Best Electric Cars and SUVs for 2022

Our updated list features the latest new EVs, pros and cons for each, and links to reviews

Like our planet’s endangered climate, this list is subject to change. There are so many electric cars, SUVs and even trucks on the horizon that it’s only a matter of time before we get a chance to drive something significant enough to be included on this list of best EVs (and to supplant one of the current choices). Again. We’ve already updated this list once.

We have broken our recommendations down alphabetically and within price, segments because obviously, as great as a Porsche Taycan, Mercedes EQS, and Rivian R1T is, only a tiny fraction of car buyers can afford them. Thankfully, many of the new and/or upcoming EVs are of the more affordable(ish) variety, including the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 that we’ve finally had the chance to drive future Nissan Ariya and Chevrolet Equinox EV. We look forward to testing them all as soon as possible — not to mention more expensive upcoming offerings like the Cadillac Lyriq, Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Hummer EV, BMW iX and Mercedes EQE.

For now, though, these electric cars and SUVs earn our top recommendation based on our testing.

Note that all base prices include destination charges unless otherwise noted, but not tax incentives, fuel savings or other discounts some EV makers bake into advertised prices. However, we indicate which cars are still eligible for federal tax credits. You can effectively subtract that amount from the base price for those who pay enough federal tax to qualify.

Best electric cars under $35,000

Hyundai Kona Electric

Why it stands out:Attractive price with tax rebate; fun to drive; easy-to-use tech

Could be better: Small back seat; limited cargo space

Although it barely gets under our $35,000 threshold, among the cheapest electric cars, the Kona Electric is the one that tries a little harder on the style front and ensures you’re having a decently fun time behind the wheel. Sure, it still looks a little weird (kinda like when Neo has his mouth removed in “The Matrix”), but when competing with a Nissan Leaf, the bar is set at a quickly cleared height. Like the Chevrolet Bolt EV (which we’d love to include on this list, but its ongoing battery recall prevents its sale), the Kona Electric range of 258 miles, which is better than many of the priciest (though more extensive and more powerful) offerings listed below. Unlike the Bolt EV, it’s eligible for the federal tax credit, so it’s cheaper than its price tag indicates. We really like the regular Kona, so choosing the Electric would similarly elicit our thumbs up.

Electric range: 258 miles

Base price: $35,345

Eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit? Yes 

Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf


Why it stands out:Well-executed driver assistance features; a low price with base battery; multiple range options

It could be better: Dull to drive; not as much range as other EVs

The Nissan Leaf was the first affordable electric car that didn’t share its body with an internal combustion car. Now in its second generation, the Leaf is a little more regular in appearance, and thanks to the availability of the Leaf Plus model, can top the 200-mile plateau that seems to be the point where range anxiety begins to lessen. The base Leaf, however, is still around for those who don’t intend to go very far at any given time and are happy to not pay extra for range they don’t really need. Indeed, when you factor in the federal tax credit, the Leaf’s base price is effectively only $20,875 and could be even cheaper if you live in California and other states with additional credits or tax rebates. Even the Plus is only in the mid-20s when rebates and credits are factored in thanks to a hefty price cut for 2022. With either version, you get Nissan’s user-friendly infotainment tech and well-executed driver assistance features along with a reasonably spacious, comfortable and practical four-door hatchback body style, which is something that can’t be said of other cheap EVs like the Mini Cooper SE and Mazda CX-30.

Electric range: 150 miles (base); 226 miles (Plus)

Base price: $28,375 (base); $33,375 (Plus)

Eligible for $7,500 federal tax credit?: Yes 

Best electric cars under $50,000

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Why it stands out: Distinctive style; compelling performance; user-friendly tech; high-quality cabin
Could be better: Back seat is mounted a bit low; cabin design is a bit anonymous

Read our full 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E Review

One of the most talked about (and controversial) new cars is also one of the best electric cars you can buy. No, this is not “the new Mustang.” It’s a new thing, not a replacement, that effectively makes “Mustang” a Ford sub-brand by creating an electric crossover with styling cues and a performance-oriented driving character inspired by the still-very-much-on-sale Mustang coupe and convertible that are still powered by gasoline. That’s a big part of the Mach-E’s appeal: It looks cooler and drives better because it’s a Mustang. Considering how uncool and drab lower-priced electric cars have been, this is very good news. Plus, its crossoverish body style provides usable backseat and cargo space, its giant Sync 4A touchscreen has impressed our editors with its clean simplicity, and its wide variety of drivetrain and battery combos makes Ford’s first from-scratch electric car open to a wide range of needs and taste. Although there are now additional crossoverish EVs available for roughly the same price, the Mach-E remains firmly entrenched on this list of favorites.

Electric range: 211-300 miles depending on drivetrain (RWD vs AWD) and battery pack (68 vs 88 kWh)
Base price: $44,995
Eligible for $7,500 federal tax credit?: Yes

Hyundai Ioniq 5

Hyundai Ioniq 5


Why it stands out: Airy and versatile cabin space; exceptional infotainment and safety tech; fun to drive
Could be better: Sci-fi hatchback styling won’t be for everyone; initially available in few states; not as quick as Tesla Model 3

We’re not sure if the Ioniq 5 looks like it came from the future or from a “Back to the Future Part II”-style vision of the future, but either way, it sure is different. Although it looks like a compact hatchback, in reality, it’s as long as the quite-large 2022 Hyundai Tucson with a wheelbase longer than the very-large Hyundai Palisade. It’s not very tall or high off the ground, but inside, its deceptive dimensions provide a surprisingly airy, spacious and versatile cabin. We also love its user-friendly and well-executed technology, both in terms of infotainment and safety, plus the clean, minimalist look that still maintains some physical controls. Yes, that’s a knock on Tesla. Every Ioniq 5 features the same 77.4-kilowatt-hour battery pack (though there will be a 58-kWh base pack eventually), and like other EVs, it feeds the rear wheels or all four thanks to an additional motor up front. This results in multiple performance and range figures, though the gap in performance is far more pronounced (7.3 seconds with RWD vs 5.1 with AWD). Importantly, every Ioniq 5 has 800-volt electrical architecture, making it possible to charge from 10-80% at a 350-kW charger in just 18 minutes. It’ll speed things up at less powerful chargers as well.

Read More:   The Future of Electromobility – IEA’s Global EV Outlook 2022 Electric Wheelco

Electric range: 303 miles (RWD) or 256 miles (AWD)
Base price: $44,875
Eligible for $7,500 federal tax credit?: Yes 

Kia EV6

Kia EV6


Why it stands out: Cool and well-made interior; exceptional infotainment and safety tech; fun to drive
Could be better: Some confusing interior controls; other EVs offer more complimentary charging

Although based on the same platform as the Hyundai Ioniq 5, including its 800-volt electric architecture, the Kia EV6 is its own thing. You definitely can’t tell they’re mechanically related by looking at them inside and out. The EV6 is similarly shaped and sized as the Mustang Mach-E, itself an unusual “what is it exactly?” body style that’s somewhere in between SUV, wagon and hatchback. The term “crossover” has never been so apt. Like the Mach-E, the EV6 skews toward the sporty end of the spectrum — especially the EV6 GT that boasts 576 horsepower and 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds. The Ioniq 5 doesn’t offer such a high-performance model. The EV6 starts things off with a 58-kWh battery pack with a range of 232 miles and modest performance; the 77.4-kWh pack kicks it up to 310 miles with RWD and 274 miles with AWD. All of this basically means the EV6 is fully competitive on the EV front, but simply viewed as a car, we love its design, its well-executed tech, comfortable and engaging driving experience, and nicely crafted cabin that’s also pretty cool to look at. 

Electric range: 232 miles (RWD, 58-kWh battery), 310 miles (RWD, 77.4-kWh battery), 274 miles (AWD, 77.4-kWh battery)
Base price: $42,115
Eligible for $7,500 federal tax credit?: Yes


Polestar 2

Polestar 2

Why it stands out: Sport sedan driving experience; user-friendly Google infotainment; you won’t see many others
Could be better: It’s for sale in very few places; some cheap interior pieces; nonsensical manual suspension settings

Polestar is an offshoot brand from Volvo that specializes in sport-tuned electric cars. The Polestar 2 is its first fully electric model (the short-lived 1 was a plug-in hybrid), a unique four-door notchback sedan with extra ground clearance. And thanks to its new single-motor drivetrain option and less expensive base model, it now slides down a price category to compete with the others here. Its standard range is also now on par with the similarly priced base Tesla Model 3. What really stands out about the Polestar 2, though, is that it’s a joy to drive. With the Performance package selected, it could certainly hold its own against the impressively sporty Jaguar I-Pace electric and maybe a base Taycan. And although that base, single-motor front-wheel-drive version is slower and offers less grip, it still handles well. Every Polestar 2 also benefits from minimalist Scandinavian design inside and Google’s Android Automotive Operating System that’s refreshingly quick to learn and easy to use. We do wish the cabin quality was at least up to the standard of Volvo’s cars and SUVs, though.

Electric range: 270 miles (FWD) 249 miles (AWD)
Base price: $47,200
Eligible for $7,500 federal tax credit?: Yes

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3


Why it stands out: Superior range and performance; Tesla Supercharger network; more widely available than others here
Could be better: Reliability and build quality concerns; small cabin and trunk; central screen that controls and displays everything

For many people, this is the only affordable electric car. It definitely isn’t, but it’s still an obvious choice given Tesla’s clear advantages in terms of electric battery range, current availability and its expansive Supercharger network. Even the most basic “Standard Range Plus” Model 3 is rated to go farther on a charge than the base models of the other electric cars in these first two price brackets, while pricier Long Range and Performance models go even farther. Acceleration is also exceptional, and although there’s definitely more to a car’s performance credentials than a single 0-60-mph run yielding a low number, the Model 3’s squatty stance, low center of gravity and well-tuned suspension result in capable handling on curvaceous roads. It’s not a sport sedan, but it doesn’t need to be. Now, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Model 3’s suspect build quality and reliability, and the questionable functionality of everything in the car being controlled and displayed by one touchscreen. And while “Autopilot” is an impressive advanced adaptive cruise control system with automated steering and lane changes, it’s still just that. The driver must still be prepared to take over as is the case with other such systems. And no, it cannot fully drive itself no matter what option box you select. 

Electric range: 267 miles (Standard Range Plus); 315 miles (Performance); 334 miles (Long Range)
Base price: $44,990
Eligible for $7,500 federal tax credit?: No

Best electric cars over $50,000

Lucid Air

Lucid Air


Why it stands out: Bladder-busting range; neck-snapping power; butt-cosseting comfort; eye-pleasing interior
Could be better: So many unknowns associated with a new carmaker; tight head room

Most gasoline-powered cars can’t go 406 or 516 miles on a tank, so the fact that the Lucid Air is capable of traveling that EPA-estimated distance on a single battery charge is quite simply astonishing. If that’s not enough to take you where you need to go without range anxiety, its 900-volt electrical architecture allows it (among other charging talents) to add 300 miles of range in 20 minutes. After 500 miles of driving, taking 20 minutes to recharge and grab a burger doesn’t seem like much of an inconvenience. Oh, and we haven’t even talked about the car yet. This grand sedan, with an admittedly grand price tag, provides both superlative ride comfort and surprisingly agile handling. Plus, with 800 horsepower available … yeah, it’s quick, with lesser versions boasting only 620 hp (Touring) or 480 hp (Pure). The 1,111-hp Dream Edition you might have heard about has already exhausted its reservation allocation. We also like the interior, which lives up to its lofty price point in terms of both design, functionality and materials quality. Long-term quality and reliability is a great big question mark, however, as is any number of elements related to a new carmaker. You’re definitely going out on a limb here despite the Lucid Air seeming to be such a knock-out effort.

Read More:   Rolls-Royce and Tecnam to deliver an all-electric passenger aircraft in 2026

Electric range: 406 (Pure and Touring trims); 516 miles (Grand Touring)
Base price: $77,400
Eligible for $7,500 federal tax credit?: Yes

Mercedes-Benz EQS

Mercedes-Benz EQS


Why it stands out: Exceptionally comfortable and quiet; surprisingly agile; best interior quality among luxury EVs
Could be better: Less range than Lucid and Tesa; rear seat head room; AMG model not exciting enough

In this realm of high-priced EVs dominated by start-up and/or young car companies, the EQS at the very least provides a degree of superior quality and reassurance that comes from making some of the world’s finest automobiles for more than a century. While the EQS isn’t quite up to the level of an S-Class in terms of interior ambiance and space, that’s a very high bar, and being up to the level of, say, a Mercedes CLS is still a pretty special thing. The EQS offers ride comfort and interior sound levels that are second to none, however, and a level of agility that is truly surprising for something so large and comfortable. Tech is also at the forefront, including Mercedes’ exceptional suite of driver assistance tech, the available augmented reality head-up display and the vast “Hyperscreen” dash, with its three screens that are sure to awe your friends, if slightly befuddling you with its overwhelming array of options to control. While there are EQS 580 4Matic and AMG EQS versions available, we were perfectly happy with the “base” EQS 450 that provides more than enough performance and the best possible range. 

Electric range: 340-350 miles
Base price: $103,360
Eligible for $7,500 federal tax credit?: Yes

Porsche Taycan

Porsche Taycan


Why it stands out: The best EV to drive; massive performance; two body styles; highly customizable
Could be better: Cramped back seat; very expensive

Read our base Porsche Taycan Review

There’s no better electric car to drive than the Taycan, which absolutely lives up to its Porsche name and expectations. It’s also very expensive, which also lives up to its Porsche name and expectations. In any case, from the base Taycan up to the mighty Taycan Turbo S, every version we’ve tested has been exceptional … both through the lens of electric cars as well as performance cars. We’ve also found that it’s capable of going much farther than its official EPA range ratings would indicate — the Turbo is rated at 201 miles yet we managed 287 miles in normal driving without hypermiling or other shenanigans. Beyond performance and range considerations, the Taycan impresses with its top-notch build quality, ample customization options and its athletic sports car looks. Of course, those looks differ by your choice of body style: there’s the regular sedan, the Sport Turismo wagon (GTS only) and the Cross Turismo adds body cladding and a whisker of extra ground clearance to the Sport Turismo body. Basically, it’s a Porsche Taycan Outback. 

Electric range: 199-227 miles
Base price: $81,250 (Taycan); $92,250 (Cross Turismo)
Eligible for $7,500 federal tax credit?: Yes

Rivian R1T

Rivian R1T


Why it stands out: Innovating four-wheel motors; go-anywhere capability; excellent on-road performance; truck versatility
Could be better: So many unknowns associated with a new carmaker; some weird different-for-different-sake controls

The Rivian R1T has been one of the most eagerly anticipated vehicles to come along in quite some time and it doesn’t disappoint. The R1T truck and its upcoming R1S SUV sibling offer a revolutionary collection of features and attributes that add up to a vehicle that can nearly anywhere off-road, be perfectly comfortable and surprisingly fun to drive on-road, and cosset its occupants in a stylish, seemingly well-made interior. Among the specific highlights are direct drive electric motors in each wheel, hydraulically interconnected adaptive dampers, a height-adjustable air suspension, flat bottom with no low-dangling differential as in an ICE off-roader, a towing capacity up to 11,000 pounds, a 135-kWh Large Pack battery that provides an EPA-estimated 314 miles of range, and rapid performance thanks to a combined 415 hp from the front motors and 420 hp from those in back. Its capability is truly astonishing, though there are some weird interior controls, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not available (like Tesla), and as a start-up carmaker, there’s a great big question mark regarding build quality and long-term reliability.

Electric range: 314 miles (standard); “400+” (Max pack option)
Base price: $67,500
Eligible for $7,500 federal tax credit?: Yes

Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model Y


Why it stands out: Unmatched mix of efficiency, range and performance;  constant improvements
Could be better: Reliability and build-quality concerns; central screen that controls everything; constant price fluctuations; no base model

As a car, we don’t like it nearly as much as the various EVs in the lower price category. We have serious issues with Tesla’s questionable reliability and build quality history, plus the sparse cabin that saves money on switchgear and controls by relying almost exclusively on the giant central screen (at least it doesn’t have a ridiculous yoke “wheel” that almost singlehandedly removed the Model S from this list). Its competitors are better made, less unusual, and cost less money. They also have comparable ranges, but where the Model Y continues to score big is Tesla’s unmatched mix of efficiency, range and performance. The Model Y is much quicker than any of those cheaper EVs with comparable range. It may not be a great car, but it has a superlative electric powertrain and battery. Tesla also has following and people literally swear by them, warts and all.

Electric range: 318 miles (Long Range); 303 miles (Performance)
Base price: $58,990 after recent price increases (destination charge not indicated)
Eligible for $7,500 federal tax credit?: No

Originally posted 2022-08-14 17:18:21.

Leave a Reply