Top 10 best small electric cars 2023
Small electric cars make a lot of sense for commuting, city life and slashing your running costs. Here, we pick out the best ones to buy in the UK right now...
Electric cars have come a long way since the infamous G-Wiz landed back in 2001, especially when it comes to the most compact EVs on the market today. Thanks largely to big improvements in the package of EVs and the amount of range available from their batteries, carmakers are now able to build more convincing and usable small zero-emissions models.
Plus, since small EVs have smaller batteries on board, charging them up is quick, and you can expect your running costs to be far cheaper than even the most economical small petrol cars. However, electric cars, even ones this size, are still more expensive to buy than their petrol-powered counterparts, so it’s worth considering the purchase price as well as the running costs when you buy.
But it’s only a matter of time before the gap closes, with sub-£25,000 EVs on the way from Volkswagen, Cupra and Renault, to name but a few. If you are concerned about cost, you can check out our list of the cheapest electric cars on sale right now – otherwise, here’s our round-up of the top 10 best small electric cars you can buy.
Best small electric cars to buy now
Make sure to check out the winners of the 2023 DrivingElectric Awards and our list of the best electric cars on sale as well, to see what’s impressed us the most over the past year – and don't forget to follow DrivingElectric on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for the very latest news and reviews.
Strictly speaking, the ultra-compact Citroen Ami isn't a car – it's classified as a 'heavy quadricycle' – but if you genuinely only need something small for nipping around locally carrying not much luggage, it might fit the bill. You can charge its 5.5kWh battery from a regular household socket in a few hours and it'll take you over 40 miles at nearly 30mph if you do. The interior is basic at best, but there's no arguing with the price.
The electric-only Fiat 500 tastefully updates the iconic city car’s charming looks, and features a cabin that's stylish and high-tech – but not overly complex or excessively minimalist. On the road, the Fiat drives sweetly, with a better seating position and smoother ride than its predecessor. Prices now start from close to £31,000, but for the money, you get lots of kit, a 199-mile range, decent rapid charging speeds and plenty of style. If you’re after something more sporty however, the Abarth 500e is arriving in early 2023.
The Honda e takes a different approach to most small electric cars: range from its 35.5kWh battery is just 136 miles, although Honda reckons its efforts to keep the car light make it better to drive – which in our experience seems to be the case. The car is packed with technology, including a full-length touchscreen inside and cameras in place of conventional door mirrors. It's undeniably quite expensive, though, and doesn't have the sort of boot or rear-seat space family buyers will be looking for.
The MX-30 is the Japanese brand’s first electric car, and like many of its creations, treads a different path to mainstream models. It has a short range of just 124 miles, but it’s made using sustainable materials and is relatively light, so it’s better for the environment. The MX-30 is luxurious inside, great to drive, has a distinctive look and charges to 80% in half an hour. The only drawbacks are that short range and a slightly odd door layout, but if you don’t plan on doing trips longer than 100 miles and can charge at home every night, it could be a great option.
With all of the style appeal of other MINI models and the addition of a zero-emissions drivetrain, the funky MINI Electric is a very attractive proposition out of the box. It's best suited to urban motoring, as its range is less than 150 miles, while its three-door body limits versatility a little – but if you're after a stylish small electric car that's great fun to drive, the MINI is one of the best there is.
Ora Funky Cat
The Ora Funky Cat is a fantastic small EV, in fact it won Best Urban Electric Car in the 2023 DrivingElectric Awards. The distinctively named Funky Cat is undeniably eye-catching, as well as roomy, good to drive, and boasts a five-star Euro NCAP rating thanks to a plethora of safety features. You can only buy the flashy First Edition model at the moment, which offers a range of 198 miles on a single charge, however, there are more versions to come, including one with a longer range and a sporty GT model.
The latest Peugeot 208 is one of the most stylish small cars on sale, and one that was designed from the outset to have electric power (along with its Vauxhall Corsa counterpart below). The e-208 packs a 50kWh battery and will manage up to 225 miles of range, while the 134bhp electric motor can propel it from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds. The ride on typically poor UK road surfaces is a little too firm for our liking, but the sharp exterior styling is a triumph and certain to make bystanders look twice.
The latest-generation Renault ZOE is still one of the very best small electric cars on sale. It offers an affordable route into long-range electric motoring and an overall package that’s hard to beat. The ZOE is well equipped, tidy to drive, nicely styled inside and out and can be specified with CCS rapid charging; useful for those occasions where you need to top up mid-way through a longer drive.
Vauxhall Corsa Electric
The Vauxhall Corsa Electric is based on the same platform and running gear as the Peugeot e-208 we mentioned earlier. It offers a similar 222-mile range, identical 0-62mph figure and 100kW maximum charging speed. Like the Peugeot, the Corsa Electric is in its element on urban roads as it can sprint from 0-31mph in just 3.1 seconds. It’s roughly the same price as the shaper looking e-208, but some may prefer the Corsa-e’s understated design.
Vauxhall Mokka Electric
Vauxhall's Mokka Electric shares its underpinnings with the Corsa Electric and e-208 above. That means a 50kWh battery, 209-mile claimed range, 134bhp electric motor and 100kW rapid charging. Those familiar parts don't stop the compact electric SUV from having its own character, though; it's a good-looking, comfortable car – if not quite as good to drive as its Peugeot counterpart.
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