Best electric SUVs to buy now

Pure electric SUVs are a boom market just now and here are the 10 best...

This decade will see the popularity of electric cars rise at a phenomenal rate. Ever-improving battery tech, faster charge times and - crucially - an increased charging infrastructure will see the market flood with a huge range of new EVs. 

On top of all of that, there’s pressure from world governments to force manufacturers to drop their average fleet CO2 emissions by a significant margin over the coming years. Big, heavy SUVs are generally the worst offenders when it comes to tailpipe emissions, and given their ever-growing popularity among car buyers, what better place for car firms to kick off the EV boom?

The choice on the market is ever-increasing, with all sorts of car manufacturers due to get in on the EV SUV act by the end of 2020. We’ve taken a look at the best 10 electric SUVs on sale right now. All of these cars are significantly cleaner than their combustion-powered counterparts, and as national energy supplies become increasingly less dependent on fossil fuels, the gap will continue to grow. But there’s other benefits to EVs too, including quieter powertrains and smoother power delivery.

Below we examine the best electric SUV options on the market right now...

10. Hyundai Nexo

Strictly speaking, the Hyundai Nexo isn’t a fully electric vehicle. Like every other car in this top 10, it does still have a lithium-ion battery, but at 1.56kWh, it’s much smaller than the alternatives here. The Nexo’s party piece comes from a hydrogen storage tank. The hydrogen reacts with oxygen drawn in from the air to generate electricity, driving a 159bhp electric motor, and leaving water as the sole tailpipe emission.

It drives much the same as any other EV - very smooth, quiet and pleasant in other words - but hydrogen is far more energy dense than a battery so the Nexo has a much better range. Officially, it’ll cover 414 miles between refueling stops; a process which takes only five minutes. 

However, as it stands, hydrogen fueling stations are hard to come by - there’s fewer than 10 in the UK - and at £65,995, the Nexo is pricey. However, this is a tech that we’ll see much more from in the future; not necessarily in passenger cars but, as Hyundai itself predicts, it looks certain to become the fuel of choice for larger commercial vehicles.

9. DS3 Crossback E-Tense

DS is in an early phase of its life, following its emergence as a distinct brand within the PSA Group alongside Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall. And it’s getting in on the electrified act quickly - the DS3 Crossback is available in petrol and diesel form but the E-Tense model features an electric motor and a 39kWh battery for full zero-emission driving. 

Purely from a driving point of view, this is the pick of the DS 3 range - the smooth, silent powertrain is a perfect match for the slightly quirky but beautifully finished cabin. With 134bhp and instant torque on tap, performance is more than adequate for a car of this size; it feels fairly smart to drive, and a real-world range of around 200 miles is more than good enough. If you value individuality, and if practicality isn’t a priority from your compact SUV, then the DS 3 is well worth a look.

8. MG ZS EV

The MG ZS EV has one big thing going for it, and that’s price. At around £25,000, it’s among the cheapest electric cars of any kind on sale today - impressive considering that it's crossover body style makes it more practical than others at a similar price point.

And even though it’s cheap, on paper, the ZS doesn’t want for much; it’ll crack the 0-62mph time in a sprightly 8.5 seconds, it’ll cover over 160 miles on a charge, and 50kW rapid charging means that a battery top-up top to 80 percent takes a reasonable 40 minutes.

7. Tesla Model X

The Model X was the first proper electric SUV, and in some ways, it still holds a solid argument for being the best. Tesla’s biggest trump card is its straight line speed: in its top spec Performance trim, the Model X is the only SUV on sale today that can launch itself and seven people - and it will seat seven adults easily - at a rate that’s on par with the most extreme supercars

In real-world driving, it’ll cover an impressive 300-plus miles between charges too - a process that’s made all the easier by a widespread Tesla Supercharger network. As brilliant as the Model X is in some areas, fresher rivals have moved the game on when it comes to comfort, refinement and build quality.

6. Audi e-tron

Few cars on sale today can claim to be as relaxing to drive as the Audi e-tron. The ride comfort is wonderful, the outside world is barely a distant murmur from within the cabin, and the powertrain is far smoother than in any combustion Audi. As first attempts at full EV’s go, Audi’s is certainly a hit.

And Audi isn’t sitting back and admiring its first EV attempt either. Barely a year after its release, steps have been taken to address the e-tron’s weak point: range. Improved cooling and brake regeneration tech, among other things, mean that the latest version will now officially hit 250 miles between charges.

5. Peugeot e-2008

Under the skin, the Peugeot e-2008 is very similar to the DS 3 Crossback further up this list. Both share the same electric motor producing 134bhp and 260Nm, both use a 50kWh battery pack to deliver a circa-200 mile range, and both use PSA’s e-CMP platform. However, the Peugeot’s underpinnings are longer between the wheels, so the e-2008 is more spacious inside, both for rear seat passengers and in the boot. 

The Peugeot is also cheaper. Prices for the e-2008 start at just under £29,000 including the government’s plug-in car grant, while the DS 3 Crossback costs over £3,000 more. And when compared to other small electric SUV rivals, the 2008 leads the way in terms of both style and build quality.

4. Mercedes EQC

Mercedes is a brand known for comfort and refinement, and to that end, the EQC’s electric powertrain fits that brief perfectly. This is a car that can make you emerge from the slog of a daily commute feeling just as content as you did in the beginning.

It’s deceptively quick, too. The EQC uses a dual electric motor setup to deploy a whopping 402bhp to all four wheels. It may tip the scales at a hefty 2.5 tonnes, but it’ll still blow the typical hot hatchback away from a set of traffic lights. It’ll do so in silence, too, so nobody will scowl at you.

When we tested the ECQ back-to-back with the Audi e-tron, the pair were very closely matched. However, the Merc got the nod thanks to a superior range, even if the e-tron is ever so slightly roomier inside.

3. Hyundai Kona electric

For many EVs on sale today, buyers are left with a compromise: either buy one that’s relatively affordable, or get one with a good range. The Hyundai Kona electric is a car that’s perhaps the closest to delivering on both counts. For only a couple of grand more than a top spec petrol automatic Kona, the zero-emission version manages to return an official range of 278 miles - just enough to drive from London to Newcastle on a single charge.

Unlike some of the larger SUVs in this list, it doesn’t feel particularly burdened by a heavy battery. Sure, with the largest 64kWh pack on board, it’d be a stretch to call it fun to drive, but it feels sprightly in a straight line and more than capable enough for a typical family car.

2. Kia Niro EV

The Niro EV is essentially Kia’s take on the Hyundai Kona electric in third spot. While both are brilliant EVs, we’d go for the Kia, purely because it’s a little more practical. For those who want a slightly quirkier take on the same formula, Kia also offers the Soul EV, which benefits from the same electric motor and battery.

Otherwise, the pair are very similar to drive. The controls are light and precise, so the Niro is easy to drive around town, while the 201bhp motor means that the Niro still feels punchy enough at motorway speeds.

An update in 2020 improved on the already slick infotainment system - the latest 10.25-inch display is among the best in the business. 

1. Jaguar I-PACE

Is there a more desirable EV on sale than the Jaguar I-Pace? With looks that are as dramatic and sporty on the outside as they are posh and sumptuous inside, Jaguar’s electric SUV looks both completely unique yet unmistakable Jaguar at the same time. 

But there’s plenty of substance to back up those looks. For a car that weighs two tonnes (and then some), the way the I-Pace both rides and handles is deeply impressive, while the 396bhp output means that it delivers a sub-five second 0-62mph time. At 200 miles or so, the range could be better, but otherwise the I-Pace is a brilliant all-rounder. No wonder, then, that it was good enough to scoop the prestigious Auto Express Car of the Year award in 2018.

Not sure about going all electric just yet, then check out our list of the best hybrid SUVs to buy....

Recommended

Electric cars in the UK: are we ready for the EV revolution?
Electric cars in the UK: are we ready for the EV revolution?
Features

Electric cars in the UK: are we ready for the EV revolution?

We take an in-depth look at how the UK is getting ready for the switch to electric
14 May 2021
'Judging by 2020's stats, demand for EVs is growing'
Opinion - electric cars
Opinion

'Judging by 2020's stats, demand for EVs is growing'

Steve Fowler finds some positive all-electric figures from a year of sales doom and gloom
13 Jan 2021
‘Your car may not be the most efficient tool for your new, lower-mileage life’
Opinion

‘Your car may not be the most efficient tool for your new, lower-mileage life’

Mike Rutherford thinks now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your modes of transport
20 Dec 2020
Pester power from kids pushes parents towards electric cars
News

Pester power from kids pushes parents towards electric cars

More than half of UK children want their parents to make the switch to an electrified car
27 Oct 2020

Most Popular

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox
Dacia Duster gear lever
News

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox

With more drivers learning in autos and electric cars, the DVSA is looking to update the driving test so people can still drive manuals in future
16 Jun 2021
‘The 2030 combustion engine ban is just around the corner – and we’re running out of time’
opinion: charging
Opinion

‘The 2030 combustion engine ban is just around the corner – and we’re running out of time’

Andy Palmer sees electric car uptake revving-up in the UK but says targeted investment is needed to prevent a stall…
22 Jun 2021
Exclusive: Jaguar’s luxury reinvention to start from £100k
Thierry Bollore - Jaguar I-Pace
Jaguar

Exclusive: Jaguar’s luxury reinvention to start from £100k

New boss Thierry Bollore reveals that Jaguar will be reinvented as a luxury car brand to take on Bentley, with the design of a new family already sign…
22 Jun 2021
New Mercedes C-Class 2021 review
Mercedes C-Class - front
Mercedes C-Class

New Mercedes C-Class 2021 review

The new Mercedes C-Class compact exec gets S-Class-inspired tech and new suspension to challenge the BMW 3 Series
21 Jun 2021
New Dacia Duster facelift launched with fresh styling and more tech
Dacia Duster facelift - front
Dacia Duster

New Dacia Duster facelift launched with fresh styling and more tech

The budget-conscious Dacia Duster has been updated for 2021 with some subtle design tweaks and a new eight-inch infotainment screen
22 Jun 2021
New 2021 Peugeot 308 SW estate arrives with more space
Peugeot 308 SW - front
News

New 2021 Peugeot 308 SW estate arrives with more space

The Peugeot 308 SW joins the hatchback in the range and arrives with two plug-in hybrid options
22 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen Caddy California 2021 review
Volkswagen Caddy California MPV - front
Volkswagen Caddy

New Volkswagen Caddy California 2021 review

It’s a family hauler and weekend camper all rolled into one, but is the Volkswagen Caddy California any good?
21 Jun 2021
New 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge EV on sale priced from £49,950
Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge - front
Volvo XC40

New 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge EV on sale priced from £49,950

Volvo has revised the electric XC40’s pricing and trim-level structure, with a simplified three-tier system
22 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen ID.4 GTX 2021 review
Volkswagen ID.4 GTX
Volkswagen ID.4 SUV

New Volkswagen ID.4 GTX 2021 review

VW ID.4 EV gets another electric motor and four-wheel drive in hot GTX form
21 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 45 2021 review
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 45 - front
Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback

New Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 45 2021 review

The new special edition Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 45 is one of the best cars ever to wear the GTI badge
23 Jun 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Sportline - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and we've tested the full range on UK roads
10 Jun 2021
New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review
Audi Q4 e-tron 2021  front
Audi Q4 e-tron

New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review

We get involved with the new all-electric Audi Q4 e-tron SUV on UK roads for the first time
17 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review
Ineos Grenadier prototype
Ineos Grenadier 4x4

Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review

Can the Ineos Grenadier really fill the mud-splattered void left by the old Land Rover Defender? We take a first drive in a prototype to find out...
15 Jun 2021