Best electric SUVs
There are now quite a few electric crossovers to choose from; here are our best electric SUVs.
SUVs and electric cars are the two hottest sectors in the car industry at the moment, so it was inevitable that the two would be combined. Just a couple of years ago there were very few to choose from, but now there are plenty of luxury options and several cars for much smaller budgets too.
As electric cars become cheaper and easier to use, you can expect a wider range of electric SUVs in the next few years. Carmakers including Mazda, Volkswagen, BMW and Skoda have all previewed battery-powered SUVs recently, and you’ll be able to buy them from showrooms soon.
Some electric SUVs can manage 300 or 350 miles between full charges. They’re cheaper to run than petrol and diesel equivalents, as it’s more affordable to recharge than refuel. EVs also have fewer moving parts so servicing can work out cheaper.
An electric car is going to have to be very impressive to beat the Kia e-Niro, which is our current favourite EV. With a range of 282 miles between charges, it offers much more than anything else with a similar price, and competes with SUVs twice as expensive in this respect . It doesn’t shout about its zero-emission powertrain either, as it has conventional styling and only a few small changes (like a blanked-out grille) to mark it out as the fully electric model. Kia has managed to make the e-Niro even more practical than the hybrid models, with a 451-litre boot and a large cubby where the gear selector sits in the hybrids. The interior is also well-equipped with heated leather seats, LED headlights, sat nav and wireless phone charging, and the e-Niro is more exciting to drive than the Niro hybrid. Top top it all off, it comes with a generous seven-year warranty. There’s no better electric family SUV on sale right now.
The Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro share a lot of parts, so they’re very similar. Both are based on models that aren’t class-leaders but the switch to electric power means they become much more desirable and easy to recommend - provided the higher price isn’t an issue. Using the same 64kWh battery as the e-Niro, the Kona Electric will also manage almost 300 miles of range but the Hyundai offers a smaller, cheaper 39kWh battery that’ll achieve around 200 miles. Having all the power available instantly means acceleration from 0-62mph is much faster than the petrol and hybrid versions, at a brisk 7.6 seconds. Charging to full takes around 10 hours with a 7.4kW wallbox or 75 minutes to 80% on a motorway service station’s 50kWh charging point. Hyundai’s five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty and customer service also help the Kona’s cause.
Looking more like a hatchback than an SUV, the I-Pace is Jaguar’s first electric car but it still manages to plug into the brand’s DNA. It’s the best-driving EV on sale, and shows that the move to electric power doesn’t mean enthusiasts will be starved of exciting cars. Two electric motors and a 90kWh battery underpin the I-Pace, which produces 396bhp and glides from 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds. What’s more impressive is how the I-Pace drives: it’s poised, agile and responsive, managing to hide the weight of all the batteries well. The 656-litre boot shows it’s more practical than its low roofline suggests, and there’s a small boot under the bonnet too. Servicing and insurance costs are both expensive and it has a firm ride, but otherwise it’s one of the best electric SUVs.
The Audi e-tron is a rival to the Jaguar I-Pace but it focuses more on comfort and a relaxing drive rather than sportiness. It may pass 0-62mph in under six seconds thanks to 355bhp and two electric motors (402bhp with overboost), but it won’t excite keen drivers - even though it has many different driving modes and hi-tech air suspension. The e-tron stands out in other areas, though; the state-of-the-art interior heavily borrows from the Audi A8 limousine and offers lots of space for rear-seat passengers and luggage. You’ll be able to manage around 250 miles on a single charge and it can recharge at up to 150kW, although you might struggle to find a charger this powerful in the UK. It’ll appeal to Audi fans and those who don’t want their electric car to stand out;it looks pretty similar to Audi’s other SUVs and blends in as a result.
The Peugeot 2008 has grown some fangs as part of much bolder styling than that of its crossover predecessor. As well as petrol and diesel versions, it now also comes as an electric car. You’ll think it’s expensive compared to models that use conventional fuel, but it’s very good value compared to the Hyundai Kona Electric; the top-spec GT model undercuts the cheapest Kona. Sure, the range is lower at 193 miles, but this is still plenty for the majority of buyers - most will be able to charge the car once a week. Fast-charging from a 100kW point to 80% takes half an hour or so, and a smartphone app lets you preset the climate control and schedule when the car starts charging.
If you’d prefer your luxury electric SUV to have a Mercedes badge, you’ll need to look at the EQC. Like the Audi e-tron, it’s not particularly sporty, but 0-62mph in a whisker over five seconds is still quick. The Mercedes EQC promises excellent refinement; it’s the quietest and most comfortable electric SUV we’ve tested so far. We’ve waxed lyrical about Mercedes’ interiors many times before and the EQC adds a little extra design flair to mark it out as an electric vehicle. If range is your main priority, it matches the e-tron with 250 miles of range but is a little behind the official figures of the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace. Mercedes has made the EQC look familiar to its petrol and diesel models, which should attract customers who don’t want the quirky looks of some other electric models.
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 under £25,000 (after the government’s £3,500 grant), it’s the cheapest electric SUV currently on sale - and still has a reasonable range of 163 miles between charges. It’ll fast-charge on 50kW chargers, which need 40 minutes 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.
You might argue that the Kia Soul is a hatchback rather than an SUV but its rugged boxy looks will attract buyers who are looking at SUVs regardless. The Soul EV is now in its second generation, and is now electric-only in the UK. It looks reasonably similar to the last model but has a much more eye-catching face with sharp LED headlights and lashings of chrome trim, while the rear has boomerang-shaped tail-lights that swoop across the roof. Like the e-Niro, it has a 64kWh battery for a maximum range of 280 miles, and full-throttle acceleration is nippy at just under eight seconds. The interior is incredibly well-equipped on the current First Edition models and the high roof line lets rear occupants stretch out. The 315-litre boot is a little disappointing - it’s more than a Lexus UX or Ford Fiesta, but a VW Polo beats it for luggage space.
The Tesla Model X is the original electric SUV, and it got other manufacturers scrambling to produce their own. The Tesla brings theatre with its smoothed-off face, vertically opening ‘falcon wing’ rear doors and sheer bulk, and on UK roads it looks like it’s been dropped in from another planet. It’ll manage over 300 miles of range and the Performance model gets from 0-62mph in a scarcely believable 2.7 seconds, which is faster than most million-pound hypercars. Like the Tesla Model S, the X gets a pared-back interior with most features controlled by its huge 17-inch portrait touchscreen. The Tesla is also famous for its semi-autonomous driving system ‘AutoPilot’.
DS has experience racing in the electric Formula E series, and the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense is its first production EV. It has incredibly distinctive styling and a range of high-spec trim levels covering an interior that is full of eye-catching diamond motifs. A powertrain shared with the Peugeot e-2008 means it’ll manage 200 miles of range and 0-62mph in nine seconds, and once you’ve emptied the battery it’ll take 100kW charging for an 80% top-up in half an hour. However, it feels heavy and has quite a small boot at 350 litres, and we’re slightly surprised that the entry model doesn’t come with sat nav, LED headlights or automatic air conditioning - especially as the Peugeot e-2008 offers the latter two as standard.
Cupra Formentor SUV review
2020 Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback: base model starts at under £30k
Audi Q8 gains plug-in hybrid versions with 28-mile electric range