The best new electric cars for every budget – The Car Expert

Electric cars are becoming more and more popular on UK roads, as car brands continue their efforts to swap fossil-fuels for zero-emission, battery-powered alternatives.

Electric vehicles made up more than 10% of all new car registrations last month, and that market share is growing almost every month. By the end of this year, EVs could be outselling diesel cars.

We’ve analysed all the electric cars available at key price points in the new car market, and consulted our industry-leading Expert Rating index to see which models have the highest review scores from across the UK motoring media.

With comprehensive review data backing our recommendations, you can be confident that this is the definitive guide to the best new electric cars for every budget that are on sale in the UK right now.

Best EV under £25,000: Fiat 500 Electric

Best electric car under £20K – Fiat 500e

The electric car is becoming more affordable year on year, but unfortunately there aren’t too many brand new EVs that you can pick up for less than £25,000. However, if this is how far your budget can stretch, Fiat has you covered.

The all-new Fiat 500 Electric (also known as the 500e), which is set to eventually replace the long-serving and popular petrol Fiat 500, launched in the UK in Spring 2021, available in both hatchback and cabriolet versions. The 500e is a bit bigger than its petrol-powered predecessor, and has been praised for its driving dynamics and interior quality – both of which are significant improvements.

As of September 2021, the Fiat 500 Electric has an Expert Rating of 70%, based on 21 different media reviews. With a starting price of £23,495 (including the government’s £2,500 plug-in car grant), the 500 Electric certainly gives you a lot of car for your coin. What Car? seems to agree, as it awarded the Fiat 500 Electric ‘Best Small Electric Car’ at its EV Awards in 2021.

Honourable mentions go to the ageing-but-still-excellent SEAT Mii Electric and Volkswagen e-Up twins, which may have been around for the best part of a decade but are still fine city cars.

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Best EV under £35,000: Skoda Enyaq

Best electric cars for any budget – Skoda Enyaq

Throughout 2021, a battle has been brewing between EV manufacturers to conquer the all-electric family car market. The £35,000 threshold is important here, because that’s the new cut-off for the government’s £2,500 plug-in car grant. As such, manufacturers are working hard to position cars to fit into this category.

From a value-for-money perspective, the Skoda Enyaq eclipses the competition. It’s a very roomy five-seater with plenty of boot space that offers a very easy driving experience, and excellent battery range, and a surprising amount of tech features, all for a starting price of about £32,000.

Despite receiving some criticism for its light steering and average looks, the Skoda Enyaq has an Expert Rating of 84% from 20 reviews, which makes it quite comfortably the best mainstream electric SUV in our Expert Rating index. This rating is a huge 12% higher than that of the Volkswagen ID.4, which the Enyaq is based on.

If you’d prefer something a little smaller, the Kia e-Niro also has an Expert Rating of 84% and tops the charts for small electric SUVs at this price point.

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Under £50,000: Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 (2019 onwards) Expert Rating

Tesla has been a catalyst for electric motoring and has quickly become one of the most admired brands for UK car buyers, praised for its innovative tech and luxurious driving experience.

A true reflection of this sentiment, the entry-level Tesla Model 3 reached the UK in Spring 2019 and has been a sales sensation ever since. With a starting price of just under £41,000, it falls comfortably into this price category. A few premium all-electric competitors have recently emerged to challenge the Tesla, such as the talented Polestar 2, but none have yet managed to de-throne the Model 3.

As of September 2021, the Tesla Model 3 has an Expert Rating of 83% from 32 reviews, praised for its impressive performance, driving dynamics and minimalist style. It has, however, received some criticism surrounding its ergonomics, and concerns about how long it takes to charge the battery.

A new contender worth considering in this price category is the Hyundai Ioniq 5, which is just starting to arrive in UK showrooms now. Recognised for its retro-futuristic design, the Ioniq 5 has become a fan favourite among the media, and has already been awarded ‘Car of the Year’ at the Auto Express Awards.

Under £75,000: Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar I-Pace (2018 onwards) Expert Rating

The Jaguar I-Pace has won countless awards since it was launched in 2018, and is still widely considered to be the best premium electric SUV currently on sale. As Jaguar’s first all-electric model, the I-Pace has been praised for its outstandingly fun performance, its good looks, and its everyday practicality.

With a starting price of just over £65,000, the Jaguar I-Pace has an excellent Expert Rating of 85% from 18 reviews.

Within this price point, other choices include the BMW iX3 and Audi e-tron. Both offer plenty of comfort and refinement, although their Expert Ratings are well down on the Jaguar’s.

Money is no object: Porsche Taycan

Porsche Taycan Turbo S

Supremely cool and outstandingly quick, the Porsche Taycan embodies all that we have come to love about Porsche performance in an all-electric package.

The entry-level models do squeeze under the £75,000 threshold in the previous category, but given Porsche’s tendency for putting most of the features you want on the options list, you’ll struggle to actually put one on the road for anywhere near that price.

As well as receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews for its fantastic ride quality and performance, the Taycan has also been given plenty of praise for its roomy interior space and day-to-day practicality. The Taycan Turbo S, which will set you back about £140K, is a stunning performance car that can go head-to-head with pretty much any petrol-powered supercar.

As of September 2021, the Taycan has an Expert Rating of 88%, based on 21 different reviews.

If the Porsche Taycan is not your style, you could take a look at the ageing-but-still-excellent Tesla Model S instead, which is the flagship model of the Tesla brand, or the sleek new Audi e-tron GT, which is built on the same platform as the Taycan.

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Coming soon

The electric car market is evolving rapidly, and there are plenty of new models at every price point on their way in 2022. Here’s just a few of the new models planned for launch over the next 12 months.

Car enthusiasts will see an increase in the number of EV models specifically tuned for performance, like the Cupra Born hatch and Tavascar SUV, or the Alfa Romeo Tonale SUV.

There will be more electric models from mainstream brands on offer as well. Vauxhall will have an electric version of the next Astra hatch, while Kia is launching its new EV6 very shortly.

Premium brands will continue to add more electric models to their line-ups. The Tesla Model Y is an eagerly awaited SUV version of the popular Model 3 saloon, while BMW will be launching the iX large SUV and i4 saloon before the end of this year. Polestar will also double its current line-up with the Model 3 SUV next year.

At the top end of town, the Mercedes-Benz EQS saloon is set to bring S-Class luxury and refinement to electric cars, while the Lotus Eviya is a 2,000hp electric hypercar that promises to redefine the supercar marketplace.

For the definitive rankings of the best new electric cars for every budget, we’ve used The Car Expert’s industry-leading Expert Rating index. The index analyses new car reviews from 25 of the top UK motoring websites, using an advanced algorithm that we have developed specifically to compare review scores.

It constantly recalculates and updates the Expert Rating score for every single car in real time to make sure you’re getting the most accurate and reliable ratings for every new car.


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