Best electric cars 2023
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?...
Electric cars have now entered the mainstream, accounting for 16.1% of new car sales in the UK so far this year. 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 2030 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.
Here, we count down our top 10 electric cars and reveal the ones to avoid. If any of the models on the list take your fancy, just click on the relevant link to find out more or see how much of a discount you could get by using our free New Car Buying service. Of course, if you just want to know which car tops our list, look no further – the Volkswagen ID Buzz is the best electric car you can buy.
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 a conventional family SUV, 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.
Add in strong resale values, and it's no wonder that the ID Buzz is our Car of the Year for 2023, and the best electric car you can buy.
- Pleasant to drive with a comfortable ride
- Hugely practical
- Strong resale values
- Not available as a seven-seater - yet
- Fiddly air-con controls and infotainment
- Efficiency could be better
Few cars received as much hype before their launch as the Tesla Model 3, and even fewer can match what it offers in reality.
The American brand’s smallest car is great to drive, offering sweeter handling than the rival Kia EV6 or Polestar 2, and it's packed full of tech, fast (ridiculously so in Performance guise) as well as being surprisingly practical. In fact, you might be surprised at how much luggage you can get into its boot.
Factor in that it’s also competitively priced – it undercuts the rival Hyundai Ioniq 6, for example – and that buying one gets you access to the brand’s ultra-fast and convenient Supercharger network, and it’s easy to recommend.
- Savage acceleration – particularly in the Performance version
- Long range between charges
- Surprisingly practical
- Fast charging via Tesla's prolific Supercharger network
- Rivals are quieter on the move
- Handling not as entertaining as the best petrol-powered rivals
- Some may find the ride a touch firm
Don't let the fact that you might not have heard of the Genesis brand put you off.
You see, Genesis is part of the same group as Hyundai and Kia, and the GV60 is a sister model to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6. Amazingly, though, it manages to be classier than both inside, with most surfaces covered in high-quality materials, and comes with a more intuitive infotainment system.
Being based on the Ioniq 5 and EV6 gives the GV60 the same electric car advantages as those models, too, namely a long range and the ability to charge its batteries super-quickly – provided you’re using the most powerful charging points. In fact, we think the GV60 is so good that it's our reigning Electric SUV of the Year.
- Wonderful interior
- Extremely quiet on the move
- Great infotainment system
- Boot isn't huge
- Rear space is average
- Optional cameras not as good as traditional door mirrors
It means you're getting a practical and classy SUV with the best infotainment system around. Indeed, BMW’s iDrive setup, with its rotary controller, is far easier to get along with than the purely touch-based setups of some rivals, such as the Audi Q8 E-tron and Mercedes EQC – even if those cars feel a little classier inside.
Speaking of rivals, the iX3 steers and handles better than most of them, including the Jaguar I-Pace, while also providing a comfortable ride. Zero emissions and a long range between charges are merely very welcome bonuses.
- Longer range than most direct rivals
- Great infotainment system
- Comparatively well priced
- Not as fast as rivals
- Audi E-tron is quieter
- Tesla Model 3 has a longer range and faster charging
The Kia EV6 is an even better electric car than the closely related Hyundai Ioniq 5, because it's more enjoyable to drive and slightly classier inside. In fact, it's a former What Car? Car of the Year winner.
Like the Ioniq 5, it offers a long official range of up to 328 miles between charges (although you’re more likely to see up to 270 miles in real-world conditions), as well as rapid charging for the ability to charge up very quickly.
Just bear in mind that cheaper rear-wheel drive EV6s make more financial sense than the faster, four-wheel drive models, even though the latter can cover the 0-62mph sprint in just 5.0sec. There’s also a range-topping EV6 GT model with 577bhp which can out-sprint a Porsche Taycan 4S to 62mph.
- Long range
- Fast-charging capability
- Long warranty
- Loads of rear legroom
- Shallow boot
- Not exactly cheap
- Slightly firm ride
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.
- Incredible point-to-point pace
- More spacious rear seats than in the coupé
- Wonderful interior quality
- You'll want to add a fair few options
- Range isn’t spectacular
- Non-electric rivals have bigger boots
Hyundai's Ioniq 5 combines standout looks with a good range. Entry level versions can take you up to 238 miles between charges according to official figures, while higher-end models offer up to 285 miles.
When you do need to plug in, the Ioniq 5 supports the same fast-charging as its sister car, the Kia EV6, so a 10-80% top-up can take as little as 20 minutes.
The Ioniq 5 offers plenty of space inside, with enough legroom for six-foot passengers to stretch out, even if they’re sitting behind a lofty driver. The boot, meanwhile, managed to fit seven carry-on suitcases in our tests – but it's worth noting that the rival Tesla Model Y and Volkswagen ID 4 managed to swallow even more. Our only real gripe is that the ride, while comfy most of the time, could be better controlled – the Genesis Gv60 is better in this regard.
- Very quiet on the move – as long as you avoid 20in alloys
- Super-fast charging speeds
- Enormously spacious interior
- Not as quiet as the Genesis GV60 at a cruise
- Not as sharp to drive as the EV6
- Interior quality could be better
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 MG 4 EV 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 Porsce Taycan 4S, then go for the MG4 Xpower, which gets 429bhp and four-wheel drive.
- Incredibly well priced
- Competitive range between charges
- Long warranty
- Some interior materials disappoint
- Slightly unsettled ride
- Infotainment system is fiddly
With the Skoda Enyaq, you're getting an electric SUV that’s practical, smart inside and well equipped. In fact, even entry level models come with luxuries including dual-zone climate control, 19in alloy wheels and cruise control.
Perhaps most impressive of all, though, is the value it offers. The ‘60’ version is priced in line with smaller alternatives, including the Kia Niro EV. And don’t think that bargain price means you’ll be short-changed on range; 60 models can officially take you up to 246-miles between charges.
The Enyaq also one of the best-riding cars for the money, especially on faster roads, where it's more comfortable than the Hyundai Ioniq 5 or Tesla Model Y. It's good to drive, too; its steering is light and precise, so you can place the car exactly where you want it.
- Extremely practical
- 80 version has an impressive range
- Comfortable and easy to drive
- So-so performance by electric car standards
- You'll want to add options
- Infotainment isn’t as responsive as rival systems
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.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
- Brilliant performance
- Impressive official range
- Class-leading infotainment
- Relatively expensive to buy outright
- M50 not as sharp as Tesla Model 3 Performance
- BMW lacks Tesla’s world-beating charging infrastructure
And the electric cars to avoid...
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
The Best electric cars in 2023
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?
BYD Atto 3 long-term test
Can an unfamiliar car brand show established names a thing or two when it comes to comfortable, practical and cost-effective electric motoring? We're finding out