand tourers need to be sleek, fast and capable of covering huge distances. And for that alone, the Audi E-tron GT lives up to its name. Officially, it can accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.1sec, but at the hands of our testers, it’s gone even faster. It can cover up to 305 miles on a charge and can accept charging speeds of up to 270kW – if you can find a charger with enough oomph, only the Porsche Taycan and Maserati GranTurismo Folgore can match it.

The E-tron GT is a little softer than the more agile Taycan, but it still drives superbly, and is far more entertaining than a Tesla Model S. It’s also nicer inside, and unlike both the Tesla and Taycan, there are physical buttons for regularly-used features. There’s no doubting the tech, which is easy to use and the screens are clear and responsive.

It’s not quite perfect, though. With a starting price of more than £80,000, it’s quite pricey even if resale values are very good. And there’s a bit of whine from the motor – but if you can overlook that, it really is a fine electric car.

Read our in-depth Audi E-tron GT review

Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Decent range between charges
  • Fun to drive around town
  • Stacks up well financially

Weaknesses

  • Tiny rear seats
  • Noisy on the motorway
  • Rivals have longer electric ranges

The Fiat 500 Electric is another reimagining of the icon, and with a starting price of less than £20,000, proves that a great electric car needn’t break the bank. For that, you’ll get a range of 115 miles which is fine for round-town use, and in the real world is close to what you’d get from a Honda e or a Mini Electric.

We think it’s worth spending a little more for the larger 42kWh battery which has an official range of up to 199 miles. Its zippier acceleration improves all-round useability.

The 500 Electric excels in the city, though, where those compact dimensions, plus a tight turning circle make it very manoeuvrable. However, the boot is small and the rear seats are cramped, meaning its practicality is a step behind the likes of the Mini.

Read our in-depth Fiat 500 Electric review

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Loads of standard kit and safety equipment
  • Sprightly performance
  • Decent to drive

Weaknesses

  • Iffy interior quality
  • Tesla Model 3 can use better charging network
  • Infotainment system needs some upgrades

The Volkswagen ID 3 is a jack-of-all-trades. It’s good to drive, well-equipped and pretty comfy on the move, but struggles to stand out against the best of its rivals in any one area.

There are two versions of the ID 3: Pro and Pro S. The former is the entry level version – that gets a 58kWh battery which means it can officially manage 265 miles between charges – while Pro S cars get a larger, 77kWh battery, which provides a 347-mile official range.

However, the ID 3’s high price tag means it’s hard to recommend one over an MG4 or Tesla Model 3.

Read our in-depth Volkswagen ID 3 review

Our pick: EV60 160kW Equilibre 60kWh Optimum Charge 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 7.5 sec
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 440 litres
Insurance group: 26E
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Strong performance
  • Comfortable ride – even on 20in alloys
  • Great driving position

Weaknesses

  • Relatively heavy depreciation
  • Rivals have more rear space
  • Snatchy brake pedal

Many electric cars are bought as company cars, and it’s safe to assume that most of those will spend a lot of their lives going up and down motorways. If that sounds familiar, the Renault Megane E-Tech may be worth a place on your shortlist.

A wealth of sound insulation means the Megane is much quieter at speed than a Cupra Born or MG4, and the suspension is firm enough to prevent wallowing, while still offering great ride comfort.

The Megane’s 280-mile official range is slightly ahead of what an entry-level Volkswagen ID 3 can achieve, too, but heavy depreciation means relatively high monthly payments for those buying on PCP.

Read our in-depth Renault Megane E-Tech review

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And the electric cars to avoid...

DS 3 Crossback E-Tense

The E-Tense is quieter and more comfortable than conventionally powered DS 3 Crossbacks. However, similarly priced electric rivals can travel farther between charges, are better to drive and provide more space. Read our review

Ora Funky Cat

Like the E-Tense, the Funky Cat has its strengths, including lots of safety kit and a long warranty, but it's too far behind key rivals in too many other areas to recommend. Read our review