Best electric SUVs 2023
After a stylish and luxurious electric car? Or want something that’s got loads of space and great road presence, but doesn’t cost the earth to run? Maybe you’re new to the EV space and want to try an electric car to see if they really fit your lifestyle? Well, those clever people that design and build our transport have pretty much thought of everything.
Here, we’ll outline our top 5 electric SUVs for 2023 (and throw in a couple to look out for, too), explaining their key features, real-world range*, space, price**, power and briefly compare them to their rivals.
*Real-world range taken from EV Database.
**Prices taken from manufacturer websites at time of writing.
What makes SUVs so good?
First, let’s summarise what makes driving these cars so good.
Previously seen as “Chelsea Tractors”, road-orientated SUVs – that is one that’s not designed from the ground up to go off-roading – have grown hugely in popularity over the last two decades. According to HeyCar, two of the top three best selling cars in the UK in 2022 were SUVs, one of which was all-electric.
Whatever car you’re after, you’ve got to enjoy driving it. You might be after something really quiet, calm and relaxing, but with a good amount of power and refinement. Or, something sporty and exciting. Maybe, you want something that combines all the above.
Whatever you’re after, the driving experience is what makes a car; if you don’t truly enjoy driving it, it’s quite obvious you won’t enjoy living with it.
That’s where SUVs are so popular. The height of an SUV gives you a commanding driving position over other road users, with good visibility and that feeling of invincibility. They’re often just as powerful (if not more powerful!) than their hatchback or estate counterparts, but often a touch more quiet and fun to drive than traditional MPVs. They can also be great all-rounders for growing families.
Of course, the driving experience goes hand-in-hand with practicality. Said families need space, and you can’t get much more space in a car than in an SUV.
With plenty of room upfront for parents, great rear legroom for growing kids and loads of headroom means no-one onboard feels claustrophobic, even when the car is full, SUVs offer some of the best practicality of any type of car on UK roads. Boot space is generous too, with their (usually) round or boxy shape meaning space is not at a premium, it’s in abundance.
Then there’s the image this type of car gives off. It’s seen as the “cool” option on the school run, isn’t it. You remember when there was that group of kids in your class who just had it all together, and they all wore the same rucksack or satchel? It’s a similar vibe with SUVs. Parents who pull up to the school gates in an SUV, over a hatchback, are instantly cooler.
…of course, that’s up for debate. But there’s no denying that feeling of status or wealth driving one of these cars can give you. I guess it stems from the early 00s, when high-profile celebrities swapped their fancy saloons for high-level luxury SUVs. “If that’s what the top footballers are driving, then I need me one of those too” kind of thing.
So, now we’re aware what makes them so appealing, let’s crack on and take a deep-dive into the world of the best SUVs us Brits can get our hands on.
The top 5 electric SUVs
We’re covering a huge space in the automotive market but want to cater to as many people as possible. Here, you’ll find some top-end SUVs mixed with the best affordable ones too.
In no particular order…
A firm favourite amongst car reviewers – this is the journalists’ choice.
What is the Kia EV6 like?
WhatCar? Car of the Year 2022, this SUV is the one most motoring journalists were shouting about when it came out last year.
Striking coupé-esque looks, plenty of space inside and a practical enough boot meet a fantastic driving experience in the EV6 that’s quiet and refined when cruising, but poised and exciting on a twisty road. The GT variant is ridiculously fast and exceptional fun, too.
EV6 comes in: Air, GT-Line, GT-Line S or GT trim. Air comes with a single motor (rear-wheel drive), with all other trims having optional dual motors (all-wheel-drive) for extra power and grip – though be warned, those dual motor models won’t go as far on a single charge. All models can charge exceptionally quickly too, up to 233kW (or 10-80% in 18 minutes).
- Air comes with a curved 12.3” touchscreen, heated front seats and steering wheel, smart cruise control (that’ll even stop the car for you, if the person in front stops), keyless entry and start and vegan leather seats.
- GT-Line adds a wireless phone charger, dual LED headlights and “Passenger Premium Relaxation Seats” (massaging, basically).
- GT-Line S adds a sunroof, remote smart-park-assist (use the car keys to park your car) and an augmented reality heads-up display. Properly cool stuff.
In the EV6, Kia have made a fantastic all-rounder. Against its rivals, the EV6 is a standout, though not if sheer space is your priority. Boots on other SUV EVs (like the Skoda Enyaq or Audi e-tron) are more capacious, as is space is the back for really tall people. The ride can also be too firm for some, and rear visibility isn’t great for others.
For those who want huge range, huge speed, huge tech – but don’t mind a huge grille.
What is the BMW iX like?
Deep breath. You did read that price right. This is an expensive car, but BMW have really thrown as much as they could at it to make it worth your money.
What do you think on the looks? BMW have gone a bit mad with their styling recently but, although not to everyone’s taste, you can’t argue that it isn’t striking. Driving wise, it’s impressive. Space inside is fantastic too, but then again it is a big car. Its size doesn’t stop it from being comfortable though; get a model with the air suspension fitted and this is one special luxury cruiser.
iX comes in: xDrive 40, xDrive 50 or M60 power variants and Sport, M Sport or M Models. Specification is generous:
- All models also come with a Heat Pump (for improved efficiency in cold weather) and automatic air conditioning with two zone climate control
- Sport comes with LED lights all round, front electrically adjustable heated seats and BMWs ‘Curved Display’ (made up of a 12.3” instrument panel and a 14.9” infotainment screen)
- M Sport adds larger alloys, blue brake calipers
- M Models add even more sporting cues.
All iXs can be specced with lots of optional extras, like Laserlight headlights, massaging seats or a panoramic sunroof. Max charging speeds range from 148kW to 195kW depending on which power variant you choose.
If you can get past its questionable styling outside, you would learn to love the iX. If the ultimate luxury SUV EV is your priority, and you’re prepared to pay for it, this should be top of your list. But that price will undoubtedly be a huge blocker for a lot of people, with other cheaper EVs not feeling substantially worse for it. With the iX, you’re paying for the badge as much as anything else. You can’t fault the BMWs build quality, though.
BMW also offer the slightly smaller iX3 which is – in its own right – another very good electric SUV.
Being a third of the price of the car above doesn’t make it two thirds worse.
What is the Peugeot e-2008 like?
A premium feeling, practical SUV doesn’t have to be just for those with 6-figures spare in their bank accounts though, and the e-2008 proves it.
Its sabretooth tiger teeth inspired front end is smart and attractive and gives off a premium vibe without the mental price. Granted, it’s not cheap, but you get everything you need. To drive, the e-2008 impresses too; it’s fantastic around town with light steering making parking a doddle, it rides well even at speed and it’s sure footed on the back roads (if not particularly ‘fun’).
e-2008 comes in: Active Premium+, Allure Premium+ and GT trims.
- Active Premium+ comes with automatic air conditioning, automatics lights and wipers and rear parking sensors
- Allure Premium+ adds larger alloys, Peugeot’s 3D i-Cockpit instrument display, a 180-degree reverse parking camera and 4x USB ports for you and the family
- GT brings heated front seats to the party, along with full LED headlights and front parking sensors too.
- All models have the same 134hp motor, with a battery that can charge from 10-80% in 26 minutes up to 101kW.
If you’re after a family friendly, attractive small SUV that’s all-electric and will go more than far enough for your daily trips, take a look at the e-2008. At elmo, you can get an e-2008 delivered to your door in as little as a week.
Want something with similar equipment and powertrain, but aren’t convinced on the Peugeot’s styling? Try out the e-2008’s sister car, the Vauxhall Mokka-e.
Audi Q8 e-tron
A cutting-edge electric SUV from one of the world’s most trusted manufacturers.
What is the Audi Q8 e-tron like?
Audi’s electric range of cars have been in flux since their inception, with a few subtle changes over recent years. They’ve recently rebadged them to include their ‘Q’ brand, to make them more familiar against their existing SUV range.
This, their largest SUV the Q8 e-tron, builds on their previous success in the existing e-tron SUV.
That familiar Audi styling is comforting to some and downright handsome to others. It’s butch but not overbearing, simple and elegant but not really dull. Audi knew what they were doing when they realised they were pitching this car against the slightly odd-looking BMW from earlier on in our list. Driving the Q8 e-tron is familiar too, with Audi’s usual solid steering feel, a decent suspension set up and great roadholding. It’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system gives you complete confidence wherever you’re driving – but its performance isn’t as blisteringly quick as rivals, albeit still more than enough for most.
Q8 e-tron comes in 50 Quattro or 55 Quattro power variants with Sport, S-Line, Black Edition or Vorsprung trim levels.
- All models come with Audi’s virtual cockpit as standard.
- Sport is generously equipped with adaptive air suspension, matrix LED headlights, keyless go and heated front seats with 4-way lumbar support
- S-Line adds sport styling cues and sport-air-suspension
- Black Edition offers (you guessed it) black exterior options
- Vorsprung polishes off the range with all the toys – panoramic sunroof, a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system and Audi’s Park Assist pack (with a 360-degree camera and parking assist)
- Max charging speed goes from 150kW in the 50 Quattro, to 170kW in the 55 variant
Want a highly competition, luxury all-rounder that’s very practical (even with all seats taken), comfortable, and high-quality? The Q8 e-tron will prove itself to be a very, very good option for you, even if it’s not as fun, fast or striking as some of its rivals.
Fancy an Audi e-tron but don’t want to wait? You can get the original Audi e-tron on an elmo subscription.
MG ZS EV
Not all quality SUVs with a great range have to rinse your bank account.
What is the MG ZS EV like?
MG have proven the critics wrong. Their cars are not only decent quality but also genuinely good companions for growing eco-conscious families. They offer some of the best range in the business when it comes to miles-per-pound, and equipment is generous too.
Okay, the MG ZS EV won’t set the world on fire with its looks. But if you’re in the market for the most practical, useable small all-electric SUV on the market, this one has got to be worth your time researching. On the road it’s got light, accurate steering with zippy performance and good stability at speed for such a high-riding car. If you’re not bothered about all that journalisty stuff though and just want a great value for money, good quality family car with a proven powertrain underneath it, you could go far worse for a lot more money.
ZS EV comes in two battery options, Standard or Long Range with all producing about 174hp. Trim levels are simple, too:
- SE gives you MG’s Pilot driving systems (adaptive cruise control, blind spot protection and lane keep assist), a 10.1” infotainment system, automatic headlights and climate control, a 360-degree parking camera and a leather steering wheel
- Trophy adds niceties like an upgraded 6 speaker sound system, heated front seats, rain sensing wipers and wireless charging for your phone.
- Standard Range ZS EVs can charge up to 75kW, with Long Range taking 94kW.
Once you’re over the badge snobbery and able to understand the sheer amount of car you’re getting for your money, the ZS EV is a great prospect. Yes, it’s not as fun as rivals or as sexy inside or out, but with what it’s capable of doing and what equipment you get as standard, it makes you wonder whether we’re being ripped off by other manufacturers…
Fancy trying an MG ZS EV without the commitment of a traditional lease? Get yourself one of our Long Range ZS EVs with everything you need included in your monthly price.
Some noteable mentions…
Volvo XC40 Recharge & Volkswagen ID.4
Two highly capable, high-quality SUVs in the Volvo and Volkswagen above.
Nissan Ariya & Tesla Model Y
Both very different from each other, but both brilliant. The Nissan and Tesla Model Y impress here.
Ford Mustang Mach-E & Genesis GV70 Electrified
Don’t dismiss this Ford for its arguably gimmick Mustang name, or the Genesis for it’s unknown one.
Mercedes-Benz EQC & EQS SUV
We couldn’t write a list about the best SUVs without at least mentioning one Mercedes-Benz. So here’s two.
The electric SUVs coming soon
Polestar 3 & Kia EV9
We compare some of the key differences between these two popular mobility options.
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