Currently reading: Top 10 best family electric cars 2024
If you want the best EV to effortlessly fit into everyday life and carry your family comfort, then look no further

The electric vehicle revolution is well underway - and if you don’t believe us then you only need to look at the full-size family car class. As more motorists make the switch away from ICE, it’s these generously-sized do-it-all machines that are proving to be some of the most popular.

With their more generous proportions, these models can accommodate a larger battery for a better range without impacting on practicality. Moreover, as the cost of EV technology continues to come down it’s these family-friendly machines that benefit the most, their higher production volumes allowing manufacturers to really sharpen their pencils when it comes to pricing.

Of course, the traditional family car class isn’t what it once was with the usual saloon staples. These days, it’s more likely a buyer will be looking for an SUV or crossover, which is good news for manufacturers as they can hide the bulky battery packs under the floor. That said, there's more variety than you’d think, with hatchbacks, estates and, yes, even the odd three-box saloon.

Better still, most of these cars have decent-sized batteries that deliver the sort of range that won’t have you in a sweaty stress every time you embark on a journey, which is no bad thing considering the state of the public charging network. In fact, if you’ve got a home charger then the range resilience of many of these cars means you’ll rarely need to trouble one of these sites.

Perhaps even more importantly, for people like us at least, is the fact that manufacturers are starting to inject some genuine driver appeal into these cars beyond the exciting but short lived thrill of their instant, and often savage, acceleration.

So, here’s our list of the top full-size family EVs you can currently buy. However, as the 2030 deadline on ICE car sales looms ever closer you can expect the competition for inclusion on this countdown to become increasingly fierce.

1. Hyundai Ioniq 5

1 Hyundai ioniq 5 top 10

It’s a sign of the fast-paced change in the automotive sector, as well as consumers' willingness to abandon the old certainties that Hyundai and Kia feature so high up this list. Unlike more cautious European brands, the Koreans have fully embraced electrification - and nowhere is the success of this approach more obvious than the Ioniq 5.

Built on a bespoke EV model platform it features powerful 800V electrical architecture that allows for much faster charging. Currently this cutting edge technology is shared only with the Porsche Taycan and Audi E-tron GT, plus the closely related Kia models. As a slightly ropey analogy, it would be like Ford kitting out its original Focus with the twin-turbocharged flat-six of a contemporary Porsche 911 Turbo. Sort of.

It's not just a technical exercise either, because the Ioniq 5 draws attention with its distinctive retro-futuristic design (think space-age reimagining of the Lancia Delta) and modern, high-quality interior.

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Despite its size and weight, the Hyundai is suprisingly engaging to drive, with strong performance, decent grip and just enough adjustability to keep things interesting. It's also a lovely, relaxing cruiser, with good noise suppression, a comfortable ride and a really convincing luxury aura that suits an electric car perfectly. Good packaging means that space in the back is more than generous, with a usable boot.

The long-range, rear-wheel-drive version narrowly saw off the Skoda Enyaq iV in a recent group test, proving a more engaging drive and winning over our testers with its more daring design. Either way, it’s this combination of larger 77kWh battery and single motor that delivers the best combination of pace, price and stamina.

For completeness, the range starts from £43,445 for a 168bhp rear-wheel drive car with a 240-mile range, rising to an eye-watering £57,945 for the flagship Namsan Edition with a 321bhp twin motor, all-wheel drive set-up.

Do you need more encouragement? Well, there’s a hot 641bhp N model is due to hit showrooms later this year. Our Matt Prior has already driven a pre-production version and came away very impressed indeed, citing the car’s engaging handling as much as its knockout punch.

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2. Skoda Enyaq iV

2 Skoda enyaq top 10

Skoda often takes Volkswagen Group mechanicals and wraps them up in an even more sensible, spacious package that's better value to boot. So too with the Skoda Enyaq iV. It uses the same MEB ‘skateboard' platform that underpins the Volkswagen ID 3, Volkswagen ID 4 and Audi Q4 E-tron. Clever design choices ensure it hits a sweet spot in the electric SUV market, though.

It impresses with a roomy and cleverly thought-out cabin that's a match for the Audi's on tangible quality and personalisation. The chassis set-up proved very mature during our road test: it won't appeal to keen drivers but feels medium-firm and fairly tightly controlled to inspire confidence without any meaningful detriment to the range.

The 201bhp 80-badged version we tested showed performance that should satisfy most drivers, and the 333-mile range makes the Enyaq very usable on longer journeys, too.

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For the more budget-conscious, Skoda offers a 60 model with a 58kWh battery pack that yields a 250-mile range. An even smaller 50 exists but isn't available over here at the moment. The 80X Sportline adds a front motor for extra power and four-wheel drive. And a 302bhp vRS model, complete with bespoke sporty styling cues, will be in a showroom near you soon.

Only the added character of the Ioniq 5 and a handful of awkward design decisions, some slightly annoying active safety features and a slightly mean standard equipment tally keep the Enyaq from finishing at the very top of this list.

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3. Kia EV6

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Kia has come closer than anyone so far to bringing real driver appeal to the market for usable, affordably priced, 'normal' electric cars. With the EV6, sister car to our class champion the Ioniq 5, it has taken a state-of-the-art EV-specific platform, clothed it in a handsome body, thrown in a good-size cabin and finished the package with keen-feeling ride and handling delivered by a natively rear-wheel-drive chassis that's significantly more interesting and involving to drive than so many EVs' thus far.

The car comes with a choice of three trim levels and in either single-motor, rear-wheel-drive or dual-motor, four-wheel drive form. Power outputs range from 226bhp to 321bhp, and there's a range-topping GT version coming soon with 577bhp to call upon (imagine that!).

Public rapid charging at up to 239kW is possible in the car (where available), at which rate the car's 77.4kWh battery can be topped up roughly the time it takes to order a cup of tea and consume an iced bun; while range extends up to 328 miles on the WLTP lab test standard.

The EV6's package has a few limitations, one of which is price (this isn't the most affordable electric option among its peers). Because it's a bit sporty, it's also not the smoothest-riding, refined EV of the current bunch. Cabin quality isn't nearly as rich or inviting as that of the car's Hyundai relation. And lifeless, numb steering takes the edge of the car's dynamic appeal a little.

Nevertheless, the EV6 is remarkably agile-handling, its performance is spirited (even in the case of single-motor models), and it gives plenty of heart to keen drivers who have assumed that zero-emissions motoring simply won't nurture their enthusiasm quite like they're used to. And if you fancy a laugh, few cars at any price can match the GT model in terms of performance per pound. Yes, £60,000 isn't cheap, but it will blast from 0-62mph in 3.5sec and has a Drift Mode that's so hyperactive you will probably crash laughing.

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4. Ford Mustang Mach-E

4 Ford mach e top 10

Ford was a little late to the full-sized electric car market, but has made something of a splash in any case by appropriating its much-loved Mustang sub-brand for its first battery-electric production model. The Mustang Mach-E isn't a square-jawed muscle coupé, though, but a proper five-seater with an appealing-looking crossover bodystyle, as well as impressive real-world range potential and a more affordable price than some of the cars listed here.

It's available from just over £40,000 in the UK, so it's not as affordable as some key rivals. If you want the WLTP-accredited 379-mile Extended Range version, you will need almost £50,000. However, it's a proper, usable family car that beats premium rivals by up to 30% on both claimed range and value.

In Extended Range RWD form, Ford's first proper EV doesn't dazzle with warp-speed acceleration. Instead it's the chassis that brings some driving satisfaction, with its appreciable poise and even a little playfulness when the moment takes you. Outright fun? Like its rivals, the Ford is too heavy for that, and its steering too synthetic, but this is certainly one of the more pleasing driver's cars of its ilk. And the GT is certainly quick in a straight line and can be coaxed into some giggly muscle car angles on the exit of slower corners if you're so inclined – but gets scrappy if pushed up to and over its limits.

Fears that the Mach-E would be very much 'style over substance' are further dispelled by what is a truly spacious and airy cabin, even if the look of the place is somewhat unimaginative and perceived quality a rung or two below what you will find in European rivals.

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5. Volkswagen ID 4

5 Vw id4 top 10

The ID 4 is the second Volkswagen to be launched on the MEB platform, following on from the ID 3. It's a bigger, pricier car than the earlier model, but also one that will play just as crucial a role in helping VW become a dominant player in the global EV market. The world is, after all, crazy for SUVs, and Volkswagen claims the ID 4's packaging allows it to offer Touareg-equalling practicality in a Tiguan-size package. That sounds like a winning combo.

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In practice, it works pretty well, too. There's loads of space up front, and its 531-litre boot is larger than the Tiguan's. Even better, since locating the battery under the floor allows for clever packaging, space in the rear is similar to in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The only slight niggle is that it also means the rear bench sits a bit higher than you might like, which restricts head room.

Speaking of the battery, two sizes are available, and they correspond to the output of the rear-mounted electric motor. The 146bhp and 168bhp models come with a 52kWh unit, while the 201bhp model has a 77kWh one that's good for a WLTP range of 328 miles. A dual-motor,  four-wheel-drive 261bhp option sits below the flagship 295bhp GTX model, which despite its racy badge is more of a fast cruiser than a true GTI for the electric age.

Performance of the normal 201bhp version is usefully brisk as well, and it's very refined, even on big wheels. But there's also enough character to ensure that it doesn't leave you cold: neatly tuned control responses, sharp initial performance, interesting little design cues and a sense of maturity on the move.

The ID 4 offers a neat, simplified and intuitive EV experience, although the interior ergonomics have been simplified a bit too much. Despite a very appealing ambiance inside the ID 4, the loss of most buttons means it's not very user-friendly – a common complaint with modern Volkswagens, and one which the brand is now working to rectify.

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6. Tesla Model Y

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The Tesla Model Y is the slightly gawkier-looking, more practical and grown-up brother of the big-selling Model 3. It's 50mm longer than the Model 3 but importantly some 180mm taller, offering significantly more cabin space but a similar chassis specification and minimalist interior. Oh, and of course it gets the same access to Tesla's excellent Supercharger network, which for many will be worth the price of entry alone.

Speaking of which, the financial barrier to Model Y ownership has been lowered to £51,900 following the introduction of the entry-level Rear Wheel Drive model. That's hardly a snip, but you get a single motor with enough poke for a 6.6sec 0-60mph sprint time and a claimed range of 287 miles if you go for the smaller 18-inch wheels.

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If you want to go further, the Long Range version has 434bhp, does 0-60mph in just 5.0sec flat and promises 331 miles between visits to charging stations. Finally, if making your family feel sick through violent g-forces is your thing, the Performance packs 507bhp and a 0-60mph time of 3.5sec.

Regardless of motor, the Model Y offers plenty of passenger space and an airy interior feel, and its cabin is minimalistically furnished and fairly well presented. Storage space, split between boots at both ends of the car, is also generous. Yet the interior lacks the premium appeal that you would expect at this price point, while Tesla's obsession with putting all the functions in the vast, centrally mounted touchscreen creates both a lack of character and an ergonomic sticking point, with numerous finger stabs necessary to access various features.

The Model Y follows a familiar dynamic template, with relatively quick-geared and quite heavily weighted steering and handling that demands precision, with very little room for expression or adjustability. The firm suspension set-up means the Tesla SUV rarely settles down, with constant movements that jostle occupants. This shortfall in comfort is compounded by the poor acoustic insulation, with noises off from the suspension and roar from the tyres undoing any refinement benefits of an EV drivetrain.

Ultimately, the Model Y is a very effective electric SUV but not a totally convincing premium one.

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7. Nissan Ariya

7 Nissan ariya top 10

Given that Nissan pioneered the mainstream EV with the Leaf, it's a surprise it's taken so long for the Japanese brand to add a follow-up model to the line-up (assuming we ignore the van-based eNV200 people carrier). Unsurprisingly, the Japanese brand has chosen the lucrative premium family SUV class as the target for its latest all-electric offering, and in many respects the Ariya represents a welcome addition to this increasingly crowded corner of the market, not least because some versions deliver a range of 329 miles.

For starters, the Ariya looks smart, in a modern and slick SUV way, while the interior deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as premium-badged rivals in this list. Not only is it eye-catchingly designed, it's also packed with high grade materials that give it an agreeably plush vibe. There's all the tech you would expect, too, including a pair of 12.3-inch screens mounted on top of the dashboard - one for the instrument cluster and one for the infotainment. You also get a good amount of room front and back, plus some thoughtful touches, such as the sliding centre console between the front seats and handy drawer that slides out of the dash.

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There's a choice of single-motor, front-wheel-drive and dual-motor, four-wheel-drive layouts. The former features a choice of 63kWh or 87kWh batteries that deliver 215bhp and 239bhp respectively. The latter set-up, dubbed e-4orce, can only be specified with the larger battery and serves-up a handy 302bhp in standard guise or 388bhp in the flagship Performance model, which is good for 0-62mph in 5.1sec.

Whichever battery-and-motor combination you go for, the Ariya is composed and capable to drive, but is never likely to get your pulse racing. The steering is light and precise, but the body control is a little soft and fidgeting, and you feel a little as if you're sitting high above the car's roll axis when it corners, made aware of every degree of body lean.

Although the Ariya isn't the gamechanger the original Leaf was, there's lots to like here. However, with prices starting at just under £50,000, you will have to like the Nissan a lot to take the plunge.

8. Audi Q4 E-tron Quattro

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If you can't quite justify the cost of a full-sized Audi E-tron for your first foray into premium EV ownership, there is this: the smaller Q4 E-tron. Like its bigger sibling, it comes in both regular-bodied and extra-swoopy Sportback silhouettes, but unlike the bigger car, it uses the Volkswagen Group's specially developed MEB platform. Those underpinnings allow it to offer four-wheel drive to those who want it and in excess of 300bhp; but they also give it a mechanical link to cheaper sibling cars like the Volkswagen ID 4 and Skoda Enyaq iV, which we've ranked higher in this chart.

That relationship doesn't seem to be putting off European buyers of this car any more than its pug-nosed looks or its glitzy but slightly plain-feeling cabin quality, but it was enough to temper our reaction to the car when we road-tested it. The Q4 demonstrates how tricky it will be for premium brands to differentiate platform-engineered cars in the all-electric era, when extra value can no longer be added by refined or high-performing combustion engines and chassis technologies are shared across brands. It's a credible car, with a range of approaching 300 miles in the case of the longest-legged versions, but it isn't well distinguished dynamically, by its only superficially different design or by the upmarket ambience of its interior.

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We would take the Q4 over some premium EVs, but with the cut-and-paste feel of the VW Group’s MEB mechanicals Audi must do better if it wants to show the superiority of its cars in the mass market of tomorrow.

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9. Mercedes-Benz EQB

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If you're in the market for a seven-seat electric SUV, at the moment your options are severely limited: it's either the £100,00 plus Tesla Model X or the Mercedes-Benz EQB. The German machine is much smaller than its American rival, but it's also around half the price - although that doesn't exactly make it a bargain, as we will see.

Essentially an electric version of the GLB compact off-roader, the EQB has been rather neatly packaged so that its motors and battery don't detract too much from the standard car's versatility. For instance, the third row seats deliver the same amount of room, which means adults will only tolerate short journeys but kids will be fine. The second row of seats also slides, meaning you can choose between extra room for luggage or legs depending on your priorities.

The interior is well-finished, with a real premium vibe, while the wall-to-wall TFT screens (including Mercedes' excellent MBUX infotainment system) create a high-tech vibe.

Comfort and refinement are good, a sensation that's enhanced by a driving experience the places relaxation above heart-racing fun. That goes for the performance, which is decently brisk rather than outright quick, with both the 225bhp EQB 300 and 288bhp EQB 350 (both are four-wheel-drive) not able to match the pace of similarly dual-motored rivals.

Speaking of speed, the Mercedes' 100kW charging limit is disappointing in a class where 150kW is the norm, while its maximum claimed range of 257 miles is nothing to write home about (although you will certainly have time to do that while you're waiting for it to charge).

Prices start at just under £55,000, which is similar money to the Tesla Model Y and quite a bit more than for the Audi Q4 E-tron, let alone for the Skoda Enyaq iV - all of which are either faster, will go further on a charge or both.

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If you need the seven-seat capability, the easy-to-live-with EQB is without rivals, but otherwise there are better options out there.

10. BYD Atto 3

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What does BYD stand for? Build Your Dreams, of course. As names go, the Chinese brand’s slogan might have got a little lost in translation when it comes to a more cynical European clientele, but strange choice or not there’s no doubting the serious intent of this latest arrival on UK shores.

The Atto 3 is the first of what will be a multi-model offensive from BYD, and despite some rough edges it’s a very credible alternative to established models. Slotting somewhere between a Kia Niro and VW ID4 in size, the SUV-themed machine is built on the firm’s latest, and snappily-titled,  e-platform 3.0 skateboard chassis that utilizes a battery, motor and semiconductors that are all built in-house.

There’s a single powertrain option that marries 201bhp motor to a generous 60.5kWh battery that promises 261-miles between electrical refills. To drive, the Atto 3 is comfortable and composed, but hardly a car that’ll get taking it for a back road tango just for kicks. Yet given its prosaic family duties most customers will take easy-going over exciting.

More interesting is the interior, which represents a funky contrast to the rather generic exterior. There’s a bold dashboard design complete with optional rotating 15.6-inch infotainment screen, plus numerous quirky design details that help lift it above more po-faced rivals. Then there’s the prices, which all fall below £40,000 and represent decent value. This might not be the car of your dreams, but as a capable and hassle-free family hack it’s worth a look.

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James Disdale

James Disdale
Title: Special correspondent

James is a special correspondent for Autocar, which means he turns his hand to pretty much anything, including delivering first drive verdicts, gathering together group tests, formulating features and keeping topped-up with the latest news and reviews. He also co-hosts the odd podcast and occasional video with Autocar’s esteemed Editor-at-large, Matt Prior.

For more than a decade and a half James has been writing about cars, in which time he has driven pretty much everything from humble hatchbacks to the highest of high performance machines. Having started his automotive career on, ahem, another weekly automotive magazine, he rose through the ranks and spent many years running that title’s road test desk. This was followed by a stint doing the same job for monthly title, evo, before starting a freelance career in 2019. The less said about his wilderness, post-university years selling mobile phones and insurance, the better.

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albert fig 1 February 2022

I am glad that others are spending their cash buying these things as one day I will have to acquire one that is hopefully lighter, more efficient, and fun than now.


Chris C 2 December 2021

MG 5 SW - not sure what a Vauxhall Aston is but if you mean Astra that's a coincidence since it comes off the platform of a Chinese Buick/Roewe which is based on the Vauxhall/Opel Astra. There is a nose facelift kicking around and back in China a new 5 series which IMO is remarkably ugly.

captainaverage 20 September 2021
Why have you quoted WLTP range figures for some cars, and your own guesstimate for others?

For example, that Enyaq 58kWh will only achieve the claimed 258 miles if you start at the top of a very large hill, or drive everywhere at 40mph. Whereas the quoted 230 miles for the E-Niro (a realistic figure for motorway driving in poor weather conditions) is some way short of its WLTP figure of 282 miles.