My Urban Car

Buyers guide – Electric cars under £40,000 RRP

Updated
We’ve updated our buyers guide to reflect some great news. Electric cars are becoming much much more affordable. No, most RRP prices haven’t dropped but dealer discounts are bringing joy. For example Peugeot e-208’s at the time of writing is are available from £25,999 with immediate delivery. That is £9,141 off the list price. Even the VW E-Up! is back on sale for just £20,747, £3,903 off list price while discounts on the VW ID.3 are up to £7,500. Check out the table below to see the “best deal” prices we found in August 2023. These deals are available on many of the best electric cars on sale, including the Ioniq 5 and Enyaq, not generally not on brand new cars launched in 2023.



We don’t do reviews, so this is not the place to learn whether a car has scratchy plastics or a big enough water bottle holder. What we have done is looked at reviews, checked the specs and kept our eyes open on social media to give you the inside track and get a great deal on a new EV. Even some good cars make terrible electric cars to own and drive. If you want to know why read on as we sort the good, the bad and the simply overpriced.

Below you’ll find our new sortable searchable summary table, followed by summaries of our five star favourites to our one star lemons! We also tell you at what price a model would be good value in using “MyUrbanCar would pay” and the best discounted price we have seen on a car from main dealer stock.

Define Best?

Our top recommendations generally deliver

  • Decent real world range in their price point. We use EVDB estimates that are more realistic than official WLTP range
  • Quick charging speeds ( we use the 10% to 80% charge times predicted by the electric vehicle database (EVDB). If charging isn’t quick we say so in our summaries.
  • Although not listed we do note if we think an EV is especially efficient or inefficient. On a year round mixed urban, A & B road and motorway mix we would hope for between 3 and 4 miles driven for each kWh of electricity. Under 3 would be an inefficient car while close to 4 miles or more is very efficient on a year round average. EVDB list their own estimates for each car.
  • Remember some video reviews in our green boxes below may have been recorded when a car was launched and prices will have changed. All electric car grants from the government have now been scrapped in the UK
  • We have left something for you to do – we don’t cover regenerative or “regen” brakes in our summaries. We really recommend buying electric cars that offer one pedal driving or mostly brake using motors not brake pads (so the car slows as soon as you lift off the accelerator). It’s efficient, it’s relaxing, it reduces pollution from brake dust and means less time and cost on maintenance.

New! “MyUrbanCar would pay table”

We think the MG4 long range is the best value new electric car on sale under £40,000
Along with the Tesla Model 3 sometimes available for as £38,790 (when buying from new inventory in March, June, September or December) and Tesla Model Y around £40,590, the MG represents an outstanding combination of value, ability and availability. So much so, it’s hard to recommend many others at their current RRP price. The “MyUrbanCar would pay” price is what we think others should be priced at to offer remotely similar value. Don’t forget some models will get down to or even below our good value price with discounts even if their list prices are much higher (see getting discounts section at the end of this page).

Do also remember though that while MG and Tesla generally come with all the extras “priced in” many brands will require and expensive journey through the options list to match their spec and end up costing more than a Tesla even if their starting price is much less. Make your own mind up after discounts and extras.

The table also lists the key stats. Just click on any heading to sort the table by:

  • the MyUrbanCar would pay price where we believe they would be good value
  • the “best deal” we’ve seen for a new car following our getting best discounts advice
  • brand and model name
  • Battery size
  • realistic Range and 10-80% charge times from Electric vehicle database EVDB
  • 1 star to 5 star MyUrbanCar ratings.
  • The search box lets you find any car listed.

Disclaimer – the MyUrbanCar “we would pay price” and ratings represent the writer’s personal opinion of relative value based on our knowledge of the pros and cons of each vehicle.

MyUrbanCar -” We would we pay table” under £40,000

MyUrbanCar
would pay
Best
Deal
Brand / ModelBattery size
kWh
EVDB
range
10-80%
DC charge
minutes
MyUrbanCar
rating
£20k£20,797VW e-Up!32.3 12548***
£22k£19,995Fiat 500e hatch 24248524***
£25.9k£24,995MG4 Standard Range50.818537*****
£28.5k£27,312MG4 Long Range61.722534*****
£23kNissan Leaf3914543*
£25k£29,000Mini Electric 28.911029***
£26k£27,790MG ZS EV standard range4916543***
£22kRenault Zoe ZE50 R13552190180 (0-100% AC)*
£19kMazda MX303010533*
£26k£24,495Fiat 500e hatch4214525****
£30k£26,569Citroen e-C44516526****
£31k£28,990MG5 Long Range57.420542****
£28k£25,495Vauxhall Corsa-e4517526****
£27k£25,999Peugeot e-2084517526****
£30k£31,940Ora Funky Cat 1st edition45.416045***
£30k£28,249MG ZS Long range68.322537***
£28k£27,800 Hyundai Kona (old model)3915547**
£28kKia Soul3914047**
£29k£27,395Fiat 500e Cabrio37.314025****
£33.7Volvo EX30 Single Motor4917527*****
£31k£27,000Vauxhall Mokka-e4516026****
£26kNissan Leaf e+5923559*
£34Smart #16421528*****
£31k£31,495Peugeot 2008 SUV4515526****
£33k£40,210Vauxhall Astra EV50.819026****
£33k£37,010Cupra Born5821531****
£34k£32,995BYD Atto 36020044****
£34kJeep Avenger 1st edition50.818026****
£34k£34,897Kia Niro EV64.823541****
£26kHonda-e28.510539*
£32k£30,330VW ID.3 Pro Performance5821531***
£33k£31,995Renault Megane E-tech6022530****
£36kVauxhall Astra estate5119026****
£35kPeugeot e-3085118528****
£36k£33,500Hyundai Kona (old Model)6424544***
£36kPeugeot e-308 SW estate5118528****
£34k£32,490VW ID.4 Pure5217533***
£36k£31,990Skoda Enyaq 605820531****
£35kKia Soul EV6421544***
£37kSkoda Enyaq Coupe 5820531****
£36k£35,999Hyundai Ioniq 5 2WD5418517*****
£36k£36,500Nissan Ariya 636320531****
Sort or search the New EV’s on sale for under £40,000, “MyUrbanCar would we pay price” and the MyUrbanCar rating, battery size, EVDB range or charge times

.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ EV’s

MG4 *****

  • Recommended at current prices
    The all new hatchback arrived in 2022 and we think it’s the best value EV on sale under £40,000. While VW ID.3 & Renault Megane start at around £36k, the long range MG 4 delivers similar range, practicality and performance from about £7.5k less. Yes there are some scratchy plastics lower down in the cabin, the boot is slightly smaller and motorway noise is a little more than some, but the interior is spacious and it drives and rides well. The MG4 is also well equipped including Apple Carplay / Android Auto and adaptive cruise control even on the base model. The consensus is the MG 4 competes with the best. Charging is 100kW with the smaller battery and 125kW on the larger. Against a background of rising EV prices, this MG can claim to deliver the best value electric car on sale. Lease costs look good too, made possible by strong predicted residuals.
    £25,995 for the MG4 SE with a 51kWh battery
    £28,495 gets you an SE with 64kWh long range battery
    £31,495 gets you the top spec range version also with a 64kWh battery

Volvo Volvo EX30 *****

  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    We think Volvo’s design is great and the entry price may drop further still when the base “Core” trim becomes available. There is a big price gap between 49kWh and the bigger battery versions and we think this version could prove to be the sweet spot of the range. Our next choice would long range 62kWh single motor. Like the Smart #1 there is plenty of passenger space but boot space is below average.
    Underneath this car uses Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA). The platform has good specs with 10-80% charge in 27 mins. Performance is brisk too and refinement, ride and tech seem good. The platform puts its charge port rear left which is perfect for charging easily at the increasing number of Tesla superchargers open to non Tesla’s

Smart #1 *****

  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    The Smart is just getting it’s first reviews on UK reviews and they are very positive so far. It is fast, refined, has good tech and safety with a quality interior. Boot space below average but flexible as you can slide the rear seats forward and back to create more. There is more space under if you get the base model without the Beats Audio subwoofer.
    Underneath this car uses Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA). The platform has good specs with 10-80% charge in 27 mins. Performance is brisk too and refinement, ride and tech seem good. The platform puts its charge port rear left which is perfect for charging easily at the increasing number of Tesla superchargers open to non Tesla’s
    First video we have is from a dealer but still a very informative review
  • Tesla Model 3 *****
    Ok this is a cheeky addition as the RRP is £42,990 however if you go to the Tesla “explore inventory” page on the Tesla UK website towards the end of a quarter (march, June, September and December) you may find white Model 3, RWD with black seats for as little as £38,790 for immediate delivery. Just sort by price low to high. It is an outstanding and fully equipped electric car with the ability to charge easily across Europe on good value Tesla Superchargers. When available for under £40,000 we reckon it is the standout choice in this price bracket.
    A big update for the Model 3 called project highland is coming later in 2023 but discounts are likely to be harder to come buy.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ EV’s

Volkswagen ID.3 and Cupra Born****

  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    These 2 sibling cars are both very similar, but the VW was launched first with a cheerful but rather basic and cheaper quality interior. This will be smartened up in the new updated version in mid 2023.
    The Cupra launched a little later and most people feel it looks a bit more impressive inside and out while list prices were lower than the VW. This is where things get confusing as basic 58kWh ID.3s are available new from stock discounted to around £33,000 for immediate delivery. By comparison the cheapest Cupra’s we’ve seen (see the “getting discounts” section) is over £37,000.
    The ID.3 is a good Golf type family car with infuriating software glitches that are very slowly being ironed out. Reviewers also hate the lack of physical buttons especially as the screen crashes now and then.
    It’s worth noting that some ID3 and Cupra models retail for over £40,000. That is too much. For the same money you can get a RWD Tesla Model 3 with all the equipment included.

Superminis Vauxhall Corsa e and Peugeot e-208****

Peugeot e-208

MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
Offering 100kW charging on a 50kW battery will get you back on the road quickly after a DC charge. Both these are attractive and good if not amazing hatchbacks. Some Stellantis brands EV’s include a heat pump which will improve winter range compared to sibling cars without. Some new Models may also benefit from a marginally bigger battery too. Do look out for discounts especially on cars from stock, finance offers and lease deals that may offer better value than outright purchase. Newer used models are also available for a good discount.
Video Links include the Late Brake Show comparison between Corsa-e + e-C4 + e-2008 another from 5th Gear comparing a Petrol v Electric EV Corsa – which is really cheaper? Finally Electrifying with an in depth look at the e208 after driving it for a year including what need to know about buying one used. Euro NCAP safety is only 4 star.

Fiat 500e ****

Fiat 500e
  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    Lovely design inside and out and ok range on bigger battery and quick charging on all versions. Not much rear room and the boot is more shopping trip than holiday sized! The Fiat was a top pick and still would be if prices had not shot up since launch. If you want a soft top EV, the partial cabrio 500e just about the as good you can get for now.

MG5 estate Long Range ****

  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    A good all rounder and after new updates looks more modern inside and out and well.. more stylish. In fact it now looks better than the ZS. Big boot and decent efficiency make this a bit of an EV hero. It’s suspension is not sporty but it should prove a comfortable family car (although some reports suggest the new model is a little harsher esp on larger wheel sizes). It is let down by that slow DC charging time but can offer 3 pin plug power if you need to run the kettle or a laptop when you’re out and about.

Citroen e-C4….

  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    Working on the same running gear as the Peugeot e-208 we would take a look at the Citroen e-C4 which majors on having a smooth comfortable ride. Most electric cars prioritise handling over comfort so Citroen really is offering something unique that pairs well with a silent electric drivetrain. On the minus side the Citroen is not particularly quick off the mark. Euro NCAP is only 4 star.

Citroen e-C4x****

  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    A new longer 4.6m Citroen e-C4x model is basically the same car with more space including a very big 510 Litre conventional boot for the same money at an e-C4. Range is promised to be slightly better than the hatch and the saloon could be a very popular option especially with families and car services. Is it pretty.. maybe not. Is it practical. Probably yes. Car Magazine have some good pictures in their report here. Euro NCAP is only 4 star.

Kia Niro EV****.

  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    The original e-Niro looked a little dull but was an exceptional easily five star EV. The new model gets “interesting looks” outside and a much nicer interior, is spacious enough for passengers and luggage to be a sole family car. It is efficient, more refined and has great range in real world use. It also has V2L for running laptops and kettles. So why not five stars?
    Well we believe charge times for 10%-80% should be around 30 mins especially on brand new models so 41 mins and a max speed of 80kW is disappointing. After all the bigger more expensive Kia EV6 can achieve this in around 18 mins! The new Niro EV does have a better “charge curve” so will save a little time compared to the old e-Niro.. It is also more expensive than the old model though. The Electifying video compares the old and new car. That said for most people not regularly doing 500 mile trips the efficiency and long range will offset the charge time.

BYD Atto 3 ****

  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    BYD are the biggest Electric brand that you’ve never heard of. They are the second biggest maker of EV’s in the world after Tesla and if you’ve been on an electric bus there’s a good chance their name was on the back.
    There are some really exciting EV designs coming out of China but this is.. well.. beige. It’s practical, uses cobalt free LFB batteries but charges so slowly that marketing had to invent a new way of measuring charge time (see below) to make it sound ok. Only 88kW max charge speed and 44 mins for 10-80% charge time combined with an awkward charge flap position between front wheel and front door cost it a star. We also think they have priced it too high. On the plus side it’s a spacious family car, the interior is much more fun and it has a reasonable sized boot.
    All trims at time of writing have lots of safety kit, come with a sunroof that opens and a heatpump is standard. It scores 5 stars in EuroNCAP crash tests. Tom Ford’s review is on the money but we really like the interior. Please note BYD UK claim a 29 minute charge time by quoting a very unusual 30-80% charge stat.
    If you’re considering a Kia Niro EV (which is excellent but also charges slowly) the pair make a fine shortlist for spacious affordable family cars.

Renault Megane E-Tech****

  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    Ok well lets start with the good. We think this Renault looks very stylish and upmarket. If Range Rover made smaller hatchbacks it might look like this, esp in 2 tone paint. It promised to be efficient too and spacious.
    The problem is that despite the style, the cool tech with google infotainment, and an OK sized boot, the Megane on early outings doesn’t seem to be especially efficient and isn’t as roomy in the back as the MG4 or ID.3, both of which are available for a lot less money. In fact the styling makes the rear windows quite small and claustrophobic for some. Essentially this car in some trims costs more than a Tesla Model 3, for a much smaller supermini sized car that has less range and slower charging. Discounts still appear scarce too but we expect them to come soon. We wanted the Megane to be five star and think it is worth a premium price bump for its style but we think Renault have overcooked it risking being a bit part rather than volume player.

Skoda Enyaq and Enyaq Coupe****

  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    The Skoda is a great car EV and while the 60 model doesn’t have the range of the “80” models it still manages an EVDB range of 205 miles. It’s attractive inside and out and has bags of space even for big families.
    Essential extras – 125kW DC charging speed is now standard across the range but if buying second hand we would avoid any cars with the original standard 50kW charging which will be very slow. The pack with a reversing camera should also be on the list. Beware the Enyaq options list! It is long and can take the Enyaq into aother price point from where you started!
Skoda Enyaq

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⭐️⭐️⭐️ EV’s

Hyundai Kona EV ***

  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    This was once of the best EV’s you could buy, with astonishing range and efficiency. Limited availability and a much more compact interior and boot capacity was the only thing that put it behind its Kia e-Niro sibling. Now a new Kona EV Model is on the way with a nicer more spacious interior. Effectively it will get the Niro EV treatment and the new Model will get four stars. The current outgoing model by comparison is cramped and overpriced. Some now cost more than a Tesla Model 3 RWD. In the same boat is the Kia Soul EV which has less range and the same unrealistic pricing structure.

Small SUV Peugeot e-2008 / Vauxhall Mokka-e

  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    The mechanicals are the same as for the Corsa and e-208 above but in a taller stance which costs them a little range and doesn’t add much practicality. That said if you have small children to put in car seats or grandparents to transport then a higher seating position my give easier access. In electric terms the Supermini versions will get you further on a charge though while the Citroen’s offer something distinct. Euro NCAP is only 4 star.

MG ZS Standard range / Long Range***

  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    The ZS EV is a modernish looking spacious but unexceptional family SUV. Although this was a top pick we would now choose both the MG4 and revised MG5 estate instead. It’s just not got as much of a unique selling point as it once did.

Ora Cat ***

  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    We were really looking forward to the arrival of the Cat. The name and the looks inside and out are fun and different. It also has a spacious interior a 5 star EuroNCAP safety score. Sadly the good news ends there.. the boot is tiny while the range is indifferent and charge speed is a disappointing 64kW delivering a 10-80% in 44 mins. If you love the looks and don’t plan long trips it should bring a smile to your face and other peoples too but we think it’s priced a too high.

VW e-UP or Seat Mii or Skoda Citygo EV ***.

  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    With a sharply increased price the old VW is sometimes back on sale after being pulled because of excessive demand. As other EV’s have gone up so much we would say the current price is ok value except against the MG4 standard range which completely outclasses the old VW at the same price. Charging is slow but it’s fun to drive and a good car that benefits from 4 doors. Used these are also available branded as Skoda Citygo and Seat Mii models so go for the best value as long they are the upgraded later models with bigger battery

.

⭐️⭐️ EV’s

Honda e** and Mini electric**

  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    The familiar looking Mini handles beautifully and the Honda e is a work of art inside and out. The trouble under the skin both have tiny batteries with around 30kWh net which means in the real world they deliver 115 miles EVDB range in the Mini and only 105 in the Honda. Charging speeds are hardly cutting edge either at around 30 mins bearing in mind how little range you are adding.
    The result is these cars will only get get you from A to B if the A & the B are very close to each other! They are barely useable for long trips but perfect as a tool for media organisations wanting to spread scare stories about EV range anxiety! Summary? Great cars but terrible EV’s.

.

⭐️ EV’s

Oldie to Avoid – Nissan Leaf*

  • What could possibly be wrong with the Leaf, the car that started mass EV adoption when it launched in 2011. Well the fact is batteries work best within a range of temperatures and all EV’s have some air, water or active heating or cooling to keep your batteries happy. All except the current Nissan Leaf. This means it loses more range in winter than it needs to and owners can only rapid DC charge once a day because the batteries get too hot. This product failure became known as “rapidgate”. The Leaf is also one of the last cars on sale still using the Japanese Chademo charging connectors than have been replaced in Europe by CCS. Currently Chademo is still well supported by UK public chargers but at some point support will be canned leaving Leaf’s off the DC charging network altogether.

Mazda MX-30*

  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    Just ridiculous with miniscule range in a family SUV shape and specs that were competitive with EVs sold a decade ago. In July 2022 Mazda only managed to sell 36 of these cars in the UK.. and that is 36 too many. Really only suitable as an expensive second car limited to short distance commutes shopping and school runs.

Oldie to Avoid Renault Zoe*

  • MyUrbanCar would pay – see table
    Another very old EV with smart new clothes that shows its age underneath. You may be tempted by the style and the range and, as a second hand buy, it offers good value but.. while some Zoe’s have good range they either charge:
    slowly (58 mins on the extra cost optional DC charger) or
    very very slowly (3 hours as standard on the fastest 22kW AC chargers which are fairly rare or around 6 hours on a more common 11kW).
    Safety is another issue.. crash safety had issues and removal of safety equipment earned the Zoe a zero star NCAP safety rating in 2021.
    Finally some older models are still saddled with a monthly pay forever battery lease. Essentially even 2nd hand you buy the Zoe and have to pay monthly for its battery . We would never recommend it for new EV owners, especially as there are much much better options for the same money or less. Still interested? This video by Johnny Smith takes you through it all.. and he likes Zoe’s


Getting Discounts on new EV’s

2022 was all about new electric cars (and used models) being in incredibly short supply. That situation has now flipped. Now that Tesla have twice reduced prices Model 3 prices to around £40,500 it seems faintly ridiculous for other brands to sell smaller less capable cars for more money once options are added.

Luckily cars like the MG4 offer outstanding value but what about cars like the VW ID.3 and Fiat 500 that seem overpriced? Well it seems that while a custom order is likely to remain expensive and with long delivery times, dealers are being sent regular deliveries of stock cars to sell at a discount. While you could use a broker or Carwow, the easiest way to get an idea of current available discounts is

  • go to autotrader electric cars
  • Choose a brand and model you are interested
  • pick national search for widest results
  • Pick brand new if you want offers on new cars from dealer stock
  • display in price from low to high
  • usually ignore the first result which is a paid advert.
  • see what discounts are available.
  • remember many cars come standard in a colour and a trim or battery size. So if a stock car is in the colour you want it is likely to the same as you would get in a custom order, but for a lot less money and quicker delivery. Worth checking for option packs often included with stock vehicles that are included in the discounted price.
  • It is also worth remembering that while some dealer stock cars are the same as you would order from the manufacturer website others are different models like the smaller battery Fiat 500 with shorter range
  • if you don’t see any discounted models you want then check this years used models. Some may include pre-registered stock with 50 miles on the clock.

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Cheapest EV!

  • Citroen Ami
    not listed in the table
    The cheapest EV (technically a quadricycle not a car) is the Citroen Ami which is available to order for just around £8k. It is more an urban alternative to a bike or a scooter. It does not comply with the crash safety regulations required for cars and has a top speed of just 28mph and a range of around 43 miles. despite the slow speed it can fall over on bends if pushed to its limits so best not push to hard. One thing to note since the early reviews Citroen have confirmed the cable remains a 2 pin French domestic plug along with an included Type 2 adapter for any AC UK charger. Full details at Citroen here

Buyers guide for cars costing over £40,000 is coming soon…

David Nicholson

David Nicholson Is the founder of Rivergecko Ltd & MyUrbanCar which provide consultancy and advice for drivers and fleets to speed the transition from dirty fossil fuel transport to clean vehicles powered by renewable energy on land water and air.

The @MyUrbanCar twitter feed is a source of news & reviews of electric & plugin cars and vans in the UK.
The @rivergecko twitter feed & www.myurbancar.com websites bring news and opinion on cleantech transport including cars, vans, buses, trucks, shipping, rail & aviation as well as autonomous vehicles & renewable energy, air pollution & motor industry news.

David Nicholson has worked as an underwriter at Lloyd's of London since the 1980's. His interest in technology goes back many years including interactive mapping, apps, green tech, boats, solar and cars.