Best electric SUVs 2021
Our selection of the best electric SUVs you can buy features cars that promise to mix style, practicality and rock-bottom running costs
More and more people are buying electric cars these days, and lots of manufacturers are trying to pair this trend with another hugely popular aspect of the automotive market: SUVs.
The pairing of a raised driving position, lots of interior space and zero-emissions power is tempting. Such large and weighty cars aren't the most efficient when running on diesel or petrol power, so switching to electric helps bring running costs right down, with zero tailpipe emissions paying particularly high dividends for company-car drivers.
Several of the electric SUVs you can buy right now have been purpose-designed as electric cars; this means the batteries are integrated into the car's structure and don't encroach on luggage or passenger space, so some are actually even roomier inside than petrol or diesel rivals.
The choice of electric SUVs is growing all the time and many new models are just around the corner. Those already here are all appealing in various different ways, and we expect similar variety from those yet to appear. Here's our pick of the best electric SUVs that you can buy right now. Make sure to check out our list of the best electric family cars, too.
The e-tron is the first fully electric effort from this German premium brand. As a maiden attempt, it's a very capable SUV indeed. Prices start just under £60,000, with the entry-level version returning up to 186 miles of range according to the latest efficiency tests. Performance is decent regardless of whether you opt for the 50, 55 or sporty S model. It's practical in standard form, too, with 660 litres of boot space – although this takes a hit if you go for the rakish Sportback version.
Either way, there's plenty of room for passengers in the front and rear seats. However, the e-tron's main shortcoming is its weight: it tips the scales at two-and-a-half tonnes, which has a big impact on how efficiently it can use the energy in its battery. Other than that, it's a stellar offering from Audi. Read our full reviews of the e-tron and its Sportback sister model.
BMW lagged a little behind its premium German rivals Audi and Mercedes when it came to getting a large and luxurious electric SUV to the market. The iX3 finally arrived in late 2020, looking very similar to the combustion-powered X3 from the outside but packing the German brand's latest electric drivetrain technology under the metal.
It's refined, spacious and good to drive, even if it doesn't feel quite as special inside as some of its competitors. Power comes from a 282bhp electric motor fed by an 80kWh battery, with power sent to the rear wheels only. A claimed range of up to 279 miles is impressive, although the 6.8-second 0-62mph time means it trails rivals slightly in the on-paper performance stakes. Read our full review here.
Hyundai Kona Electric
The Hyundai Kona Electric moved the mainstream electric-car market on in a big way. With a claimed range of 280 miles from the larger 64kWh battery model, there’s as much range as in some petrol superminis, so the Kona Electric is genuinely useable not just as a day-to-day electric car, but for longer journeys, too.
There’s practicality, plenty of on-board technology thanks to a strong infotainment system that boasts the latest connectivity, good refinement and a comfortable ride, so the Kona Electric is a great all-rounder. We ran a Kona Electric long-term to really get a feel for it. It doesn't have genuine off-road capability, but the looks are there and few will take the Kona Electric off-road. Read our full review here.
Electric SUVs don’t come much better than this. When it arrived, the I-Pace immediately shot to the top of its class, and it's easy to see why. The Jaguar offers a range of nearly 300 miles, with performance to rival some much sportier machinery (395bhp and a 0-62mph time of 4.5 seconds proves as much) and the practicality that any family SUV buyer is looking for.
Key to this package is the clever body that sandwiches the battery in the floor, so while it's heavy, the weight is low down, so the I-Pace handles sweetly and rides smoothly. It also doesn’t hamper practicality, as there’s lots of space inside and the 638-litre boot will swallow almost anything a family can throw at it. Charging times are fast, too, with 50kW rapid charging capability giving an 80% top-up in 85 minutes. Read our full review here.
Pound for pound, the Kia e-Niro is one of the best electric cars ever made. And the reason is simple: it combines long-range electric driving with a relatively affordable price tag that significantly undercuts the premium cars on this list, like the Tesla Model X and the Jaguar I-Pace.
With a 64kWh battery, the e-Niro returns 282 miles of range on paper, and it will take a rapid charge of up to 100kW for a 0-80% top-up time of an hour and 15 minutes. Better still is the fact that the e-Niro is very good to drive, as well as being practical and comfortable for a family of five Read our full review here.
Lexus UX 300e
Lexus and parent brand Toyota were pioneers in the development of hybrid drive for road cars, but have been slow to adopt fully electric power. That's now starting to change, and Lexus' first zero-emissions offering in the UK is this UX 300e, an electric version of the existing UX 250h hybrid.
Power comes from a 201bhp electric motor drawing energy from a 54kWh battery, with drive sent to the front wheels. Rapid charging is supported at up to 50kW, with a claimed 0-80% charging time of just over 50 minutes. Total electric range is a decent 196 miles – more than enough for most average-use drivers. Read our full review here.
If you buy a Tesla Model X for its range and speed and a Jaguar I-Pace for its all-round ability, then you definitely buy the Mercede EQC for its comfort. It's exceedingly quiet – even for an electric car – making it relaxing to drive over any kind of distance.
That's partly down to the heated leather seats and their adjustable lumbar support, but also because Mercedes' engineers have worked hard to ensure that the EQC's suspension is softer and more forgivable than its rivals'. Performance is far from shabby, with a 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds and top speed of 110mph. Read our full review here.
The Peugeot e-2008 is a larger and more spacious version of the French brand's e-208 supermini. It shares technology with sister brand DS' 3 Crossback E-TENSE and Vauxhall's upcoming electric Mokka. Like the previous internal-combustion-engined 2008, the e-2008 is an urban-focused family vehicle rather than a true off-roader.
Its larger body means a slightly shorter driving range than the e-208, but the distance is still a useful 193 miles, and the larger car successfully carries over much of the smaller one's sharp and eye-catching styling. Read our full review here.
Tesla Model X
The Tesla Model X was the company's third model, and with this electric SUV the US brand spread its wings – literally. That’s because of the Model X’s signature ‘falcon wing’ doors that give access to the spacious interior. You can have it as a five, six or seven-seater, but whichever version you choose there’s plenty of space in the front and the middle rows. However, it does feel tight in the third row of seats.
There’s more to the Model X than how many it can carry, though. There are two versions to choose from: Long Range and Performance. The Model X Long Range sees range of around 315 miles, while the most expensive Performance car concedes a little of that range in pursuit of a faster 0-60mph time of 2.7 seconds. Amazingly, it's simultaneously one of the largest and fastest electric cars on sale. Read our full review here.
Volvo XC40 Recharge P8
Volvo offers plug-in hybrid power for every model in its range, but this is its first zero-emissions, fully electric SUV, based on the existing petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid-powered XC40. Such cars can sometimes feel like a bit of compromise, but the XC40 was designed with electric power in mind from the outset and it feels like it on the road.
Performance is astonishing: this is a compact family car with 402bhp and the ability to go from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds. Grip is good, too, thanks to the car’s dual-motor, all-wheel-drive setup. Elsewhere, the P8’s fantastic refinement makes it a very relaxing cruiser. It isn’t as quiet as an Audi e-tron, but it’s not far off. Read our full review here.
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