► The best electric cars to lease right now
► From compact EVs to larger electric cars
► All price ranges considered
A glance at the list of best electric cars might reveal that, as technology has advanced, zero-emissions motoring could now be a viable option for you. But, despite increased production, competition and advances in technology, the outright cost of a new electric car might still prove to be too high.
If you’re sold on electric cars but not on handing over one lump sum of cash, the best electric cars to lease provide a more manageable way into EV ownership – and one that could allow you to sample and enjoy the electric car lifestyle without committing in earnest and ending up stuck with something that doesn’t suit you.
Whether you’re looking for one of the best small electric cars, the best electric SUV, or even one of the cheapest EVs around, you can usually find a suitable leasing deal somewhere.
EDITOR’S PICK: The MG4 is the darling of the electric car class at the moment. It does much of what a VW ID.3 does, but for less money. And this low cash price teamed with great stock levels makes it a bargain to lease.
The best electric cars to lease in 2023
Best for the pragmatic driver
Pros: Long range, accurate range predictor, value for money
Cons: Touchscreen a bit fiddly, not the most practical
The MG4 was the third of the brand’s electric cars to hit the market and, much to the surprise of everyone, it transpired to be a superb EV. So much so, in fact, that it easily rivals far more expensive competitors. It is, pragmatically speaking, among the best electric cars to lease.
Broadly the cheapest leasing deals are for the regular model, which can cover up to 218 miles on a single charge. They usually come with a 5-6,000-mile contract limit too.
Read our full MG Motor MG4 review
Tesla Model 3
Best for the company car driver
Pros: Good to drive, easy to use, brilliant range
Cons: Not a hatchback, issues with customer service
Tesla’s smallest and cheapest model is also its best. It’s refreshingly simple to use, with no screens or dials in front of the driver. That’s right, everything is handled by the monster central infotainment screen.
Its electric range – spanning 278 miles to 360 miles – is truly epic for the money and the semi-autonomous tech is one of the most advanced. Tesla regularly changes the RRP so expect leasing deals to be volatile too.
Read our full Tesla Model 3 review
Best for city drivers
Pros: Surprisingly quality interior, large boot
Cons: Unsettled ride, range isn’t brilliant
The smartly styled Peugeot e-208 is a great electric hatch, and a sensible starting point if you’re looking to make your first step into the world of electric power. It’s just like a normal 208 but electrified, and it has a useful claimed range of 224 miles, a 0-62mph time of 8.1 seconds, and plenty of kit as standard.
Broadly they’re more expensive to buy outright than the petrol 208s, but leasing deals bring the monthly costs down to a much closer level.
Read our full Peugeot e-208 review
MG ZS EV
Best for bargain-hunting SUV enthusiasts
Pros: 273-mile range, five star safety score, seven-year warranty
Cons: Low rent interior, lack of badge appeal
If you’re looking for an affordable electric car that’s a bit more spacious and practical, look at the MG ZS EV. The entry-level variants come with a 51.1kWh battery that grants a range of 198 miles, as well as highlights such as generous interior space, a 470-litre boot, and stacks of kit.
Other electric SUVs fall into a similar pricing category, but we feel the larger battery model (capable of up to 273 miles) provides excellent value.
Read our full MG ZS EV review
Fiat 500 Electric
Best for chic city types
Pros: Stylish, fun to drive, decent range for a small car
Cons: Not that practical
Buyers seeking a bit more style and charm could opt for Fiat’s characterful all-electric 500, in either hatchback or convertible form. The neatly designed city car is packed with fine details, is pleasant to drive, and available with a range of up to 203 miles.
Going for the cheaper standard-range model will net you the lowest payments. But if you want a range closer to 200 miles you’ll need to go for the long-range version.
Read our full Fiat 500 Electric review
Hyundai Ioniq 5
Best for those after a spaceship-like family car
Pros: Roomy, good to drive, long-range version
Cons: Not as comfy as some rivals, looks won’t be for everyone
The Ioniq 5 isn’t merely a car. It’s the end product of years of development and graft from Hyundai. This is the model that’s set to turn the Korean firm premium. And the traditional German manufacturers have sat up and taken note.
Inside there’s a great balance between screens and physical switchgear, it’s surprisingly agile considering its size and it has exceptional charging speeds. Regularly on offer from various leasing companies too.
Read our full Hyundai Ioniq 5 review
Best for those after a sensible family car
Pros: Good range, relaxed, even entry-level models are good to drive
Cons: Interior controls are a bit confusing, looks won’t appeal to everyone
The Volkswagen ID.4 is a good choice if you’ve a bit more to spend and need something with increased capabilities. It offers up space for four adults, a large 543-litre boot, a range of up to 328 miles, and a vast array of standard features.
There are quite a few variations to choose from, but the 52kWh model is usually offered with higher mileage limits.
Read our full Volkswagen ID.4 review
Renault Megane E-Tech
Best for those looking for bold styling
Pros: Spacious interior, good value, fun to drive
Cons: No large-battery option, ride can be a bit choppy
The Megane E-Tech is Renault’s answer to the likes of the Cupra Born and Volkswagen ID.3. You might think it a crossover at first glance but the pictures are a bit deceiving; the all-electric Megane’s about the same height as a Ford Focus.
Renault’s also pitching it as a bit of an EV for enthusiasts, and it does have shades of warm hatch to it. It’ll do 0-62mph in a respectable 7.5 seconds, for example. It’ll also cover up to 280 miles on one charge, which is pretty good going. It’s also available on Renault’s own in-house subscription service.
Read our full Renault Megane E-Tech review
Best for tech-heads
Pros: Loads of space, impressive performance, good kit levels
Cons: Large battery model is expensive, controls can be fiddly
The Volkswagen ID.3 is worth investigating if you’ve looked at a few of the less expensive electric hatchbacks and come away unimpressed. It’s a very modern and neatly finished car, and one that’s also good to drive and quick. So if you’ve been looking for something a bit more rounded and premium, it might prove ideal.
Getting an ID.3 leasing deal can be a bit tricky but there are bargains out there. New models only come with two battery sizes. The largest offers a theoretical range of 347 miles. These are the most expensive, and while it seems impressive on paper, you should really ask yourself if you ever really travel that far without stopping.
Read our full Volkswagen ID.3 review
Best for condom dodgers
Pros: Cavernous interior, comfortable, generous standard equipment
Cons: Limited range, looks like a van
If you have multiple children, you might quickly hit the practicality limits of many a mainstream hatch, SUV or estate. In such instances, when you need something hugely practical, a van-based solution such as the Peugeot e-Rifter can be just the ticket.
Five- and seven-seat models are available and, in the five-seat version, a whopping 775 litres of storage space is on offer with all the seats in place. Plus, as you’d imagine, there are myriad storage points. The range of up to 172 miles might be restrictive for some, though, but if you’re looking for an immensely spacious family runabout, this could be it. Great deals are harder to find but if you’re not fussy with spec there are bargains to be had.
Read our Peugeot Rifter review
What is car leasing?
What is often referred to as leasing is formally known as Personal Contract Hire. Car leasing is just like any other lease agreement you may enter: it entails an upfront initial rental, followed by monthly payments throughout the duration of the lease, which is usually between two and four years.
Unlike a Personal Contract Purchase (PCP), where you can opt to buy the car at the end of the contract, with a lease you simply hand the car back to the company you leased it from. It’s basically a long-term rental.
It has its advantages, such as lower monthly payments than a PCP deal – Personal Contract Purchase – and it provides an easy way into a new car that can be changed relatively regularly. There are downsides though, such as higher long-term costs compared to PCP, and that you can’t buy the car when the lease comes to an end. You also need to be mindful of the costs incurred by exceeding any agreed mileage, and those resulting from any damage.
If you like the idea of changing your car every few years or so, and you want minimal ownership hassles and complication – and if the finances stack up – choosing a car from our best electric cars to lease article can be a sensible way to get into a new car.
Are there any additional costs besides the lease payments?
It depends on the particular deal and leasing company you’re looking at. Unless it’s specified, as a general rule of thumb, expect to pay for insurance and maintenance. VED should be rolled into the monthly costs you’re paying, though, but do remember to check.
On the servicing front, given that you might not have the car for long or cover a huge number of miles – and given that we’re talking about EVs, which have lower servicing demands – the servicing costs should be low.
Despite author PJ O’Rourke’s claims that the world’s fastest cars are hire cars, don’t think you aren’t liable for excessive damage a lease car incurs while in your possession. At the end of a lease, an assessor will look over the electric car and judge its wear and tear accordance with the guidelines set by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association.
Mileage is important, too. Leases can be had with different annual mileage, with many falling into a 5,000-10,000-mile range. The higher the mileage limit you choose, the higher the monthly charges tend to be because more mileage on a car speeds up depreciation, and depreciation is effectively what a lease covers.
If you exceed the annual mileage allowance, the lease company will charge you for it when you hand the car back. Unlike wear-and-tear, excess mileage charges are calculated at the discretion of the leasing company and are applied in pence per mile. Make sure you’re aware of these charges and remember to factor them into your potential overall expenditure. And, lastly, don’t forget to consider aspects such as EV charging and running costs.
Our advice? Leasing an electric car can be a great way to run an EV – and a good way to sample the benefits of electric motoring – but do your research, make sure the number stack up, and shop around before you commit.