James Noah

Top 5 Best Electric Suv's

Let's find out the top 5 best electric SUV's to buy in 2018.

Are all SUVs gas guzzlers? These five plug-in, four-wheel drives suggest they don’t have to be.

If car sales figures are anything to go by, we all want an SUV. We love the practicality they offer, along with the high-up driving position and the feeling of invincibility. Of course, the downside of big, heavy SUVs is an increase in fuel consumption and emissions compared to conventional hatchbacks and family saloons.

If any segment is desperate for an electric bikes, cars and SUV's makeover, this is it. all want an SUV. We love the practicality they offer, along with the high-up driving position and the feeling of invincibility. Of course, the downside of big, heavy SUVs is an increase in fuel consumption and emissions compared to conventional hatchbacks and family saloons. If any segment is desperate for an electric makeover, this is it.

It’s no surprise, then, that a number of manufacturers are concentrating their eco efforts on SUVs, big and small. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV lays claim to being the first mass-market plug-in hybrid on sale in the UK, while premium marques such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz all offer plug-in versions of their SUVs. While pure electric SUVs are still rare, there are a number on the horizon.

Jaguar revealed its I-Pace electric SUV at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, while Audi’s E-Tron prototypes were spotted turning heads outside the show. Even Porsche revealed a crossover surprise in the form of the Mission E Cross Turismo concept – a jacked-up, electric sports wagon. If you simply cannot wait for these concepts to be turned into production models, we have listed our top five electric and hybrid SUVs that you can buy right now.

1. AUDI Q7 E-TRON

This diesel-electric hybrid is one of the cleverest SUVs on the market. You’ll have to pay for the privilege, thoug.

If you’re a true eco warrior, a diesel Audi Q7 SUV probably won’t be on your radar – even when paired with a hefty battery pack and an electric motor. But it’s a genuinely impressive and extremely clever hybrid SUV. We’ll start with the basics. At close to 2.5 tons, the Q7 E-Tron is even heavier than the Tesla Model X. Audi’s 3.0-litre TDI V6 engine works with a 17.3kWh lithium-ion battery pack and an eights peed automatic gearbox to produce a combined output of 258hp. As such, it’ll hit 62mph in 6.2 seconds, and reach a maximum speed of 143mph.


2. VOLVO XC60 T8

Volvo is on a roll, and the XC60 T8 is one of its best cars. A powerful, efficient, stylish and beautifully built hybrid SUV.

Volvo’s announcement that all of its models would feature some sort of electrification from 2019 was a PR masterstroke when it landed last year. ‘Volvo signals end of road for diesel and petrol cars’, screamed the headlines. But, in reality, it was only signposting plans to do what other manufacturers featured here were already doing. Although the ‘twin-engined’ XC90 T8 was already on sale when the announcement was made, it coincided nicely with the launch of this: the XC60 T8.

The XC60 is Volvo’s rival to the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, sitting between the smaller (and newer) XC40 and bigger XC90 in the range. Conventional petrol and diesel engines are offered, yet the T8 is the most desirable. It combines a 2.0-litre supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder petrol motor powering the front wheels with an electric motor driving the rears. It’ll produce a combined 390hp – quite significant considering the relatively compact size of the XC60 compared to some of the SUVs featured here – and reach 62mph in 5.3 seconds.

Top speed is 143mph. It’s not really the sporty SUV those figures suggest, but it’s not on-paper stats that impress us about the XC60. Rather, it’s the way it goes about business in its own unique, Volvo manner. Not only is the interior almost on par with that of an Audi, it’s also quirky and different. There’s plenty of space inside – enough for a small family – and there are myriad clever features that’ll make living with the XC60 T8 a joy.

If you’re interested, it’ll officially return 134.5mpg, providing you charge it regularly. CO2 emissions are 52g/km, while prices start at £57,600 – around £10,000 more than the equivalent diesel. Hefty.

3. TESLA MODEL X

The only fully electric SUV on the market, the Tesla Model X is the one to have if you like to be ahead of the curve.

The Tesla Model X has falcon-wing doors, can drive itself and – in top-spec P100D guise – will hit 62mph in 2.9 seconds when the driver engages Ludicrous mode. What’s not to like? Okay, it is massive, and the perceived quality of the interior isn’t quite as high as we’d like for our £128,250 (again, that’s for the P100D – the 75D starts at £76,200).

But if you’re after a pure-electric SUV, your choice is rather limited at this moment in time. All models are four-wheel drive, but don’t expect it to be able to go off-road. It’s much happier on tarmac, where even the 75D reaches 62mph in 5.2 seconds. Range from the lithium-ion batteries is impressive: from 259 miles to 336 miles depending on the model you choose.

Obviously, don’t expect that range to last if you’re baiting hot hatches in this 2.3-tonne SUV, but at least you can use Tesla’s Supercharger network to add around 170 miles of range in half an hour. An extra pair of seats, not to mention lower electric-only running costs, might help you to justify the price differential of a Model X compared to an Outlander PHEV.

It also drives surprisingly well. With the batteries located under the floor, Tesla claims that it has a lower centre of gravity than any other SUV on the market. Its chunky dimensions mean that you could easily end up red-faced during tight, city-centre parking manoeuvres, but a huge ‘canopy’ windscreen combined with a rear-view camera helps visibility.

While you probably already have strong views on Tesla – no other car brand seems to polarise opinion in the same way as the US tech/automotive firm – it has to be respected for how far it’s come since its Elise-based Roadster, launched just ten years ago.

4. MINI COUNTRYMAN PLUG-IN HYBRID

The smallest of the SUVs featured here, the MINI Countryman PHEV combines trendy looks and a great driving experience with low running costs.

Looking for a plug-in hybrid that’s cooler than the Outlander PHEV? MINI launched its secondgeneration Countryman crossover last year with a choice of petrol and diesel engines. A plug-in hybrid, badged the Cooper S E, followed soon after, combining a 134hp, 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine with a 65kW electric motor, producing a combined 221hp and 284lb ft of torque.

Under the official New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) fuel economy tests, the Countryman hybrid returns 134.5mpg, but only if you plug it in regularly. Like the Outlander – and indeed all plug-in hybrids – the Countryman PHEV will suffer from below-par fuel economy once it’s out of electricity.

It has an electric-only range of 25 miles, but MINI says 90 per cent of its buyers only drive between 30 and 40 miles a day. If you can charge at home and work, in theory you’ll get through very little fuel. Of more importance to most buyers are the 49g/ km CO2 emissions, meaning company car tax is cheap, while vehicle excise duty (VED) is free in the first year. A list price below £40,000 means buyers won’t have to pay the government’s £310 five-year premium for high-end cars, either.

With 405 litres of boot space, the Countryman PHEV is fairly practical for its class (although it’s clearly not as spacious as the bigger Outlander), however there are some compromises to accommodate the battery pack.

Rear passengers sit slightly higher, while the seats don’t slide as in petrol and diesel models. As well as its trendy looks and upmarket interior, we really rate how the Countryman drives. Its electric motor gives it a decent shove – it’ll hit 62mph in 6.8 seconds, although it’s not quite as quick as the petrol Cooper S – and it handles well.

5. MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER PHEV

Lots of space and an affordable price tag makes the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV easy to justify against diesel rivals.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has a lot to answer for. Regularly doing battle with the Nissan Leaf for the title of the UK’s bestselling plug-in car, its popularity is partly to blame for friction between plug-in hybrid owners and pure EV drivers.

Electric car charging points at Waitrose stores across the UK can regularly be found filled with Outlander PHEVs, while anyone arriving with a battery electric vehicle – and thus, arguably, a more urgent need for electricity – may find it difficult to charge. When motorway service station EV charging provider Ecotricity introduced fees to use its chargers, it actually named Outlander PHEV drivers as part of the reason.

Politics aside, it’s easy to see why the Outlander PHEV is so popular. At launch, it was priced on par with its diesel equivalent, and it’s proved that you don’t need to be an early adopter to run a plugin hybrid. The tax benefits today aren’t quite as generous as they were – the government’s plug-in car grant has been cut for hybrids in recent years, while you’ll have to pay £130 in road tax (VED) after the first year (more if you spec it to more than £40,000).

It’s hard to argue with the value for money provided by the Outlander PHEV, though. For slightly more than £30,000, you get a fairly large SUV with all the space benefits that brings (only five seats, though), plus a four-wheel drive system that actually makes it fairly capable off-road. Officially, it’ll run for up to 33 miles in pure EV mode (we’ve found around 20 miles to be more realistic), making it well suited to people who regularly make short journeys. Just don’t expect a premium interior or a thrilling driving experience.

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