Best electric SUVs 2020

  • Parkers rounds up the best fully electric SUVs
  • Going EV doesn’t always mean settling for a hatchback
  • Surprising speed and practicality from these green machines

What do you get when you mix the most popular type of car in the UK with what’s likely to be the fuel of the future? Chances are, you end up with one of these electric SUVs.

Nearly every manufacturer has plans for something like this in their product portfolio. It’s easy to see why – consumers can’t get enough of SUVs, and it remains a huge market. People just love that combination of a high seating position, practical interior space and chunky styling – even if they never intend to take their cars off road.

Meanwhile, electric mobility is enjoying great interest from across the motoring world. With a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars currently pegged for 2032, solutions will be needed – and electric cars, with no local emissions and benefitting from increasingly green methods of production and electricity generation, seem like the ideal option.

Charging electric car

We’re generally big fans of electric cars here at Parkers – they’re great fun to drive and, provided your lifestyle supports them they can give you all the mobility you need, while slashing your fuel bill dramatically. You can read more about electric cars in general at the link below.

>> Electric cars on Parkers

Opting for an electric SUV does come with a few compromises compared with a more conventional electric car. They’re usually in range and performance. An SUV is taller, heavier and more blunt than a low-slung saloon or hatchback, so they can’t travel as far on the same amount of electricity. They can often be very bulky indeed, making them tough to park or manoeuvre in tight space. They can also be very expensive.

But, if you want an electric SUV, it’s good to know that there currently isn’t a bad one on the market. That could be because there’s presently very few available and they’re all from manufacturers that really know what they’re doing.

Not quite ready to go fully electric? Luckily, there’s also a wealth of exceptionally good hybrid SUVs on sale. These can provide some of the benefits of a fully electric SUV but often at a lower price and without the limitations that an electric drivetrain gives. We've dealt with these in a separate article.

>> Best hybrid SUVs 2020

Read on for our take on the electric SUVs you can buy now. Click the links below to go straight to the car you’re interested in:

Best electric SUVs for 2020


Kia e-Niro
 

Kia e-Niro

With a range on a full charge of more than 280 miles, yet a price tag of less than £35,000, the Kia e-Niro could be the best all-round electric SUV on the market today. The Niro offers enough in every area that we can’t imagine anybody feeling short-changed by the package on offer.

It has a practical, hard-wearing interior featuring all the best Kia technology – so it’s superbly simple to set up and operate, without being intrusive. There’s plenty of space for four in here, with a boot as large as most diesel SUVs can manage. So no compromises there.

In terms of the electric drivetrain, the range is its real headline feature – but it’s also powerful enough that keen drivers won’t feel shortchanged. A final feather in the cap is Kia’s excellent reputation and brilliant seven-year warranty, so ownership should be totally painless.

Price new: From £37,995
Lease this car: From £429 per month
Find a used Kia e-Niro on Parkers here

Mercedes-Benz EQC 

Mercedes-Benz EQC

Mercedes took a rather safe route with the EQC, and at a glance you may not even be able to tell it’s electric at all. That will endear it to many, though – not everybody wants to shout about their green credentials. Though it’s not exactly pretty, it’s smartly anonymous, and that’s exactly how many drivers want their SUVs to be.

The EQC also benefits from the same gorgeous interior as the rest of Mercedes’ SUVs, with ultra-wide display screens giving a really palatial feeling to the dashboard. Build quality is superb, the included technology works very well indeed, and it’s a thoroughly pleasant place to spend time.

On driving the EQC, two things stand out – refinement and comfort. This car is silent even by EV standards, and the pillowy ride is relaxing. It’s a great way to cover the miles – up to 259 of them on a single charge.

Price new: From £65,720
Lease this car: From £766 per month
Find a used Mercedes-Benz EQC on Parkers here

MG ZS EV 

MG ZS EV

One of the most affordable electric vehicles on sale today, the ZS EV is based on the regular ZS, a car we don’t rate very highly. Replacing its engines with an electric powertrain, though, has transformed it, and we think it’s easily the best car MG makes right now – and an absolutely cracking choice if you want a good-value electric vehicle.

It doesn’t offer as much range as the other SUVs on this list – only 163 miles – but that’s still plenty for most drivers to do their weekly commute with some to spare. And when it’s this affordable, a lot can be forgiven. The interior, for instance, which is spacious but not exactly plush.

Still, it’s well-equipped and easy to drive, and MG matches Kia’s warranty with seven years and 100,000 miles of cover – a good sign for those who worry the slightly flimsy-feeling ZS might prove unreliable.

Price new: From £28,495
Lease this car: From £178 per month
Find a used MG ZS EV on Parkers here

Tesla Model X 

Tesla Model X

The Model X is the ultimate expression of what an electric SUV can be. It’s incredibly fast, with supercar-baiting acceleration, yet it can seat five, six or even seven passengers in impressive comfort depending on which seat configuration you choose.

Like all Teslas it’s loaded with sophisticated technology, too, such as a huge 17-inch touchscreen in the centre console and numerous hidden ‘Easter Eggs’ meant to make ownership a bit more fun. It also has the added bonus of a real party piece – vertically-opening ‘falcon wing’ doors.

>> The best hidden Easter Eggs in cars

With up to 314 miles of range on a single charge, it’s the longest-range electric SUV currently on the market, too. It’s not cheap, but as an overall package it’s currently unmatched, especially if you have lots of passengers to carry.

Price new: From £87,245
Lease this car: From £914 per month
Find a used Tesla Model X on Parkers here

Jaguar I-Pace 

White 2018 Jaguar I-Pace front three-quarter

Jaguar's history as a manufacturer goes beyond when the big cat was adopted as the company name in 1945, yet the I-Pace represents one of the most important chapters in the firm's existence. Before it appeared, Jaguar had no expertise in building hybrid models, let alone any in fully electric cars, yet its first attempt has proved to be as excellent to drive as it is good to look at.

Not only that, it's set the template for Jaguar's future - the next XJ luxury saloon will also be fully electric.

Low slung and sporty, the I-Pace is styled to be more of a five-door coupe type of SUV than one you'd embark upon an off-roading adventure in. It's comfortable - as per Jaguar's usual standard - but it's rapid and engaging to drive, with a modern interior that's as far from the company's traditional 'gentlemen's club' wood and leather look as it's possible to be.

Statistics fans take note: its official range between recharges of 292 miles, with a 0-60mph time of just 4.5 seconds.

Price new: From £64,495
Lease this car: From £774 per month
Find a used Jaguar I-Pace on Parkers here

DS 3 Crossback E-Tense 

Silver 2020 DS 3 Crossback E-Tense front three-quarter

You'll often hear people who are 'into cars' bemoaning the fact that 'all cars look the same'. We won't be discussing the accuracies of that statement here, other than to serve up the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense. Save for its petrol- and diesel-engined siblings, the smallest DS SUV really doesn't look like any other car you can buy.

Whether you like the exterior styling, with curious creases that bend this way and that, or you admire the interior that seems to feature a diamond-shaped pattern on seemingly every surface is another matter - it's certainly an acquired taste, but we like that DS Automobile's design team hasn't simply opted to go conventional. If you fancy this electrical package in something that looks less controversial, you can always opt for the closely related Peugeot e-2008.

Power comes courtesy of a 136hp electric motor that propels the DS 3 Crossback from 0-62mph in just 8.7 seconds, yet its 50kWh battery pack is sufficient for a range of 206 miles when driven more sedately. Being a small SUV it's not got the roomiest of cabins, but it's no less spacious than its conventionally-engined relatives.

Price new: From £30,990
Lease this car: From £280 per month
Find a used DS 3 Crossback E-Tense on Parkers here

Hyundai Kona Electric 

Turquoise 2020 Hyundai Kona Electric front three-quarter

Compact, stylish and with a genuine real-world range in excess of 250 miles for versions with the bigger battery, there's lots to like about Hyundai's Kona Electric. There are two versions on offer: the 39kWh battery has a 136hp motor and an official range of 180 miles, but if your budget will stretch to the 64kWh version, with punch 204hp motor and a quoted range of 278 miles, we'd encourage you to do so.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but to our eyes the Kona Electric with its smoother front end styling looks more attractive and far less fussy than the petrol, diesel and hybrid versions with their gaping, angular grilles. It's similarly improved inside, too, thanks to optional lighter-coloured plastic trims, as well as the elevated centre console complete with futuristic push-button controls instead of a conventional gearlever.

In typical Hyundai fashion, equipment levels are generous, it's very smooth to drive, easy to live with and there's the additional benefit of that reassuring five-year/unlimited mileage warranty. If you're considering taking the plunge with an electric SUV, this is a particularly simple way of doing so.

Price new: From £29,900
Lease this car: From per month
Find a used Hyundai Kona Electric on Parkers here

Audi E-Tron 

Blue 2019 Audi E-Tron front three-quarter off-roading

E-Tron used to be the term Audi applied to its plug-in hybrid models, but this SUV signified a change in strategy: from now on, E-Tron signifies a fully electric model. That's why what might otherwise have been the Audi Q6 instead just wears E-Tron badges. Audi hopes it will have a similar halo effect as use of the Quattro name back in the early-1980s. Originally it was only for a standalone perfomance coupe, but very quickly became applied to any model from the German brand with four-wheel drive.

Audi offers the E-Tron in two bodystyles - the conventional SUV in the photo above and a slinker coupe version, with five doors, using the E-Tron Sportback name. We're concentrating on the former here, which is available in two power outputs so far, badged 50 and 55.

E-Tron 50 models have 312hp, the 55s produce 408hp, so both are swift. Quattro four-wheel drive is standard whichever you go for, but slick features such as rear-facing cameras with internal screens in place of conventional door mirrors are optional. Beautifully made inside, this SUV is definitely one for those who don't wish to make such a conspiuous EV-owning statement.

Price new: From £59,185
Lease this car: From £638 per month
Find a used Audi E-Tron on Parkers here

Further reading:

>> Best hybrid SUVs 2020

>> Best electric cars

>> What is an SUV?