► 2022 best electric SUVs guide
► Crossover EVs and battery 4x4s
► Which is best for your needs?
More and more carmakers are launching electric SUVs as both electric cars and SUVs continue to rise in popularity. This makes a lot of practical as well as commercial sense, since the increased height and swollen dimensions of 4×4 and crossover vehicles means they can more easily accommodate batteries. But with so much choice, which are the best electric SUVs?
CAR magazine is here to help. We’ve reviewed every electric SUV on the market, and come up with this top 10 list. There are electric SUVs of every type here – from surprisingly capable budget examples right through to high-performance and luxury models.
VIDEO: coast-to-coast challenge by Kia EV6 (powered by Shell Recharge)
There’s also more info about why electric SUVs are so popular below, while our other expert electric car pages include info about the cost of charging, what electric cars are really like to live with, and which electric cars are the cheapest.
Top 10 best electric SUVs UK 2022
In no particular order – because not everyone’s needs are the same – here’s our list of the 10 best electric SUVs available to buy new in the UK right now. Our expert road testers have driven every car here to rate and rank them, warts and all.
1. Tesla Model Y
Let’s kick this off with the newest SUV model from the electric car brand that changed the game for everyone. While the Tesla Model Y isn’t as revolutionary or attention-grabbing as some of the firm’s other vehicles – essentially being a raised-up version of the Model 3 – but if you want to clearly signal your EV-loving status to the world in a compact SUV package there is no clearer way to do it. Like all Teslas, the Model Y is head-snappingly fast, manages its range (up to 331 miles) exceptionally well, and comes with a smart, futuristic interior whose build quality is steadily improving.
2. Jaguar i-Pace
The Jaguar i-Pace is a slick premium electric SUV. The British brand’s first EV steers, stops and goes like a Jaguar should – and there’s space aplenty, too, thanks to efficient packaging and a flat floor. Twin motors serve up a mighty 395bhp and 513lb ft, as well as all-wheel drive, so the electric Jaguar SUV is capable of 0-62mph in just 4.8sec. Refrain from deploying that punch, though, and you could eke 298 miles out of the battery, according to Jaguar. In our experience you’ll struggle to get much more than 200 out of a single charge, but that’s sufficient for many drivers’ daily needs.
3. Kia EV6
The Kia EV6 is one of the very best electric cars on sale today of any type: think of it as a budget alternative to the Jag i-Pace – the two share a similar monospace silhouette, roomy cabins and sharp drive. But where Hyundai-Kia are really monstering the opposition is in energy management and battery range. The EV6 is one of the most capable electric vehicles of all in terms of delivering the real-world driving it says it will. Mix that efficiency with the commodious space on offer, the impressive quality and great driving experience, and Kia’s built itself a real winner. Highly recommended.
4. Genesis GV60
Genesis is the luxury arm of Hyundai, and has launched itself into Europe with a suite of interesting automobiles. The Genesis GV60 is its first dedicated electric car, and it makes an excellent first impression. The exterior styling is well resolved but distinctive, while the interior is fabulous to look at, well thought out and high quality throughout. The driving experience offers a decent blend of performance (up to 429bhp – with 483bhp boost mode) and involvement, while charging tech is faster than rivals can manage. Maximum claimed WLTP range is 321 miles (from the single motor 226bhp variant); the top spec dual-motor rocket claims 290 miles. A neat way to be different.
5. Mercedes-Benz EQB
There are sexier-looking Mercedes electric SUVs – and much more expensive ones. But the Mercedes-Benz EQB does a niche job with superb aplomb. Despite its relatively compact dimensions, the EQB manages to find room inside for seven people. The exterior isn’t too outlandish, offering just a few visual clues that this isn’t your regular GLB, and the interior is the usual exquisite Benz-blend of flashy modern looks and good functionality. Both 4×4 dual-motor variants have a 253-mile WLTP range, while power output is 225bhp or 288bhp. It’s a smooth and effortless thing to drive as well.
6. MG ZS EV
If the high cost of the posher electric SUVs listed on this page above puts you off, don’t worry – there are still some high-quality budget alternatives. Take the MG ZS EV. Yes, MG leaves a little to be desired in terms of interior fit and finish, but the electric tech offered by the now Chinese-owned brand is very capable. This is no sluggish, short-range affair with limited practicality: the ZS EV can accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.2sec, cover a claimed 273 miles on a single charge (seemingly matching this in real life) and accommodate the needs of most families thanks to its vast boot and large cabin. As such, the pricing is a genuine bargain.
7. Skoda Enyaq
The Skoda Enyaq is a comfortable, well-sorted, spacious electric SUV that’s capable of travelling long distances between charges – our experiences repeatedly proving that the anticipated range display is accurate, which is good news for those with range anxiety. It also looks smart on the road, is well-finished with tight panels gaps and offers plenty of presence. It’s friendlier and more luxurious than the rival Kia Niro EV and looks better inside and out than the Volkswagen ID.4 based on the same MEB technology. Voted the 2022 Parkers Car of the Year, it’s an outstanding EV all-rounder.
8. BMW iX3
Though certainly the least flashy of Munich’s range of electric vehicles, the BMW iX3 is a highly competent machine that does all the basics very well. While the relatively modest 285bhp means it’s not super-fast, it handles nicely, there’s plenty of room inside, and it’s efficient enough to claim a 285-mile driving range, helped by some excellent one-pedal regen technology. Tempted buyers could also consider the Audi e-Tron and Volvo XC40 Recharge, although the closest alternatives are probably the i-Pace and EV6 listed here.
9. Tesla Model X
Need space for seven? A swanky Tesla badge? And all the modernity and clever-clogs tech the brand has become famous for? Step this way: the Tesla Model X is half crossover, half MPV, but all hype-leading electric car. Famous for its cleverly hinged gullwing rear doors that open even in the tightest of car park spaces, the interior is roomy for five in the first two rows while the rearmost third-row pair of seats are fine for kids on short journeys. It is pricey though, costing from £91k in the UK for a Model X Dual Motor (the faster Plaid model retails at a head-spinning £110,980).
10. BMW iX
The BMW iX may be the only bespoke electric car left in the company’s line-up, but it is quite the statement. From the controversial exterior looks to the carbonfibre construction and wildly eccentric crystal-accented interior, the iX has been designed as a showcase pinnacle for BMW’s latest electric vehicle technology. It is extraordinarily excellent to drive, with amazing control from the air suspension, huge performance – the M60 variant has 611bhp – and limo-grade refinement and comfort. A true standard-setter for the electric SUV age, if you can stomach the unusual design.
Why are there so many electric SUVs?
Take a look at some of the best EVs you can buy right now, and you’ll find that a good percentage of them are SUVs or crossovers. This sector marks the sweet spot where practicality, packaging and pricing meet.
Their taller bodystyles allow easier packaging of batteries, higher pricing makes it easier to swallow the cost of the EV hardware and, well, who doesn’t like a more practical, family-oriented flavour of car? Sales data proves these models are selling like hot cakes, hence the increasing choice of electric SUVs in showrooms.
Most bespoke electric cars use a ‘skateboard’ construction, like the above. Essentially a board of batteries with wheels at either end, they’re all about packing in as much battery capacity as possible – and as low as possible to improve space for passengers above and handling below.
SUVs, with their high floors and long wheelbases, provide the most room for battery cells – and therefore offer the highest capacity for the longest range.
The figures tell the story: something like the small, city-focused Honda E hatchback can squeeze a claimed 137 miles out of its tiny 35.5kWh battery, whereas the latest BMW iX can get a massive 380 of its larger 105kWh battery. Bigger cars = bigger batteries. Simple, isn’t it?
This means that EVs tend to have larger interiors than their petrol and diesel counterparts. Heating and ventilation systems can be pushed into the void where an engine would sit and there’s no need for a physical propshaft bisecting the cabin, making them roomier inside. As a rule, EVs tend to offer the interior space from the class above – so electric SUVs can be super-spacious.
As such, an SUV or crossover is a great choice for families needing space to carry kids’ clobber and the detritus of family life. They’re higher off the ground, too, for a raised seating position and a great view out.
Downsides? They’re not cheap. And while detractors will claim an SUV of any kind is inherently less-efficient than other automotive form factors, all of the examples listed above promise impressive efficiency and remarkably nimble handling.
Future electric SUVs coming soon
There are more and more electric SUVs coming to showrooms near you as we march closer to the looming ICE ban later this decade. Most manufacturers are developing e-SUVs, so look out for these models arriving soon – from mainstream and premium brands alike.
Examples of future electric SUVs include:
- Porsche Macan The next model will be EV only
- Rivian R1S A new name for a new type of tough, rough electric outdoors vehicles
- Volvo EX90 The next big SUV from Sweden will have an all-electric option