► The best electric cars of 2022
► Our guide to the UK’s top EVs
► Electric car buying advice and more
Electric cars are becoming more popular in the UK and selling in greater numbers than ever before. Last year, cars with an electric powertrain actually outsold those with a diesel engine, notching up 190,727 units, up from 108,205 in 2020. It’s almost exponential growth.
Why are more people plugging in? There are more electric vehicles (EVs) on the market, their prices are gradually falling and their range and ability is increasing every year. Motorists’ nervousness about making the switch is slowly receding.
Read on for our guide to the best electric cars and EVs of 2022 to help people thinking of going electric. CAR magazine journalists have tested every electrified car on sale today and we have unbiased, helpful advice in this article.
Picking an electric car
The sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) cars will be banned in the UK from 2030. With increased focus on reducing CO2 emissions, car makers are rushing to produce more EVs – and that means more choice for the consumer.
What to look for in an EV
Like any fossil-fuel powered car, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) come in all shapes and sizes, and which EV is best for you will depend on a variety of factors – such as your average daily mileage, type of driving you do and access to private or public charging points. There’s no point having an electric car if it can’t accommodate your usage, or if the infrastructure isn’t there to support it, after all.
Want to know which is the best pure electric car for you to consider? We’ve handily split them into different categories, so browse through our guides below defined by vehicle type. However the page you’re reading now takes body type out of the equation, simply listing our favourite electric cars of 2022.
11. Fiat 500 Electric (from £23,835)
Don’t think that Fiat simply rammed a load of batteries up the backside of the ageing 500 – the latest 500 Electric is a brand new car from the ground up. It’s marginally larger than the combustion-engined 500 that still lumbers on in Hybrid guise 15 years after launch, although the rear seats are still cramped and the boot rather small. Still, that’s the price you pay for the compact dimensions. Two battery sizes are offered with 115 miles of WLTP range in the smaller-celled Action and 199 in the bigger-batteried version. Crucially, it’s far better to drive than the 500 Hybrid with decent handling and punchy performance. It also looks ace and has a reasonable price (for an EV).
Read our Fiat 500 Electric review
10. BMW iX (from £69,905)
Whatever you think of that nose, or that rear overhang, you aren’t going to mistake the BMW iX for any other car. That’s good news for Munich, because BMW has put some serious engineering effort into its new electric SUV. It’s full of tech and performance, from the Integrated Brake system that manages slowing the car via the motors and/or friction – to the 0-62mph time of the XDrivce50 model and its tested 305-mile range. Above everything else, BMW’s new iX is incredibly intriguing. It’s such a dramatic step in its design inside and out for BMW (even by its own recent radical standards) and yet still has plenty of the brand’s DNA sewn into it. An expensive, but spacious and premium SUV.
Read our full BMW iX review
View BMW iX lease deals
9. Mercedes EQS (from £99,995)
As you’d expect from the name, the Mercedes EQS is the electric equivalent of the S-Class. Unlike some EQ-badged cars (think EQA, EQB, EQC and EQV) that share a platform with their internal combustion equivalent, the EQS has a bespoke electric architecture to best package a giant battery for a near 500-mile range and to maximise interior space. Performance and range impress, as does the seriously comfortable ride. This giant hatchback has plenty of room for people and doubles up as a surprisingly effective load lugger, too. Just be careful of all the flashy trims, digital displays and supple leather that make this a seriously opulent tech-fest of an interior. Pricey, too…
Read our Mercedes EQS review
8. Skoda Enyaq (from £34,850)
The Skoda Enyaq’s sub-£35,000 starting price seems fair for the iV 60 model and bodes well for the upcoming lower-powered models. It’s comfortable, well sorted to drive, and does a great job of appealing to as many drivers as possible. Friendlier and more luxurious than a Kia e-Niro and looks better inside and out than a Volkswagen ID.4 – which is very, very good for the Skoda Enyaq iV, and worrying for Volkswagen. If you want a practical, roomy family EV, look no further.
Read our Skoda Enyaq review here
7. Polestar 2 (from £39,900)
The Polestar 2 is a cracking addition to the shopping list for mid-sized EV buyers. Hailing from Sweden’s Volvo, Polestar is a relatively new start-up that carries across the Scandi chic design values and quality from its sister brand, but wrapped up in a more progressive, modern vibe. This car ushers in Google’s first Android OS so there are very few buttons (sound familiar, Tesla?) and everything is operated from a touchscreen or by the Hey Google voice assistant. Sensible front-wheel drive models get a choice of two battery sizes with the potent twin-motor coming with the higher-capacity pack only. It’s good to drive with the optional Performance pack, too, looks slick and is very well built. We’ve spent half a year in the Polestar 2 and found we could reliably get a 200-mile trip from the Long Range models without having to recharge.
Polestar 2 review
View Polestar 2 lease deals
6. Renault Megane E-Tech Electric (from £31,000)
We’ve only driven a pre-production version of the reinvented electric Megane so far, but the VW ID.3 should be worried. Available with either 129bhp and a 186-mile range or 215bhp and a more useful 292-mile range, this front-wheel drive hatchback has gained plenty of SUV attitude in its transformation. It’s good to drive and has plenty of room inside, so if the price is as competitive as promised, it’s well worth shortlisting.
Read our Renault Megane E-Tech Electric review
5. Tesla Model 3 (from £40,490)
The Model 3 has cemented itself as the UK’s most popular electric car and for good reason. It might be the least expensive Tesla available but, even in entry-level form, few are likely to be disappointed – as even the base model packs a claimed 305-mile range and the ability to sprint from 0-60mph in just 5.8sec. It even comes with the Autopilot drive assistance system, which takes the edge off long trips and adds to the space-age feel. The Long Range dual-motor version with all-wheel drive and increased range is available; it can cover a claimed 374 miles and serves up a sports car-rivalling 0-60mph time of 4.2sec. The top of the range Performance drops that time to 3.1sec with range tumbling to 340 miles. If you want something a bit more practical, we’d point you in the direction of the larger Model Y, though that does come with some caveats. Take a look at our recent group test, and you’ll see the larger sibling of the model Y lost out to the Kia EV6.
Read our full Tesla Model 3 review
View Tesla Model 3 lease deals
4. BMW i4 (from £51,905)
Forget about the BMW i3, i8 or the iX – the BMW i4 is an altogether different approach to electric power. And while it doesn’t outwardly look as innovative as previous cars produced by the BMW i division, it’s easily one of the best electric cars you can buy in the UK today. There are two i4s to choose from: an eDrive40 with rear-wheel drive, 335bhp and a claimed range of 367 miles, or the M40 with 537bhp twin-motor all-wheel drive machine that also happens to be the first ever all-electric M-car for £12k more. Underneath you’ll find the same Gen5 BMW electric drive tech, though here it’s not wrapped in a part carbon construction like the iX. Regardless, you won’t care when behind the wheel; both models of the i4, stab the accelerator and the i4 reacts with the kind of instant thrust that makes you think of computer game. Regardless of which one you choose, there are still so many core BMW traits in here: alert steering, outstanding ride and handling balance, a clean, well-built and user-friendly interior, and plenty of power being just some of them.
Read our review of the BMW i4
3. Kia EV6 (from £40,945)
Kia’s flagship EV6 is available in single-motor two-wheel drive or twin-motor four-wheel drive flavours. All regular models are capable of 300+ miles according to WLTP testing, while those happy to sacrifice some range for performance might be interested in the hot 577bhp EV6 GT. Even lesser models handle well, with good performance and a comfortable ride. It’s similar in size to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 on which it’s based, meaning plentiful space for passengers to lounge front and rear. There’s a capacious boot, too, making it a perfectly practical choice for families.
Read our Kia EV6 review
2. Hyundai Ioniq 5 (from £37,420)
Hyundai has really stepped things up with the Ioniq 5, producing an excedingly well-rounded electric car that’s dripping in retro-inspired yet futuristic design touches. We’d skip past the entry-level 58kWh battery on account of its 238 mile range and instead plump for the 72.6kWh pack with twin-motor four-wheel drive. Range jumps to 285 miles and the 5.2 second 0-62mph time is significantly quicker than either single motor model. In this spec it’s fun to drive once you get used to a bit of body roll, something that’s easy to accept given the comfortable ride.
Read our Hyundai Ioniq 5 review
1. Porsche Taycan (from £72,850)
The Porsche Taycan is an incredible technical achievement. It does the things we all enjoy about driving – accelerating, braking, going around corners – with supreme alacrity, and features a massive well of capability largely untapped by normal driving. Porsche offers cheaper, rear-wheel drive variants to sit alongside the toppy Turbo, Turbo S and 4S models. Today, Taycan prices start at £72,850.
Read our Porsche Taycan review
View Porsche Taycan lease deals
Electric cars: more buying advice
If you intend to use an electric car for longer journeys, make sure your local trunk roads and motorways have the infrastructure to support charging en route or consider an alternative, such as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). These cars mix battery tech and petrol or diesel power to provide a get-out-of-jail-free card for when pure electric range simply isn’t enough.
If you want to know more about the best hybrids on the market, check out our separate explainer here.
The reality is that most electric car owners will rarely have to charge up in public; if you have off-street parking and the ability to charge at home, the latest EVs will manage most of your day-to-day driving needs just by charging your battery pack domestically overnight.
One EV brand in China – Nio – is even pioneering battery-swap stations, where a robot will replace your car’s depleted battery for a fully charged one while in just five minutes.
Pure electric cars will also save you money every single year because they’re exempt from road tax – for now, at least. Don’t miss our handy guide to how VED car tax favours EVs here – and there’s lots of advice on company car tax in our explainer here.
Electric car prices
EVs might cost more to buy in cash than their petrol or diesel counterparts today, but the gap is narrowing. Vauxhall, Peugeot, and Mini all have models that can run on petrol or electric and comparative prices are pretty similar.
Leasing prices are even more eye-opening. Costs vary wildly depending on the car, but broadly speaking cheap electric cars are the same amount to lease as cheap petrol cars. Renault Zoes and Renault Clios are both in the market for around £200 per month with the same terms.
Our advice? Be sure to do the maths before plugging in. EVs are more expensive to buy up front – but if your usage patterns and energy bills work out, then going electric might be the right choice for you.
Further electric reading
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