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Best used electric cars 2024

Looking to join the electric car revolution but have a smaller budget? Here are our best used electric cars to buy

Electric cars have entered the automotive mainstream and now millions of car buyers are wondering if an EV could work for them. There are more and more electric cars available these days, but even the cheapest new electric car models are expensive, so why not consider buying a cheaper used electric car instead? 

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Our road testers have thoroughly tested every electric car on the market and we’ve picked the best used electric cars currently available for a more affordable way into EV ownership. We tend to think of EVs as expensive, but with cars like the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and Renault Zoe all prove it’s now possible to find a decent used electric car for a low price.

A used electric car could be an even better buy than a used petrol or diesel car, as EVs are proving to be very reliable and cheap cars to run so far, with fewer moving parts and less to go wrong. They also tend to do fewer miles in the same amount of time, so there are some used electric cars out there that are like new even at a few years old.

However, an electric car needs to work for you. If you can charge up at home and don't tend to do lots of motorway trips, they're perfect. Charging at home can mean ultra-low running costs that no equivelant petrol or diesel car can dream of getting close to, and of course there are plenty of environmental benefits as well.

Best used electric cars to buy

  1. Hyundai Ioniq Electric
  2. Vauxhall Corsa-e
  3. Tesla Model S
  4. Kia e-Niro
  5. BMW i3
  6. Volkswagen e-Golf
  7. Nissan Leaf
  8. Renault Zoe

1. Hyundai Ioniq Electric (Mk1)

  • Our pick: Premium 38kWh (2020/70, 29k miles, £12,995)
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This is the Hyundai Ioniq’s second gong on the trot in our Used Electric Car category. There have been numerous new zero-emissions arrivals on second-hand forecourts over the past 12 months, but none has managed to topple the Ioniq Electric, thanks to a variety of strengths.

For starters, few electric cars cost as little to buy. With the used market still wary of EVs, values of the Ioniq have slumped to the point that you can pick up tidy early cars for around £9,000. And while this amount will limit you to the smaller, 28kWh battery, you’ll still get a claimed range of 174 miles. Spend a couple of grand more and you’ll get the updated 38kWh model, which adds an extra 20 miles between top-ups and features faster charging that allows 80 per cent of battery capacity to be added in just 54 minutes using a 50kW charger. Both are superbly efficient.

A bargain-basement price doesn’t mean you need to scrimp on luxuries. Most used examples of the Ioniq are the flagship Premium version, which means you’ll get all the bells and whistles; heated seats, adaptive cruise control and a reversing camera all feature, while post-2019 facelift cars get the brand’s intuitive 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment complete with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a wireless charging pad for your smartphone.

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Whichever version you choose, the Ioniq is easy and stress-free to drive. Its 134bhp motor and single-speed automatic transmission serve up smooth, zippy acceleration, while the handling is composed and predictable. It’s also practical, with hatchback versatility and space for five, while its 350-litre boot is useful, albeit less roomy than its hybrid sibling’s. And while the interior won’t win any design awards, it’s logically laid out and robustly built.

For first-time buyers looking to make the EV switch, the Ioniq’s conventional style and feel will be a real bonus, while rock-bottom prices could be the clincher.

2. Vauxhall Corsa-e

Few cars get close to the Corsa-e when it comes to going electric for less. The Vauxhall features a perky 134bhp motor and a useful 50kWh battery that delivers around 200 miles of range. Composed handling, a classy interior and impressive refinement add to the car’s appeal, while poor residuals when new mean that 2020 examples start from £10,000.

3. Tesla Model S (Mk1)

Prices of Tesla’s flagship Model S continue to tumble, with around £16,000 buying this sleek EV pioneer. Featuring a spacious interior, sports car-rivalling performance and a range of at least 250 miles, the Model S makes a tempting choice. And that’s before you factor in the brand’s Supercharger network.

4. Kia e-Niro (Mk1)

The Kia e-Niro is one of the best electric cars around, and that's even more true when buying used. 

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A range of around 280 miles is very impressive for the e-Niro, and it achieves this by being really efficient. We found that the e-Niro is one of the most efficient EVs around, making good use of its modest 64kWh battery. It even keeps consumption low on the motorway, where most EVs tend to use a lot of juice.

The e-Niro is also practical, comfortable and packed with kit. The infotainment system is excellent and comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard, plus the interior, while a bit dull, feels robust and pleasant to sit in. Kia's seven-year warranty will still have plenty of time left on all used versions as the car isn't very old - not that reliability should be an issue.

5. BMW i3 (Mk1)

Avant-garde looks and a high price meant the i3 didn’t penetrate the market like BMW hoped it might. Yet as a used car the i3 makes lots of sense. For starters it’s good to drive, costs buttons to run and has a beautifully finished interior that’s packed with tech. What’s more, i3 owners tend to be enthusiasts who cherish their cars.

6. Volkswagen e-Golf (Mk7)

Manufacturers have taken one of two approaches when pitching their new EVs. Some have chosen to go radical – to produce something that looks and feels like nothing else, in order to sell the technology in a new and exciting light. And some brands choose to offer buyers something that seems familiar, in order to reassure buyers that even though the fuel comes from a plug rather than a pump, it’ll still slip into everyday life. VW has gone for the latter – it doesn’t want to alienate customers new to electrification. 

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This approach has worked brilliantly with the e-Golf. Here’s an electric car that doesn’t shout about its zero-emission tech – only the most eagle-eyed VW fans will notice the blue highlights and aerodynamic alloys that set it apart from the standard petrols and diesels. 

At launch, the e-Golf had a 113bhp electric motor driving the front wheels, and energy came from a 24.2kWh battery. Early models have a 118-mile official range, although in the real world 100 miles is more realistic. That’s more than enough to function as a second car in a household, or as a daily commuter – exactly the conditions under which it excels. Updates in 2017 pushed these numbers to 134bhp and 35.8kWh respectively. This brought slightly improved acceleration and, crucially, a 185-mile official range.

7. Nissan Leaf (Mk2)

The Nissan Leaf is one of the best ways to get into an electric car with a very limited budget. You can pick up early models for a very low price, and will end up with a reliable, comfortable car that will cost very little to run.

The second-generation Leaf's battery range should prove more than enough for the daily commute, and it's great for city dwellers with access to a charge point.

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The original Leaf sold well and was one of the first proper electric cars on sale, and now there are also a good number of second-generation models available on the second-hand market. Don't be put off by high mileage, but there's enough choice that you can usually find a low-mileage model at a good price.

8. Renault Zoe (Mk1)

The Renault Zoe is a great choice if you have a tight budget, as it's easy to find cars for less than £8,000. The Zoe is a supermini with around 100 miles of range in basic form, which is good for commuters who live in a city or town and can charge at home or at work.

The Zoe's funky looks and stylish interior mean there's plenty to like about it, and the punchy low-speed performance injects some fun into an otherwise dreary commute. It's reliable and comfortable, so make a good used buy at the lower end of the market.

Look out for models with battery lease. On these cars you have to pay a monthly fee to rent the battery packs from Renault, which was a way of keeping costs down for new owners. Some cars have this attached - it's not too expensive - and some don't, so do your research.

Now find out more about the best used cars you can buy...

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Chief reviewer

Alex joined Auto Express as staff writer in early 2018, helping out with news, drives, features, and the occasional sports report. His current role of Chief reviewer sees him head up our road test team, which gives readers the full lowdown on our comparison tests.

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