Best Electric Cars to buy in 2023

Tom Barnard

27 Sep 2023

As the adoption of electric vehicles continues to grow, so does the choice for buyers. Today, you can find battery-powered cars of all shapes and sizes, from city runabouts to seven-seater SUVs, with plenty of fun performance cars in between to whet your appetite. We’ve compiled a top ten of our favourites from all categories and ranked them according to our scoring system compiled by our leading electric car experts.

10. Cupra Born

Our pick: 58kWh V2
Price: £38,395
Range: 235 miles

Despite the fact that the Volkswagen ID 3 has received an early facelift to counter early criticisms, we still think its sibling Cupra Born is the better choice. 

​It’s the more engaging of the two to drive. The ID 3 is supposed to be the comfortable one, whereas the Born is set up to be sporty. We found it to have the quickest, sharpest steering, helping to make it feel more alert, and the stiffer suspension means it’s a little more tied down to the road should you happen to be driving down an undulating country B road at speed.

We also think the Born has the nicer interior of the two, despite the revised ID 3 gaining some better quality plastics. The reason being that all Borns come with a larger 12.0in touchscreen with an interface we find easier to get on with. The ID 3 will be gaining a new, larger screen, but not until mid-2024.

Entry-level V1 trim is fair value, but we’d recommend going for V2 to get added luxuries such as heated front seats and steering wheel, plus a handy head-up display - the latter is great for seeing the speed you’re going without having to adjust your eyes from the road. There isn’t much need to go for the e-Boost model, because you won’t notice the extra power around town due to the standard car is quick enough as it is.

9. BMW iX3

Our pick: M Sport
Price: £64,165
Range: 285.8 miles

Some may regard the BMW iX3 as being a very understated electric SUV given that it bears more than a passing resemblance to the standard BMW X3, and looks downright dull next to the striking BMW iX, but don’t let that fool you into thinking its an irrelevant EV.

For starters, the iX3 is much better value than the pricier entry-level xDrive40 iX because you get similar performance and greater EV range. We also prefer the way the iX3 drives because not only does it have a much more comfortable ride, but its smaller size helps it to feel quite nimble.

Having an interior based on the X3 means the iX3 is full of premium materials. It’s also stuffed with standard tech and, remarkably, is very nearly as practical as the regular X3 despite the addition of a sizeable battery pack. 

8. Fiat 500e

Our pick: 42kWh
Price: £31,195
Range: 186 miles

Even dinky city cars are going electric these days, and because of how well the Fiat 500 e has turned out, we think the rest should follow.

Certainly the Mini Electric could learn something from the 500 e, because not only can the 42kWh Fiat go farther on a charge, but it’s cheaper than the Mini, too. We also find the 500 e to be the nicer of the two to drive in town, because the heavy steering of the Mini can make that car feel a tad cumbersome, whereas the lighter set-up of the 500 e makes parking a breeze. The more forgiving suspension of the Italian copes better with potholes and speed bumps than the firm Mini.

We find the 500 e to be quite enjoyable around town, and the verve of its electric motor allows you to quickly merge into a gap in traffic with confidence. We even like the cute sound it makes when you set off after starting it, and the hidden easter eggs dotted around its interior. Honestly, we think this is the best car Fiat makes right now.

7. Hyundai Ioniq 5

Our pick: Premium
Price: £47,940 (+ £990 heat pump)
Range: 315 miles

The latest Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a bit of a style icon in its own lifetime, with sharp angles and distinctive lighting elevating it beyond the likes of cookie-cutter SUVs.

Behind the boxy exterior is actually a highly practical EV, with ample room inside for six-footers in both the front and the rear. Boot space is decent, and is helped with the additional convenience of having under bonnet storage for the charging cables. We love that because it gets wet and dirty cables away from your luggage.

Recent updates have altered the suspension of the Ioniq 5 to make it wallow less at speed, and the increased battery size of the long-range version means it can finally mix with the best in this class. 

6. Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo

Our pick: 4S
Price: £96,255
Range: 281 miles

Even without the caveat of money being no object, the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo would still be our pick as the best electric car currently on sale because it covers all the bases you could think of and more besides.

The Cross Turismo is a more practical version of the regular Taycan saloon, with five doors and a longer roof, giving it an estate-like profile. This gives rear passengers more head room, along with a larger boot that’s easier to load items into. 

Our preferred 4S Taycan Cross Turismo has a massive 563bhp available to play with, allowing you to get from 0-62mph in a nutty 4.1sec - enough to make us giggle as our heads become part of the headrest.

Then there’s the handling, which is as engaging as a traditional Porsche. Except in this one, you’ll thoroughly enjoy its phenomenal brakes, unrelenting grip, and taut body control without anybody outside moaning that you’re making too much noise as you swiftly slip by in electric car silence. 

5. Kia EV6

​Our pick: GT-Line
Price: £49,145 (+ £990 heat pump)
Range: 328 miles

The Kia EV6 is amazing value for money if you think about it, because you get the 800-volt architecture of the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT for considerably less money.

Such an electric architecture means you stop for a 10-80% top-up and be on your way again in 18 minutes - or the time it takes for a quick coffee break. We’ve taken advantage of that (and the 328 mile range) over numerous trips in EV6s and found living with it to be just as easy as a regular petrol or diesel car.

One aspect of the EV6 we particularly enjoyed was using paddles behind the steering wheel to vary the regenerative braking system. Doing so not only is a fun thing to do when trying to not use the brakes to slow for roundabouts, but it has the added benefit of maximising efficiency. 

4. Tesla Model 3

Our pick: Long Range
Price: £50,990
Range: 360 miles

It’s been around a while, but the Tesla Model 3 is still a class act and one of the best selling EVs in the country. The standard rear-wheel drive Model 3 is a great EV (especially for the money), but we reckon you should go for the Long Range version if you can. Not only does it go farther on a charge, but its dual-motor all-wheel drive set up actually aids handling, feeling a lot more balanced through the corners. It also gives you 351bhp to play with and drops the 0-62mph time to 4.2sec. Trust us, it’s addictively quick off the mark.

But that performance is backed up by industry leading tech, and a highly convenient charging infrastructure that’s the envy of other manufacturers. Plus, we’ve driven numerous Model 3s in varying conditions now and found them to be far more efficient that their rivals, and the battery doesn’t seem to be as affected by differing temperatures, which is handy given our odd climate.

3. Volkswagen ID Buzz

Our pick: Style Pro
Price: £61,915
Range: 255 miles

It’s easy to be won over by the charming looks of the ID Buzz, but there’s some real substance behind its dashing face.

For starters, the Buzz is an incredibly stiff vehicle, which pays dividends in how it drives, because this does feel like a car and not some rattly commercial vehicle some people have mistaken it for. It doesn’t wallow over dips and crests on the motorway, and there’s not much body lean in the bends despite this being taller than most SUVs.

Due to its size, the interior is enormously practical, which is excellent news if you can’t decide between windsurfing or kitesurfing at the weekend, because you can fit all the equipment for both in the Buzz at the same time. We found enough space for child seats, pushchairs, and the weekly shop, yet we still had room to spare.

But the most surprising thing is the high residual values of the Buzz, which in turn means you can get it with some attractive finance terms. We were shocked to find that you could have a Buzz for less per month than some versions of the Kia EV6. A rather strange situation, but one in which the heart and the head can agree.

2.  BMW i4

Our pick: eDrive 40 M Sport (Pro Pack)
Price: £61,765
Range: 348 miles

The BMW i4 feels like a Tesla Model 3 that’s been to finishing school because it takes a lot of what makes the latter great, but applies a little more polish.

We immediately noticed the greater refinement of the i4 over the Model 3, with less road noise over the concrete sections of the M25. Indeed the i4 feels right at home on the motorway, which is just as well, given it has a bigger battery pack with 80.7kWh of useable capacity for more range.

We found the inside of the i4 to be exceptionally plush, with lots of high-quality materials. We also appreciate BMW’s iDrive rotary controller down by the gear lever to make navigating through its infotainment screen much easier on the move than the Tesla’s touchscreen-only arrangement.

Practicality is another strong point because the hatchback rear of the i4 helps when loading taller items compared with the restrictive saloon-style slot of the Model 3. 

1. MG 4

Our pick: 51kWh SE
Price: £26,995
Range: 218 miles

It’s amazing that one of the least expensive EVs on the market is up there amongst its best. The MG 4 proves that electric car’s needed be all that expensive compared with petrol or diesel alternatives.

We were surprised by just how roomy the MG 4 is inside, with space inside for four adults (five at a squeeze) with a reasonable boot as well. 

You also get a decent range with our preferred entry-level 51kWh SE model, but there are also two larger battery choices should you need to travel farther. There’s even a high-performance version with 429bhp and a sub four second 0-62mph time for those who want a modern version of the nutty MG Maestro Turbo.

We reckon the stock MG 4 is the best version, though. Its low price helps to soften the blow of its cheap feeling interior, somewhat underwhelming heater (28deg is needed in our experience to stay warm is chilly weather) and laggy infotainment system. Overall, there’s nothing that does as much as the MG 4 can for the money, which is why we rate it as highly as we do.

And the electric car to avoid…

DS 3 E-Tense

The latest DS 3 E-Tense is outclassed by the more practical, cheaper, and longer-range Kia Niro EV. The DS 3 is supposed to be a premium offering, but that feeling is quickly undermined by its underwhelming performance and odd mix of materials inside, from some nice leather and suede to the iffy, scratchy plastics that come from the Vauxhall Mokka upon which the DS 3 is based.

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