To help you find the best electric cars, we spent over 15 hours testing 15 different models, from budget-friendly to luxury options. Our testing focused mainly on driving performance and battery range, although we also considered additional features like comfortable interiors and premium functionality like self-driving. We also focused on overall value as it compared to these features.
After our testing, the Tesla Model 3 emerged as the clear victor for our top pick spot. This EV offers tons of range, tons of power and tons of high-tech functionality. It’s also Tesla’s most affordable option. Keep reading below to learn more about the Model 3 and the other best electric cars on our list.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This is Tesla’s most popular electric car available today, and for good reason. With plenty of high-tech options, comfortable luxury and amazing overall performance, this EV is a hard one to beat.
If you’re looking for power, nimble driving and tons of high-tech features, you can’t miss out on the Tesla Model 3. The latest version of the Model 3 has combined everything good about previous iterations into what we consider the best electric car today. With cutting edge technology inside and out, this EV simply offers the most value out of anything else you can buy. It features a minimalistic design and a central control center in the form of a large touchscreen. Some consider this central control touchscreen a little bit distracting since everything is controlled from here. However, we thought it offered a much more streamlined experience overall than other cars. The interior is plush, modern and extra-comfortable, too.
On top of all that, the Model 3 drives amazingly well. Like all-electric cars, it’s smoother than its gas counterparts, and it’s incredibly nimble. This amazing handling makes the driving experience so much better. This Tesla is a little on the heavy side but it doesn’t affect performance too much. Another thing you might enjoy with the Model 3 is its impressive self-driving capabilities. You need to pay extra for it, and it could be improved, but since it’s such a new technology, that’s to be expected. All in all, the Tesla Model 3 offers an amazing overall EV experience that’s become even more affordable with the latest release.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Kia’s take on the electric car is an amazing addition to our EV lineup with tons of cabin space, long battery range and an incredible warranty. If you’re looking for a unique design and good performance, this is the EV for you.
The Kia Soul EV has been around since 2014, and it’s only gotten better with each new version released. It’s come the longest way when it comes to battery range since then. It started at a mere 100 miles of range, and now offers a whopping 280 miles of total range. This is one of the longest ranges you can get today and the added value is well worth it. This extended range lets you enjoy the overall good driving experience. While it isn’t as high performance as other options, it still offers solid handling, excellent regenerative braking, and good torque.
If there’s one polarizing thing about the Kia Soul EV, it’s the design. Either you love it or you hate it; it’s as simple as that. From an objective standpoint, though, we do wish the exterior featured less plastic. Inside the car, you get overall comfortable seating and an easy-to-use touchscreen that now comes free with the standard package. The best part about the Soul’s interior is just how roomy it is. It almost feels like you’re sitting in an electric SUV with all the space you get. Unfortunately, you sacrifice a bit of trunk space to achieve more cabin space, but we thought it was a good overall trade off.
Award: BEST LUXERY
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Audi e-tron gives you a sporty electric driving experience in a luxury package with tons of comfort, high-tech functionality and decent range.
If you’re looking for luxury comfort and performance, the Audi e-tron is the best EV for you. If you’ve ever driven an Audi before, you know just how reliable and high quality they are, and the e-tron exemplifies that attention to detail and comfort. The interior cabin is incredibly luxurious with tons of space and lots of functionality. It’s packed with cutting-edge tech that Audi calls its Virtual Cockpit. The e-tron also gives you the option of a heads-up display and massaging front seats for additional comfort and user-friendliness. You also get an industry first with the E-tron: virtual side mirrors. Instead of actual mirrors, these are cameras that display your blind spots on displays inside the cabin. These are incredibly high-tech, but definitely take some getting used to.
When it comes to performance, this Audi is all about smooth and quiet rides with subtle performance that’s both swift and sporty. You get several different driving modes, including Sport, Auto, Comfort, Offroad, Allroad, Efficiency and Individual. We were impressed with the sheer number of driving modes and they each felt individually tailored to those applications. Battery pack range comes in around 200 miles, which is good in it’s own right, although other luxury electric cars do offer longer ranges.
Award: BEST PERFORMANCE
WHY WE LIKE IT: Who says electric cars can’t keep up with the high-speed performance of their gas counterparts? This Porsche EV is blazing fast, amazingly well designed and super comfortable.
The Taycan is Porsche’s first foray into all-electric cars, and it’s an amazing first go. You can buy the Taycan in 4 different trims: the 390kW 4S, the 420kW 4S, the 460kW Turbo and the 460kW Turbo S. The Turbo S is the most expensive trim, but it’s also the fastest, offering up to 750 horsepower and a blazing fast 0-62 speed of 2.8 seconds. If you’re looking for performance, you can’t go wrong with the Taycan. Yes, the Tesla Model S P100D offers a slightly faster 0-62 speed, but these numbers aren’t the only thing that matters.
The Porsche Taycan drives very similarly to a 911, with nimble handling, detailed steering, and smooth air suspension. The Taycan simply took our breath away when opened up without holding back. On top of performance, the interior of the Porsche is fairly minimalist in design, although we could probably do without the passenger touchscreen. Everything feels intuitive and the seats are comfortable and spacious. You also get a good amount of trunk space both in the back of the Taycan and the front, so you won’t have to worry about running out of storage anytime soon.
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re looking for a more affordable entry point into the world of electric cars, Nissan is here for you. This EV is equipped with tons of standard features, a spacious interior and a competitive driving range on Plus models.
The Nissan LEAF was one of the first electric cars available on the market, and it’s worked hard since 2010 to continually improve its offering. It’s not the most exciting EV you can buy, especially when compared to the other options on our list, but it provides reliable and affordable driving performance. Like most electric cars, the LEAF has quick acceleration and a smooth experience on the roads. The more expensive trims offer more powerful acceleration if you’re willing to spend the extra cash. Battery range clocks in at 150 miles on the base trim, with the option of getting up to 220 with the most expensive trim option.
The interior cabin of the LEAF features a lot of plastic, but it’s well designed to the point of not looking cheap. It’s also incredibly comfortable, which surprised us when we first sat down. The seats are all deeply cushioned and the rear seats offer a lot of room, even for adults. The infotainment system inside the Nissan is intuitive and easy to use, if a little uninspired. We were most pleased to find that even the base model included premium features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The Nissan LEAF is exactly right for budget-conscious buyers who don’t care about the cutting-edge tech that other competitors offer.
Award: BEST PRICE WITH TAX CREDIT
WHY WE LIKE IT: This Chevy electric car is sure to impress with its amazing range, fun driving performance and spacious interior. It also features lots of standard features and an easy-to-use control panel.
If you’re looking for the best long range electric car, you have to check out the Chevrolet Bolt EV. When compared to most other competition, the Bolt blows them all out of the water with its impressive 259-mile charge. If you want range this high, you usually have to pay a premium to get it. This range at such an affordable price makes the Bolt more accessible to more people. The Bolt EV also offers fun and peppy performance with quick acceleration and accurate steering.
The interior of the Bolt leaves a bit to be desired, especially when you look at the plastic consoles. The seats could be a little more comfortable, too, especially during extended road trips. However, the Chevy made up for these slight downsides with lots of room, even for adult passengers, and a user-friendly infotainment system. You also get a lot of features on standard trim models, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: This BMW electric car is certainly one of the most unique options on our list, but it doesn’t sacrifice performance or comfort for that one-of-a-kind design.
The BMW i3 is certain to turn heads whenever you drive it around town, but that unique design doesn’t detract from the overall quality you should come to expect from a BMW. This is a subcompact electric car that packs a punch. It’s incredibly responsive, quiet and smooth on the road. Steering is accurate and acceleration feels zippier in such a small package. Range could be improved here, at only around 150 miles. However, this rear wheel drive EV is perfect for quick jaunts around the city and the occasional highway trip. You can purchase an additional gas range extender, but we still love the all-electric option the best.
The i3 shines when it comes to its interior quality. Comfortable seats and a subtle, sleek console design made from recyclable materials stand out in a crowd. Unfortunately, due to its small overall size, the rear seats in the i3 suffer from some cramping. However, the BMW offers a lot of utility in the way its front and rear doors open. The front doors open in the traditional manner, while the rear doors open opposite of the front with a pillar separating them. This allows you to more easily get people or gear in and out of the back.
One of the first features we focused on when researching and testing electric cars was driving range. We gave the most points to options with ranges of 200+ miles, although we did still include options below that since they were more affordable. In this same vein, we also looked at charging speed and versatility. We awarded bonus points to EVs that provided fast charging options and more availability in charging methods.
Next, we looked at driving performance. We preferred electric cars that were smooth at both low and high speeds, with accurate steering and nimble handling. We also favored models that were quick to accelerate and quiet on the road.
Finally, we favored options that included high-tech features and functionality. Things like self-driving, or other driver-assistance features, intuitive controls and comfortable interiors all played into our list’s scoring. We also preferred EVs that were comfortable and spacious, with durable seats and consoles.
Other popular models to look out include the Tesla Model X, the Nissan Leaf Plus, and the Kiro Niro EV.
These days electric cars are the best luxury cars, with all the best car accessories. Like the best car alarm and best car charger.
The best electric car to buy on our list is the Tesla Model 3. With a high-tech experience, tons of range and overall excellent value, the Model 3 is a hard EV to pass up.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV, starting at $36,620, is often considered one of the most reliable electric cars available on the market today, and it’s easy to see why. It has the longest history of reliability and tons of user-centric features.
Absolutely! Electric cars are reliable and eco-friendly. Plus, they’re getting more and more affordable with each year. When you consider all of the benefits electric cars offer, they’re becoming easier to consider when purchasing a new car.
Many electric cars still present a higher upfront cost than gas vehicles, which is why used EVs often sell out very quickly. The value of electric cars also tends to depreciate quicker than their gas powered counterparts. However, like all used car purchases, you still need to exercise caution when purchasing a used electric car. Some used EVs might suffer from dismissed battery life or outdated technology. On the flip side, you’ll still get many, if not all, of the benefits electric vehicles offer at a much more affordable price tag.
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