Electric Cars Under $X: The Most Reliable and Wallet-Friendly Models

Ready to take the plunge into the hot EV pool? Here are the most reliable and affordable models available in the States.

The Most Reliable Electric Cars Anyone Can Afford

Finally ready to dive in the EV pool but hoping to keep the ante down to avoid burning a hole in your bank account? In this economy, you’re not the only one thinking this way. According to US News & World Report, the average price of an electric vehicle was about $18,000 more than the average price of a gas vehicle as of July 2022. The high purchase price is a big part of the reason families and car shoppers hesitate to buy electric.

The truth is, going electric offers longer-term value for money in terms of what we call True Cost to Own (TCO). But you still have valid reasons to balk at the thought of shelling out six-figure sums upfront on a fancy electric car or SUV. What do you need a pricey 400+ mile range EV when your daily motoring needs require less than 200 miles?

Perhaps, the kids will be heading to college soon, or you’ve just done your homework and realized by the time you’re done with the monthly payment on the top-dollar EV, the market would’ve flooded with a wider selection of much more improved models. Below are ten reliable electric cars that won’t break the bank.

10 2023 Toyota bZ4X – Starting Price: $42,000silver 2023 Toyota bZ4XVia: Toyota

The Most Reliable Electric Cars Anyone Can Afford

Available in select states only and with limited availability, the new bZ4X is the Japanese automaker’s first-ever mass-market EV, as well as the only all-electric offering in the marque’s portfolio. The bZ4X is roughly the size of the RAV4 and should hopefully mirror the RAV4’s renowned reputation for reliability.

The small SUV received the full five stars from Euro NCAP when it got tested in late 2022, with strong scores across all test categories. The range is just so-so, and the interior and performance are not game-changing, but considering how long the market has waited for a true EV from Toyota, the BZ4X should be worth the wait.

9 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 – Starting price: ​​$41,4502022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Rear Quarter Viewvia Hyundai

The Most Reliable Electric Cars Anyone Can Afford

With up to 266 miles of range, the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5’s range is up 10 miles from the previous model, which is good for your wallet. Hyundai upgraded the Ioniq 5 to lithium-ion polymer battery packs (with the preconditioning feature), which have better density and higher power capacity and are generally more effective than lithium-polymer batteries.

The SUV also saw its max towing capacity increase to 2,300 lbs from 1,650. The $41,000 starting price sounds a bit pricey, but probably not when you realize the Ioniq has similar specs to the Kia EV6. JD Power does not yet have a reliability score for the 2023 Ioniq, but the 2022 model received a score of 73/100 for quality and reliability.

8 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 – Starting price: $40,290A look at the 2023 Volkswagen ID.4.Via: Volkswagen

The Most Reliable Electric Cars Anyone Can Afford

The ID.4’s interior is impressively roomy for its compact size. Test drivers also reported smooth and fun-to-drive handling, which is impressive considering the segment’s reputation for low ride quality. The base model has an EPA-rated 209 miles of range, with a range increase with larger batteries.

The RWD ID.4 Pro version benefits from an 82-kWh battery and 201-hp electric motor, resulting in an EPA-rated 275 miles of range. The higher-level ID.4 Pro S trim offers more standard features, but relies on the same battery and motor for propulsion as the Pro version.

But you can opt for the dual-motor AWD option producing 295 horsepower and capable of up to 2,700 pounds of towing capacity. The VW ID.4 comes with a wallet-friendly three years of free fast charging (in 30-minute increments) at Electrify America stations.

7 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning – Starting Price: $39,974 ($32,474 After Full Federal Tax Credit)White 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning driven on the road with a trailer attached to it Ford

The Most Reliable Electric Cars Anyone Can Afford

Being electric didn’t stop the Ford truck from boasting a 7,700 max towing capacity. The F-150 Lightning is hands down the best budget electric truck you could’ve bought in 2022, this year, and most likely in the future. Yes, the Lightning has an overall higher price point, but you can get started with just less than $40,000.

The F-150 Lightning offers hands-free driving capability, a generous 15.5-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and automatic software download, among other high-tech features. You can even use your phone as a key. It delivers up to 230 miles of range and can wake to 60 mph in 4 seconds.

6 2023 Kia Niro EV – Starting Price: $39,4502023 Kia Niro EV Wave FrontPhoto by Bassem Girgis

The Most Reliable Electric Cars Anyone Can Afford

The Niro is among the company’s line of electrified hatchbacks available as plug-in hybrids and pure electric variants. The Niro received a full redesign for the 2023 model year, along with Kia’s other electrified models.

Though fully redesigned, it rides on the same underpinning as its predecessor, complete with a standard FWD drivetrain, 64.8-kWh battery pack, and a 201-hp e-motor for propulsion. The Niro’s powertrain is good for up to 253 miles of range.

5 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric – Starting Price: $33,550Blue 2023 Hyundai Kona parked on a city streetHyundai

The Most Reliable Electric Cars Anyone Can Afford

The 2023 Kona Electric has not gotten tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but the gas-powered model came away with a perfect 5-star rating. You can expect the electric model to mirror or surpass the gas-powered Kona’s dependability, which would be a win-win considering both models sport similar exterior and interior styling.

For propulsion, the electric Kona relies on a 201-horsepower e-motor urging the front wheels, paired with a 64-kWh battery and DC fast-charging capability that can go from 10% to 80% charge in as little as 47 minutes.

4 2022 Mazda MX-30 – Starting Price: $33,4702022 Mazda MX-30 PHEV in a cityMazda

The Most Reliable Electric Cars Anyone Can Afford

First, let’s get the shocker out of the way: the Mazda MX-30 got rated at just 100 miles of range. When Edmunds took the SUV out for a test drive, the MX-30 made 114 miles of range which, though 14 miles longer than the estimated 100-mile range, is still way below the segment’s average of 250 miles.

Perhaps the MX-30 makes up for this range deficiency with a Mazda-like performance? As a matter of fact, what the MX-30 has going for it is its quiet, elegant cabin and comparatively ample storage space. Plus, it’s cheaper than most similarly classed EVs, including the VW ID.4 and Hyundai Kona, not to mention the $55,000 Tesla Model Y.

3 2023 Mini Cooper SE – Starting Price: $29,900White 2023 Mini Cooper SE sideviewMini USA

The Most Reliable Electric Cars Anyone Can Afford

The 2023 Mini Cooper SE has an EPA-estimated range of 114 miles but made it to 150 during independent testing, which should be more than enough for your daily commute. The Mini SE Hardtop was once the cheapest EV money can buy in America. With a $29,900 starting price, it is still one of the most competitively-priced all-electric cars on the market today.

The 2-door, 4-seat hatchback looks sporty and reportedly delivers impressive road manners. The car can wake to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds, thanks to a 181-horsepower e-motor and a 32.6-kWh battery that can get charged in about four hours on a Level 2 home or public charger.

2 2023 Nissan Leaf – Starting Price: $27,8002023 Nissan Leaf Black Nissan

The Most Reliable Electric Cars Anyone Can Afford

The Leaf has led the entry-level EV market for years with a formula that comprises affordability, decent performance, and value for money. The base trim rocks an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, along with safety features such as blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking.

The base trim has an EPA-estimated range of 149 miles, which should sufficiently cover your daily commuting. The LeafPlus trim uses a larger battery pack that kept it going for up to 237 miles during a test drive by Edmunds, despite posting an estimated max range of 215 miles. The Leaf’s formula does not include practicality, no-thanks to limited storage space and a back seat that fails to fold all the way down.

1 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV – Starting Price: $27,2002023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Front BumperJake Stumph

The Most Reliable Electric Cars Anyone Can Afford

The Bolt EUV and Bolt EV ride on the same platform and share the same powertrain, except that the EV is an electric subcompact hatchback, while the EUV is an electric subcompact C-SUV launched in February 2021.

After addressing a battery issue, both models returned for the 2023 model year with a drastic $6,000 price cut plus full federal tax credit eligibility as of January 1. That’s good news, not just for your bank account during the upfront purchase but also for your wallet during your ownership period, considering the Bolt models’ reputation for efficiency. It delivers

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