Best electric SUVs
Electric cars are rapidly growing in popularity and many manufacturers are combining this emerging niche in the automotive industry with a once-cult class that’s now become the mainstream: SUVs.
It’s easy to see why this combination of electric power and raised-up body is so attractive to buyers, because these often large and heavy vehicles aren’t the most efficient when fitted with a conventional petrol or diesel engine. As an electric car, an SUV emits no CO2 at all, so it’ll be cheap to tax and run as a company car, while many are bespoke models, so there’s no loss of practicality.
There are only a few choices at the moment if you want a fully electric SUV, but with models due to arrive soon from premium manufacturers such as Mercedes, Audi and BMW in the shape of the EQC, e-tron and iX3 respectively, the group of cars is set to grow rapidly.
Electric SUVs don’t come much better than this. When it arrived, the Jaguar I-Pace immediately shot to the top of this admittedly small class, but on merit.
Jaguar has beaten all of its German rivals to market with a fully electric car and hit the nail on the head with the I-Pace SUV. That’s because it offers a real-world range of more than 250 miles, 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 90kWh battery in the floor, so while it might be heavy, it also keeps the weight low, 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.
Recharge times are strong, too, with 50kW rapid charging capability giving an 80% top-up in 85 minutes. With 100kW charging already built into the package, when it becomes available a top-up will only take 45 minutes, so it’ll be a while yet before the I-Pace will be obsolete. Read our full review.
Tesla Model X
The Model X was Tesla’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 three ‘engine’ options to choose from – the first is the 75D, the second is the 100D and the third the P100D high-performance version.
The 75D uses a 75kWh battery giving a claimed range of 259 miles. It’s the most affordable and still does 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds. The P100D slashes this to just 2.9 seconds – it’s blisteringly fast.
You also get 400kWh worth of free Tesla Supercharger time, so recharging shouldn’t be too much hassle. With a top-up time of around 40 minutes for an 80% charge, this will give you around five free charges.
Allied to the technology inside and Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving aids, the Model X is a brilliant electric SUV that, although on the pricey side, offers a hi-tech approach many rivals can’t match. Read our full review.
Hyundai Kona Electric
Hyundai’s Kona Electric is arguably the car that moves the mainstream electric-car market on at least another half step, if not a full one. And it’s an SUV, so its popularity should be assured.
With a claimed range of around 300 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’re running one on our long-term test fleet, so we'll see how the Hyundai fares over a longer period of time, but for now the signs are good.
It doesn't have genuine off-road capability, but the looks are there and few will take the Kona Electric off-road. As an electric SUV, it’s one of the best around. Read our full review.
Kia Soul EV
When it was first released, the Kia Soul EV was something of a curio, but three years later and as electric cars have become more popular, it's coming into its own.
That’s thanks to an update for 2018, which increased the car's range between charges to 155 miles. It’s still not the most interesting-looking car, but it’s what’s inside and underneath that counts.
A 27kWh battery and 109bhp electric motor mean there’s plenty of performance around town, while good interior space means it’s practical, too. The raised-up SUV-style body gives great visibility and combined with the electric drivetrain, a different feel to conventional rivals, which is the quirky Soul EV’s USP. Read our full review.