Best small electric cars

ElectricDrives guide to the top 10 best small electric cars available right now

By
Ian Osborne
November 26, 2021
Category:
EV Life

Today there are more electric cars available than ever before, with over 130 options to choose from. The two biggest questions we hear regarding small cars are about the price and range.

Just because a car has a shorter range it shouldn’t be ignored, especially if you only do a few miles each day. Even those with the shortest range would only need to be charged a couple of times per week.

As for the price that all depends on your budget. Plus, most of the cars featured below can also be leased or subscribed which does away a large initial outlay. Below we bring you ElectricDrives’s top 10 small electric cars:

BMW i3

Price: From £33,805

Range: 190 miles (306km)

Since its launch back in 2013 BMW’s i3 has proved popular. The design has evolved and it has the looks of a modern electric car of today. It has the classic quality feel of a BMW and the overall performance to match, hence its price tag.

The i3 features a 42.3kWh battery that provides a range of up to 190 miles (306km). It’s also a decent performer hitting 0-62mph in just 7.3seconds. BMW also offer a sportier version, the i3s (from £34,805), which is a little quicker hitting the same speed in 6.9 seconds.

The i3 handles well and the suspension copes well with typically poor British roads. Overall, it offers a fun ride thanks to its performance and is easy to drive which provides a relaxing journey.

Citroen Ami

Price: Expected £6,000

Range: 46 miles (74km)

Citroën gave their AMI electric vehicle (EV) the green light for UK sales in 2022. While it takes me back to my youth, the James Bondesque Ami is far from retro. Instead, it’s forward-thinking, functional, sustainable and affordable with an expected £6,000 price tag.

It’s the perfect around town car and the 5.5kWh battery offers a range of 46 miles (74km) with a top speed of 28mph (45kph). The battery can be recharged in just three hours. The range might sound small but for those who only do short journeys, it’s fine.

The Ami measures 2.5m long, 1.5m wide and 1.5m tall, and it weighs just 471 kilogrammes and is bigger inside than you might think. It has an incredibly tight turning circle making the AMI agile and a good solution for navigating busy streets and fitting into narrow parking spaces. At this price, the Ami could be a game changer for urban driving.

Fiat New 500 from £20,495

Price: From £23,495

Range: 194 miles (312km)

It’s hard not to fall in love with the looks of Fiat’s New 500 that takes its styling from the Italian carmakers original from 1957. This modern classic has the same ethos of offering a small, cheap to run and great value car.

The entry-level level model features a 70kW motor driven by a 23.8kWh capacity battery that delivers a range of 194 miles (312km). It has a top speed of 84mph (135kph) and will accelerate from 0-62mph (0-100kph) in 9.5 seconds.

The drive is fun and easy here, and being a small car makes it easy to manoeuvre and parking is a cinch. You sit relatively high up which puts you in a good position to view the road ahead and your surroundings. The modern feeling cockpit and dials are well-positioned and easy to navigate.

Honda e

Price: From £29,165

Range: Up to 137 miles (220km)

The Honda e is the Japanese carmaker’s first completely electric car aimed at city use. It’s hard not to be swayed by the looks of this neat-looking small car that became the World Urban Car of the Year at the World Car Awards beating its combustion engine rivals.

What might be a harder sell for such a compact car that costs over £25,000 is the 137-mile (220km) range from its 35.5kWh battery. That said, for most it will be more than enough for day to day use with only a charge or two per week.

The Honda e is fun to drive and will accelerate from 0-62mph (0-110kph) in just 8.3 seconds making it a snappy little mover. It’s hard not to be impressed once inside with a stylish and airy environment. The spaceship style dashboard with all its cameras and electronica also make daily driving easier.

Mini Electric

Price: From £26,000

Range: Up to 145 miles (233km)

This modern version of the British classic has the styling of Mini’s combustion version which is hard not to love. It offers a range of up to 145 miles (233km) from a full charge making it ideal for town use and short commutes.

The Mini Electric can be charged to 80 percent in just 36 minutes from a 50kW quick charger. The 32.6kWh battery offers 181-horsepower taking it from 0-62mph (0-100kph) in a speedy 7.3 seconds, with a top speed of 94mph (151kph).

The cockpit area of the electric Mini feels sporty in a modern way but with a good sprinkling of nostalgia. It’s a solid player when it comes to style, performance and handling, and most importantly, kindness to the planet.

Nissan LEAF

Price: From £25,995.00

Range: 168 miles (270km)

The LEAF has been a forerunner in the electric car space having been produced for the last decade. It pre-dates the Tesla Model S by two years and at nearly £50,000 cheaper it’s no wonder it has become a much loved small family electric car that has sold 500,000 units.

The latest version offers a good balance of performance and driveability with a range of up to 168 miles (270km) from its 40kWh battery. This makes it ideal for general around-town use and short commuting tasks. With a 50kW rapid charger, it can be charged to 80 percent of its capacity in around an hour.

Nissan’s e-Pedal system is a neat feature that allows for one pedal driving which makes life easier, especially in traffic. This combined with the light road feel and ease of driving makes it a forgiving car to live with. It’s no slug either when it comes to acceleration delivering 0-62mph (0-100kph) in 7.9 seconds.

Peugeot e208

Price: From £27,225

Range: 217 mile (349km)

It’s hard not to like the Peugeot e-208 with its subtle yet sporty looks. This car is simply a Peugeot 208 with a battery so should keep 208 fans happy, especially those transitioning to cleaner driving.

The e-208, which is big enough for a family of four, is powered by a 50kWh battery that drives the 100kW (136 horsepower) motor. In turn, it offers up to 217 miles (349km) of range so should help dispel any range anxiety.

It can accept 100kWh DC charging that allows up to 80 percent of a full charge in just 30 minutes. It’s a solid mover too hitting 0-62mph (0-100kph) in around eight seconds. This sleeking looking character is driver friendly in the cockpit and offers a good balance of range, drivability and flair.

Renault Zoe E-Tech

Price: From £27,595

Range: 245 miles (395km)

The big pull with the Renault Zoe is the range it offers for its size. It will easily seat a family of four and this smart-looking compact delivers up to 245 miles (395km) of range from its 52kWh 400-volt lithium-ion battery.

The base model has a top speed of 84mph (135kph) and hits 0-62mph (0-100kph) in 11.4 seconds. This isn’t particularly quick but it is a family car so this won’t be a game-changer for most potential customers.

On top of the substantial range, the award winning Zoe more than justifies its price tag when it comes to the drive, handling and overall feel. Renault’s Zoe offers a superb balance of real life practicality and price.

Smart EQ ForFour

Price: From £22,295

Range: 78 miles (126km)

The instant pull of Smart’s five door EQ ForFour is its sub £25,000 price point. That said, it is at the smaller end in terms of size of what’s available in the electric car world. The latest version was updated in 2020 offers a range of just 81 miles (126km) from its 17.6kWh battery.

This range might appear small but for those who drive few miles, it will be more than adequate with a charge or two per week. It offers a top speed of 81mph (130kph) and accelerates from 0-62mph (0-100kph) in 12.7 seconds.

The EQ ForFour is fun and easy to drive but not as smooth handling over rougher terrain as some of its competitors. It fits four adults but the rear doors are small and awkward to get in and out of. Overall, it is a cheap electric car ideal for town use and is easy to park.

Volkswagen ID.3 Life

Price: From £30,935

Range: 264 miles (425km)

After its launch in 2020, the ID.3 has become a much-loved and award-winning family car.  It offers plenty of room and looks bigger than pictures would have you believe. Inside, it feels light and airy, and there’s plenty of space for four adults.

The ID.3 is driven by a 45 kWh battery that delivers 150PS (148 horsepower) and offers a range of up to 217 miles (349km). It can accelerate from 0-62mph (0-100kph) in around 8.9 seconds, with a top speed of 99mph (160kph).

It offers a 1,267-litre seating area, and there’s ample space in the 385-litre boot space. The neat looking ID.3 handles well on the road and has a large front windscreen that provides good vision adding to the overall driver-friendly ride.

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