Currently reading: Top 10 best mid-sized electric cars 2024
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First it was electric luxury cars, then it was medium SUVs, but now the EV battle is really heating up in the heartland of the European car market: the family hatchback.

These cars are the perfect size for most families. They're big and practical enough to house a lot of stuff, but small enough that cities are still easy to navigate. There’s room for a decent-size battery pack, but because these cars are still fairly compact, they’re relatively light and aerodynamic, and therefore efficient, so you can expect 200 miles of range from most of the options on this list.

Every mainstream manufacturer wants a horse in this race, and then there are the incoming Chinese manufacturers keeping the establishment honest. Prices range from about £30,000 to the mid-£40,000s for some of the high-spec extra-long-range options. It’s such a hotly contested class that there are other options that didn’t make this list. Here are the 10 best ones.

Meanwhile, if it's a smaller and cheaper supermini EV you're after, or a larger, more versatile and more luxurious family EV, our related top 10s summarise our current favourites in those classes.

Best mid-sized electric cars 2024

1. MG 4 EV


Don't worry: there's no need to adjust your set. It really is an MG at the top of this list. For years, the Chinese brand has been floating around in the bargain basement, offering cars with eye-catchingly low prices, plenty of kit and a decent warranty but hobbled by a lack of dynamic sparkle and the sort of perceived quality that wouldn't pass muster on most pound-shop purchases. Yet with the all-new MG 4 EV, it has achieved a turnaround in terms of driving dynamics and showroom appeal.

This is no hot hatch in disguise, but the MG 4 steers sweetly and its well-developed suspension serves up a winning blend of agility and comfort. It's a car that's genuinely satisfying to drive, scything through a series or corners with poise and panache.

The MG 4 range offers you the power of choice, too. The entry-level version starts at just £26,995 yet still boasts an official range of 218 miles. We’d go for the mid-spec Long Range, which manages 281 miles of range on the WLTP cycle thanks to a 64kWh battery and a 201bhp motor.

If you have a strong need for speed, there is the MG 4 XPower with a whopping 426bhp, but it’s more of a blunt instrument than the standard car.

Other highlights? Well, while the detailing is fussy, there's no doubt the shark-nosed 4 looks distinctive, while its interior is neatly styled and far more upmarket than you would expect. There are couple of cheap-feeling components (the door cards and centre cubby lid), but otherwise it's a match for the mainstream, plus it's roomy and practical too.

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2. Jeep Avenger


Pros: Long range, sophisticated feel, individual styling

Cons: not as room as some in this class

This is a Jeep like none that have come before it. Aside from the Wrangler’s minor cult following, Jeeps have never really caught on in Europe, so here’s the first Jeep that was designed and engineered for Europe in Europe, and it will also be built here.

So European-centric is the Jeep Avenger, in fact, that it won’t even be sold in the US. At 4.08 metres in length, the Avenger is pitched at the heart of the booming compact SUV class. It's smaller than some cars in this class, but still a usable four-seater with space for adults in the back seats, and a sensibly-sized boot.

It’s the 2023 European Car of the Year, thanks to its 249-mile WLTP range from the 51kWh battery, practical interior with lots of storage space, and composed and supple road manners.

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3. Kia Niro EV


Unsurprisingly, Kia hasn’t messed too significantly with a winning formula for the all-new electric Kia Niro. Its predecessor was something of a sales hit, mixing practicality and a decent-value price with a respectable range that wouldn’t have you breaking out in a sweat on longer journeys. Only some frumpy looks and slightly skittish driving dynamics really let it down, so these are the areas that have received the most work.

Called the Kia Niro EV (the old car was the e-Niro), the newcomer certainly looks distinctive, with its aggressively angled LED running lights and optional colour-coded C-pillar treatment. You would struggle to call the pseudo-SUV handsome, but it stands out where its predecessor blended in, so that’s a job well done.

Inside, there’s a touch more space for people and luggage, while the dashboard is more slickly styled and there's a larger and more intuitive touchscreen infotainment system with all the connectivity you will ever need.

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Under the skin there’s the same 64.8kWh battery as before, which gives an ever so slightly longer range of 285 miles. The 201bhp front-mounted motor is also carried over, although its response has been tuned to be less aggressive, meaning much of the previous machine’s traction-control-testing scrabble has been eliminated.

In fact, if you get the new Niro EV on a twisty road, it can be surprisingly entertaining. It handles accurately, with steering that actually has some feedback, and even a slightly throttle-adjustable balance. On the flip side, refinement is generally good, with the exception of the firm low-speed ride.

There’s lots here appeal if you want a spacious, rangy and refined family EV, and buyers of the old car are likely to be forming an orderly queue outside Kia dealers. However, bear in mind that in top-level 4-trim guise, the Niro EV costs barely any less than the brand’s faster, sleeker and longer-range EV6.

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4. Smart #1

8 Smart 1 top 10

Weird name, good car. The Smart #1, pronounced 'hashtag one', is the first product of the new Smart. Smart owner Mercedes-Benz realised after about two decades that making tiny city cars was likely never going to be profitable, so it set up a joint venture with Geely (the Chinese owner of Lotus, Polestar, Volvo and many more) to build cars in China using Geely technology but with plenty of European input.

Both inside and out, Mercedes’ influence is still very obvious in the design, but unlike most Mercedes, the #1 is actually pretty decent value. Prices start at £35,950 for the well-equipped entry-level Pro+ and move to £38,950 for the even more complete Premium. It’s no MG 4, but then it does also feel like a more expensive, premium product than the MG.

Every #1 gets a battery pack with 62kWh of usable capacity, and standard #1 models have a single 268bhp rear motor, while the Smart #1 Brabus adds a 154bhp front motor for a total of 422bhp. Smart quotes a range of 273 miles for the mid-range single-motor Premium, and the ability to charge at 150kW is better than rivals, too.

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Despite the rear-wheel-drive platform, the #1 is no entertainer on the road, but it is a pleasant if slightly forgettable all-rounder, with natural handling and a fairly isolated ride. It offers a lot of space for its size.

We’ve yet to try a UK-spec production car, and a few reservations remained after we tried a left-hand-drive pre-production car in the UK. We weren’t able to try the smartphone integration, as that was still under development, and the calibration of the regenerative braking made it a hard car to drive smoothly.

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5. Cupra Born


The Volkswagen Group's emergent performance brand, Cupra, has thought small with its first dedicated electric car, the Cupra Born. Instead of following sibling brands Skoda and Audi and launching a crossover related to the Enyaq iV and Q4 E-tron, it has hitched its first EV to the smaller Volkswagen ID 3. So the Cupra Born is a hatchback rather than a full-sized family car, with straky styling and sporting intentions that it delivers on more fulsomely than you might expect.

Despite being very closely related to the ID 3 and ID 4, the Born feels like a sharper and more agile tool, attacking twisting back roads with near hot hatch levels of enthusiasm and even drawing the driver into the action, albeit at arm's length. There's still a sense of more potential to be unlocked, and if the electronic safety net's grip could be loosened just a little the Born's rear-drive balance could be properly enjoyed. Yet overall, this Cupra is the one of the most successful attempts yet at an 'affordable' EV for enthusiasts.

Prices start at £36,475 for an entry-level car powered by a 201bhp electric motor with a 58kWh battery that has a range of 259 miles. There's also the Cupra Born 77kWh e-Boost, which mates a larger battery with a 228bhp motor foor a claimed 340 miles between stops at a plug socket. Prices for that combination start just at £41,975.

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6. Renault Mégane E-Tech


Renault was something of an EV pioneer with its Zoe supermini, which made its debut the best part of a decade ago. But tiny Twizy and forgettable Fluence ZE aside, the French firm hasn’t made much of its head start and has been overtaken by many in the race to electrify their ranges.

As a result, the all-new Renault Mégane E-Tech has arrived in the nick of time, and the good news is that it has been worth the wait. As the name suggests, the newcomer is Renault’s all-electric take on the family hatchback. It’s certainly a good-looking one, the angular new Mégane looking like a concept car that’s escaped the design studio. Underpinning the car is Renault's and Nissan’s new CMF-EV architecture, which is claimed to be one of the lightest and strongest in the class (the equivalent Volkswagen ID 3 is around 300kg heavier).

In the UK, there’s a single, 60kWh battery option that promises 280 miles between charges. Unfortunately, we found in both our road test and our long-term test that the Mégane really struggles with cold temperatures. In clement weather, over 200 miles are possible, which is similar to its rivals. However, that can easily take a tumble to 150 miles in winter.

The Mégane drives well, though. The 215bhp motor delivers plenty of performance and the ride is much more pliant than those 20in wheels suggest. Its handling proves more divisive, with some liking its hyper-responsive steering and others finding it off-putting.

It does most of the family car things well, with just about enough space for five and a generous, 440-litre boot. The interior looks good too and is reasonably well finished if not quite up to premium standards.

Prices start at £36,995 for Equilibre spec, rising to £41,995 for Iconic trim with a heat pump.

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7. Volkswagen ID 3

5 Vw id 3 top 10

The Volkswagen ID 3 kicked off its maker's post-Dieselgate rehabilitation very well. This Golf-sized hatchback became the first to use the Volkswagen Group’s dedicated MEB platform, an entirely fresh rear-engined architecture, when it hit the market in 2020. That gave the ID 3 a relatively long wheelbase, boosting cabin space, and a rear-mounted drive motor with up to 201bhp and 229lb ft.

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As rivals came on the scene, they showed up the ID3’s faults, so in 2023, VW treated it to a facelift. The interior has got a quality boost, the infotainment has been made more user-friendly and the sprawling range has been rationalised. The unlit touch bar for the heating controls and the touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel remains, however.

The revised range has been reduced to the 58kWh Pro and the ID 3 77kWh Pro S. The former costs £37,115 and has a claimed range of 266 miles, while for the latter those numbers go up to £42,870 and 347 miles. Keep in mind that options are quite expensive too.

Still, the ID 3 excels in terms of manoeuvrability and low-speed response and, although heavy by compact car standards and sitting on wheels as big as 20in in diameter, it meets VW's high standards for ride sophistication. Handling is surprisingly agile, balanced and nimble, but there's very little in the way of driver entertainment.

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8. Peugeot e-2008

4 Peugeot e 2008 top 10

The Peugeot e-2008 has always been a handsome compact EV, but was hampered by mediocre range and efficiency and an annoying digital interface. In 2023, Peugeot gave it a thorough update with a bigger, 51kWh battery and a new infotainment system, effectively solving both those issues. It’s now powered by a 154bhp front motor, giving a WLTP range of 251 miles. In our experience, it’s very efficient in the real world too, so you can expect a genuine 200-mile range

Broadly unchanged is the interior, which has a surprisingly inviting ambience. The e-2008 also rides and handles with more than a lingering flavour of Gallic sophistication.

So why isn’t it at the top of this list? Peugeot has been rather ambitious with the pricing, given it is one of the smaller cars here. The e-2008 starts at £36,350 in the rather basic Active trim, while the Allure and GT models that most buyers will want come in at £38,350 and £40,550. Not only that, but finance prices look alarmingly high, too.

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9. Vauxhall Astra Electric

3 Vauxhall astra electric top 10

While there is plenty of choice in this segment, not many options are true hatchbacks and most are instead crossovers. Blame thick battery packs. The Vauxhall Astra Electric is exactly what it sounds like: It’s a Vauxhall Astra, but with a battery and an electric motor instead of an engine. It looks the same, has the same interior (save for a marginally smaller boot) and it’s pretty similar to drive too. And there's good news if you need more cargo space but don't want an SUV: an estate version is on the way.

The steering is pleasantly smooth. Although the ride goes for a blend of comfort and control, it is average at both but convincingly nails neither.

Mechanically, it’s much the same car as the Peugeot e-2008 above. It has a modest 153bhp and a 51kWh (usable) battery. That’s fairly small in this class, but then the Astra is extremely efficient. When we tested it, we saw 4.3mpkWh without trying, which equates to an easy 220-mile range, albeit at 20deg C.

Like the Peugeot, the Vauxhall suffers from inflated pricing. It starts at a fiver under £40,000, with the upper-spec Ultimate costing £43,110. At that sort of budget, there are cars available with more space, more range and more performance.

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10. Citroën ë-C4 X and Citroën ë-C4

2 Citroen e c4 top 10

Citroën has in recent years taken up the role of budget brand in the Stellantis stable and the ë-C4 leans into that. Prices start at £31,995 and get you a 134bhp motor and a 50kWh battery. Citroën claims up to 217 miles of WLTP range for the hatchback - and it has a fairly aerodynamically efficient shape and a wheel design likewise configured for low-rolling resistance, so it does slightly better on real-world range than most of its older group siblings. Even so, expect 180 miles from it at a fairly gentle pace, and on a warm day.

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It’s already the quirkiest car in the top 10 thanks to its angular, free-form, Citroën GS-tribute exterior styling and its pseudo-crossover-hatchback body, but if you want something even more quirky, there's always the Citroën ë-C4 X, which is an ë-C4 that's sprouted a saloon boot. Whether you go for the hatchback or the saloon, it’s an easy-going companion on the road, with a pliant ride and even a bit of dynamism if you go looking for it.

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Illya Verpraet

Illya Verpraet Road Tester Autocar
Title: Road Tester

As part of Autocar’s road test team, Illya drives everything from superminis to supercars, and writes reviews, comparison tests, as well as the odd feature and news story. 

Much of his time is spent wrangling the data logger and wielding the tape measure to gather the data for Autocar’s eight-page road tests, which are the most rigorous in the business thanks to independent performance, fuel consumption and noise figures.

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