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Best cars

Best Electric Cars for 2017

By Martin Pratt

Article 14 of 14

The best electric cars are every bit as good as their petrol or diesel rivals, with enough range for most everyday journeys.

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Electric cars have finally come of age, offering virtually all the functionality and practicality of traditional petrol- and diesel-engined cars, while delivering zero exhaust emissions and low day-to-day running costs.  

As demand increases more manufacturers are offering all-electric models, spanning car-classes large and small, both mainstream and premium. At one end of the scale is the Renault Zoe, Nissan Leaf, VW e-Up! and e-Golf. At the other, the BMW i3 and i8, and Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X

But are these cars good enough to be the best electric cars? The ones below are – electric cars that have aced the same tests as their conventional petrol- or diesel-powered rivals, yet can be recharged from a plug socket for a few pence.

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Best new electric cars

Volkswagen e-Up (2014-)
Typical price £20,411
Brand score 80%
Reviewed Jan 2014
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive

The electric engine won't get you too far between charges but you can't do much better than this model for nipping around town.

Volkswagen e-Golf (2014-)
Typical price £32,190
Brand score 79%
Reviewed Jun 2014
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive

We were impressed at how little space is lost when we compared this electric model to its petrol counterpart and how accurate the feel of the original has been replicated on the road.

Ford Focus Electric (2013-)
Typical price £24,714
Brand score 78%
Reviewed Jul 2013
Best Buy
Driving stability:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive

The electric motor can leave this car feeling a little unsteady. The power is there and doesn’t need much coaxing. And, of course, it's super cheap to run.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive (2015-)
Typical price £20,944
Brand score 78%
Reviewed Feb 2015
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive

This super-practical and user-friendly electric car has an excellent range and handles well. It also one of the bigger electric cars we’ve tested with a respectable cabin and boot.

Kia Soul EV (2014-)
Typical price £24,545
Brand score 77%
Reviewed Nov 2014
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive

Aside from the usual electric car compromises of a high purchase price and limited range, this is a thoroughly practical and likeable electric compact crossover. Low day-to-day running costs (and government grants) should help ease the financial burden, however, so if your lifestyle and budget can accomodate an electric carl, then it should certainly be considered.

Nissan Leaf (2011-)
Typical price £14,617
Brand score 75%
Reviewed Mar 2011
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Model reliability 0-3 years:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive

Among the most accomplished all-electric cars currently on sale, there is little compromise compared to a conventional hatchback (price and range aside). It's practical and easy to drive - we highly recommend this car.

Best used electric cars

Mitsubishi i-Miev (2010-2015)
Typical price £5,542
Brand score 70%
Reviewed Jan 2011
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Brand reliability 3-8 years:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This small, cheap to run electric car is best suited for the city where there is plenty of access to charging points. If you can keep it charged you'll find a car that's quiet and easy to drive.

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Every car we review is subjected to more than 100 individual tests in a lab, on a test track, and on real roads – and we really clock up the miles, driving around 900 miles in every car we test.

Testing in controlled lab conditions means the results we collect are directly comparable between different cars, helping us determine exactly which models are better and why, and helping you find the perfect car for your needs

And so you know which cars are likely to prove reliable for years to come, we also gather feedback from thousands of UK car owners through the Which? Car Survey, using it to generate detailed reliability ratings for the cars we test.

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