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Tata Safari facelift review: Flagship SUV goes more upmarket

The Safari gets a new look, more features and equipment, and a crucial mechanical change.

Published on Oct 15, 2023 04:00:00 PM

30,184 Views

Tata Safari facelift review

The inserts on the grille remind you of the Range Rover.

Tata Safari powered tail gate

Powered function is a boon for the large tailgate

top model safari car

  • Feature packed
  • Strong road presence
  • spacious third row

We Don't Like

  • 19-inch wheels compromise low-speed ride
  • Engine refinement
  • Ergonomic niggles

Tata Motors is on a wild update streak with its models. First, the Nexon got an update, then the Harrier and now, the flagship Safari gets a revamp. This isn't a minor nip and tuck job, because Tata has gone to town with the changes, and crucially, has focused on giving the Safari its own identity, rather than it being deemed as just a Harrier with a third row. It gets a completely new look, refreshed interior with modern tech and mechanical changes. Let’s see how well it has worked out.

Tata Safari facelift exterior styling

The Safari carries over Tata’s new design language without any change to the sheet metal. The ‘soft’ parts like the bumpers, grille and lights are all new and this has completely changed the look of the car. The LED Daytime Running Lamp runs across the width of the nose, with the Safari also getting sequential turn indicators. The ‘parametric’ grille is a single-piece unit compared to the Harrier’s split setup and is a point of differentiation between the two models, and, for the Safari, they are body-coloured. Further down, the LED headlamps and LED fog lamps are housed in a black casing, which also gets Safari lettering in chrome. Since there is no split grille, the air intake is blacked out with a faux metal scuff plate for that butch look.

top model safari car

Over to the side, the Safari gets 19-inch wheels on the top-spec variant and 17- and 18-inch options on the lower trims. The wheels do a very good job of adding road presence, and also get aero inserts that help reduce drag. You might also remember the wheel design that was previewed on the Tata Sierra concept shown at the Auto Expo. The alloys are wrapped with 245/55 R19 tyres, and being relatively lower profile, they have an impact on ride quality. More on that in a bit. Other Safari traits continue like a rising shoulder line and the roof with the famous kink.

top model safari car

At the rear, things are simpler, with revisions to the tail-lamps, which make it sharper, and an LED strip joining the two. The bumper too is all new with sharp lines, and there is a faux metal bash plate for that rugged look. That said, one of the most important updates is seen when you wag your leg under the bumper: the boot now gets gesture control for opening, and is finally electric.

Tata Safari facelift interior and features

Like the Harrier, the Safari comes specced with the ‘persona’ that you choose. The top-spec ‘Accomplished’ gets a dual-tone interior with white and brown upholstery. It has an air of premiumness, but the light-coloured seats and panels on the steering and doors will be difficult to maintain. The passenger side also gets an artificial wood panel with pinstriping which looks upmarket but may not be to everyone’s tastes.

top model safari car

The Safari gets the same four-spoke steering as the Harrier along with a gloss black panel and the backlit Tata logo that you just can't keep free of smudges and marks. There is also a fully digital instrument cluster that has customisable layouts, and the option of a map view once you’ve connected your phone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. That said, for a full map view, Android users will have to use Google Maps and Apple users will have to use Apple Maps. The cluster also displays drive mode changes, terrain mode changes and ADAS settings as well. The brightness, sharpness and overall viewing angles are good.

Next is the 12.3-inch touchscreen that gets wireless connectivity for Apple and Android and is slick to respond. It also packs in a lot of the settings for HVAC, ADAS, air purifier, audio modes and mood lighting. The audio system is also updated from a 9-speaker system to 10 speakers, along with a sub-woofer and 13 presets in the screen to choose from. The presets are very well calibrated and do enhance the music experience. You can also have individual modes for individual seats making the whole experience even more personal. The other highlight on the Safari is the 360-degree camera, which is high resolution and is a big plus while manoeuvring this SUV.

top model safari car

Under the screen are the HVAC controls on a gloss black panel, with the only physical buttons being the temperature toggles for the dual-zone climate control. Everything else, including the fan speed, is on a touch-based panel. Adjusting the fan speed or even functions like the electric tailgate opening is rather difficult as the feedback and response from the panel aren’t good. On the move, this would be an even more frustrating experience, and it’s better to use voice commands, which, despite not being the quickest, at least doesn't let you fumble.

Further down is a wireless charging pad that is difficult to access. You need to angle your phone in an awkward manner trying to dodge the knurled terrain response selector and cram your phone in, which, inevitably, will hit the panels around. Taking it out is the same story as you more often than not end up hitting the HVAC buttons or scraping your phone. For charging, there is a USB-A and a 45W type-C port as well.

top model safari car

Next is the terrain response selector that is unnecessarily large, and beside it are the non-backlit drive mode buttons. When you do change the drive modes, however, the ambient lighting too changes colour momentarily. Green for Eco, blue for City and red for Sport. What’s also new on the Safari is the drive selector for the automatic version, which is a shift-by-wire mechanism, and an electric parking brake, which replaces the aircraft-style brake lever on the top-spec version. The centre storage also gets vents to be used as a cool box, and a USB-A and a type-C port as well.

Tata Safari facelift seating 

The seats on the new Safari are powered for both driver and passenger with memory functions for the driver and ventilation for both. They are fairly broad and supportive, but cushioning is on the firmer side. However, on the whole, the new Safari is leaps ahead of the previous gen, both in terms of features and design.

top model safari car

There has been no change to the Safari’s wheelbase, so space in the middle row remains unchanged, The captain seat version also gets ventilation and there are USB-A and type-C ports here as well. There are AC vents in the B-pillar too, but surprisingly, no blower control for the middle row. The theatre-like seating position allows you to get a good view out, and the addition of sunblinds is a plus to have on hot days. What further elevates the sense of space is the panoramic sunroof, which gets ambient lighting and adds flair to the cabin at night.

Entering the third row past the captain seats isn’t easy since they don’t tumble down. They only recline and don’t slide forward enough for easy access. It’s easier to use the space between the two seats as a passage to access the third row. However, once you’re seated at the back, the amount of room is impressive even for tall adults. Sure, headroom is tight for occupants over six feet, but the adjustable backrest angle and sliding middle row make the third row properly usable, and the most spacious in its class. There are three-point seat belts for two, individual headrests, AC blower controls and USB-A and a type-C ports. The downside is the boot space, which, with all three rows up, is only good for a couple of soft bags.

top model safari car

In terms of safety, the Safari gets the usual goody bag of sensors and assists, along with ADAS. The Safari gets six airbags as standard, and the top-spec version gets an additional knee airbag, taking the count to seven.

Tata Safari engine, gearbox and performance

The updated Safari gets the same 2.0-litre diesel engine making 170hp and 350Nm as before, but in BS6.2 guise. Tata claims to have upped the damping and refinement but, to be honest, it is still one of the sore points of the Safari: there is that typical diesel clatter at idle that seeps into the cabin. As you get going and the engine speed rises, the gruff noise increases. That said, the engine feels strong to perform and has a wide torque band. Mid-range is where you will get that punch, and response overall is solid. The Safari is also very happy and comfortable at highway speeds. Changing the drive modes also changes the response, just as before. In Eco and City, the engine is laidback, but switch to Sport, and there is a noticeable gain in response. This is largely to do with the pedal mapping, which, as you change modes, alters the response to the accelerator, giving you a noticeable change in driving manners.

top model safari car

Mated to the engine is the same six-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. Quick shifts and lightning-fast responses are not something it prefers, and the shifts are carried over in a leisurely manner. Sure, sport mode does help, but inherently, it's a relaxed gearbox.

To gain more control, there is also the option of paddle shifters, a new addition in the updated Safari. However, they don’t particularly enhance the driving experience as manually shifting via the paddles isn’t very quick or responsive. Operate the paddle shifters and the powertrain automatically defaults to Sport mode, but the experience isn’t exactly sporty. The shifts are slow and downshifts are frustratingly delayed if the engine is at high revs. This doesn’t allow for enthusiastic manual shifting and it's best to let the gearbox work on its own. What is another irritant is operating the new shift-by-wire shifter, which requires the right technique. During three-point turns, shifting from D to R and back is a fiddly affair, since there isn't a clear response from the lever. It often gets stuck in N or simply doesn’t change the gear. This will take owners some time to get used to, and a lot of patience.

Tata Safari handling and ride comfort

Speaking of three-point turns, arguably the biggest and the most important update on this Safari is the steering system. Gone is the older hydraulic power steering unit, and in its place is a modern electric power steering (EPS) that has transformed the way the Safari handles. To start off, at low and city speeds, you no longer have to muscle the car around, and get your arm workout done. The steering is light and easy in Eco and City mode, making parking very convenient. In Sports, it does weigh up to add some feel while driving. Three-point turns are done with minimal effort and getting it out of tight spots is very easy too. Tata has also increased the track on the new Safari owing to the bigger wheels, but it isn't something that was noticeable through corners.

On the subject of ride, Tata has retuned the suspension with updated dampers, spring rates and new bushings, giving the Safari a softer setup than before. However, shod with big, 19-inch wheels and lower profile tyres, bump absorption is compromised. Over a broken patch of road, you will notice sharp movements and potholes are met with quite a thud. The toughness of that Land Rover platform does shine through with the taut and tight body control the faster you go. On the highway, the ride is composed and flat, and the sense of control and stability you get is the hallmark of the Safari, which makes it a great high speed cruiser.

top model safari car

Tata Safari ADAS performance

The other big talking point on the Safari is the ADAS: it gets adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, collision warning, automatic braking, rear cross-traffic alert and blind spot monitoring. Lane keep assist is also part of the package, but will be introduced later as a software update.

top model safari car

In our conditions, the ADAS works well, especially the adaptive cruise control which does the job even at slow bumper-to-bumper speeds. The lane departure warning system is good at detecting lanes correctly too. What could have been better, is the automatic emergency braking. We found that despite driving closer than usual to the car in front (done for testing the ADAS) it did not activate the brakes, despite adjusting the setting of the brake activation to the maximum distance. Tata claims this is done specifically with India’s erratic traffic conditions, but we would have liked the emergency braking to kick in from a safe distance. Rear cross-traffic alerts and blind spot monitoring, on the other hand, work flawlessly.

Another plus point is that the Safari, along with the new Harrier, recently received a 5-star rating in adult and child occupant protection by Global NCAP.

Tata Safari verdict

Prices for the Safari start at Rs 16.19 lakh (introductory, ex-showroom, India) for the base Smart manual variant.  With this update, many of the Safari’s weaknesses have been addressed, with the electric power steering, electric tail gate, more features and a modern design. However, the engine refinement and some ergonomic issues are still present.

top model safari car

But what the Safari will be banking on is its fantastic road presence, hugely practical and spacious cabin, and lastly, the wide array of variants on offer. It sure is a lot more car for the money now, and that’s something SUV buyers today are willing to pay for.

Tata Safari facelift video review 

Latest Image of Tata Safari

Tata Safari

₹ 18.85 lakh * on road price (New Delhi)

Tata Safari facelift image gallery

Tata Safari facelift image gallery

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Quick News Video, October 22, 2023

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Tata Safari facelift video review

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Personal details, rishabh sekhani - 238 days ago.

What is the logic of such a steep price hike within 4 years? Not just this model, it seems like the luxury makers have collectively driven up pricing of all models in the last 5 years in a super aggressive manner - which is neither linked to change in taxes/ duties or exchange rates. Could this be a collusion of some sorts?

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Tata Safari Profile Image

Tata Safari

Safari key highlights, key features of tata safari.

Safari Connected LED DRLs

The new Tata Safari features continuous front DRLs that are interconnected, along with a linked rear tail lamp. Additionally, the front LED DRL comes with a welcome and goodbye Signature Animation on the Front and rear LED DRL, further elevating the vehicle's overall aesthetic.

Safari Bi-LED Projector Headlamp

For improved front illumination, the new Safari is equipped with Bi-LED projector headlamps. The Bi-LED arrangement will improve nighttime driving by offering adequate illumination on the dark stretches of the road.

Safari Voice Assisted Panoramic Sunroof

For a glimpse of the starry night, the Tata Safari offers a spacious panoramic sunroof that can be controlled using voice commands. This sunroof not only elevates the overall interior atmosphere but also creates a more open and airy cabin feel.

Safari Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS)

The Safari now boasts an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) Suite with 11 vital functions (Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go function (AT only), Autonomous Emergency Braking - Including Pedestrian & Cycle, Forward Collision Warning, Rear Collision Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Detection, Traffic Sign Recognition, Door Open Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Alert and High Beam Assist), Electronic Stability Program encompassing 17 functionalities among other features.

Safari Dual-Zone Climate Control

Dual-zone climate control is another good feature in the facelift, and it aims to improve passengers' cabin experiences. Passengers can individually determine the temperature they desire inside the car thanks to dual-zone climate control. This implies that the front passenger and the driver can experience customized climatic comfort.

Safari 12.2-Inch HARMAN Infotainment

The new Safari offers the latest tech features like the slick 12.2-inch infotainment system by HARMAN, 10.2-inch fully TFT instrument cluster, 10 JBL Speakers with Advanced Harman AudioworX, Connected Vehicle Technology with iRA 2.0, which offers remote engine start-stop and AC, 50+ connected and safety features with gamification. Furthermore, it supports Alexa Voice command.

Safari Gesture Controlled Powered Tailgate

The Safari now features a hands-free, gesture-controlled power tailgate, eliminating the need to use your hands to open it. This convenient feature comes in handy when your hands are full with shopping bags or other items, ensuring easy access to the trunk.

Safari New Steering With Illuminated Logo

A new steering wheel with a dual-tone finish is included in the new Safari facelift. For improved ergonomics, it now has four spokes, and the center now has an illuminated Tata logo. Additionally, new control switches for various purposes are added to the steering.

Expert Verdict on Safari

The 2023 Tata Safari Facelift is a compelling mid-size SUV that impresses with its stylish design, extensive feature set, top-notch safety credentials, and robust engine that delivers a powerful performance. Tata Motors has taken a step forward with this facelift, offering a vehicle that combines modernity, practicality, and safety, making it a worthy contender in the competitive SUV market.

author

Tata Safari Price

Safari variants with price, variant recommendation.

Shipranshu Pandey

Pros & Cons of Tata Safari

Features we admire in this car.

  • More modern looks with the new LED DRLs and other design changes with the facelift
  • It now offers more features such as 12-inch infotainment, dual-zone climate control, surround-view camera, and more
  • The safety features have been increased with ADAS level 2. The car now has up to 7 airbags and a 5-star GNCAP safety rating, among other improvements.
  • The inclusion of electric power steering improved the ride quality and handling.
  • The automatic transmission now comes with an e-Shifter to ensure smooth gearshifts
  • Big design gives a solid road presence
  • The Safari is the only SUV in the segment to offer rear-seat ventilation
  • Tata Safari now comes with a good level of NVH

Features that could have been better

  • The only available powertrain is diesel; there is no petrol or turbo-petrol engine.
  • The Safari does not come with a 4WD drivetrain while some competitors offer 4WD as an option
  • Occasionally, the infotainment software exhibits lag and may cease functioning
  • The dimensions remain mostly unchanged from the pre-facelift model. This leads to a cramped feel in the last row.
  • Tata's after-sales support falls short of expectations
  • The top models seem overpriced, reaching an on-road price approaching Rs 30 lakh

Should I buy the Safari?

  • The 2023 Tata Safari Facelift presents a reworked and attractive design. It captivates attention. It boasts a new  front fascia as the front a features a prominent grille, sleek LED headlights, and integrated daytime running lights (DRLs). This gives it a contemporary and dynamic aesthetic.
  • The 19-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels add sophistication to the SUV's profile. At the rear, connected LED tail lamps add a modern touch to the vehicle. Tata has evidently prioritized design in this facelift. They have positioned it as a visually striking option in the mid-size SUV segment. New set of choice is introduced for the paint scheme of the car as part of the facelift .

Safari body specifications:

image

  • The Tata Safari Facelift stands out with an extensive array of features. The interior welcomes occupants with a spacious and well-appointed design. The focal point is the 12.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It functions as the central hub for entertainment, navigation, and connectivity. Complementing this is a 10.2-inch HD Configurable Digital Instrument Cluster. The premium 10-speaker JBL audio system guarantees an enjoyable music experience.
  • The dual-zone climate control enhances overall comfort. It allows separate temperature adjustments for both the driver and passengers. The gloss black finisher is now a  impressive design. It is seamlessly integrated with HVAC switches. This enables climate control adjustments via a touchscreen module. Notably, the vehicle incorporates Alexa Car2home functionality. It provides access to an extensive library of over 250 voice commands. The commands are in 6 different languages. The library is supported by Amazon Alexa and Tata Voice Assistant. The iRA Connected Car Technology 2.0 ensures seamless connectivity.
  • The safari has extra features. These include a 360-degree surround-view system , a blind-view monitor , parking assistance. And the tailgate is power-operated and can be controlled with gestures. The climate control is automatic and has dual zones. The front seats are ventilated and can be adjusted with power. The sunroof is panoramic and can be controlled with voice commands. The car comes with a fast 45W C-Type charger. There is also a wireless charging pad. These amenities collectively position the new Safari as a gateway to enhanced convenience.

Safari features:

  • Ensuring safety remains a paramount concern for the 2023 Tata Safari Facelift. This model has undergone meticulous safety testing. It achieved an impressive 5-star safety rating in Global NCAP crash tests. This positions it as one of the safest options in its segment.
  • Beyond the advanced safety features, such as up to 7 airbags, the SUV has structural enhancements. These provide superior protection in a collision. The introduction of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) adds an extra layer of safety. It also adds convenience. It enhances the overall driving experience of the Safari Facelift. Additionally, up to seven airbags are available. This underscores Tata's unwavering commitment to passenger safety. The car has abundant convenience and safety features. They ensure that the driver and passengers enjoy a comfortable and secure journey.

Safari safety specifications:

  • The Tata Safari Facelift maintains its existing engine configuration. It continues to be powered by a formidable 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine. This powertrain delivers an impressive 168 bhp of power and a peak torque of 350 Nm. It ensures robust performance across diverse terrains.
  • Customers can choose between a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic transmission. This allows them to select the transmission that aligns with their driving preferences. This engine and transmission combination is proven to be reliable and capable. It is an excellent choice for both city driving and off-road adventures.

Safari engine specifications:

Tata Safari Competitors

Mahindra XUV 700

Other Competitors of Safari

Hyundai Alcazar

Tata Safari Car Owner Reviews

  • Comfort 5.0
  • View all parameters
  • Sk Sanath kumar 7 Month ago 4.4 The car offers competitive mileage for an SUV of its size and class. Its diesel engine provides a good balance of power and efficiency, making it suitable for both city driving and long-distance travel. Likes (21) Read more
  • RD Ramkrishna Dutta 7 Month ago 4.4 The car is a capable and reliable performer on the road. Its powerful engines, responsive handling, and decent fuel efficiency make it a good choice for those looking for a mid-size SUV. Likes (5) Read more
  • PJ P JAYAKUMAR 7 Month ago 4.4 The higher variants include safety features like curtain airbags, electronic stability control, hill hold control, and hill descent control. Likes (6) Read more
  • VA Vilas Anchalkar 8 Month ago 4.4 It is a mid-size SUV that offers a good balance of features, space, and performance at a competitive price point. Likes (3) Read more
  • VK Vinod Kumar Deshpande 8 Month ago 4.4 It is equipped with modern features such as a touchscreen infotainment system, automatic climate control and many more. Likes (3) Read more

Safari Questions and Answers

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  • Most Discussed

91Wheels Expert

Yes, it is possible to buy the Tata Safari car with no down payment using schemes that Tata Motors and certain financial companies offer. Different dealers may offer zero down payments. Depending on the buyer's credit score and other factors, some de

Delivery of a vehicle totally depends on the waiting peroid and availability of the vehicle in dealership showroom. The waiting period of Tata Safari is upto 8 weeks. Therefore, Tata Safari will be delivered after 8 weeks. If the waiting period incre

Tata Safari has already been launced and the ex showroom price ranges between Rs 16.19 Lakh - Rs 25.49 Lakh according to the variants. It is a 7-seater SUV car which has 11 variants and offers engine capacity ranges from 1956 cc. You can choose from

The bookings for Tata Safari has been started. You can visit nearest Tata car dealership to book your Tata Safari. A dealership representative will guide you with booking process and book a Tata Safari as per your choice. To find the Tata car dealer

The service cost totally depends on the condition of the vehicle brought to the service center including labour charge, cost of parts (if need to change), oil change, overall observation with repairs work and many more. You can get in touch with any

Latest On Tata Safari

Last Updated on 27th May’24 : The Tata Safari features a striking design that blends sophistication with a touch of toughness. While there haven't been any recent updates on this model, it's worth noting that the launch timeline for both the Tata Harrier EV and the petrol version has finally been confirmed for next year.

Latest News on Safari

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  • Lucknow 26 Dealers in Lucknow
  • Bangalore 50 Dealers in Bangalore
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  • Accomplished Plus 6 STR Dark Edition AT
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Tata Safari

Tata Safari Accomplished Plus 6 STR Dark Edition AT

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Safari Accomplished Plus 6 STR Dark Edition AT Key Specifications

Seating capacity, engine size, transmission, all specs of safari accomplished plus 6 str dark edition at - safari top model, engine & performance, steering, tyres, & suspnsions, size, weight, & dimensions, sensors, warnings, & indicators, music and infotainment, comfort & convenience, braking & traction, doors, windows mirrors & wipers, head & tail lights, interiors, lights & storage inside cabin, manufacturer warranty, quick facts about tata safari accomplished plus 6 str dark edition at.

Tata Safari Accomplished Plus 6 STR Dark Edition AT is the top model or the costliest variant from Tata. It is priced at 32.25 lakh in Delhi . It comes with 1956 cc Diesel engine and 6-speed gear Automatic (TC) transmission. It gives mileage of 14.5 kmpl (ARAI Mileage) The fuel tank capacity of Safari Accomplished Plus 6 STR Dark Edition AT is 50 litres. So Safari Accomplished Plus 6 STR Dark Edition AT gives a range of 725 km on a full tank.

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Safari Accomplished Plus 6 STR Dark Edition AT

₹ 27.34 Lakh

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Tata Safari Storme 2019

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Tata Safari Storme 2019 Right Front Three Quarter

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Second hand Tata Safari Storme 2.2 VX 4x2

Rs. 8.24 Lakh

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Safari Storme 2019 Price List in India (Variants)

Tata safari storme 2019 car specifications, tata safari storme 2019 summary, tata safari storme 2019 price:, tata safari storme 2019 variants:, tata safari storme 2019 colours:, tata safari storme 2019 competitors:, how is the tata safari storme 2019 car.

  • Huge windows give driver good visibility 
  • Spacious and comfortable cabin 
  • Comfortable ride quality
  • Age old design
  • Feels big and heavy to drive
  • Features like touchscreen system missing

Tata Safari Storme 2019 Verdict

The Safari has always been known for its presence and mighty demeanour and continues to do the same despite its design being decades old now. It is a spacious vehicle that will take a whole family of five with all their luggage without having to worry about broken roads or bad patches. But it feels too old now especially when compared to its modern competition.

Tata Safari Storme 2019 Colours

Tata Safari Storme 2019 is available/sold in the following colours in India.

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Tata Safari Storme 2019 Mileage

Tata Safari Storme 2019 mileage claimed by ARAI is 13.83 kmpl.

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Tesla model 3 long range gets access to federal tax credit, now starts at $40,000.

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Tesla Model 3 Long Range has now officially become eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles.

With increasing restrictions on battery material and component sourcing limiting the eligibility of some electric vehicles to the up to $7,500 federal tax credit, it has sometimes been difficult to track which cars have access as automakers are trying to adjust to meet the standards.

For example, when Tesla launched the new Model 3 Performance , we noted that it made more sense to get it over the cheaper Model 3 Long Range since the former was eligible to the tax credit – that’s assuming that the buyer is also eligible ($150,000 yearly income or $300,000 for dual filers).

Now, Tesla and the IRS have both confirmed that the Model 3 Long Range is now eligible for the full tax credit.

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After the tax credit, the Model 3 Long Range now starts at roughly $40,000 – only $1,000 more than the Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive, which is not eligible to the tax credit because it uses LFP battery cells from China.

Tesla doesn’t comment on changes, but it is presumed that the automaker has changed the batteries in the model in order to be eligible for the tax credit.

Top comment by Jakub Kudlacz

We should see a nice spike in sales! Refresh Model 3 for $40k is a great, deal, considering you save a lot on gas too.

Batteries coming from China are the main reason for electric vehicles built in the US not to be eligible for the tax credit.

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$40,000 Model 3 Long Range? That’s a pretty good deal if you are eligible for the federal tax credit.

That’s about $7,000 less than the average new car sale price in the US.

I think that will help Tesla boost Model 3 sales, which have been lagging behind Model Y despite the recent refresh.

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What models made the Moskvich a legendary car? (PHOTOS)

Moskvich 412.

Moskvich 412.

In 1972, British auto racer Tony Lanfranchi won the Castrol and Britax racing series behind the wheel of the Moskvich ‘412’. In line with the rules, the car that cost less than £600, fell into the last, fourth group (the division was based on the value of the car, not on its technical characteristics). Tony’s high score in his category enabled him and the Moskvich to beat the main contenders - the BMW 2002 Tii and the Ford Capri 3,000 GT - and win an ultimate victory. 

Victory announcement.

Victory announcement.

Thanks to this achievement, the ‘412’ model became, at one time, one of the most popular in the USSR and was also highly valued abroad.  

Given its optimal combination of reliability, power and efficiency, the Moskvich became the flagship of the Soviet car industry back in the 1960s and, soon thereafter, more than half of its annual output was exported abroad. 

Moskvitch 412, Tony Lanfranchi /John McKerrell RAC Rally1972/

Moskvitch 412, Tony Lanfranchi /John McKerrell RAC Rally1972/

Subsequently, Moskvich was outrun by Zhiguli and Volga in the ranking of popular Soviet cars, losing its leading position, and, in 2001 - when the last car rolled off the assembly line - the brand seemed to have outright become a thing of the past. From 1998 until 2022, the Moscow-based Moskvich plant produced Renault and Nissan cars and, from 2012, the company became fully owned by Renault.  

Moskvitch 412, Tony Lanfranchi Winner Of Both Castrol Group 1 And Britax Saloon Car Championships 1972/

Moskvitch 412, Tony Lanfranchi Winner Of Both Castrol Group 1 And Britax Saloon Car Championships 1972/

In May 2022, the plant was given back the name ‘Moskvich’ and transferred into the ownership of the city. At the same time, it was announced that the same-name car would be relaunched and not only the version with an internal combustion engine, but also with an electric motor. The new models at the moment are replicas of the Chinese front-drive crossover JAC JS4 (aka Sehol ‘E40X’), which has been produced since 2018 and sold not only in China, but also in Brazil, Egypt and Libya.

Below are the legendary models of Moskvich that, at some point, all became a sensation of the Soviet car industry.

1. Moskvich ‘400’ — the first Soviet mass-produced automobile “born” in Germany

Moskvich, 1955.

Moskvich, 1955.

The very first ‘Moskvich’ was produced from 1946 to 1954. It largely replicated the German Opel ‘Kadett K38’, which was produced in Germany in 1937 - 1940. According to Soviet researchers, the drawings and master models were recreated in Germany by mixed teams of German and Soviet engineers. Later, a number of its modifications were developed - a van, a pickup and even a convertible limo. The automobile passed acceptance tests only in 1949, in the midst of the serial production. 

KIM-50.

The Moscow Automobile Plant started its work in 1930 with the production of American Fords: first, those were originals made with “native” components, then - starting from 1933 - the plant assembled Soviet licensed copies of ‘GAZ-A’ and ‘GAZ-AA’. The model that arrived after them - ‘KIM-10-50’ - replicated the Ford Prefect. 

2. Moskvich ‘407’ — the export success of the Soviet car industry  

Moskvich 407.

Moskvich 407.

The car was an upgrade of the earlier Moskvich ‘402’. During the entire period, from 1958 to 1963, as many as 359,980 cars were produced, with 120,903 automobiles being exported. For several years in a row, more than half of the output went abroad. 

The cars meant for Western customers had a two-tone body painting, a refined exterior and a more expensive interior; some had the steering wheel on the right-hand side. The cars were in demand in France, Belgium, Scandinavia, Finland and Britain. At the same time, in Europe, Moskviches were assembled by the Belgian company Scaldia and sold under its brand ‘Scaldia Essence’.

Moscow-Sevastopol-Moscow rally. Moskvich 402.

Moscow-Sevastopol-Moscow rally. Moskvich 402.

The car could develop the speed of up to 115 km/h and this enabled it to perform well enough in its first motor rally called ‘1,000 Lakes’ in Finland. Moskvich cars debuted there almost as basic cars, not intended for high-speed sport competitions, but they all reached the finish line without being seriously damaged.  

Later, designers developed a sports Moskvich ‘407’-coupe car with an engine capacity of 70 hp, which regularly took part in various international races - the motor race Acropolis and Monte Carlo, as well as London-Sydney and Paris-Sydney rallies and it won prizes. This was another reason for the rise in the number of import orders. 

3. Moskvich ‘408’ — the most stylish Soviet sedan 

Moskvich 408 in Moscow.

Moskvich 408 in Moscow.

The car with flowing body lines, fins on the stern, elongated lights and 13-inch wheels ( the first ever in the Soviet automobile industry) enjoyed a lot of popularity both in the USSR and in Western countries.

Its technical specifications, namely the engine up to 60.5 hp and acceleration to 129 km/h, also accounted for the popularity of the Moskvich ‘408’ abroad. Every year until the late 1960s, more than half of the output was exported. 

In Scandinavia, the car was sold under the name Moskvich ‘Carat’, in France - Moskvitch ‘Elite 1360’, in the UK (there was a special right-hand drive version) - Moskvich ‘408’, in Germany - Moskwitsch, in Finland - Moskvitsh ‘Elite’ (with two headlights) and ‘Elite de Luxe’ (featuring four headlights).  In Bulgaria, the cars were assembled from Soviet-made components under the name Rila ‘1400’. In Belgium, the assembly was carried out by Scaldia-Volga, which sold different versions of Moskvich under the names of Scaldia ‘408’, Scaldia ‘1360’, Scaldia ‘1400’, Scaldia ‘1433’ (a three-door station wagon), Scaldia ‘1426’ (a five-door wagon) or Scaldia ‘Elita’. Some of the Belgian cars came with European diesel engines.  

Moskvich in French Calais during London-Sydney rally.

Moskvich in French Calais during London-Sydney rally.

Interestingly, in the USSR, the ‘408’ model cost 5,000 rubles (or £1,900), while, in the UK, it cost around £650.

The car was produced from 1964 until 1975 at two plants - in Moscow and Izhevsk.

4. Moskvich ‘412’ - a powerful and safe rally champion

London-Mexico rally.

London-Mexico rally.

The engine power of this improved version of the Moskvich ‘408’ was 75 hp, while the maximum speed was 145 km/h. In its class - a small car of the 2nd group with the engine volume of up to 1,499 cc - it became a record-breaker in terms of its power load. Besides, the Moskvich ‘412IE’ became the first car in the USSR to be equipped with safety belts back in 1969. It also came with a dual-circuit brake system and bumper fangs to protect that part of the car. It is believed that the Moskvich ‘412IE’ was the first Soviet car, in which serious attention was paid to passive safety issues. Starting from 1969, it became the flagship model of the Moscow Automobile Plant and became known as a sturdy and passable car. And, certainly, it also had a racing version to participate in motor rallies. 

It was assembled in Moscow from 1967 to 1976 and in Izhevsk from 1967 to 1997, where it was produced under the independent brand Izh ‘2125’. According to contemporary estimates, Izhevsk-produced Moskviches differed from the metropolitan ones in terms of a more reliable assembly, but rougher interior. 

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Cars from both cities were sent abroad. The model was also assembled in Finland and Bulgaria, while on the Bulgarian market, it came under the name of Rila. Screwdriver assembly was also carried out in Belgium at the Scaldia-Volga plant, which sold the car as Moskvich Scaldia 1500. Belgian Moskviches were different from the Soviet in terms of the interior design. Also, it could optionally be equipped with a diesel engine.   

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Audi updating electric vehicle line while still focusing on conventional gasoline models as well

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LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Like many established automakers, Audi has designated a sub-brand for its fully electric vehicles: e-tron . And the Q4 55 e-tron quattro has gotten some updates as it moves on from its sophomore year on the market.

"With this revised version, you get 258 miles of range, a pretty decent increase in power, and we've also improved charging speed as well," said Nathan Hoyt, spokesperson for Audi North America.

Battery technology and the systems surrounding it are all still evolving. It's still not an inexpensive car. Even the entry model Q4 e-tron has a base price of about $50,000. Audi maintains that all e-tron models are premium vehicles. The interior alone drives that point home, as well as the overall luxury.

"It allows people to make that step, either from a volume brand (electric vehicle), the top of the volume brands to something premium, or to make that transition from a gas vehicle," added Hoyt.

To facilitate the potential for transition, the e-tron lineup keeps growing at Audi. The Q4 starts things off, in two different body styles. Then the Q8 e-tron, which was initially just e-tron, also in both conventional SUV and Sportback form.

At the top of the line is the six-figure electric super sport four-door, the e-tron GT. And soon, Audi will be adding to the lineup with the upcoming Q6 e-tron. That one will also debut a new EV architecture for electric Audis moving forward.

If you prefer your cars gasoline-powered, more specifically if you prefer your Audis gasoline-powered, the company says don't worry. They're planning on keeping those around for quite some time to come.

Audi's internal combustion models, especially ones that wear the S badge like the flagship S8 luxury sedan , have a lot of fans and repeat buyers. The company is going electric, for sure. But also not saying goodbye to gasoline completely, just yet.

"We're going to see about 20 new vehicles introduced over the next two years. Half of those are gas, and half of them are electric. So our best combustion engines are still yet to come," said Hoyt.

So if you're in the EV camp, lots more on the way from Audi. And if you're not in the EV camp, and don't plan to be, lots more on the on way in that direction as well.

MORE : Why some drivers choose hybrid cars over EVs

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Bugatti's new car is a $4 million, 1,800 horsepower hybrid

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Bugatti has unveiled its new model, the Bugatti Tourbillon, a massively powerful hybrid with an equally impressive price tag. The car will replace the $3.3 million, 1,500 horsepower Bugatti Chiron.

You might have expected Bugatti's new model to be all-electric. Not only is the industry headed in that direction, but in 2021 Bugatti was spun off from Volkswagen Group and merged with Rimac, the Croatian company that makes the all-electric Rimac Nevera supercar.

But Mate Rimac, the chief executive of the new company, now called Bugatti Rimac, said he never had any intention of making an all-electric Bugatti. As gasoline-powered cars gradually fade from the world's roads, Bugatti Rimac's engineers and designers wanted to create something that retained the spirit of mechanically powered Bugatti cars, just better: An insanely powerful plug-in hybrid.

Like the Bugatti Chiron and Veyron models before it, the new Bugatti Tourbillon will have a huge, 16-cylinder gas engine. The engine, which was designed in cooperation with the British race car engineering firm Cosworth, will be assisted by three powerful electric motors. One motor in the back of the car and two more in the front will be capable of producing at least 800 horsepower on their own. In total, the Bugatti Tourbillon will be able to put out at least 1,800 horsepower, according to Bugatti Rimac.

The electric motors will help make up for the new gas engine's lack of turbochargers. The Chiron's gas engine had four turbochargers that pushed air into the engine to help it produce more power. Mate Rimac said they wanted this new engine to be "naturally aspirated," meaning there would be no turbochargers.

"We wanted to make the most exciting, most emotional combustion engine possible," Rimac said, "and that is high revving, naturally aspirated."

The car's interior is, likewise, an homage to old-fashioned machinery. The Tourbillon is named after a set of gears that helps maintain accuracy in a mechanical watch. The Bugatti's instrument display is modeled on mechanical watch dials.

"One of the first things we did when the new company was formed, I took the whole team to Switzerland and we visited a few watchmakers," Rimac told CNN.

The central speedometer display even has two needles like the hands of a clock. The long hand shows the car's speed while the short hand registers the revolutions per minute of the high-revving 16-cylinder engine.

With a fully charged battery, the car will be able to travel about 37 miles on purely electric power before the gas engine needs to turn on, but the driver will have the option to run the gas engine continuously, if they wish.

Unlike past Bugattis, though, the Tourbillon does have a reasonably large display screen with Apple CarPlay available. The screen will only come out and become visible when the driver requests it, though. In general, Bugatti designers have avoided putting screens in the cars in the belief that computer displays look outmoded quickly.

"We think, really, how will this product look in 50 years, 100 years," said Rimac. "And it's clear that, if you have a screen, it won't look that great."

The cars will still be assembled one at a time at Bugatti's small factory in Molsheim, France. A total of only 250 Tourbillons will be built, Mate Rimac said, at a starting price of roughly $4 million each.

The-CNN-Wire & 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

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Cheapest Electric Cars for 2024

Want a new EV but nervous about the price tag? Here are the models you can get for the lowest price.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV

A new car is a big investment. According to January figures from Kelley Blue Book , the average new vehicle transaction price in the US sits at $47,401. That's down 3.5% since January 2023, but it's still around 16% more than prices in January 2021.

That same Kelley Blue Book report says average new electric vehicle prices are actually down 10.8% from January 2023, settling at $55,353 on average thanks to a combination of increased supply; the arrival of more-affordable models and trim levels; and aggressive price cuts by Tesla, the largest EV manufacturer in the US.

That still leaves EVs, on average, more expensive than their fossil-fueled contemporaries, but if you're interested in making the switch to an electric car, there are still plenty of affordable options to choose from -- especially the ones that qualify for state or federal EV tax incentives . To that end, here are the cheapest electric cars you can buy today, ranked by their manufacturer's suggested retail price.

Cheapest doesn't always equal best, however, so I'm sweetening the deal with insights gained over my 15 years testing hundreds of vehicles and dozens of EVs for review here at CNET. You can find my picks below, along with tips to help you understand what you should look for in a good affordable electric car.

What is the cheapest electric car?

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Chevrolet Bolt EV takes pole position as the least expensive new EVs in the US.

If you're simply looking for the least expensive electric car you can buy today, look no further than the 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV 1LT . The Bolt's been of my favorite electric cars since its debut back in 2016. Despite being the cheapest new EV on sale today, it boasts a remarkably high range, a simple, yet effective phone-based infotainment suite and more interior volume for people and cargo than you'd expect in such a compact footprint.

I'm not alone in my love for the Bolt. Early last year, Chevy announced the discontinuation of the affordable EV , but demand was so high that it earned a stay of execution and  production stretched into December . It was selling like gangbusters. Sadly, all good things must come to an end and the Bolt EV production has finally halted. However, new examples can still be found on dealer lots (and, weirdly, on Chevy's website), which still qualify for the full $7,500 federal EV tax credit.

Cheapest electric cars of 2024

top model safari car

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV 1LT, $27,495

The least expensive ev.

If you're simply looking for the least expensive electric car you can buy today, look no further than the 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV 1LT . One of my favorite electric cars since its debut back in 2016, the Bolt is full of simple surprises. Despite being the cheapest new EV on sale today, it boasts a remarkably high range. There's more interior volume for people and cargo than you'd expect in such a compact footprint. And as dashboard displays become larger and more pervasive, the Bolt's Android Auto or Apple CarPlay -based infotainment is a breath of uncomplicated fresh air.

About the only negative thing I can say about the 2023 Bolt EV is that you'll have to act fast to snag one. Chevy recently  ended production for the current Bolt EV and the larger Bolt EUV  -- that's after it extended production through December due to "unprecedented demand." You can still find new examples at certain dealerships, but not for much longer. It will be a few years before the Ultium-based replacement hits the road (and who knows how much that will cost), so get 'em while they're hot.

  • Compact, city friendly design
  • Spacious interior
  • Uncomplicated tech
  • Production ended last year, so availability is very limited
  • Slow DC charging

Additional attributes:

  • Efficiency: 28 kWh/100 mi, 120 mpge
  • Range: 259 miles
  • Features: Android Auto, Apple CarPlay
  • IRA qualification: Yes, up to $7,500

top model safari car

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV 1LT, $28,795

The least expensive ev 2: electric bugaloo.

No, you're not seeing double. The Bolt EUV takes everything that's great about the Bolt EV and stretches it across a larger canvas. With more space for passengers and cargo, the EUV is, perhaps, a better fit for young families for not much more money than its smaller sibling. Plus, it can be had with GM's amazing hands-free Super Cruise highway assist. However, the extra girth comes at the cost of a bit of range, dropping to a still respectable 247 miles per charge. A fantastic value, the Bolt EUV is a great entry point into an EV lifestyle.

Like the smaller Bolt EV, the EUV's production ended late last year. New examples can still be found at Chevy dealerships but when those are gone, they're gone for good.

  • Excellent urban driving range
  • Can be had with GM Super Cruise hands-free highway assist
  • Slow charging speed discourages long road trips
  • Production ended, limited in supply

Additional Attributes

  • Efficiency: 29 kWh/100 mi, 115 mpge
  • Range: 247 miles
  • Features: Super Cruise highway assist, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay

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2024 Nissan Leaf S, $29,280

The old guard.

For many, the Nissan Leaf was the first electric vehicle that could be taken seriously as an alternative to gas-burning commuters. Now deep into its second generation, the Leaf is still fighting the good fight. In its most affordable configuration, the Leaf S with the 40-kWh battery pack, the electric hatchback offers 149 miles per charge, but paying more for the 212-mile, 60-kWh pack gets you a bit more electric driving wiggle room.

That said, the 14-year-old Leaf is beginning to feel long in the tooth. Its battery technology is significantly older with less robust thermal management than the EV's much newer competitors. Plus, it recently lost qualification for the partial federal EV tax credit. These days, the Leaf is maybe not the best choice for an affordable EV, even if it's one of the least expensive.  

  • Reasonably efficient and inexpensive to operate
  • Front, central charging port is ideally located
  • Smallish battery and low range
  • Slow DC charger uses less common ChaDeMo connection
  • Efficiency: 30 kWh/100 mi, 111 mpge
  • Range: 149 mi
  • IRA qualification: No.

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2023 Mini Cooper Electric SE, $31,895

The most fun cheap ev.

The Mini Cooper SE is a specific car built for a specific task. With only 114 miles of range between charges and a fairly slow 50-kilowatt DC fast charging capacity, this isn't the car to pick for long-roving road trips. But for getting around town, the Cooper SE is a joy to drive. It has fantastic handling and acceleration at urban speeds, charming interior and exterior design and -- thanks to its compact proportions -- easy maneuverability and parkability. 

The Mini Cooper SE shines as a zero-emissions city car, suburban commuter or a first EV for a young driver. Despite its limitations, it's one of our favorite electric cars and should only get better when the next generation hits the road late next year.

  • Extremely fun
  • Compact and city friendly
  • Short range, even for this list
  • Efficiency: 31 kWh/100 mi, 110 mpge
  • Range: 114 mi

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2024 Hyundai Kona Electric SE, $34,050

A practical, cheap electric commuter.

I feared that Hyundai's  second-generation Kona Electric  would be more expensive than its predecessor, but the automaker surprised with a starting price that's around $800 lower. The new Kona Electric SE looks like a futuristic space buggy and cruises up to 200 miles per charge -- though more expensive trim levels with larger batteries can extend that to 261 miles. Significantly larger than last year, the Kona now boasts up to 63.7 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the seats folded and rolls out standard with Hyundai's excellent driver aid and infotainment suite with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

  • Larger and more stylish than before
  • Upgraded 100 kW DC fast charging
  • Most affordable base model only offers 200 miles per charge
  • Efficiency: 29 kWh/100 mi, 116 mpge
  • Range: 200 mi
  • IRA qualification: No

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2023 Volkswagen ID 4 Standard, $40,290

A more spacious ev for frugal families.

  Volkswagen's ID 4 is a midsize electric SUV -- slotting in between the gasoline-powered Taos and Tiguan -- that steps up in scale over the mostly compact and subcompact offerings at the top of this list. The base Standard spec mates a 62kWh battery pack with an electric motor at the rear axle making a modest but torque 201 horsepower. In this configuration, owners can expect around 209 miles of range. Even better is the 275-mile, 82-kWh setup that adds about $5,000 to the bottom line, but also a lot more peace of mind when roaming far from home.

  • Slightly more spacious than direct competitors
  • Awkward ergonomics
  • Modest range at entry point
  • Efficiency: 31 kWh/100 mi, 107 mpge
  • Range: 209 mi

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2024 Tesla Model 3 RWD Standard Range, $40,380

The best inexpensive ev overall.

Tesla has been shaking things up with its Model 3 , adjusting the MSRP seemingly on a monthly basis. The electric sedan is currently as affordable as it's ever been, starting at $40,380 including destination charges. Factor in up to $7,500 in federal EV tax credits, along with any state incentives, and the Model 3 is less expensive than a Toyota Camry . With excellent performance and 272 miles of range for the base model (the most of any EV on this list), the Tesla Model 3 is a formidable option for EV enthusiasts on a budget.

  • Excellent performance, highest range for price
  • Affordable price bolstered by federal tax incentives
  • Access to Tesla's widely available Supercharger fast charging network
  • Expensive Autopilot and FSD driver aid tech upgrades
  • Dashboard tech moves too many basic features to touchscreen
  • Efficiency: 25 kWh/100 mi, 132 mpge
  • Range: 272 miles
  • Features: Available FSD driver aid, connected 15.4-inch dashboard display
  • IRA qualification: Yes, $7,500.

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2023 Kia Niro EV Wind, $40,925

An inexpensive ev with decent range.

The Niro EV is the often-forgotten front-wheel-drive cousin of Kia's award-winning favorite, the EV6 . The Niro boasts solid battery-powered performance with a 253-mile cruising range and a peppy 201 horsepower electric motor. Yes, the EV6 is faster with longer range and better efficiency, but only slightly so. Plus, the Niro EV is nearly $10,000 cheaper -- starting at $40,925 for the well-equipped Wind trim level -- with the same great driver aid and infotainment tech as its more expensive cousin.

And if you're not ready to go full EV, the Niro is also available in electrified hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants as well.

  • Quiet and spacious daily driver
  • Well sorted driver and safety tech
  • Slowish 45 minute DC fast charging
  • Efficiency: 29 kWh/100 mi, 113 mpge
  • Range: 253 miles

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2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6 SE RWD, $43,565

The most efficient ev for the money.

Hyundai's Ioniq 6  is the most efficient electric car you can buy today -- well, technically, it's tied for position with Lucid's much more expensive Air , but I digress. The 6's aerodynamic sedan body rides atop the Hyundai Motor Group's  E-GMP electric vehicle platform  giving it an edge in range and efficiency. In its thriftiest standard-range RWD configuration, the Ioniq 6 cruises up to 240 miles and covers 4.17 miles per kilowatt-hour. That's an EPA-estimated equivalent of 140 mpge.

  • Extreme efficiency saves money on operating costs
  • Standard infotainment covers most drivers' needs
  • Busy styling inside and out isn't for everyone
  • Efficiency: 24 kWh/100 mi, 135 mpge
  • Range: 240 miles

Factors to consider before buying a cheap EV

Efficiency: Efficiency is often the most overlooked number on an EV's spec sheet, but when considering the affordability of an EV, it's one of the most important. I prefer to measure miles per kilowatt-hour, but I've used kilowatt-hours per 100 miles in this guide to make operating cost estimates easier. Simply multiply this number by your local energy rates (you can even use off-peak rates, if you plan on frequently charging overnight at home) to easily calculate how much it costs to operate an EV and how much you could potentially save compared to a conventional combustion car. 

Operating costs and maintenance: Along with the energy cost, there are other operating expenses to consider relative to a combustion car. Insurance rates can sometimes be higher for EVs, but maintenance costs are usually significantly lower thanks to the lack of oil changes, fewer mechanical parts and reduced brake wear.

Volvo EX30 compact electric SUV debuts

Volvo's EX30 is one of the most anticipated affordable EVs set to hit the road next year.

Options and upgrades: Take care when choosing options and upgrades like wheels, roof racks or performance packages. Larger wheels, for example, may look pretty sweet but could increase the sticker price and reduce an EV's efficiency -- so much so that some automakers list separate EPA estimates for different wheel and tire packages. Tires for big wheels may also cost more to replace or wear more quickly, costing you more money over the long term. 

Range: The battery is usually the most expensive component on an electric car, so cheap EVs tend to have the shortest ranges. Yet, even the least expensive options usually boast enough range for commuting and running errands around town. When choosing the right amount of range for your budget , consider leaving a little wiggle room in your estimate for unexpected journeys, cold weather range reduction (if applicable) and your driving habits. And if your average journey is on the longer side or you frequently road trip, spending a little more for more range can add a lot of peace of mind.

How we test and rank the cheapest electric cars

I've driven almost every EV model sold in the US over the last 15 years and, for each car I test, I cover over 200 miles behind the wheel on a mixed driving route. That includes dense urban roads (complete with potholes), long stretches of highway driving and some good fun twisty mountain roads mixed in for flavor. On the road, I test DC fast charging, driving dynamics, efficiency and range, comparing my real world experience with estimates reported by the US EPA, both to double check the official numbers against the real world and to make sure my experiences represent those of the typical American driver. 

Editor Antuan Goodwin discusses the 2018 Nissan Leaf

I've been evaluating cars -- electric and conventional -- at CNET for over 15 years.

For this list of affordable electric cars, I tried to keep an even playing field by considering only the least expensive spec of each EV available for sale in the US today, while avoiding mixing range and performance numbers from pricier variants. All prices include destination charges -- an unavoidable cost that I personally believe all automakers should bake into their advertised prices anyway -- but exclude any temporary manufacturer incentives and Tesla's weird "estimated three-year gas savings." (Most EVs should save money, since electricity is usually less expensive than gas.) I've also excluded any available state or federal incentives or tax rebates in the ranking, as they'll vary from buyer to buyer, but have separately indicated which vehicles qualify for the federal Inflation Reduction Act EV tax credit and how much you could expect to save.

Other cheap EVs we've tested

Thrifty EV shoppers looking for low long-term operating costs should consider the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 SE Standard Range ($42,715), which is currently tied with the much more expensive Lucid Air ($78,675) for the most energy efficient electric vehicle you can buy. At 24 kWh/100 mi, the Hyundai is not only affordable, but also saves you money with every mile traveled. Buyers looking for a bit more cargo room should also consider the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 SE Standard Range ($42,785), which trades a bit of range and efficiency for a much more spacious cabin and rear hatch.

You have to jump much further down the list of affordable EVs before you reach the first pickup truck. The 2023 Ford F150 Lightning Pro ($56,635) is currently the cheapest, targeting commercial buyers with a barebones -- but still highly connected -- feature set. However, for most people, the XLT model ($58,135) will be a better fit and our current pick for best electric truck . That it also qualifies for up to $3,500 in Federal EV tax credits is a nice cherry on top.

A blue Ford F-150 Lightning Pro pickup on the road

Ford's F-150 Lightning Pro, the least expensive electric pickup, targets commercial applications rather than private owners.

Are electric cars more expensive than gas-powered cars?

Within the same class, EVs tend to be more expensive than their combustion-powered cousins due to the rare and costly materials that make up their large battery packs. Economies of scale and new production processes could eventually result in price parity at the point of purchase, but for now prospective buyers will want to look to any available federal and state tax incentives or rebates to offset the cost. Additionally, EVs can be less expensive to operate , potentially saving money over the long term.

What is the lifespan of an electric car?

Battery degradation is, generally, what shoppers are really asking about with this question. According to a 2019 study , the average EV lost around 2.3% of its range every year, which worked out to around 15 miles for a 150-mile EV over 5 years of ownership. Factors, such as frequent DC fast charging or constant exposure to extreme weather, can accelerate that degradation , but battery technology has improved significantly over the last few years. New cell chemistries are estimated to last longer and the average range for an affordable EV has increased significantly over the last five years. Current estimates from the US Department of Energy put electric cars' lifespan nearly on par with their combustion-powered cousins with an average 8 to 12 year service life. 

What should you look for in a cheap electric car?

A cheap car costs less to purchase, but a truly affordable EV should cost less to own. Consider factors listed above -- including your local taxes and incentives, energy efficiency, your area's electricity rates and even the price for home EV charger installation, if applicable -- weighing the complete picture against your current combustion ownership costs to determine if an EV is truly an affordable option for you. 

What should you avoid in a cheap electric car?

Low-cost EVs sometimes sacrifice charging speed to deliver that ever-important range number that customers often look to first when comparison shopping. However, if you plan on frequently taking long road trips or don't live where you can reliably charge slowly overnight, the ability to charge easily and as quickly as possible may have a bigger effect on your experience. Consider avoiding EVs that DC fast charge slower than 100 kW and also consider avoiding the depreciated ChaDeMo charging standard (currently only on the Nissan Leaf) which will only become more rare at public DC charging stations versus CCS or NACS (Tesla) connections.

And in the interest of keeping your affordable EV's long-term costs low, avoid unnecessary upgrades or options that decrease efficiency or increase maintenance costs. This includes bulky roof racks that you don't plan on ever actually using or large wheels and sticky performance tires that may wear more quickly or require swapping to winter tires (at an additional cost) for part of the year.

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  • North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year (NACTOY) Awards Juror

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