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Top 10 best small electric cars 2024

Looking for a compact, zero-emissions car? These are the best small electric cars on sale

Best small electric cars

Whether you live in an urban area, want to cut your carbon footprint, or just like the idea of driving an EV, there are plenty of reasons to choose a small electric car. They’re often nippier than their petrol counterparts and can be much cheaper to run if you can charge at home.

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Take a look at the wider EV market, and you’ll find that the majority are SUVs or luxury cars. This is because EV tech is still fairly costly to manufacture, so it makes more sense for carmakers to package it in bigger, more expensive cars. That being said, EV prices continue to fall each year and we’re seeing more small models appearing at the more affordable end of the market. This trend continues to be spurred on by new low-cost EVs arriving from China, some of which make an appearance on this list.

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The best small electric cars should be comfortable and easy to drive, while having enough range for the odd long distance trip out of town. Like any small car, they need to be practical and safe, but also affordable. We’ve ranked the following cars according to these criteria, so look no further if you’re shopping for a small EV.

The best small electric cars on sale today

 Read on for our run-down of the best small electric cars on sale. Alternatively, our list of the best small cars looks at both petrol and electric models, while we also have a list of the best electric cars if you’re not set on something small.

BYD Dolphin review - our favourite new car

carbuyer car of the year 2024
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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  • Priced from £26,140
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Not only did the BYD Dolphin win our Carbuyer Best Small Electric Car award for 2024, it actually won our Car of the Year award overall. It epitomises everything car buyers are after right now, being affordable, electric, surprisingly well-built, and generously equipped. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the Dolphin isn’t just good because it’s a cheap car – it’s a great-value car.

You get a respectable range for the price, with the Dolphin getting up to 211 miles with the 45kWh battery. Moving up to Comfort or Design spec brings a larger 60kWh battery, which BYD says can do up to 265 miles to a charge. While it might not be to all tastes in terms of design, textured interior materials do a good job of disguising the car’s cheaper trim. Even entry-level models get a large infotainment screen that can rotate from landscape to portrait, and the system is fast and responsive. If you’d rather stick to Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, you’re also catered for. It’s quite astounding how much you get for your money with the Dolphin, and while BYD isn’t yet a household name in the UK, this small electric car should definitely be at the top of your shopping list.

Hyundai Kona Electric review – more refined, spacious and upmarket than before

Hyundai Kona Electric driving
Carbuyer rating

4.5 out of 5

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  • Priced from £34,995
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Eye-catching styling and great everyday usability makes the Hyundai Konda Electric a great option. Hyundai listened to the feedback on the old version, so the latest Kona is more practical than its predecessor, and there’s a choice between a 48kWh battery with 234 miles of range and a 154bhp motor, or a 65kWh battery version with a 215bhp front motor, providing a range of up to 305 miles.

The Kona’s interior won’t exactly excite, but it’s still a lovely place to be thanks to a superbly comfortable ride and lots of high-quality materials. All cars get a set of modern digital dials as well as LED headlights, a reversing camera, air conditioning, and a central 10.25-inch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

Kia Niro EV review

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Carbuyer rating

4.4 out of 5

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  • Priced from £37,325

The Kia Niro is one of the most versatile cars on sale, as it’s available in self-charging hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric form. All versions of the Kia Niro EV (previously called the Kia e-Niro) are fitted with a 64.8kWh battery, paired with a 201bhp electric motor. This provides a respectable range of up to 285 miles on a single charge, and can be charged from 10-80% in 40 minutes thanks to 77kW fast charging capability.

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On the inside, the Niro shares the same hi-tech dashboard design as its larger sibling, the Kia Sportage. This comprises two 10.25-inch screens and comes as standard on mid-spec ‘3’ trim and above – entry-level ‘2’ cars get a smaller eight-inch touchscreen. Regardless, standard equipment is strong across the range, while a spacious 475-litre boot makes the Niro one of the most practical small EVs.

Cupra Born review – a good-value and fun electric hatchback

Best Small Company Car: Cupra Born
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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  • Priced from £34,125

The Cupra Born is arguably the first-ever electric hot hatch and offers sportier styling and a more engaging drive than the mechanically-similar Volkswagen ID.3. Top-of-the-range Born VZ cars produce up to 320bhp – similar to that of a VW Golf R – and sprint from 0-62mph in just 5.7 seconds. Thanks to a low centre of gravity and rear-wheel drive, the relatively heavy Born is also sharp through the corners, and handles much better than most EVs at this price point.

Despite being nearly 70mm shorter than Cupra’s own Leon hatchback, the Born offers comparative interior space thanks to clever packaging. A flat interior floor means three passengers can sit abreast in the rear in relative comfort, plus the Born’s 385-litre boot narrowly beats out the petrol-powered Leon’s offering. The only real issues we have with the Born are its plethora of fiddly controls, but these are easy to overlook as everything else is so impressive.

MG4 hatchback review

Best Family Electric Car: MG4
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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  • Priced from £26,995
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It seems like a bit of a stretch to categorise a car that starts from just under £27k as ‘good value’, but considering most of its rivals start from over the £30k mark, the MG4 offers remarkable bang for your buck. The British-Chinese brand’s electric hatchback is the first to sit on its new dedicated EV platform and is available in two battery configurations: 51kWh and 64kWh. The former will provide a range of over 200 miles, whereas the latter will enable the ‘4’ to travel up to 280 miles on a single charge.

Unlike the majority of MG’s models over the last few years which focused on comfort above all else, the MG 4’s sporty rear-wheel-drive setup makes it the brand’s most engaging car to drive in years. While interior quality isn’t quite on par with rivals, one must remember how much cheaper the MG is. Regardless, the overall design of the cabin is stylishly minimalist and all models come fitted with a high level of standard kit.

Jeep Avenger review – a characterful and value-packed small SUV

Jeep Avenger petrol front 3/4
Carbuyer rating

4.2 out of 5

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  • Priced from £34,999

Judging solely by pictures, it's easy to mistake the Jeep Avenger for a proper full-size 4x4, but in the metal it’s actually a fairly dinky small SUV. Those chunky looks help the Avenger to stand out from regular hatchbacks and supermins, while you get a useful high driving position and some added off-road capabilities as a bonus. Under the stylish skin, you get a 54kWh battery and a 154bhp front-mounted motor, a setup good for up to 248 miles of range.

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There’s a bit of wind noise above 60mph, but otherwise the Avenger is perfectly pleasant to drive at all speeds, with a comfy ride and more than enough performance for most drivers. The interior is nicely kitted out, too, feeling far more modern than anything the American brand has produced to date, although rear-seat room is tight for taller passengers. There’s a clear 10.25-inch infotainment screen for all models, while pricier trims get added niceties such as heated seats and a reversing camera.

Starting from under £35k, the Avenger is far from the cheapest car on this list, but it's a well-rounded package with plenty of charm. If you’re on a tight budget, Jeep offers the Avenger in petrol and mild hybrid guises, which cut around £10k off the price of the EV.

Peugeot E-208 review - stylish EV, but tight on space

Peugeot E-208
Carbuyer rating

4 out of 5

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  • Priced from £31,600

The Peugeot 208 is an excellent supermini, offered with a choice of petrol, hybrid or electric powertrains. All are great to drive, but the electric E-208 makes the most sense for urban dwellers looking to cut running costs and reduce their CO2 emissions. Thankfully, the EV is just as stylish as the combustion-engined models – the styling differences amount to just a few new badges and subtle blue elements. The E-208 manages an impressive 248 miles between charges, and can recharge using 100kW rapid-chargers, meaning 100 miles of range can be added in just 20 minutes.

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While newer and more affordable electric superminis have joined the market since the E-208 launched in 2019, few are as fun to drive or as stylish – inside and out – as the Peugeot. A facelift in 2023 brough fresh interior tech and a bump in horsepower, but be aware that the E-208 remains quite expensive for a car of this size.

Fiat 500 review - a fun and affordable EV city car

Fiat 500 electric
Carbuyer rating

4 out of 5

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  • Priced from £28,195

The third-generation Fiat 500 marks an important milestone for the model – as this new car ditches combustion engines in favour of all-electric power. It’s available alongside the regular 500, and is powered by an electric motor producing 92bhp, or 117bhp in the flagship model. Two battery sizes are available, too, with the 23.9 kWh version capable of up to 118 miles of range, while the larger 42kWh capacity offers up to 199 miles – neither figures are class-leading, but should be enough for those who stick to city driving. It also features 85kW fast-charging, making topping up the battery a quick and easy task. 

In contrast to the funky retro-themed styling, its interior boasts a new 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen and attractive digital instrument cluster. There are three trim levels to pick from, which can take the 500 from affordable and modestly equipped to luxurious but rather pricey. The electric version of the 500 has grown, too, meaning it has a slightly more spacious interior than the old car, and while the boot is still fairly compact at 185 litres, it’s still big enough for a weekend away. 

Volvo EX30 review – an impressive budget EV

Volvo EX30 UK
Carbuyer rating

3.8 out of 5

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  • Priced from £33,795
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The Volvo EX30 is the brand’s first small car since production of the V40 ended in 2019. Unlike that five-door hatchback, the EX30 is a trendy small SUV, with a premium cabin and an impressive electric powertrain. The sub-£34k starting price gets you a 51kWh battery capable of up to 214 miles, which will most likely be enough for city drivers. If you regularly travel further, Volvo offers a 69kWh battery with an impressive range of nearly 300 miles. There’s even a 422 bhp dual-motor model for those who want a small car with stomach-turning acceleration.

The EX30’s cabin is beautifully built and dripping with classy Scandinavian design touches. However, the minimalist design has resulted in many of the cabin’s important controls shifting to the central touchscreen, making them frustrating to use while on the move. Like the Jeep Avenger, the rear seats aren’t particularly spacious and the boot is quite small – smaller than the Jeep’s. However, there’s no denying the level of quality and style that the EX30 offers, both attributes that will undoubtedly appeal to many small EV buyers.

Vauxhall Corsa Electric review - cheap to run, but expensive to buy

Vauxhall Corsa Electric facelift UK drive front dynamic
Carbuyer rating

3.8 out of 5

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  • Priced from £26,895

When it first launched, the Vauxhall Corsa Electric was a hard sell due to its small size and big price. However, the introduction of the ‘YES Edition’ has dropped the entry point to under £27k, making the Corsa Electric a much more compelling small EV. While higher trim levels get a new 54kWh battery capable of up to 255 miles of range, the Corsa YES Edition makes do with an older 50kW unit. It can still manage an impressive range of up to 222 miles, and at this price, we reckon it's the one to go for.

The Corsa is beginning to feel its age in the fast-paced EV market, with an interior that doesn’t feel as special as that of the BYD Dolphin, or even the mechanically-similar Peugeot E-208. However, the conventional styling of the electric Corsa will appeal to buyers who are looking for something a bit more familiar, and its range, performance, and value-for-money are tough to beat.

Why not read our list of the top 10 cheapest electric cars currently on sale?

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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