Best and worst electric cars 2018

Electric cars are growing in popularity. No wonder: the best are quiet, cheap to run and smooth to drive. But which are the bright sparks to consider – and which are the loose connections?...

Best and worst electric cars 2018

Best electric cars

Electric cars are becoming more mainstream by the day and this trend is only going to accelerate as rules are introduced to limit the kind of vehicles allowed into major cities.

The main thing holding electric cars back remains range anxiety – the fear that you won't have enough juice to get to where you’re going. This is because electric cars can typically cover only about 150 miles between charges and it takes much longer to charge than it does to fill a petrol tank. However, this is slowly becoming less of an issue.

There are already luxury electric cars that can cover more than twice that average distance on a single charge. And even if you can't stretch to one of those, an electric car can still make sense because they're cheap to run and are ideal for short journeys, such as the school run, trips to the shops or a brief commute.

So, which electric cars should you consider? Here, we count down our favourites and tell you which ones to avoid.

And, remember, before you start shopping for your new car, take a look at our new car buyer deals to see how much we could save you on your next car.

10. Volkswagen e-Up

Volkswagen e-Up front

The regular Up is one of our favourite city cars, and this electric version is just as practical and good to drive. It feels almost entirely uncompromised by its conversion to electric power.

10. Volkswagen e-Up

Volkswagen e-Up interior

The only major downside with the e-Up is that it costs twice as much as a petrol model. There are larger electric vehicles that are cheaper to buy and capable of taking you farther between charges.

Lombardyexperience? rating Rated 3 out of 5

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9. Toyota Mirai

Toyota Mirai front

The Mirai is a hydrogen-fuelled car, meaning that you'll need to fill it up with hydrogen at specially designed filling stations, of which there are currently very few. It's powered by a single 152bhp electric motor and can travel for up to 400 miles between refills.

9. Toyota Mirai

Toyota Mirai mechanicals

We found the Mira quiet and well controlled but, with a list price of around £66,000, it's a very expensive choice. With limited volumes coming to the UK, it's likely to be a very rare sight.

Lombardyexperience? rating Rated 3 out of 5

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8. Kia Soul EV

Kia Soul front

The Soul is Kia's first attempt at an electric car and it's actually better to drive than the petrol model. For starters, it feels more eager, thanks to the instant torque from its electric motor. What's more, it's a quiet and relaxing cruiser.

8. Kia Soul EV

Kia Soul dashboard

However, it's not all good news. The Soul EV is pricey to buy and its interior feels rather cheap. It does come well equipped, though, and you'll have the peace of mind of an industry-leading seven-year manufacturer's warranty.

Lombardyexperience? rating Rated 4 out of 5

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7. Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X front

On paper, Tesla's all-electric family SUV seems to be the dream combination, offering the luxury of a Range Rover Sport with the green credentials of an electric car.

7. Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X dashboard

In practice, its low running costs and practical interior are hard to fault, and even the entry-level 75D versions aren't short on pace. However, parts of its interior do look a little low-rent.

Lombardyexperience? rating Rated 4 out of 5

Read our full Tesla Model X review

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6. Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai Ioniq front

The Ioniq is really three cars in one – it's available as a conventional hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a fully electric car. The EV version here has a range of 174 miles and enough torque to make acceleration feel brisk around town.

6. Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai Ioniq dashboard

The interior is nice, too, and our recommended Premium models get sat-nav and heated front seats as standard. However, the electric Ioniq isn't as easy to recommend because the hybrid because it's pricier to buy and has an unsettled ride around town.

Lombardyexperience? rating Rated 4 out of 5

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5. Volkswagen e-Golf

Volkswagen e-Golf front

Unlike purpose-built electric cars such as the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf, the e-Golf is based on a conventional hatchback. However, this is no bad thing, because it means it has all the good points of the regular Golf, along with greatly reduced running costs.

5. Volkswagen e-Golf

Volkswagen e-Golf interior

All in all, the e-Golf is one of the best electric cars on sale, thanks to its competitive range, decent equipment and its impressive space and driving dynamics.

Lombardyexperience? rating Rated 4 out of 5

Read our full Volkswagen e-Golf review

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4. BMW i3

BMW i3 front

A smart interior and great handling make the i3 one of the most appealing electric cars on sale today, while its groundbreaking use of super-light carbonfibre and aluminium offset the weight of the battery pack that’s mounted beneath its floor.

4. BMW i3

BMW i3 interior

In addition to the fully electric model, BMW offers a Range Extender version with a two-cylinder petrol engine that can generate extra power for the car's batteries.

Lombardyexperience? rating Rated 4 out of 5

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3. Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S front

The quiet and comfortable Model S hatchback is as capable as it is desirable, offering staggering performance and an impressive range for an electric car.

3. Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S dashboard

It’s practical, too, with seating for up to seven, while almost all of the car’s controls are accessed via a massive 17in touchscreen that's easy to personalise and updates wirelessly.

Lombardyexperience? rating Rated 4 out of 5

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2. Renault Zoe

Renault Zoe front

The Zoe’s main strength is that it feels like a conventional, stylish, nippy small car that just happens to cost pennies to run.

2. Renault Zoe

Renault Zoe dashboard

The interior has room for four to sit in reasonable comfort and even the boot is larger than you’ll find in many regular small cars; it's easily big enough for a family's weekly shopping.

Lombardyexperience? rating Rated 5 out of 5

Read our full Renault Zoe review

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1. Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf front

But the best electric car you can buy today is the second-generation Nissan Leaf. True, it will cost you a bit more than the Zoe and has a slightly smaller range, but it’s much better to drive, more spacious inside and considerably safer.

1. Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf dashboard

The Leaf also comes generously equipped as standard in mid-rung N-Connecta trim, and you can charge it from empty to 80% in as little as 40 minutes.

Lombardyexperience? rating Rated 3 out of 5

Read our full Nissan Leaf review

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The electric vehicles to avoid

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive front

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive has two big limitations: its small range and the fact that it has only two seats. For those reasons, it will only ever be a second or third car for most people. Plus, it's really only viable in urban areas where the owner has somewhere to charge it overnight.

The electric vehicles to avoid

Renault Twizy front

Renault Twizy

In certain circumstances, the Twizy can be quite good fun – but those circumstances are so rare in the UK that this car is hard to recommend. A firm ride and poor weatherproofing make it an occasional car at best.

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