RE: The best used electric cars to buy right now

RE: The best used electric cars to buy right now

Monday 1st August

The best used electric cars to buy right now

Suddenly feeling the urge to go green? It needn't be as boring as you think...


Up to £15,000 - Renault Zoe

Hard to think that Renault’s electric runabout has been around for well over 15 years, if you count the original Zoe City Car concept. It’s undergone a fair number of changes over the years and yet it still manages to keep up with the ever changing – and ever expanding – EV market.

The Zoe proved that you didn’t need to spend Tesla money, or buy a Reeva G-Wiz, to live the affordable EV life. It launched with a 22kWh lithium-ion battery that, admittedly, offered a relatively underwhelming 130 miles of range under the, er, optimistic NEDC standards. This was later updated in 2016 to a 41kWh pack with a far more respectable range of 250 miles. These are now available for under £15,000 and are arguably the sweet spot if you’re hunting for a cheap-yet-dependable EV.

For £14,200, you can grab this 41kWh Zoe Dynamic Nav, which comes loaded with kit such as a 7.0-inch touchscreen, sat nav and climate control (just be careful how you use it). Bear in mind it’s a battery lease vehicle, meaning you’ll have to pay a monthly fee (starting from £49pm) to use the thing, but in the grand scheme of things it’ll work out cheaper for most over those where the battery was bought outright. It’s a similar story with the Nissan Leaf, which can be had for comparable money to the Zoe, but you’ll be looking at one of the older models with a smaller range. For cheap EV ownership, nothing beats a Zoe.

See every used Renault Zoe for sale 

Up to £20,000 - VW e-Golf

When the Volkswagen ID.3 came out a couple of years ago it ultimately took its place as the electric Golf and, with it, the e-Golf was resigned to the history books. Let’s be honest though, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for the ID.3 courtesy of a spate of software issues - but that does mean the really rather brilliant Mk7 e-Golf is a tempting alternative as a used buy.

For starters, the e-Golf gets all the benefits of an EV, yet wraps it up in a familiar package – you know, one that doesn’t scream eco-warrior. It’s powered by a front-mounted motor that sends 144hp electrified horses to the front wheels. True, it’s not all that quick, with a claimed 0-62mph of 9.6 seconds, but the torquey character of an electric motor means the e-Golf feels much punchier than the numbers suggest. Couple that with the top-drawer build quality of the old Mk7, and you’ve got a practical EV for the price of, well, a used Golf.

While launch cars only mustered a lowly 120 miles under NEDC, the car we have here is one of the later updated models. Range jumps to 186 miles courtesy of a larger 35.8kWh battery, and it even has some extra goodies such as the Discover Pro sat nav system. All for £19,750. A Hyundai Ioniq (not the 5) and current gen Nissan Leaf fall under our budget, too, but neither can match the ‘premiumness’ or rock-solid feel behind the wheel of the e-Golf.

See every used VW e-Golf for sale

Up to £25,000 - BMW i3S

There’s something special about a car that starts life as a radical concept before making its way into showrooms largely unchanged. Take the BMW i3. It looked like nothing else when it first appeared in 2013 and, even to this day, it’s difficult to pass one without looking. It’s mega to drive as well (assuming you're sticking to urban roads) even on those super-skinny, eco-friendly tyres - proving that not all EVs are dull, joy-sucking appliances.

The i3 came in many flavours. Early cars were offered in both fully electric and range-extender form, the latter coming with a small petrol engine to top up the battery while on the go. But we’re only interested in EVs for this list and with a generous £25,000 to play with we can pick up the warmed-up i3S. Not only were these given a slight power bump to 184hp, but the suspension was also revised for a stiffer ride and the 0-62 time dropped to 6.9 seconds. If you think about it, the i3S was arguably the first electric hot hatch. Sort of.

While the likes of the Cupra Born have caught up on that front, you won’t find one anywhere near the £24,200 for this i3S. It comes with the mid-spec 33.3kWh battery, which is good for an NEDC-rated range of 174 miles, plus you can use the My BMW app to check on your charging progress when at home. Or, you know, just see if it’s doing okay…

See every used BMW i3S for sale

Up to £30,000 - Mini Electric

Admittedly, bunging some S badges on the Mini Electric looked a bit like a marketing gimmick when it was first announced, but, while it’s a fair bit heavier than a non-electric three-door model (as most EVs are anyway), it’s about as close as you can get to experiencing the sporty character of the Cooper S without consuming insanely expensive dinosaur juice.

The steering is great, and, as the batteries are stored nice and low, it only ever begins to feel heavy when you’re really going for it. On that note, the Mini Electric has 181hp on tap that makes it a blast on the morning commute. The range is 145 miles, courtesy of a 28.9kWh battery, which it can be topped up to 80 per cent charged in a very specific 36 minutes – if you find a fast charger.

Even the cheaper Mini Electrics were brimming with kit. We found a Level 2 model for £29,980, which comes loaded with an 8.8-inch sat nav system, digital cockpit, rear-parking camera and some driver assistance features like traffic-sign recognition. The Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e also fall within our budget, and while they’re good cars in their own right, they won’t be nearly as fun – nor as plush – as the punchy Mini Electric.

See every used Mini Electric for sale

Up to £35,000 - Honda e

Remember how cool the Honda Urban EV concept looked when it appeared at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show? A boxy, retro-looking supermini inspired by the original Honda Civic that made even the most diehard petrolhead think: “maybe EVs aren’t so bad”. Things were toned down a little when it hit production as the Honda e; nevertheless, like some of the other cars featured on this list, the little Honda never fails to put a smile on the old boat race when one silently passes by.

Moreover the car focuses less on headline numbers and more on, well, just looking a feeling damn cool. The interior screams ‘hipster cafe’, mixing wood elements with the same trendy fabrics you find on Google smart speakers. And yet, it’s seriously hi-tech. The door mirrors are cameras to reduce drag and wind noise, and the rear-view mirror is a screen that relays a live image from behind the car. Is it overkill? Perhaps. But an hour behind the wheel will get you acquainted with the Honda e’s many, many quirks.

Values are holding strong, even after a couple of years on sale. So we’ve gone for a nearly-new example with just 500 miles on the clock for £34,995. Let’s be real: this is Fiat 500e territory and, on paper at least, that puts up a strong fight. But the Honda e is more interesting on the inside and arguably the better car to drive. Seriously, all the ingredients are there for a future EV hot hatch. Honde e Type R, anyone?

See every used Honda e for sale

Up to £40,000 - Tesla Model 3

We’re going to ask you to put any personal thoughts or feelings about Elon Musk to one side for this one. It isn't unusual for super-driven geniuses to be divisive, but Mr Tesla has it down to a fine art. Nevertheless, his car company has built up the sort of dedicated following which has most established manufacturers trailing in its wake. They even build at least one extremely good electric car: the Model 3. 

It’s quite possibly one of the few cars that, for the most part, lived up to the immense hype. The Model 3 was considerably cheaper than the older Model S with more up-to-date technology, better build quality (eventually) and, ultimately, it was more fun behind the wheel. The car’s quick steering offers an element of joy in the corners and the throttle response makes it quicker than a fair chunk of petrol-powered performance saloons.

There are plenty of Standard Range models to choose form within our budget, but the car we’ve managed to find is one of the newer Standard Range Plus cars. These are rear-wheel drive with a single, rear-mounted 283hp motor and a range of 278 WTLP-rated miles – 41 miles more than the original Standard Range. You also benefit from over-the-air software updates and of course you can access Tesla Superchargers, which aren’t rubbish like a lot of other public chargers. Even if you’re worried about becoming a member of the Tesla clan - and honestly that shouldn't stop you - there’s no denying the Model 3 is a hell of a lot of EV for the money.

See every used Tesla Model 3 for sale

Up to £50,000 - Hyundai Ioniq 5

A bit like the i3, we couldn’t believe that Hyundai was brave enough to put the Ioniq 5 into production relatively unchanged from the 45 concept. If anything, it looked even better. Ultra-sharp lines combined with those pixel-style lights, which Hyundai recently continued with the insane N Vision 74 concept. Taken together it really sets the Ioniq 5 apart from, well, pretty much anything on four wheels - and it might just turn out to be a future classic.

Underneath the skin it shares the same platform as the Kia EV6, which itself is a corker of an electric car. Both offer similar mileage and are built on 800V architecture, meaning you can make use of (very rare) 350kW rapid chargers for 60 miles of range in just five minutes. What tips us towards the Ioniq 5 is just how outlandishly futuristic it feels on the inside. It’s also a little more practical than the EV6 and, crucially, it’s working out a little cheaper on the used market at the time of writing.

The Ioniq 5 is available with two battery options, and we’ve managed to nab the long-range option with 268 miles of range under WLTP. It’s an entry-level Premium spec, but the only real benefit of looking at one of the higher trim lines is if you fancy a better sound system or full leather seats. But the Premium is the one to go for purely because it has 19-inch wheels and rides far better because of it. Besides, who’s going to notice the smaller rims when they've got all the other creases to look at...

See every used Hyundai Ioniq 5 for sale

Up to £60,000 - Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge

There are a lot of cars on this list that’ll turn heads, but the XC40 P8 Rechange probably isn’t one of them. Well, not until you absolutely annihilate someone in a Cupra Leon at a cheeky traffic-light sprint. Underneath the XC40 P8 Recharge’s pedestrian exterior are a pair of motors – one on each axle – that together develop a hilariously un-Volvo 402hp.

That’s all wrapped up in a package that’s not only good for shipping the family off for a week away in Cornwall, but with a battery range of 260 miles (that’s WLTP rated) you won’t be stopping all that often either – even if you’re coming from Scotland. Best of all, it supports charging speeds of up to 150kW (providing you can find a charger that fast) that’ll fill up 80 per cent of the battery in just 40 minutes. 

Given that the P8 Recharge hasn’t been around all that long there are slim pickings online. However, the one we’ve chosen is the fully-loaded First Edition for £54,950 – around £5,000 off the original asking price with only 7,000 miles on the clock. Granted, you can get a Tesla Model Y Long Range – with a better range and performance – for similar money, and it's definitely worth checking out the Polestar 2 which shares a great deal with the XC40, but ultimately neither are as well suited to UK roads as the Volvo. Besides, it’s worth it just to see the look on people’s faces when you overtake them in a large-ish Volvo in complete silence.

See every used Volvo XC40 P8 for sale

Up to £75,000 - Jaguar I-Pace

Just think about all the new premium SUVs that have launched over the past couple of years. The Audi e-tron, BMW iX and Ford Mustang Mach-E are just a few of the boatload of premium electric crossovers the industry has churned out of late. Yet here we are talking about a car that’s been on sale for the best part of five years – the Jaguar I-Pace.

So what makes the I-Pace so special, then? It comes down to two areas. Firstly, it was futureproofed from the start with an initial range of 292 miles under WLTP and support for 100kW fast charging. Secondly, it drives as a proper Jaguar should, swatting away its hefty kerb weight with the agility and comfort that few rivals can match. And it’s all packed into a design that mixes the key Jag styling cues with a silhouette that’s distinctly 'electric'.

You can get plenty of I-Paces for well under our budget, but we’ve aimed for one of the newer models. Our 2021 example benefits from a mid-life update that includes the newer and improved PiviPro infotainment software and three-phase charging courtesy of an onboard 11kW charger. Plus, for £72,844, we’re getting a  top-spec HSE Black model for a decent discount over the cost of a brand-new example. It may have been around for some time, but the I-Pace proves time and time again that it’s one of the very best premium SUVs. Well, the electric ones.

See every used Jaguar I-Pace for sale

Up to £100,000 - Porsche Taycan 4S

There’s always panic among car fans when Porsche announces it’s going in a new direction. Would the Boxster cannibalise sales of the 911? Will the Cayenne devalue the brand? And, more recently, how can the Taycan feel like a Porsche when it’s electric? But as so often is the case, Porsche knocks it out of the park – and the Taycan is no exception.

The steering feels just as brilliant as we’ve come to expect from Porsche, the performance is barmy – no matter which motor option you go for – and the handling and balance are sublime. It’s also one of only a handful of cars to support 350kW charging, given that it’s built on 800v architecture, while the cabin is the perfect blend of hi-tech gadgetry and understated luxury. The Tesla Model S may have a better range and access to the full Tesla charging network, but the Taycan knocks it out the park on build quality and driver engagement.

Perhaps you prefer the look of the Audi e-tron GT? It’s built on the same underpinnings as the Taycan, as looks a million bucks - but, truthfully, the Taycan is a superior car to drive and can be had for similar money on the used market. We’ve found a Taycan 4S with the Performance Battery option, unlocking 288 miles of WLTP range, for £96,990. For usability, performance and driver involvement, there’s no other EV that can claim parity. 

See every used Porsche Taycan for sale


Author
Discussion

Billy_Whizzzz

Original Poster:

1,684 posts

123 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
BMW i3 still looks brilliant. The Hyundai looks good too. But most of my journeys are 300 miles + with a lot of motorways and given that I do 30000 miles a year that would mean a lot of time sitting in a motorway services. I’d rather do almost anything than visit a British services. So unfortunately means keeping the daily ICE for a while yet.

Dombilano

453 posts

35 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
What a dreary, heavy bunch of boxes. If I had to, it's the Tesla.

drpep

1,664 posts

148 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
Granted the price is up there but I suspect the Taycan is the most satisfying prospect for the patrons of this site.

Tesla has some stiff competition these days. Seems their only compelling USP is the charger network and that advantage is being forcibly (legislatively) eroded in the EU.

Taycan all day for me though.

Elmariachi

36 posts

39 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
Surprised the E-Niro doesn’t even get a mention - I’ve had one for a year and it’s been utterly brilliant. I’ve had 300 miles of range on one charge out of it, it’s practical, well equipped even as one of the lower spec models, relatively quick (0-60 in 7-something but feels quicker in use as most EVs do) and so easy to drive.

I considered and test drove the Zoe, the BMW i3, Mini and the Honda-e amongst quite a few others and picked the Niro above them all as a better all round proposition. It’s also been around for a few years so there should be lots to choose from.

Admittedly I’d have the Taycan if I had the budget smile

Nice to see this kind of article appearing on here now, anyway - whether it’s the crazy price of fuel or the fires and heat that’s done it, hopefully people are waking up to the fact that they can’t just keep on selfishly driving polluting cars anymore without it having dire consequences.

Those who annoy me the most are the ones who can afford to buy what they like and still choose a brand new Range Rover over a BMW iX, or a 911 over a Taycan. Appreciate some people do long miles but nobody NEEDS the ICE alternative of cars like those. Buy a hybrid.


Edited by Elmariachi on Sunday 31st July 07:36

novus

222 posts

140 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
Poor list

Draxindustries1

388 posts

3 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
If you really really had to choose one it would have to be the no brainer Hyundai with the 7 year warranty...

SidewaysSi

10,724 posts

214 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
novus said:
Poor list
Agree but what else is there? It's unfortunately the utter crap that people are forced to buy.

Turbobanana

3,989 posts

181 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
Billy_Whizzzz said:
BMW i3 still looks brilliant. The Hyundai looks good too. But most of my journeys are 300 miles + with a lot of motorways and given that I do 30000 miles a year that would mean a lot of time sitting in a motorway services. I’d rather do almost anything than visit a British services. So unfortunately means keeping the daily ICE for a while yet.
I'm not a particular fan of EVs, although I have nothing against them, but I fear this is the thing that will probably have to change in the future. Over the last few years (and rapidly accelerated by the pandemic) working practices have changed. We are all now familiar with working at home, Zoom / MS Teams calls etc, such that telecommuting has replaced the actual commuting we used to do - admittedly not for everyone, but certainly for a lot of people.

With that in mind, range anxiety should become less of an issue as technology improves and more elements of our occupations can be done digitally.

Court_S

8,237 posts

157 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
Billy_Whizzzz said:
BMW i3 still looks brilliant. The Hyundai looks good too. But most of my journeys are 300 miles + with a lot of motorways and given that I do 30000 miles a year that would mean a lot of time sitting in a motorway services. I’d rather do almost anything than visit a British services. So unfortunately means keeping the daily ICE for a while yet.
Agree re the i3.

It’s a far more interesting little car than any of the EV’s that BMW are churning out at the mo. I think they’re fun to drive too. I’d like one for my other half but prices are really strong still.

Twinair

229 posts

122 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
Driven plenty of i3 BMW’s on rent from Sixt, found the range extender very useful (in the 1st model) Found the car a lot of fun - could see myself buying one when white goods transport devices are forced onto us by legislation. Had a Taycan from Porsche - fast = yep, but my goodness - it’s a good job that everything ‘green’ is just so cheap and affordable ‘eh…? The saviour of humanity these are not. Makers of money for a new ‘economic cycle’ for producers & legislators, they definitely are… Btw - the site is still called Pistonheads, and not Batterybrains (c) as I have pointed out a few times now…

Mouse Rat

1,455 posts

72 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
The ipace is still the daddy and Jaguar really were ahead of the game.
But the egolf would be my pick with a GTI body kit.

Slowlygettingit

286 posts

21 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
Serious omission - where is the polestar?
Had mine 6 months and 8000 miles.
Great car.

Also don’t understand all the ‘wow’ about the ioniq’s looks. It just looks like a big hatchback….

DriveSnowdonia

97 posts

7 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
Elmariachi said:
Nice to see this kind of article appearing on here now, anyway - whether it’s the crazy price of fuel or the fires and heat that’s done it, hopefully people are waking up to the fact that they can’t just keep on selfishly driving polluting cars anymore without it having dire consequences.

Those who annoy me the most are the ones who can afford to buy what they like and still choose a brand new Range Rover over a BMW iX, or a 911 over a Taycan. Appreciate some people do long miles but nobody NEEDS the ICE alternative of cars like those. Buy a hybrid.
I followed a Taycan Cross Turismo the other day and it looked lovely. That said, the thing was HUGE and it seemed to be rather unwieldy on the narrow roads round here. Other EV's with promise and character seem to be the Honda (as mentioned in the article) and the new VW ID Buzz which I can see myself considering at some point if I ever need to replace the current T5.

I would argue though that the poster above, before casting judgement, perhaps needs to do a little more research on a number of different fronts including:

- The length of mileage that it takes a new EV takes to break even with a new or existing ICE car in the CO2 resulting from it's manufacture and taking into account other factors including the toxicity, pollution and environmental damage done by Lithium mining and battery production/disposal.

- The cost, disruption and CO2 impact of replacing our existing ICE infrastructure with a second and all new infrastructure for EV charging and power distribution and how this is achievable in densely populated urban areas.

- The replacement/recycling factors associated with battery lifespan and the current limitations of battery production based on the availability of rare earth metals.

- Where does the power from our electric cars comes from? How our electricity is currently generated and the proportion of this that is from fossil fuels.

- Solving the electricity storage problem and the costs associated with running both a sustainable electricity generation network, and also a duplicate fossil fuel based generation network for those days when the wind does not blow. A duplicated network is a good part of why our energy bills are becoming so high.

Ultimately, electric cars are nowhere near as green as the marketing would have you believe so I would say that the poster above is wrong to cast judgement on those choosing ICE cars. In fact building an electric car (or any car) creates significant problems for the environment. So the greenest option of all is to keep already manufactured cars going for as long as economically possible and only replacing them when they reach their end of life. Not much money in that approach for manufacturers or governments though.

Perhaps the best balance all round would seem to by the hybrid option, and if air pollution is an issue in urban environments, perhaps a requirement for hybrids to operate in electric only mode (controllable by GPS) in these city center locations.

If however we are determined to go all electric, and we are still committed to cutting CO2, and in the absence of effective electrical storage options, then we will need to invest heavily going forward in nuclear power to wean ourselves off our current fossil fuel based power plants. Tidal lagoon type power also shows promise, however the costs are currently prohibitive.

Either way, if we are committed to going full EV then it is going to mean that we will all pay a lot more for our energy going forward. Make no mistake about it, the cost to the taxpayer is going to be HUGE. Is that sustainable or palatable given the already huge cost of living issues? Only time will tell!

If I was a betting man though, then I would be fairly sure that the government will have to backtrack on it's pledge to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

ChrisCh86

464 posts

24 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
DriveSnowdonia said:
Either way, if we are committed to going full EV then it is going to mean that we will all pay a lot more for our energy going forward. Make no mistake about it, the cost to the taxpayer is going to be HUGE. Is that sustainable or palatable given the already huge cost of living issues? Only time will tell!
I agree!

Yes the price of everything is increasing - but in particular the cost of transportation (public or private) is only going to go up. Electric cars aren't particularly going to get cheaper any time soon - and the Unions will ensure that the price of public transport gets more expensive too.

Electric cars are currently either for rich first adopters, or for tax-efficient company car drivers. They're not affordable to the masses - and this won't change in the next few years at least.

DevonPaul

815 posts

117 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
Didn't realise the Renault battery rental was so much.

Kind of takes the edge of the free VED.

andy43

7,902 posts

234 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
As above. Most buyers are there for the tax benefits. The green stuff doesn’t matter.
There are a small percentage of buyers who are genuine eco enthusiasts but most are just taking advantage of lower BIK rates. That’s why there are so many Taycans and Model 3s being sold.
How many 8 year old lithium miners it took to build the average EV or how many carbons it used compared to an ICE equivalent is irrelevant to most buyers.

SidewaysSi

10,724 posts

214 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
Elmariachi said:
Surprised the E-Niro doesn’t even get a mention - I’ve had one for a year and it’s been utterly brilliant. I’ve had 300 miles of range on one charge out of it, it’s practical, well equipped even as one of the lower spec models, relatively quick (0-60 in 7-something but feels quicker in use as most EVs do) and so easy to drive.

I considered and test drove the Zoe, the BMW i3, Mini and the Honda-e amongst quite a few others and picked the Niro above them all as a better all round proposition. It’s also been around for a few years so there should be lots to choose from.

Admittedly I’d have the Taycan if I had the budget smile

Nice to see this kind of article appearing on here now, anyway - whether it’s the crazy price of fuel or the fires and heat that’s done it, hopefully people are waking up to the fact that they can’t just keep on selfishly driving polluting cars anymore without it having dire consequences.

Those who annoy me the most are the ones who can afford to buy what they like and still choose a brand new Range Rover over a BMW iX, or a 911 over a Taycan. Appreciate some people do long miles but nobody NEEDS the ICE alternative of cars like those. Buy a hybrid.


Edited by Elmariachi on Sunday 31st July 07:36
You would hate me. Which is a shame as I am fking amazing. smile

SidewaysSi

10,724 posts

214 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
andy43 said:
As above. Most buyers are there for the tax benefits. The green stuff doesn’t matter.
There are a small percentage of buyers who are genuine eco enthusiasts but most are just taking advantage of lower BIK rates. That’s why there are so many Taycans and Model 3s being sold.
How many 8 year old lithium miners it took to build the average EV or how many carbons it used compared to an ICE equivalent is irrelevant to most buyers.
Exactly. It's all about the money - green stuff is very very secondary. No one really cares if it wasn't for being cheaper.

LBW2020

171 posts

21 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
Theo only one i sort of like the look of is the Taycan the rest are awful.

The Porsche is huge and expensive.

So i am out on all of them i am afraid and its got n nothing to do with fuel its the damn look of the things !

Diderot

5,141 posts

172 months

Sunday 31st July
quotequote all
Good to see the XC40 on the list. We’ve had ours for a year now and it’s been brilliant.