Top 10 best used electric cars 2023
Secondhand electric cars are becoming more widely available on the market in the wake of numerous new models being launched. Here are some of the best-value choices out there...
Electric cars have been part of the mainstream for more than a decade now, and while this may make you feel a bit older than you’d like, there's a big upside. The choice of used EVs is now excitingly large, and our list of the UK’s best used electric cars has expanded to make electric motoring a more realistic prospect for more drivers.
With new electric cars still commanding a higher price than their petrol and diesel counterparts (although this gap is dropping), it's likely that a lot of people's first electric cars will be used ones. The secondhand market is now big enough to offer something for everyone, ranging from small city cars to big family-sized SUVs.
You shouldn't worry too much about longevity: lithium-ion batteries are proving to be much more durable than was initially thought, and manufacturers typically offer long warranties on their electric cars' batteries. This means a lot of used electric cars will still be protected under warranty, giving you the ultimate peace of mind.
Here, we've put together a list of the best used electric cars out there right now, breaking down our picks into three distinct price brackets. As is the case with any secondhand car, make sure you do background checks and insist on a test drive before parting with any of your hard-earned cash…
The second-generation Renault ZOE was introduced a few years ago, but looks very similar to the model it replaced. The major changes occurred under the metal, with a new 52kWh battery enabling a 245-mile range – more than double that of early first-generation examples.
Today, the ZOE remains a great electric city car with a smart, well-built interior, plus a smooth and efficient electric motor that’s ideal for nipping around town. While first-gen examples can now be found for well under £10,000, we found several newer 70-plate ZOEs online with around 10,000 miles for just under £14k.
Hyundai Ioniq (2016-2022)
The Hyundai Ioniq was the first car to use the South Korean maker’s ‘Ioniq’ badge – available as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or a pure-EV. A far cry from the newer Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6, it certainly isn’t as futuristic, but it is an efficient, family-friendly hatchback that’s perfect for daily driving.
While it’s no longer available to order new, it’s still an appealing choice. All Hyundais come with a five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty, which means you can still pick up used examples that have been around for a while, but are still covered by the manufacturer’s guarantee. A 70-reg model with 15,000 miles can be found for just under £15k and will still have around two years left on its warranty, allowing for peace of mind.
Unveiled in 2017, the second-generation Nissan Leaf followed on from what was the best-selling electric car in the UK and Europe, and used examples are plentiful. The Leaf’s 435-litre boot is significantly bigger than the equivalent MG4’s and while we find the suspension can be rather firm, it’s seldom uncomfortable. This, alongside a punchy powertrain was one of several reasons why the Nissan Leaf clinched our Best Used Small EV prize at the 2023 DrivingElectric Awards.
Almost all examples under £15k use the smaller 40kWh battery pack for a range of up to 169 miles on a charge – a 62kWh e+ model is also offered with a claimed range of 239 miles, but these are a good chunk more expensive. Regardless, the lower figure should be plenty for most town drivers, with £15k getting you a good 21-plate 40kWh car that’s done 10,000 miles.
Kia e-Niro (2018-2022)
The Kia e-Niro was replaced by the Niro EV in 2022, yet it remains one of – if not the best – used electric SUV. There’s plenty of space for families, with the e-Niro’s well-built interior coming loaded with standard equipment. It may not be the sportiest EV out there, but light steering and supple suspension makes the e-Niro ideal for the school run.
Unlike the Niro EV, the old e-Niro was offered in two battery configurations: 39kWh and 64kWh. The e-Niro’s popularity means it’s possible to get a good, larger-battery model with a maximum range of 282 miles for under £25,000. We found a 22-reg example with 7,500 miles on the clock and a whopping six years left on its manufacturer warranty.
BMW i3 (2013-2022)
It’s amazing to think that the BMW i3 first went on sale in 2013 given how futuristic it still looks. Despite having an all-electric powertrain (older examples are available with a petrol-powered range extender), the i3 still offers all of the signature BMW attributes such as a plush, tech-filled interior and a great driving experience.
The BMW i3 went out of production in 2022, but there’s plenty of nearly-new models available on the used market at a reasonable price. Fork out £22,500 and you’ll get a 72-plate i3 with around 10,000 miles on the clock. BMW says this will return a range of around 190 miles, with a 10-80% charge taking a little over half-an-hour at a rapid charger.
Hyundai Kona Electric (2018-2023)
The Hyundai Kona has been offered with a range of powertrains, including petrol, hybrid and diesel engines, but here we're focusing on the fully electric model. Sharing its underpinnings with the Kia e-Niro, the Kona Electric has a strong foundation on which to build upon; the steering is balanced and direct, while Hyundai’s claimed range figure of 300 miles in the larger 64kWh battery model seems somewhat achievable in our experience – we regularly managed to top 280 miles on a charge.
The Kona has sold well since its 2018 debut, so there's a reasonably good supply of secondhand examples to choose from. A budget of £25k will net you a 71-reg 64kWh Kona Electric with roughly 11,000 miles on the odometer. Newer examples with the smaller 39kWh battery are also available for around the same amount – both with time left on their original warranty.
Electric SUVs are all about style and perhaps none offers more head-turning looks at this price point as the Peugeot e-2008. As striking on the inside as it is on the outside, Peugeot’s i-Cockpit interior makes the e-2008 feel much more expensive than it is, although we recommend sitting in the car before buying as the driving position can be a little awkward for some. The small steering wheel does make the e-2008 feel surprisingly darty and fun to drive on a twisty road, though.
The e-2008 starts from well over £30,000 new, so picking up a used model will save shrewd buyers a huge chunk of change. A nearly-new example with around 2,000 miles can be picked up for under 25 grand, although you can save even more money by going for a model that’s a couple of years old. We found several 22-plate examples with low mileage online for around the £20k mark – over £10k less than a new model.
Tesla Model 3
Last year we named the flagship Tesla Model S our Best Used Large Electric Car for 2023, although thanks to a recent price drop that’s sent used prices tumbling, we now think a newer Tesla Model 3 is an even more appealing proposition.
As is the case with all Teslas, even basic second-hand Model 3s offer superb range and performance, with the interior dominated by a giant and responsive touchscreen. Some may find the lack of a gauge cluster behind the steering wheel disconcerting, though.
The majority of used Tesla Model 3s on sale under £35k are of the ‘Standard Range’ variety – this should be no problem for most buyers, though, as this model still offers a claimed range of up to 305 miles. Plus, all versions come with full access to the superb Tesla Supercharger network. A 2022 model with less than 15,000 miles should be easy to find for well within the specified budget.
A used Jaguar I-Pace offers exceptional value for money, especially when you consider the level of luxury available at this price point. The SUV was introduced in 2018, and immediately impressed with its excellent straight-line acceleration and wonderful handling through corners. A range of up to 258 miles is nothing to snuff at, either, and with standard 100kW rapid charging, the I-Pace can make for a good luxurious long-distance cruiser.
In 2023, the price for a new Jaguar I-Pace starts at around £80,000; however, you can pick up a used example for under £35k that’s almost indistinguishable from a new one. Even better, we’ve found several 20-plate models with under 30,000 miles for under £30k, representing a frankly astounding saving. Don’t worry about the longevity of the battery, either, as the I-Pace is offered with an eight-year/100,000-mile battery warranty from new.
Electric hot hatchbacks are few and far between, but the sporty Cupra Born is one of the few models available that comes close to fitting that description. Sharing parts with the Volkswagen ID.3, the Born is not only more distinctive to look at, it’s even more fun to drive, with sharp steering, tight body control and engaging handling provided by the car’s rear-driven layout.
We feel the entry-level Cupra Born V1 model with its long equipment list is the pick of the lineup, and nearly-new models with around 8,000 miles can be had for around £29k. Although it gets a smaller 58kWh battery – top models get a 77kWh unit – the V1’s range still stands at up to 264 miles. In our experience a little over 200 miles is more realistic, which should be more than enough for attacking B-roads – home or away.
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