Top 10 best electric SUVs 2021
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, you could count cars like the Tesla Model X on one hand, but now there are plenty of luxury options and several cars of the same type 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, Vauxhall and BMW have recently launched their models, while many more will reach 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.
A few of our favourite electric SUVs are now more affordable than before, as some had their prices adjusted in order to remain eligible for the government’s plug-in car grant, which was capped at £35,000 (it was previously for cars costing under £50,000) in spring 2021.
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 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. Fast-charging at up to 100kW is available as an option.
The Kia e-Niro is very impressive. Its range of 282 miles between charges seems realistic, 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.
The Volkswagen ID.4 is arguably just as important as the car on which it’s based, the Volkswagen ID.3, because SUVs are so popular at the moment. It’s VW’s answer to the Tesla Model Y, and sits alongside the Volkswagen Tiguan, just as the ID.3 sits alongside the Volkswagen Golf. The interior is mostly shared with the ID.3, so it’s a clean, futuristic design.
It’s better to drive than you might expect because the heavy batteries are all mounted low in the car’s body. The 201bhp motor fitted to 1st Edition cars allows a nippy 0-62mph time, while the largest battery pack manages an impressive 324-mile range. With all the batteries stashed under the floor, the ID.4 is even more spacious than a Tiguan, both for your passengers and your luggage.
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.
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, of which there are just four left on UK roads), 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.
The Mach-E will be a rival to the Tesla Model Y (when the Tesla launches in the UK), and inside it’s clear where Ford has 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.
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.
Lexus is well-versed in hybrid technology but the UX 300e is the brand’s first fully electric model. Its 196-mile range is far better than the Mazda MX-30’s 124-mile range and within touching distance of the Peugeot e-2008. The UX 300e offers all the qualities you’d expect from a Lexus, including excellent build quality and refinement, and actually offers a bigger boot than the hybrid.
It has an eye-catching style too, although the Lexus isn’t the most spacious small SUV so make sure it’s big enough for your needs before you commit. Lexus’ frustrating infotainment system - controlled by a mousepad - is a bugbear as well, although Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are fitted so you can shortcut Lexus’ system if you wish.
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.
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 £2,500 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.