Best electric cars – a buyer’s guide

Considering an electric car? Maybe you’re just curious about the state of electric vehicles. Whatever the reason, there are a growing number of options on the market in 2019, though not all of them are created equal. Join us as we take a closer look at the best electric cars you can buy today.


The best electric cars you can buy

Okay, you’ve already made up your mind that fully electric cars are right for you. While there are dozens of options – and growing – we highly recommend the following models:

  • The best affordable electric car: 2019 Nissan Leaf / Leaf Plus
    • Price: starts at $29,990 (2019 Leaf) and $36,550 (2019 Leaf Plus)
    • Range: 151 miles(2019 Leaf), 226 miles (2019 Leaf Plus)
  • The best affordable electric crossover: 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric
    • Price: starts at $36,450
    • Range: 258 miles
  • The best luxury electric car: Jaguar I-PACE
    • Price: starts at $69,500
    • Range: 238 miles
  • The best for distance: Tesla Model 3
    • Price: starts at $39,500
    • Range: 240 miles to 315 miles
  • The best of the best: Tesla Model S
    • Price: starts at $85,000
    • Range: 315 to 335 miles

Now let’s dive in a bit deeper in the best electric cars worth buying in 2019!


2019 Nissan Leaf / Leaf Plus 2019

nissan leaf 2019 exterior Nissan USA

Nissan introduced a significant re-design and a necessary upgrade in features and specifications with the 2018 Leaf, making it one of the best electric cars you could buy last year. So it’s no surprise that not a lot has changed with the 2019 edition of the Nissan Leaf.

The latest edition retains everything from the previous iteration – it’s sports car-like look, a range of 151 miles, a 40kWh battery, and premium SV and SL models that come with nice interiors, extras like Apple Carplay and Android Auto, and 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Even the price point remains unchanged, with the 2019 Leaf also starting at $29,990.

What is different from last year is the availability of a Plus edition this time around. Much like how it works with Plus versions of smartphones, the 2019 Leaf Plus features a notable jump in battery capacity and, as a result, range. The 62kWh battery of the 2019 Leaf Plus allows for an impressive range of up to 226 miles.

nissan leaf 2019 interior Nissan USA

This blows a lot of the more expensive competition out of the water and gives the likes of the Tesla Model 3 a run for its money. Like the base model, the 2019 Leaf Plus is also available in S, SV, and SL models, with nice extras like a better sound system, and driving aids like ProPilot Assist available with the luxury variants.

The base model 2019 Leaf remains one of the best options you can go for in the affordable electric car segment. However, if you are looking to go the extra mile, literally in this case, the 2019 Leaf Plus is definitely the far superior option, even if it is priced at a premium. The 2019 Leaf Plus starts at $36,550.

Key specs

  • Range: 151 miles / 226 miles (Leaf Plus)
  • Battery: 40kWh / 62kWh (Leaf Plus)
  • Top speed: 92mph / 100mph (Leaf Plus)
  • Torque: 236lb-ft / 250lb-ft (Leaf Plus)
  • Power: 147hp / 214hp (Leaf Plus)
  • Weight:3,494lb

2019 Nissan Leaf price

  • starts at $29,990 / $36,550 (Leaf Plus)

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai Kona Electric 2019 exterior Hyundai USA

The crossover – basically a sedan and SUV hybrid – is becoming an increasingly familiar build and design choice for car manufacturers, and even more so in the case of electric cars. After the introduction of the subcompact SUV in South Korea and Europe last year, Hyundai finally released the Kona Electric in the U.S. at the beginning of 2019.

There are a few variants of the Kona Electric available – SEL, Limited, and Ultimate. Unlike some other affordable electric cars though, the base SEL model isn’t completely devoid of features. Both the SEL and Limited editions come with 7-inch displays and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the Ultimate version bumps that up to an 8-inch color touchscreen.

Hyundai Kona Electric interior Hyundai USA

The Limited Edition gets a few nice exterior add-ons, but features like a Heads-up Display and Smart Cruise Control are saved for the Ultimate edition. The great news is that there’s no discrepancy across the board in terms of performance though. All three versions come with 64kWh batteries, allowing for an impressive range of up to 258 miles.

If you are in the market for one of the best electric cars in the crossover category that is also relatively affordable, it doesn’t get much better than the Hyundai Kona Electric. Granted, quite a few luxury car makers like Jaguar, Audi, and others are going the electric crossover route, but none have been able to match the incredible value for money you get with the Kona Electric. There’s good reason that this car is the recipient of the 2019North American Utility Vehicle of the Year.

Key specs

  • Range: 258 miles
  • Battery: 64kWh
  • Top speed: 104mph
  • Torque: 291lb-ft
  • Power: 201hp
  • Weight: 3715lb

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric price

  • starts at $36,450

2019 Jaguar I-PACE

Jaguar I-PACE exterior Jaguar USA

Speaking of luxury crossover vehicles, one of the best you can get your driving gloves on right now is the 2019 Jaguar I-PACE. The first fully electric car from Jaguar delivers on everything we’ve come to expect from the luxury car maker – performance, style, comfort, and all the luxuries you can think of (may require an upgrade to the more expensive models).

Unsurprisingly, there are multiple models of the 2019 Jaguar I-PACE available – the S, SE, and HSE – with subsequent levels upping the luxury level and, of course, the price point. Differences between models include wheel sizes and spoke styles, interior finishing, upgraded sound systems, and additional Driver Assistance features.

Even with the base model though, you get the company’s new InControl Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, that couples a 10-inch in-dash touchscreen display with a 5.5-inch lower touchscreen. All models also come with one-pedal driving capabilities, courtesy of the car’s regenerative braking feature.

Jaguar I-PACE interior Jaguar USA

Also available for a limited time is the I-PACE First Edition, that is based on the I-PACE Concept that Jaguar introduced a couple of years ago. You get a slew of flashy elements like the Photon Red paint, a cool wheel design, and various high-end exterior and interior features and finishes that define luxury. Unsurprisingly, the First Edition is also the most expensive model of the lot.

The difference between the different models, including the First Edition, is largely aesthetic and about luxury add-ons. In terms of performance though, all models provide the rush of speed that you’d expect from a Jaguar, with a quick 0 to 60 in 4.5s. The 90kWh battery allows for an impressive range of up to 234 miles.

The Jaguar I-PACE is certainly not cheap, but there are plenty of crossovers you can go for if that’s what you’re looking for. However, if commuting in the pinnacle of luxury is important, the Jaguar I-PACE is one of the best electric cars you can buy in 2019.

Key specs

  • Range: 238 miles
  • Battery: 90kWh
  • Top speed: 124mph
  • Torque: 512lb-ft
  • Power: 394hp
  • Weight: 5886lb

2019 Jaguar I-PACE price

  • starts at $69,500

Tesla Model 3

A best electric cars list is not going to be complete with at least one (if not more) Tesla showing up on it. The Tesla Model 3 is the entry-level electric car from the company that is set to carry the weight Elon Musk’s zero-emissions campaign.

It technically released in the second half of 2017, but the inability to meet the huge demand resulted in a slow start. Tesla has done a fantastic job catching up since then, with deliveries of custom orders taking less than a month now, down from the year-long wait from only a little while ago.

The current controversy surrounding the Model 3 is the fact that Tesla decided to nix online orders for the $35,000 standard model. Users who ordered this version will receive delivery of the Standard Range Plus model with a battery that is software locked to 90% of its capacity and with some premium features like heated seats and navigation with live traffic visualization disabled.

The Tesla Model 3 gets the vote for the “best for distance” category among our best electric cars picks because of the Long Range and Performance models that boast an unprecedented (in this price bracket) range of up to 310 miles. The Performance model further earns its name by bumping up the top speed to 162mph and reducing the 0 to 60 time to just 3.2seconds. Of course, the base Standard Range Plus model is no slouch either, with its 240-mile range and 140mph top speed.

The novelty factor surrounding the Tesla Model 3 remains intact, and now that the production issues that plagued the company in the past seem to be have been addressed, for now, the Tesla Model 3 is certainly one of the best electric cars you can buy this year.

Key specs

  • Range: 240/310miles
  • Battery: 50kWh
  • Top speed: 140/145/162mph
  • Torque: 307 to 317lb-ft
  • Power: 258 to 271hp
  • Weight: 3,627lb to 4,072lb

Tesla Model 3 price

  • starts at $39,500

Tesla Model S

There probably isn’t a better all-round electric car than the Tesla Model S. It makes the rest of the motoring world look a little stone-aged right now — it’s just that good. The likes of Mercedes, BMW, and Audi are all struggling to catch up. This battery-powered leviathan even dominated serious sportscars on the dragstrip.

It comes with a premium price tag, but it’s a premium product — the Model 3 is for the masses. The Model S is a fast, luxurious sedan with a 335-mile range, a top speed of 155mph, and 0 to 60 of as low as 2.4 seconds. Inside, the Model S is a breath of fresh air. It’s got clean lines, no discernible instruments, and a touchscreen giving the driver instant access to the whole car. Add the functional Autopilot, which is a brave step forward towards autonomous cars, and it’s easy to see why the Tesla Model S steals the show.

The Performance edition with the “Ludicrous mode” is the one you want if money isn’t an object. It’s going to set you back a ludicrous $119,000, but I’m guessing that isn’t what the name of the mode comes from. O to 60 in 2.4 seconds from an electric car is pretty insane. If budget isn’t a concern and you need a brilliant all-round electric car, the Tesla Model S is as good as it gets. And while the Tesla Model S is far from cheap, it’s far from the most expensive electric car you can buy either.

Key specs

  • Range: 315/335 miles
  • Battery: 90kWh
  • Top speed: 155mph
  • Torque: 387 to 792lb-ft
  • Power: 518hp
  • Weight: 4,883 to 4,941lb

Tesla Model S price

  • starts at $85,000
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