The BMW i3 might be the most unfairly criticized electric car on the market. It gets quite a bit of flak for its lack of range, relative to some of its competitors, and for being a bit too expensive. However, we still feel that the i3 is one of the best electric cars, and honestly one of the best daily drivers of any kind, on the market today. It seems as if Autocar seems to agree.
Autocar recently put the BMW i3 up against some of its usual competitors and one brand-new one. The usual suspects are the Volkswagen e-Golf and Nissan Leaf, two of the most popular electric hatchbacks on the market. The newcomer to this test, and this segment, is the Hyundai IONIQ.
We already know quite a bit about the e-Golf and Leaf but, for the uninitiated, they are as follows: a 24 kWh battery with an 83 mile range and 115 hp for the former and a 30 kWh battery with a 107 mile range and 107 hp. However, the new guy to the group, the IONIQ, packs a 28 kWh battery with a 124 mile range and 120 hp. The new 2017 BMW i3, for comparison’s sake, uses a 33 kWh batter with 114 miles of range and 170 hp. So, let’s see what these cars are made of and which one is the best pure EV.
According to Autocar, the BMW i3 takes first place. “So good that it’ll make you think differently about EVs. The i3 is one of the best urban cars money can buy, and great fun to drive.” As much flak as the i3 takes for basically not being a Tesla, it’s actually a brilliant little car to drive. It offers rear-wheel drive fun and dynamics along with funky styling, a cool interior and impressive practicality for such a small car. And now that the range is bumped to over 100 miles, it should limit the range anxiety that’s plagued it. As a city car, I’m not sure there’s one better.
In second place is the Volkswagen e-Golf. Even though it lacks the range of the other cars, boasting the lowest range in the group, it is still a great overall city car. Plus, it drives as well as you’d expect from any MKVII VW Golf, which all drive fantastically.
The plucky newcomer places third in Autocar’s test. The Hyundai IONIQ impressed for a first attempt. It boasts a good range, most in the test, and a low cost. But it lacks the polish and dynamics of the other two cars ahead of it, so it places third, but a strong third. “Hyundai’s first dedicated battery car shows plenty of promise but needs better dynamic finishing. Good on value, practicality and range.”
While the Nissan Leaf is still a good car, it’s just not special anymore and is in desperate need of an update. With battery and range numbers that are still respectable, the Leaf is still a fine EV, especially for the price. However, it just can’t keep up with the competition that’s clearly moved far ahead. “Original electric poster boy shows how far rivals have moved the game on. Leaf is still very credible and genuinely usable, though.”
So the BMW i3, despite being criticized by many EV fans, is still the best small electric car on the market, according to Autocar. Now, the Chevy Bolt has yet to come out and that could shake things up quite a bit, with its 200 mile-plus range and low $30,000 price tag. But until then, the i3 is still king.[Source: Autocar]