Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
Even the cheapest i3 is pretty pricey, and that’s after factoring in a £3000 government grant. That said, although the i3 is expensive to buy outright, it makes more sense on a PCP finance deal and won’t cost you much in company car tax.
In terms of list price, the i3 is more in line with the brilliant Kia e-Niro (which has a much longer range between charges) than the Nissan Leaf, but then again you'd probably expect to pay more for a BMW. As of yet, there are no like-for-like electric cars from other premium brands – such as Audi, Mercedes or Lexus – but it’s worth noting that despite the premium badge, the i3 isn't predicted to hold onto its value as well some newer rivals, including the e-Niro.
In theory, the i3 has fewer moving parts than a petrol or diesel car, so it should be more reliable. But there's still plenty of high-tech electrics that could potentially go wrong.
Indeed, the i3 came mid-table in the electric and hybrid cars category of the 2019 What Car? Reliability survey, and the German brand finished 21st (out of 31) in the overall manufacturer league table.
Most parts are covered by a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, while the battery is covered for eight years or 100,000 miles.