The electric revolution hasn’t arrived with the ferocity predicted by futurists the world over, but we’re still seeing some pretty big leaps in range, performance, and style with the introduction of each new electric vehicle. It’s a promising sign of things to come, and one that gives shoppers a wide variety of choices. All of the best EVs provide enough range for use as a daily driver, while offering features and technology that didn’t even exist a few years ago. It’s an exciting new segment in the automotive industry, and the list below highlights our top picks for the best hybrids, the best plug-in hybrids, and the best pure EVs available today.
Hyundai Kona Electric
How did the Hyundai Kona Electric land on our 10Best Trucks and SUVs list its first year on the market? Much of the credit goes to the fact that it looks and drives much like the gas-powered Kona that arrived last year. We’re impressed by the Kona’s punchy engine and unique styling. The Kona Electric has all that plus an EPA-estimated range of 258 miles on a single charge. The cabin is spacious for a vehicle with such a small footprint, and like most Hyundais, the Kona comes with a long list of standard and optional features. Throw in a reasonable price, and it’s easy to see why the Hyundai Kona EV is one of the best electric vehicles.
Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid
Available as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or pure electric vehicle, the Kia Niro offers a little bit of everything. This Editors’ Choice crossover puts it right in the crosshairs of shoppers who want big mileage numbers without feeling like they settled for something too small. The base hybrid offers up to 52 mpg, but we suggest getting the Niro LX, which adds basic features. Step up to the plug-in and earn up to 26 miles of electric-only range before the engine kicks in. Go all out for maximum green cred and choose the Kia Niro EV. It boasts a claimed range of 239 miles.
Hyundai Ioniq plug-in hybrid
Much like its corporate cousin, the Kia Niro, the Hyundai Ioniq is a jack-of-all-trades. You can get it as a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, or a pure EV, but with its more traditional sedanlike styling, the Ioniq appeals to those who aren’t interested in driving a pseudo SUV. We like the fact that the Ioniq feels like a normal car from behind the wheel, yet the hybrid delivers up to 50 mpg, while the plug-in travels roughly 29 miles on batteries alone. The range of the Ioniq EV is only about 124 miles. But if that’s not a deal breaker, its affordable price makes it a very attractive option, and earns it a spot on our Editors’ Choice list.
Honda did things a little differently with its latest Insight, and we think that’s a good thing. Instead of trying to be quirky for quirky’s sake, the Honda Insight is much like the company’s best-selling Civic sedan. The Insight accelerates with authority, rides like a car that costs twice as much, and delivered 47 mpg in our highway fuel-economy test. As an added bonus, its interior is a step up from the Civic, with high-quality materials that give it a more luxurious look and feel. There are plenty of tech features, too, although the interface isn’t always very intuitive, and the really good stuff is only available on more expensive trim levels. Still, its competent mix of normal and futuristic make it easy to recommend as an Editors’ Choice.
Kia Soul EV
This all-electric hatchback can’t match its competition when it comes to range, but the Kia Soul EV is still one of our favorite EVs. Its boxy shape gives it a unique look that translates into a more spacious interior than you might expect. Add a surprisingly long list of features, and the Soul EV starts to look like a real bargain in this segment. The only thing to give us pause at this point is that it’s only sold in a few states. But an all-new Kia Soul EV is on the way for 2020 with a huge range boost—from 111 miles to 243 miles—and a wider range of availability across the U.S.
Chevrolet Bolt EV
We can’t help but like the Chevy Bolt EV despite its lackluster styling and cheap-looking interior. It redeems itself well as a roomy hatchback that is quick off the line and supremely maneuverable around town. The Bolt is also capable of delivering up to 238 miles of range and has a relatively affordable price—if you go easy on the options. This workaday electric vehicle may lack the name recognition of a Tesla and the allure of a crossover body style, but for shoppers looking for pure functionality above all else, the Chevy Bolt EV is a top contender in this category.
It may not be the sexiest electric vehicle around, but the truth is that Nissan has sold more EVs than any other manufacturer with the Leaf. It helps that this compact hatchback has been on sale for almost a decade now. Back in 2010, the Leaf arrived with funky styling and usable, but not overly impressive, range. A full redesign last year made it a little easier on the eyes, while a new Leaf Plus model offers up to 229 miles of range along with quicker acceleration. All versions of the Nissan Leaf have spacious cabins and useful technology, but the driving dynamics still leave us a little cold.
Tesla Model 3
There’s no denying the celebrity factor of the Tesla Model 3. This is the electric sedan that Elon Musk said would bring EV technology to the masses. It hasn’t quite worked out that way, but price aside, the Model 3 is a quick, sharp-handling sedan packed with modern technology. We especially like the Standard Range Plus model with its 240 miles of range coupled with interior upgrades such as navigation, heated seats, and multiple USB ports. It also provides docking stations for two smartphones. The Tesla Model 3 Performance version offers 20-inch wheels with summer tires, upgraded brakes, a lowered suspension, and a top speed of 155 mph. It’s also one of the fastest sports sedans on the road today.
Tesla Model S
This is the electric sedan that introduced Ludicrous Mode to the automotive world. It’s one of the many features of the Tesla Model S that make it unique among EVs and also a reason it made our Editors’ Choice list. The Model S offers more range than any other EV, along with a trademark interior design that puts nearly every vehicle control onto a giant dashboard-mounted touchscreen. It’s easy to use, but it also makes the rest of the interior look a bit sparse. This is a noteworthy consideration given that the base model starts at just over $80,000. If the otherwise simple cabin doesn’t bother you, the rest of the Model S is highly satisfying.
We like the fact that the groundbreaking I-Pace is still very much a Jaguar. The company’s first EV, the I-Pace handles well and has great acceleration with a cabin design that is both futuristic and luxurious. It’s also a crossover, yet it still promises a range of 234 miles. We like the way it looks on the road, although it hardly exudes classic Jaguar styling. An overly complex infotainment system is the only weak point with this otherwise fun-to-drive, luxury crossover. The Jaguar I-Pace is Editors’ Choice and a promising sign of things to come in the world of EVs.