If you’ve been thinking of switching over to an electric vehicle, you’re in luck. There’s no shortage of great choices and they’re even more on the way. Now I get that not everybody is on board and that’s fine. But the advantages are pretty stark. You could say goodbye to gas stations unless you need air in your tires or a bag of jerky. Charging could also be hit or miss where you are. But getting a charger installed is easier than ever thanks to tax breaks and incentives for homeowners and landlords. Here then are some of the best EVs you can buy as rated and ranked by the entire Volty team during our exhaustive evaluation process.
Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3 is a top pick in the non luxury EV class. Prices start right around $30,000 for the standard range plus model that is estimated to return 263 miles on a single charge. That’s the furthest range in this class by a small margin. It is important to note that Tesla recommends charging to no more than 90% under regular use, and 100% only when needed for long journeys and road trips in order to preserve battery life. So actual range is closer to 240 miles. However our test results never seem to match those estimates. But those estimates can also change over the course of the vehicle’s ownership, thanks to occasional Tesla signatire (OTA) Over-The-Air updates. Like every other vehicle on this list. The Model 3 is no weak sauce golf cart either. It hits 60 miles an hour in a quick 5.3 seconds. And typical of electic vehicles, power delivery is instant. If you pony up another $10,000, you can get the long range model that extends the Model 3’s range to 353 miles. Then there’s the performance model that hits 60 miles an hour in a mere 3 seconds. There’s also plenty of tech available, including Tesla’s industry leading Autopilot driving system. We’re no fans of the central touchscreen that can be distracting to some. And we’d love to see Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto as an option too. But these drawbacks do little to dampen our enthusiasm for the Tesla Model 3. It’s the right EV at the right price. As good as the Tesla Model 3 is, why would you get anything else? Well, Tesla’s quality control, fit and finish, and firmware update glitches have been somewhat suspect, especially for new models, and customers have documented them quite thoroughly all over social media.
Kia Niro EV
The Kia Niro EV comes in at a close second place with a starting price around $39,000 and an estimated range of 239 miles. However in our evaluations, we easily clear 250 miles in real world driving. It’s about the size of a subcompact crossover SUV, and is a little more versatile when it comes to cargo space. Kia’s are known for value and the Niro EV delivers with plenty of safety features that come standard. It also comes with the assurance of a 10 year 100,000 mile warranty. We do wish all wheel drive was an option. But for what the Nero EV offers, it’s hard to fault it otherwise.
Hyundai Kona Electric
The Hyundai Kona Electric cost a little bit less than a Kia Nero EV, and has a range of 258 miles. As with the Nero, that range is on the conservative side. One of our editors once managed to squeeze an impressive 315 miles from a single charge. Why is it ranked higher? Well, that’s because it’s only for sale in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. And that’s too bad because it’s a really good EV. We had one for a while and it performed admirably hit all the high points as far as overall performance, comfort and tech features. Like the Kia, it’s a strong value and has a very generous warranty. Outside of the limited sales regions, our only other gripe is its limited rear leg room and small cargo space.
The Chevy Bolt gets an honorable mention for its 259 mile range $38,000 price tag and it’s suprisingly spacious interior. If its interior were a bit nicer, better quality and smoother, the Bolt would likely have placed higher.
We had to shoutpout the OG of electric vehicles – the Nissan LEAF which also happes to be the most affordable on this list at only $32,000. But that’s for the base 149 mile range model. The Leaf Plus increases in range to 226 miles, but also cost $7,000 more.
Ford Mustang Mach-e
Now if you’re looking for a little more refinement, power and prestige out of an EV, you’re in luck. But before you start wondering why a Ford is in the luxury class, it’s big because of it’s price. The Mustang Mach-e starts in the mid $40,000 range, and is estimated to deliver 230 miles. At the top of the range, the high performance Mustang Mach-e GT will set you back more than $60,000, putting it squarely against competitors like the Tesla Model Y and Polestar 2. The mid-grade premium model we evaluated blew us away on a number of levels. With all wheel drive, it had an output of 346 horsepower, and 428 pound feet of torque, and it felt like it was capitalizing on every last one of them horses. It’s incredibly fun to drive and surely deserves the Mustang name. At the same time, it’s very practical, with the kind of passenger and cargo space you’d expect from a small SUV. And despite its sporting potential, it’s remarkably comfortable. To top it off, the interior is reasonably luxurious, and its infotainment system is as chic as any Tesla’s but also much easier to use. I was personally surprised by how much I liked the Mach-e, and I’m confident you’ll agree when you get behind the wheel.
With a starting price above $100,000, the Porsche Taycan definitely belongs in the luxury class and that’s also one reason why it’s kept out of the top spot. However the numbers proved to be pretty deceptive with this car. Feature options are notoriously expensive, and you’ll definitely be adding some to match the feature content of luxury, and some non luxury vehicles. Not all the numbers are negative though. Even though the EPA estimates range at a paltry 203 miles for the Taycan,we managed to get an impressive 323 miles from a single charge. That’s a huge deal. Not surprisingly, the Taycan is very entertaining to drive. It’s still a Porsche after all. It continues to earn more points with its comfortable seats, ride quality, fit and finish, but points were also deducted for its needlessly complicated infotainment system that also experienced some glitches.
The Audi e-Tron starts around $67,000, but its range is estimated at a rather disappointing 222 miles. So it’s not a great choice for longer road trips. I also think its infotainment system can be just as distracting as the Tesla’s, and it doesn’t seem to take full advantage of regenerative braking to get you even more range. However the e-Tron makes up for those shortcomings with it’s spacious interior, high levels of comfort, and a long list of standard and available tech features. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also a hoot to drive. There’s even a new sport back version that looks a little slicker, but it’s slipping rear roofline does cut into cargo space.
Next up is the Jaguar I-Pace, which made a big splash when it debuted but sort of slid into obscurity. We think its $70,000 price tag may have something to do with that, plus it’s range is only marginally better than the Audi e-Tron at 234 miles. Like most Jags, it is quite satisfying to drive and its interior is a treat for the senses. We think it could stand to have stronger regenerative braking too, and past that the physical brakes tend to be a little grabby and abrupt.
Next up is the Pollstar 2. Polestar is new on the automotive scene but deep down, it’s a Volvo. Unlike the Jag and Audi, it’s more of a big hatchback than an SUV. I got to drive one with the optional performance package that adds a sport suspension and sticky tires. It was almost as lively and fun as the Mach-e. Prices start just above $60,000 and ranges estimated at 233 miles, which isn’t all that impressive, but it’s worth mentioning that it comes with two motors for all-wheel drive. I did appreciate strong design and the Polestar 2 brings me joy inside and out. However I do wish the infotainment system was more friendly to Apple products though, as it runs on a Google’s Android platform. Like the Volvo system, it takes a little longer to get acquainted with.
Tesla Model Y
The Tesla Model Y is a bargain compared to the previous luxury EVs with a starting price around $50,000 and a range of 316 miles. If you opt for the more expensive performance model, the range drops slightly to 303 miles, but it’ll hit 60 miles an hour and redunculous 3.7 seconds as verified in our testing. We also like the Model Y for the convenience of Tesla’s supercharger network, and it’s spacious interior. Like the Model 3, we wish it had Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Although also as thrilling as the performance model is, it’s negative effects on ride comfort may steer shoppers more towards the long range version instead.
Volvo XC40 Recharge
As we head into the next decade, there are plenty more EVs to look forward to. The Volvo XC 40 is one of my favorite small SUVs. So it makes sense that the electric version has my interest piqued. With 402 horsepower and 200 miles of range, it’s mid $50,000 starting price seems reasonable. It sets itself apart from the rest with its distinctive style, and it’s sized right if you don’t have too many kids.
Near the end of 2021, we expect to see the all new Nissan Aria debut and it should start around the $40,000 mark for a 63 kilowatt hour battery. There will also be an 87 kilowatt hour version that is estimated to return 300 miles of range. The Aria’s exterior styling is more graceful than current Nissans. And the same holds true for the interior that has echoes of Mercedes and Buick screens.
2021 may also mark the year of the electric pickup. The new Hummer EV is a huge departure from the gas guzzling Hummers from years past. Even better, it’s projected to have an output of a whopping 1000 horsepower and hit 60 miles an hour in only 3 seconds. On top of that, it should be a serious off roader, and I’ll have a ton of tech including a version of Cadillac Supercruise self driving system. However, all of this won’t come cheap. Prices start above $100,000 in it’s first year. A base model will be available for about $80,000 later in following years.
We’ve been excited about the Rivian R1T since it debuted in 2018. It splits the size difference between full sized and midsize trucks and has a dedicated electric motor for each wheel that enables it to perform the tank turn or the right left sides drive in opposite directions to turn in place. Rivian claims that the R1T can reach 60 miles an hour in 3 seconds, have a 400 mile range and tow as much as 11,000 pounds. We’ll see for ourselves how accurate those estimates are soon enough as they have begion coming off the production line and I for one can’t wait.
Ford F-150 Lightening
Sometime in mid 2022, we expect to see the next evolution of the current top rated pickup truck Ford F-150 Lightening. This electric variant claims to be the most powerful F-150 ever, and yet it will also be the least expensive in regard to offering and maintenance costs. Great news for the many owners who rely on them for work.
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