► Our guide to the best electric SUVs in 2021
► Crossover EVs and battery 4x4s
► Which is best for your needs?
The great British public loves SUVs - and is gradually switching on to the idea of electric cars, too, so it's no wonder that electric SUVs are leading the UK's drive to cleaner vehicles.
Battery-powered crossovers, SUVs and 4x4s are the fastest growing type of electric vehicle (EV) and there are now plenty to choose from, with something for all budgets and needs. Manufacturers love them, because the taller bodyshell can more easily accommodate the bulky batteries required and their typically higher purchase price also helps offset the cost of those pricey energy cells.
Electric cars: further reading
Best electric SUVs: our guide to the best of 2021
An SUV or crossover is a great choice for families needing space to carry kids' clobber and the detritus of family life. They're higher off the ground, too, for a raised seating position and a great view out. Downsides? They're lumbering, huge, heavy and space-inefficient, according to their detractors.
The problem is, punters just love 'em. Are there electric SUVs you can buy today? You bet. Here are the best picks on sale today, according to CAR magazine. Either read on down our list, or hop to the cars you're interested in our shortcuts below:
- Audi e-Tron
- Hyundai Kona Electric
- Jaguar i-Pace
- Kia e-Niro
- MG ZS EV
- Mercedes-Benz EQC
- Tesla Model X
- Volvo XC40 Recharge
- Skoda Enyaq
- VW ID.4
- Ford Mustang Mach-E
- Mazda MX-30
- All the future and upcoming electric SUVs
The first full series-production electric car from Audi is a triumph: you get the usual Ingolstadt quality and driving manners, all wrapped up in a very practical SUV bodystyle that's akin to an Audi Q5 crossover. Performance is rapid, range decent and it just all feels so normal. One neat touch we really liked: a charging port on each of the front wings, allowing you to charge this Jaguar i-Pace rival from either side. A range of 248 miles is claimed for Audi's electric SUV and, despite weighing in at 2490kg, the e-Tron is no slouch: it can accelerate from 0-62mph in as little as 5.7sec. It's a great all-rounder, albeit pricey.
Read our Audi E-Tron review
View all Audi e-Tron lease offers
The EQC is the first car in Mercedes' new EV-only 'EQ' range and, while not exactly innovative, it's an unquestionably capable SUV. It has a range of 259 miles, features twin motors for all-wheel drive, can sprint from 0-62mph in 5.1sec and is loaded with technology; the electric Mercedes SUV also offers seating for five and a large boot – as you'd hope, considering its size and hefty 2425kg kerbweight. The EQC's a finely polished and thought-through affair, too, which makes it easier and less stressful to live with. Consequently, it might be ideal for buyers who are a little worried about making the switch from a straightforward petrol or diesel SUV.
Read our full Mercedes-Benz EQC review
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Jaguar's first all-electric car, dubbed the i-Pace, is a tremendously slick affair – and one that's a tempting alternative to established rivals such as the Tesla Model X. This cutting-edge car steers, stops and goes like a Jaguar should – and there's space aplenty, too, thanks to efficient packaging and that flat floor. Twin motors serve up a mighty 395bhp and 513lb ft, as well as all-wheel drive, and the electric Jaguar SUV is capable of 0-62mph in just 4.8sec. Refrain from deploying that punch, though, and you could eke 298 miles out of the battery, according to Jaguar. In our experience, that's a bit rich; you'll struggle to get much more than 200 out of a single charge, but that's sufficient for many drivers' daily needs... The i-Pace is one of our favourite cars on sale today and we're living with one in 2020 as a long-term test.
Read our full Jaguar i-Pace review
View all Jaguar i-Pace lease offers
Tesla Model X
Need space for seven? A swanky Tesla badge? And all the modernity and clever-clogs tech the brand has become famous for? Step this way: the Model X is half crossover, half MPV, but all Tesla electric car. Famous for its cleverly hinged gullwing rear doors that open even in the tightest of car park spaces, the interior is roomy for five in the first two rows and the rearmost third-row pair of seats are fine for kids on short journeys. It is pricey though, costing from £87k in the UK for a Model X Long Range (the faster Performance model retails at a head-spinning £101,390).
Read our full Tesla Model X review
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The electric Niro is a great example of the new breed of electric cars arriving in 2020: it's a right-sized package and ticks lots of boxes. It's an SUV shape, which the market is demanding, while its range is a claimed 282 miles – giving it the legs that motorists want for reassurance. Its UK price is £34,995 after the government grant – putting it in the sweet spot of accessibility for more motorists. You even get a seven-year warranty, which should allay any concerns about long-term reliability. The only problem? It's so good, that the UK allocation has sold out and you'll have to join a long waiting list for the Kia electric SUV...
Read our Kia e-Niro review
View all Kia e-Niro lease offers
Hyundai Kona Electric
The Hyundai Kona Electric is arguably one of the most versatile and accessible EVs on sale in 2020. It's affordably priced, for starters, and two distinct versions are offered – a 134bhp model with a 39kWh battery, or a 204bhp version with a higher-capacity 64kWh battery. In base form, the Kona can travel up to 180 miles on a single charge and sprint from 0-62mph in a perfectly sensible 9.7sec. Go for the more expensive model, though, and the range leaps to 279 miles while the 0-62mph time drops to 7.6sec. It's not a fun car to drive but it is very practical, with that crossover bodystyle swallowing bodies and bags with nonchalant ease. The Hyundai electric SUV costs a whisker under £30,000 to buy one in the UK (after the government subsidy).
Read our full Hyundai Kona Electric review
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MG ZS EV
If the high cost of the posher electric cars above puts you off, worry not – prices are starting to tumble. Case in point: MG has just launched its first all-electric car, the ZS EV, and the first 1000 customers benefited from an introductory price of £21,495. Now that offer has expired, the price – inclusive of the government grant – is a still-reasonable (comparatively speaking) £25,495. This is no sluggish, short-range affair with limited practicality, either; the ZS EV can accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.5sec, cover 163 miles on a single charge and accommodate the needs of most families thanks to its vast boot and large cabin.
Read our full review of the MG ZS electric SUV
View all MG ZS lease offers
Volvo XC40 Recharge
The most impressive thing about the first all-electric Volvo is not its lively acceleration, although 4.9 seconds to 62mph can be fun. Nor is it the good real-world range, of more than 200 miles per charge. Nor is it the new Google-based infotainment, effective as that is. And it’s certainly not the clunky, confusing name: Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric P8 First Edition.
No, the real achievemet is just how much like every other XC40 it feels to drive or be passengered in. Considering that the powertrain is completely different, and the weight much greater, it does a very good job of offering the same mix of refinement, comfort and feelgood modernity
Read our full review of the Volvo XC40 Recharge
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The Enyaq's £35,000 starting price seems fair for the iV 60 model and bodes well for the upcoming entry-level models. It's comfortable, well-sorted, spacious and capable of travelling long distances between charges – our admittedly brief experience is that the anticipated range display is accurate, which is good news for those with range anxiety. It also looks good on the road, well-finished with tight panels gaps and plenty of road presence.
It’s difficult to imagine this not being one of the most sought-after cars in 2021. It's friendlier and more luxurious than a Kia e-Niro and looks better inside and out than a Volkswagen ID.4. Until we directly compare them, it's impossible to call definitively – but it's looking very, very good for the Skoda Enyaq iV, and quite worrying for Volkswagen.
Read our review of the Skoda Enyaq
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Where the VW ID.3 hatchback looks a bit ordinary and unsophisticated, the ID.4 is much sleeker, a little wider and visually better balanced, even though it sits on the same wheelbase. The new crossover is also roomier inside, has a much bigger boot, and at 0.28 its drag coefficient is only marginally less slippery.
Size-wise, the ID.4 slots neatly into the VW SUV range between the T-Roc and Tiguan at 4.6m long, but is closer to the latter in terms of exterior dimensions – and the interior is even roomier thanks to the packaging efficiency of the electrical gubbins. The rear passenger compartment is especially capacious, with that flat floor bereft of any propshaft intrusion.
We've now tested the production versions on UK roads; for now, only the lofty First Edition is offered for sale, costing £40,800 before government grants, but a range of different ID.4s will be in Volkswagen dealers soon.
Read our review of the VW ID.4
View all VW ID.4 lease offers
Ford Mustang Mach-E
Ford’s latest pony car is a near-silent, totally environment-friendly galloper shaped like a crossbreed cocktail of Aintree winner and steeplechase champion. Badged Mustang like millions of great American sports cars launched since the nameplate first popped up in 1964, the Mach-E is heralded as decidedly dynamic EV which puts street cred above cabin acreage and presence before lollipop aerodynamics.
Buyers of this car are more likely to be drawn in by the driving range and tech on offer. The fact it’s great fun to drive and has a horsey badge are just attractive extras.
Read our review of the Ford Mustang Mach-E
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We've now driven right-hand drive versions of the MX-30 in the UK and can confirm that the excellent driving position has transitioned unsullied from the LHD versions we sampled in late-2020. Not earth-shattering news given Mazda's domestic market also drives on the left, but worthy of note all the same.
Initially, the MX-30 comes as one flavour, starting at £26,045 when the government's reduced £2500 PiCG has been deducted. For that you get a a relatively small 35.5 kWh battery - that's as compact as the Honda E's power source, but this is a larger, more family-friendly compact crossover. There are three trim levels (in addition to the First Edition you can still just about order for £27,995 OTR), and all are generously equipped compared to rivals.
Read our review of the Mazda MX-30
View all Mazda MX30 lease offers
Future electric SUVs: upcoming crossover EVs coming soon
As we mentioned, there are more and more electric SUVs coming to showrooms near you in the coming months. Most manufacturers are developing e-SUVs, so look out for these models arriving soon - from mainstream and premium brands alike:
- BMW iX The next all-electric BMW following from i3 and i8 is a crossover
- Porsche Macan The next model will be EV only
- Rivian R1S A new name for a new type of tough, rough electric outdoors vehicles
- Tesla Model Y Like a Model 3, but more crossovery
We'll be sure to update this article frequently in the coming weeks, so it stays up to date with the latest information, specs and prices. In the meantime, click on the links below to find out more about electric SUV ownership.
** These deals are indicative examples of some packages available, but are subject to change without prior notice. Everyone's financial circumstances are different and the availability of credit is subject to status. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply. CAR Magazine cannot recommend a deal for you specifically.
Further electric car reading
The best electric cars on sale today
How much does it cost to charge an electric car?
The fastest electric cars
Your guide to electric car batteries