Top 10 best electric SUVs 2023
There are now quite a few electric crossovers and SUVs to choose from; we showcase the ones you should buy in 2023
SUVs and electric cars are currently two of the hottest segments of the car industry, so it comes as no surprise that many manufacturers have now started combining them. Rivals for the Tesla Model X were few and far between just a couple of years ago but now there are plenty of electric SUVs on sale at both the luxury and more affordable ends of the market.
While the majority are still more expensive to buy than their petrol and diesel counterparts, picking an electric crossover or SUV can still save you a significant amount of money in terms of running costs. For example: unlike traditional gas-guzzling 4x4s, electric SUVs are exempt from the London Congestion Charge. They also have low Benefit-in-Kind company car tax ratings and aren’t liable for VED road tax until 2025, either.
Plugging in frequently at public charge points can be just as expensive as visiting the petrol station, however, charging an all-electric SUV at home remains much cheaper than filling up a combustion-engined car – even with the rising price of energy.
Of course, EVs come in all shapes and sizes and we also have full lists of the best electric cars and the cheapest electric cars on sale. If you’re not yet ready to ditch petrol and diesel altogether, why not check out our best hybrid SUVs?
Read on to see the best electric SUVs you can buy in the UK now…
Our Carbuyer Car of the Year for 2023, the Kia Niro EV has a range of 285 miles and boasts low running costs, along with Kia’s latest infotainment setup. There’s ample space inside for family duties, and the 475-litre boot in the Niro EV also offers a bump in luggage space for those currently driving a conventional hatchback like a Volkswagen Golf.
If you want a car that not only has zero tailpipe emissions, but boasts a high level of sustainability within its production chain, the Niro EV is an even better buy. The interior even includes sustainable materials for its vegan leather-style seats. Buyers who want to stand out from the crowd can choose a two-tone paint scheme, and its interior is now more stylish and upmarket. Plus, if you like the sound of the Niro but aren’t quite ready to go electric, Kia offers its compact SUV in petrol hybrid form, too.
The petrol MG ZS is a flawed car, but swapping out the petrol engine for an electric motor really improves things. With the entry-level model coming in at just above £30,000, it’s the cheapest electric SUV currently on sale, and the Long Range version officially manages over 270 miles between charges – or more if you only drive around town. It’ll fast-charge on 50kW chargers, which need an hour to top the battery up to 80%.
Interestingly, the ZS EV is a whole four seconds faster from 0-62mph than the petrol model. The interior looks ok but cheap materials highlight MG’s cost-cutting to get the car down to its low price. You get plenty of essential equipment though, with DAB radio, sat nav and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity. It’s also important to mention that the ZS EV is much more practical than some similarly-priced electric cars – the Fiat 500 city car might ooze charm, but it can’t come close to the MG’s 470-litre boot.
Nissan’s offerings over the past few years have been somewhat mediocre, however, the Ariya impressed us with its surprisingly luxurious interior, comfortable driving experience and versatile interior. Despite being a futuristic electric car, Nissan claims the Ariya calls back to the brand’s Japanese heritage, with plenty of traditional touches inside such as a wooden dashboard and cross-stitched upholstery.
There are several versions to choose from; the entry-level 63kWh model with its 250-mile range should be sufficient for the majority of buyers who spend most of their time driving around town. Stepping up to the 87kWh battery increases its range to over 300 miles, while it’s also available with all-wheel-drive to help out in slippery conditions. This version is expensive, though, putting it out of reach of many families. No matter which Ariya you choose, all come well-equipped with LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, heated seats, a powered tailgate and lots of safety and driver assistance features.
Skoda’s first purpose-built electric car shows the Czech brand is going from strength to strength. The Enyaq uses many of the same parts as the Volkswagen ID.4 but has a different feel inside and drives differently too. Not only is it more affordable than the ID.4 but it arguably looks smarter; the minimalist design of the cabin is more interesting than the bland Skoda interiors of old, and all models get a large 13-inch touchscreen as standard.The Enyaq is priced on a similar level to cars like the Peugeot e-2008, yet is a much bigger and more spacious SUV. Entry-level cars with the ‘60’ battery manage around 250 miles (expect around 200), while the Enyaq ‘80’ is said to offer a highly impressive 333-mile range. As of 2022, 120kW fast-charging is standard across the range, and a sleeker Enyaq Coupe iV is also available if boot space and rear headroom aren’t quite so important to you.
Audi’s first electric SUV, the e-tron, was incredibly expensive and couldn’t match rivals from Tesla and Mercedes. However, the Q4 e-tron is a strong second attempt as it offers a decent range – so long as you don’t pick the smaller 52kWh battery – and a luxurious interior that’s filled with tech. As is the case with all Audi models, the Q4 gets the brand’s Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster as standard, which is one of the best in the business and highly configurable.
Audi also offers the Q4 in sleek Sportback form; while neither version isn’t quite as sharp to drive as other sporty electric SUVs such as the BMW iX3, the instant torque from the electric motors makes the Q4 feel brisk. The standard Q4 is incredibly roomy in the back, thanks in part to a flat floor and lots of clever storage solutions. The boot measures 520 litres in capacity, which is much larger than the equivalent Volvo XC40 Recharge and should be able to fit the weekly shop or the majority of pushchairs.
Just be careful with the trim and options list – like many Audi models, the price of the Q4 e-tron shoots up, with the range-topping Black Edition 50 quattro costing over £61,000 compared to just under £50,000 for the entry-level model.
Have you ever heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover”? Although the iX’s design may certainly be controversial, once you scratch beneath the surface, BMW’s first attempt at a made-for-purpose EV is one of the most convincing models available. The iX’s interior is suitably avant-garde and luxurious; particular highlights include the sweeping iDrive infotainment displays and optional crystal buttons and controls. However, this does all come at a cost - entry-level versions start from around £70,000
As soon as you step behind the wheel, the iX is quickly able to shed its two-and-a-half-tonne weight and is just as good to drive as any other BMW SUV. Entry-level cars get a 71kWh battery paired with dual-electric motors that produce a combined 322bhp - these have a range of around 255 miles. The range-topping xDrive50 model gets an increased 516bhp and can manage an impressive 380 miles from its 105kWh battery.
Ford now sells two very different Mustang-badged products – a conventional V8-powered car and an electric SUV. Considering it’s Ford’s second-ever electric car (after the forgotten Ford Focus Electric), it’s a desirable product with sleek styling and that all-important long range. The Extended Range model is said to manage up to 379 miles between charges, and 0-62mph takes around five seconds. Performance fans will be keen on the even-faster GT model, however, all Mach-E variants are fun to drive.
The Mach-E rivals the Tesla Model Y, and inside it’s clear where Ford got its inspiration. A 15.5-inch portrait touchscreen is the hub to control most of the car’s features, although there are also a number of buttons on the wheel and a digital instrument cluster. Equipment is generous, and the Mach-E is reasonably practical too.
Tesla has become synonymous with electric cars, and the Model 3 revolutionised the EV market thanks to its affordable price and decent range. Essentially a jacked-up, SUV version of the best-selling saloon, the Model Y boasts all the same benefits as its smaller sibling such as its giant 15-inch touchscreen and minimalist interior design. The rear hatchback offers 854 litres of space when you load up to the roofline, and a 117-litre ‘frunk’ is a handy addition for smaller items.
There are three versions of the Tesla Model Y: Standard, Long Range and Performance. The Long Range model offers an impressive 331 miles on a single charge, while the more expensive Performance model can reach 62mph in a sports car-rivalling 3.5 seconds. Of course, heavy acceleration will deplete the battery quickly, but with Tesla’s extensive Supercharger network, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
In a market full of curvy, soft-edged SUVs, the Jeep Avenger’s chunky styling stands out in a good way. It’s based on the same underpinnings as the Peugeot e-2008 and Vauxhall Mokka Electric which we also rate highly, so the Avenger is off to a good start. Jeep’s EV is competitively priced and offers lots of tech to make it a worthy rival to plenty of other electric SUVs.
A unique selling point of the Avenger is some off-roading capability befitting its Jeep badge. While designed for the road first, drivers can also choose between a range of driving modes, such as Mud, Sand and Snow. The Avenger is only available in a 154bhp single-motor front-wheel drive configuration that feels surprisingly punchy, but a dual-motor four-wheel drive version is thought to be in the works too, so watch this space. The sole version of the Avenger also has a range figure of up to 248 miles from its 54kWh battery – when we tested it this equated to around 220 miles of real-world driving – that should be enough for most city-based buyers.
While not quite as fun to drive as the X1 petrol model on which it’s based, the BMW iX1 is still one of the best electric SUVs for keen drivers. This is a fair compromise given buyers will benefit from the low running costs of an EV combined with direct steering and agile handling from its dual-motor four-wheel drive setup that ensures there’s plenty of grip.
The BMW iX1 will appeal to those after an EV that doesn’t stand out in the crowd too much – it’s classy and yet subtle, meaning it can slot easily into an SUV buyer’s life. Despite an understated look, the iX1 provides 309bhp of electric power from its motors, getting it from 0-62mph in just 5.7 seconds. Adding EV batteries into a petrol-based platform usually has a significant impact on practicality, but the iX1 is still pretty spacious. The boot offers a respectable 490 litres – bigger than that offered by the Mercedes EQA and even larger SUVs such as the Nissan Ariya or Toyota bZ4X. The iX1 has an official range figure of up to 272 miles on a charge of its 64.7kWh battery – plenty for most EV drivers.
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