Used Car of the Year Awards: Electric cars
With living costs on the rise, getting a good deal on your next car is more important than ever. That's where our Used Car Awards come in. These are our favourite electric cars...
Tesla Model 3
Price from £23,000 Our pick Standard Range Plus
Credit where credit is due: Elon Musk has led Tesla to become one of today’s most popular car brands. He’s no stranger to controversy in other matters, but Tesla’s Model 3 has proved to be an electric vehicle (EV) milestone.
This executive car has sold immensely well since its launch, and it continues to do so today, meaning the used market is flooded with them. Examples start with the Standard Range Plus, which can be found for a very tempting £23,000.
While this entry-level model can’t come close to matching the Performance’s 0-60mph time of 3.3sec (in our hands), it’ll still manage the sprint in a hot-hatch-like 6.1sec. You won’t see such acceleration behind the wheel of a Kia e-Niro.
The range is impressive, too: the Standard Range Plus officially travels 254 miles on a single charge, or 267 miles if you go for a post-2020 example. If you need 300-plus miles of range (more than any Jaguar I-Pace can offer), you can pick up a Model 3 Long Range or Performance for a few thousand pounds more; these versions have larger batteries.
The Model 3 is more reliable than the I-Pace, too. In the latest What Car? Reliability Survey, the Model 3 ranked eighth out of 20 cars in the EV class, with an impressive 93.9% score.
Its minimalist interior takes some time to get used to; everything from the door mirrors to the headlights is controlled via a 15.0in central touchscreen. Fortunately, the latter is logically laid out and quick to respond to inputs.
There’s lots of passenger room, with space for a couple of six-footers to sit behind a similarly tall driver and front passenger. What’s more, the main boot is very large by saloon standards and includes a deep underfloor storage well, plus there’s another small boot under the bonnet. In total, they can accommodate 10 carry-on suitcases; that’s a lot more than a Volkswagen ID 3 can handle.
Despite its many virtues, the Model 3 will cost you less to buy than the practical Skoda Enyaq. Sealing the deal is that Model 3 owners get easy access to Tesla’s fast, reliable and rapidly expanding Supercharger network, and the fact that this car uses electricity more efficiently than any of its rivals.
Best budget buy
Renault Zoe (2013-present)
Price from £8000 Our pick R110 ZE40 Dynamique Nav
More often than not, electric cars are pricier than their combustion-powered equivalents, but not the Renault Zoe. In fact, a 2015 example will cost you less to buy than a Ford Fiesta of the same vintage, at around £4000.
Even if you spring for our favourite variant, the R110, you’ll need only around £8000, and it’s well worth the extra; its larger 41kWh (usable) battery (the original Zoe’s was 22kWh) brings a useful official range of 186 miles. It makes for a nippy zero-emissions city runaround, and with a surprisingly big boot, the Zoe is a practical electric car bargain.
However, we’d understand if you went for a facelifted car from 2020 or later. Doing so means spending from around £12,000, but you’ll get an even larger battery and a 250-mile official range, while tweaks inside and out give it a more up-to-date feel.
Best for practicality
Skoda Enyaq (2021-present)
Price from £27,000 Our pick 60 Nav Suite
Skoda knows a thing or two about making practical vehicles, as proved by, well, every car in its recent history. The Enyaq is no different.
Its boot is larger than the rival Volkswagen ID 4’s and there’s lots of passenger space in the back, with more than enough leg room for a pair of six-footers to stretch out behind equally tall folk sitting in the front. What’s more, it has loads of handy features, including phone pockets on the backs of the front seats. If you find an example that has the optional- from-new Clever Package, you’ll get sun blinds for the rear windows, folding tray tables and extra-soft rear headrests that feel like pillows when you lean back for a snooze.
The Enyaq’s range isn’t quite on the Model 3’s level, but it’s still good. Our pick, the 60 Nav Suite, can officially travel for 246 miles on a full charge. With prices from £27,000, a used Enyaq is a lot of EV for the money
Best for driving pleasure
Porsche Taycan (2020-present)
Price from £56,000 Our pick 4S 93kWh Performance Plus
Before the Porsche Taycan, if you wanted a performance car that was brilliant to drive, one of the last places you’d turn to was the electric car class.Yes, some were ludicrously quick, but fun and rewarding in the corners? Not so much.
The Taycan changed the game. Despite its heavy battery working against it, it retains much of the handling poise and prowess of Porsche’s combustion-engined models.As a driver’s car, the Taycan is even better than the closely related Audi E-tron GT. Okay, you won’t get a Taycan for the price of a Tesla Model 3, but buying used will trim upwards of £20k off the price of a new one.
A Taycan 4S with the 93kWh battery is the one to go for; it has an official range of 282 miles and returned a blistering 3.6sec 0-60mph time in our test. This version is among the most affordable you’ll find used, yet it isn’t even the entry-level model.