Currently reading: Buy them before we do: second hand picks for 5 November
With the Tesla Model S dropping below £50,000 on the used market, is it the perfect car to get around the fuel scare?

With electric cars on the rise, we thought we'd take a look at some of the best EV cars on the used market.

Tesla Model S P85D, £45,990: One consequence of the petrol and diesel supply issues that gripped parts of the UK recently was that it gave electric cars another shove into the public consciousness. A survey of 1100 What Car? readers at the start of October indicated that 23% of drivers are now more likely to consider electric or hybrid power for their next car as a result of those supply problems, and 10% said they’re now more likely to buy an EV.

Of course, you don’t have to buy a fresh-out-of-the-box EV, and a used Tesla Model S might be ideal. This large premium saloon has been with us since 2012 and was the model that symbolised Tesla’s intention to become a world-leading car manufacturer. The Model S also entered the fray at a time when the ideal combination of range, refinement and performance for an EV had yet to be perfected and very nearly mastered it.

The car has been through many powertrain and specification changes over the past nine years, but we’ve decided to go all out with the P85D. This was the first juiced-up Model S to be introduced, driven by twin electric motors instead of the singular units on other variants. All together, the four-wheel-drive P85D produces a colossal 682bhp and 687lb ft for a Ferrari-rivalling 0-62mph in 3.2sec. That’s enough to properly pin you in your sports seat.

That’s performance covered, then. As for range, 300 miles and access to Tesla’s nationwide network of Superchargers should quell any feelings of anxiety you might have about switching to electric power. While some questionable interior materials are present, features such as Tesla’s trailblazing 17in tablet infotainment, leather seats and a huge boot with up to nearly 1800 litres of space more than make up for that. The big airy cabin is imbued with a sense of calm, even with Insane driving mode engaged.

The P85D cost £79,080 at launch, but we’ve found a 2016 example for just over half that price. It has driven 46,000 miles and comes with some additional sporty options, including a carbonfibre spoiler, 21in wheels, Pirelli winter tyres, a glass panoramic roof and smart air suspension (originally a £2100 option). It also has a full service history and, of course, that all important road tax exemption.

Back to top

Volkswagen E-Golf, £16,500: The e-Golf may not have the range to match most modern EVs (around 120 miles in real-world driving), but it retains the majority of the ICE Golf’s many appealing qualities. This 2015 car has done just 21,000 miles and should be ideal for most commuters.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric Premium SE, £16,500: This 2017-reg Ioniq is in the lesserspotted Intense Blue and has a 174-mile range, heated and ventilated seats and four years of battery warranty. With 104bhp and 29,000 miles on the clock, it’s a good choice for stress-free motoring.

Back to top

Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, £8000: This 2013 Fortwo is small like the Twizy but will better protect you from the elements, given it actually has windows. It’s just over half its original price, complete with a 74bhp/96lb ft motor, a 90-mile range, a full service history and some premium kit.

Renault Twizy Dynamique, £6995: The Twizy is an EV for those who revel in the unconventional. You should be able to squeeze up to 62 miles out of it, and while its 17bhp motor may not sound like much, it will be fine for town use. Another bonus is you won’t have to pay any battery leasing fees.

Back to top

Auction watch

Jensen C-V8 Drophead Coupe: Jensen’s C-V8 convertible never reached production, but its design makes us wish it had. The coupé was the next step on from the 541 and used a new chassis that could carry larger engines to rival Jaguar’s powerful 3.8. This one-off convertible prototype was brought to life in 1964 by chief designer Eric Neale and packed a 330bhp Chrysler 6.3-litre V8. Its experimental chassis, called the EXP/108, was 9in longer than the coupé’s to house a stowed hood while preserving rear leg room. Despite the model’s elegance, the chassis required more development. This plus internal squabbles and the arrival of the P66 spelled the end. The prototype was sold recently for £130,000 complete with a V5C, an MOT certificate and original restoration documents. 

Future classic

Back to top

Porsche Cayenne, £6000: The original Porsche Cayenne symbolised the car industry’s charge towards larger models and particularly SUVs. It also represented a number of firsts for Porsche. The Cayenne was its first car to be powered by a V8 since 1995; its first off-roader since the 1950s, when Porsche was still in the tractor business; and its first car with five doors. And it proved a success, being very capable on and off the road, with the performance, grip and agility to match many of today’s offerings. Several engine options were available, ranging from a 3.2-litre petrol with 290bhp to the post-2007 range-topping Turbo, which could hit 62mph in just 5.1sec thanks to a 500bhp 4.8-litre petrol V8. Arguably, the mid-range Cayenne S is the sweet spot, with 385bhp on tap and a 0-62mph sprint time of 6.8sec. We found one advertised for £6000.

Clash of the classifieds

Brief: Can you find me a lairy V8 coupé for less than £20,000?

BMW M3, £19,995

Back to top

Maserati Granturismo, £19,995

Oliver Young: If you’re after lairy, this all-singing, all-dancing 2010 BMW M3 with its 414bhp 4.0-litre V8 should be your go-to choice. It has intuitive, precise handling and a lively yet controllable rear end that can dance until the tyres burst. And with this example’s upgraded exhaust, it can really sing all the way to its sonorous 8400rpm redline. Sprinting from 0-60mph takes a mere 4.7sec and it will do 155mph. Top that, Mark. 

Mark Pearson: feel like I’ve been beaten to death with figures there, Oliver. Phew. Well, let me put it this way. My thrilling Italian stallion is a gorgeous-looking supercar with a musical V8 and one of the most romantic badges in motoring history. It’s irresistible. Oh, and 180mph and 4.7sec, if you must quote figures. I fear yours is just an old 3 Series on steroids.

OY: That’s odd: it seems my 3 Series on steroids is more powerful, higher-revving and a lot lighter than your Italian stallion. The phrase ‘all show and no go’ comes to mind. I’m afraid your Maserati, while a stylish grand tourer, doesn’t quite do crazy like my hell-for-leather Beemer.

MP: Why go crazy when you can go quickly discreetly instead? Go on, you know you secretly want my car. Who wouldn’t? It’s like comparing Portofino with Berlin…

OY: James asked for lairy, not discreet. And I want the M3 because, you know, it's the better car.

Verdict, James Ruppert: I will take the M3 for its wonderful engine. 

Join the debate

Add a comment…
567 5 November 2021

What's going to happen to these BEV after 8 years of age when the battery warranty has run out?

xxxx 5 November 2021

Same as what happens to diesel car after 3 years when the engine warranty runs out

DVB78 5 November 2021

end up being scrapped becuase batteries are so expensive to replace

Not really helping the environment much!

The Apprentice 5 November 2021

Future, 10 years time looks bleak for your 17/18 year old just passed his test and has 2 to 3 grand saved from granny  gifts and shifts at Maccies and wants some wheels, a clapped out Twitzzy with 20 miles of battery life left, no back seat for a bit of country lane passion with the girlfriend. No first roadtrips to the coast with a couple of mates and music blaring. Sad

xxxx 5 November 2021

Don't get a twizzy then, highly unlikely too anyway as so few sold.

The Apprentice 5 November 2021
xxxx wrote:

Don't get a twizzy then, highly unlikely too anyway as so few sold.

So 2035, what used EV 4 seater with affordable insurance (so no 0 to 60 in less than 9 seconds) do you imagine will be available for 2500 quid? Serious question, I can't imagine what.

Its just a bit sad that our grandchildren won't experience the freedoms we had, pass your test, get a cheap car, try to keep it out the ditch. Cruise around town on an evening, pick up your mates and go to the cinema, they will be priced out of driving until they start work and their careers reach a much higher level.

xxxx 5 November 2021
The Apprentice wrote:

xxxx wrote:

Don't get a twizzy then, highly unlikely too anyway as so few sold.

So 2035, what used EV 4 seater with affordable insurance (so no 0 to 60 in less than 9 seconds) do you imagine will be available for 2500 quid? Serious question, I can't imagine what.

Zoe, LEAF, Mini etc

Nickktod 5 November 2021

Indeed. The other good thing about the EV bangernomics of 2035 is repair and servicing costs: A 14 year old Golf has lots more moving parts and potential points of failure than a 14 year old ID3 will. When a 14 year old engine or gearbox fails the car is essentially written off, when a 14 year old battery does, it will just not hold its charge very well any more, but likely still well enough to get young Kevin and his mates to and from college etc. 

Beastie_Boy 5 November 2021

Wish you'd provide links to these cars for sale... Or at least a clue as to where to find them... Pistonheads? Autotrader? Ebay?