Top 10 best 4WD electric cars 2023
Whether you’re looking to venture off-road, or just want some extra assurance in the winter months, we list the best four-wheel-drive electric cars on sale
When it comes to petrol and diesel-engined cars, four-wheel-drive (4WD) tends to be reserved for SUVs and performance models, as it adds both cost and complexity. However, it's much more common in electric cars because it only requires the addition of a second electric motor – no transfer box or extra mechanical gubbins required.
While four-wheel-drive can certainly help increase traction in the dry – often resulting in blisteringly-fast acceleration times – it can be most helpful in harsh conditions like snow, heavy rain or even off-road.
And yet dedicated off-roaders remain rare in the EV market. There are a few electric 4x4s on the way such as the upcoming Mercedes EQG, though for the time being, a dual-motor model outfitted with a good set of winter tyres should be more than capable enough in slippery conditions for most buyers.
So without further ado, here’s our rundown of the best four-wheel-drive electric cars you can buy – from SUVs to estates:
Make sure to check out the winners of the 2023 DrivingElectric Awards and our list of the best electric cars you can buy in 2023, too – and don't forget to follow DrivingElectric on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for the very latest news and reviews from the world of hybrid and electric cars.
1. Subaru Solterra
Subaru is renowned for its rally racing heritage, so it’s only fitting that the Japanese marque’s first EV comes as standard with four-wheel-drive and a plethora of off-road-oriented features. The Subaru Solterra SUV shares its parts with the Toyota bZ4X, however, unlike that car, it gets Subaru’s ‘X-MODE’, which is a specific drive mode designed for off-road driving. It also boasts ‘Grip Control’, which is essentially a kind of off-road cruise control. Despite its raised ground clearance, the Solterra should be easy to live with everyday, thanks to its 289-mile electric range and standard 150kW charging capability.
Read our full Subaru Solterra review to find out more.
2. Mercedes EQS SUV
The original Range Rover proved off-roading could be luxurious, and until Land Rover makes an electric version of its iconic 4x4, the Mercedes EQS currently sits at the pinnacle of all-terrain opulence. Outfitted with Mercedes’ striking (optional) Hyperscreen infotainment system and boasting an interior wrapped in sumptuous leather, the EQS also comes as standard with two electric motors providing all-wheel-drive and up to 365 miles of range. That’s not all, as Merc’s AIRMATIC air suspension can raise the EQS’ ride height to avoid obstacles, while there’s also a dedicated ‘OFFROAD’ driving mode for treacherous conditions.
Read our full Mercedes EQS SUV review to find out more.
3. Audi Q4 e-tron
The Q4 e-tron is quite a bit more affordable than the range-topping Q8 e-tron SUV, but is still available with Audi’s quattro four-wheel-drive system – something that was originally developed for rally racing in the early eighties. Also sharing its platform with the Enyaq iV and Volkswagen ID.4, the Q4 takes the best of these cars and adds significant upgrades in terms of quality, comfort and on-board technology. The Q4 e-tron 50 is the only option if you want the aforementioned quattro four-wheel drive. The added power requirements of the extra motor are offset by a larger 77kWh battery, resulting in a range of up to 304 miles.
Read our full Audi Q4 e-tron review to find out more.
4. Skoda Enyaq iV
The Enyaq iV is one more electric SUV available in two or four-wheel drive form, and yet another that comes from a manufacturer with rich off-road racing heritage. While the Enyaq iV is far from a rally racer, it is available in dual-motor 80x and vRS guises, both providing plenty of grip in slippery conditions. Like most Skodas, the Enyaq iV is also packed full of ‘Simply Clever’ features that are ideal for the most lifestyle-oriented families, such as a built-in umbrella in the driver’s door and an ice scraper housed in the fuel filler cap. That’s not even mentioning the Enyaq’s 585-litre boot, which should be sufficient for even the biggest of family adventures.
Read our full Skoda Enyaq iV review to find out more.
5. BMW iX
BMW’s long-awaited zero-emissions flagship, the iX is an X5-sized SUV that has the Tesla Model X in its sights. The iX showcases a bold new design language that's set to appear across all of the brand's future pure-electric models. All versions get a pair of electric motors and thus, four-wheel-drive, producing between 322bhp (in the entry-level xDrive40) all the way up to 611bhp (in the range-topping M60). The luxury SUV also offers up to 380 miles of range, while 200kW charging allows for a 10-80% top-up in just 34 minutes.
Read our full BMW iX review to find out more.
6. Volvo XC40 Recharge
The Volvo XC40 is the Swedish brand’s smallest SUV and is available in both single and ‘Twin-motor’ form. The latter outputs a mind-boggling 402bhp and gets from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds. However, the XC40 Recharge is best driven at a relaxed pace, with supple suspension that’s perfect for bumpy country lanes, and a sumptuous interior featuring a minimalist design and a slick Google-based portrait touchscreen. With a maximum range of 312 miles, the XC40 Recharge Twin is suitable for long journeys, too, and can charge at speeds of up to 200kW.
Read our full Volvo XC40 Recharge review to find out more.
7. Tesla Model Y
The Model Y is the only Tesla SUV currently on sale in the UK, sitting below the flagship Model X with its showy gullwing doors. With conventional doors and a much lower price tag, the Model Y combines the practicality of an SUV with Tesla’s cutting-edge in-car technology, but in a far more restrained and compact package. Essentially an SUV variant of the Model 3, there are three versions of the Model Y available in the UK, two of which feature four-wheel drive.
Read our full Tesla Model Y review to find out more.
8. Jaguar I-Pace
The I-Pace from Jaguar continues to be one of the best-handling electric cars on sale, even several years after its initial launch. With an electric motor on each axle providing all-wheel drive, it has impressive grip that should see it cope well when conditions turn nasty. While it misses the ground clearance that gives other 4x4s the edge off road and can only tow a 750kg trailer, it nevertheless has plenty of traction and power. And with a 0-60mph time of 4.5 seconds, it’s among the fastest SUVs on sale, too.
Read our full Jaguar I-Pace review to find out more.
9. Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo
You may be surprised to see a Porsche on our best four-wheel-drive electric cars list, but the Taycan Cross Turismo proves you don’t have to sacrifice performance if you’re after a little extra capability. It boasts a powerful set of electric motors – whether you go for the base 4 or the range-topping Turbo S – and even has decent ground clearance, thanks to a raised suspension setup. With SUV-style body cladding, the Taycan Cross Turismo gets a practical estate-style boot and can also be specified with a compass on the dashboard, too. While it’s not quite suited for rock-crawling, the ‘off-road’ Taycan is more than capable enough for most dirt and gravel tracks, and should offer bountiful grip on the tarmac.
Read our full Porsche Taycan review to find out more.
10. Jeep Avenger
While this entry may be considered a bit of a curveball as the dual-motor version of the Avenger is still yet to arrive, even the front-wheel-drive version of the first electric Jeep is incredibly capable. The Jeep Avenger offers the same raised ride height as the Peugeot e-2008 with which it shares many of its parts, but also comes with an array of off-road driving modes, as well as a special ‘hill descent control’ function for steep declines. There aren’t many small four-wheel-drive electric cars on the market yet and the Avenger comes the closest to offering the desired extra level of grip.
Read our full Jeep Avenger review to find out more.
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