Electric vehicle (EV) offerings have expanded greatly over the past couple of years. So much so, that our most recent list of the best EVs from 2021 is surprisingly, and thrillingly, out of date. So we needed to make a whole new list of the best electric vehicles for families.
We took all of the newest options into account to create this up-to-the-moment compendium of the most compelling choices in the battery-powered market. And oh, what a plethora of exciting, capable and roomy options there now are — here, you'll find an EV for every need and (nearly) every income level.
With new, expanded and/or extended tax incentives available from the Biden administration’s infrastructure and inflation reduction bills, the pricing of EVs, when compared with similar gasoline-powered vehicles, is also approaching parity, putting battery power within reach for a growing number of families. Some states, and even municipalities, also offer additional tax incentives or rebates, so be sure to check into the deals available where you live. There are even credits available for installing an EV charger at your home, so we recommend looking into those as well. Not ready to go fully electric? Read our guide to the best hybrid cars for families on the market right now.
Prices and fuel economy for base car are listed.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The Bolt has long been one of our favorite EVs for its combination of practicality, range and affordability. Now, it's even more affordable, with a $6,000 price cut that makes the Bolt the most affordable EV on the market. But that doesn't mean it sacrifices its other stellar attributes. Unlike its closest competitors in price — the Mini Cooper Electric (110 miles) or the Nissan Leaf (149 miles) — the Bolt can travel 259 miles on a single charge.
STANDOUT FEATURES: The Bolt has received a welcome upgrade to its interior, long a weak point. This included enhancing the quality of the trim and materials, incorporating a new digital instrument panel, and adding more support to the seats.
GOOD TO KNOW: Chevy wants to keep consumer costs down, so it provides a charger cord that plugs into standard 240-volt outlets — like the one your electric clothes dryer uses — obviating the need for installing an entire home charging system.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Korean automaker Hyundai is on a roll, especially when it comes to its EVs. Built on the same battery-powered platform as the Ioniq 5 compact SUV, which was a winner in our 2023 Best New Family Car Awards, the Ioniq 6 features a lower, lighter and more aerodynamic package with similar features and options, but greatly increased range. And just look at it: Don’t you think your kids will like driving to school in a silent spaceship?
STANDOUT FEATURES: Opt for the Long Range model and you’ll get an astounding 361 miles on a single charge. And even the base car packs a 270-mile range. We’re also big fans of the slippery futuristic styling, which stands apart from ordinary sedans.
GOOD TO KNOW: Those dots on the steering wheel? They’re indicators for the voice recognition system, and they light up when the onboard digital assistant — think Amazon Alexa — is awakened and ready to do your bidding. They also show the status of the recharging process when the car is plugged in.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Lucid is a new car company and the Air is its first model. But the company’s roots go back to 2007. It was founded to develop proprietary battery, motor and charging technology for other carmakers, but what it created was so compelling that it decided to build its own car. This shows in the Air’s remarkable range. Models with the biggest battery pack can travel well over 500 miles on a single charge, the furthest of any vehicle on the market. Even the base car can go over 400 miles.
STANDOUT FEATURES: The Air has a stretchy, lozenge-like shape, which offers limousine-esque legroom in the rear. Adding to this sense of airiness is the fully glass roof, minimalist interior décor and thoughtful storage solutions. All models also come with three years of free fast charging via Electrify America.
GOOD TO KNOW: Nearly all of the car’s features are controlled by one of four screens that face the driver. That lower, center screen? It opens like a garage door to reveal a secret storage compartment. And there’s more storage in the trunk and frunk.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The Ioniq 5 looks like a science fiction movie prop come to life. That’s a good thing. With a surprisingly roomy interior — aided in part by a fully flat floor and a wide cargo area — brisk acceleration, super-fast charging capabilities, easy-to-use tech and safety features, plus up to 303 miles of range, the Ioniq 5 is the full package. It’s relatively affordable price only enhances those qualities.
STANDOUT FEATURES: You can option your Ioniq 5 to include a chaise lounge-like front seat, complete with recline and extendible foot rest, ideal for reading, answering emails or just catching up on much-needed rest when you need to charge the car publicly.
GOOD TO KNOW: Unlike with many similarly-sized EVs, the Ioniq 5 is able to tow a trailer, though it maxes out at 2,500 pounds, enough for a 17-foot camper.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Genesis continues to surprise and wow us with its sense of innovation, adventure and refinement, and the 2023 GV60 SUV is no exception. With brisk acceleration, unique and compelling styling and excellent road manners, it does everything its gasoline-powered sibling does, but more quickly and quietly, two wins in our estimation. It is also the first car to use facial and fingerprint recognition to allow you to unlock the doors and start the car without a key.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Patterned and quilted seating surfaces and brushed metal are not new trim options, but the GV60 renders them in a detailed way usually only found on vehicles that are two or three times as expensive. The light-up, rotating, crystal-topped shift knob makes us smile every time we use it, and we think it will do the same for you
GOOD TO KNOW: All current GV60s come with standard all-wheel drive, which is not the case for rivals like the Volvo XC40 or Audi Q4 eTron.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Like Lucid, Rivian is another startup that has nailed its first products. The R1S is a full-size, three-row SUV, among the first EVs on the market to offer room for eight. And the interior of the R1S is a lovely place to be, with high quality materials and interesting and delightful trim bits — soothing and unique leather colors, woven floor mats, copper hooks and driftwood veneer among them. A 316-mile range adds to the sense of satisfaction.
STANDOUT FEATURES: The R1S includes all sorts of clever add-ons like an LED flashlight integrated into the front door, a power outlet and air compressor in back, a portable Bluetooth speaker under the center console and a giant frunk up front where the engine would usually go.
GOOD TO KNOW: The R1S is immensely capable off-road and in low-traction situations, though on-road, it sometimes feels a bit jouncy, even in the “soft” comfort suspension setting and even on relatively smooth surfaces.
WHY WE LOVE IT: With all-wheel drive, gobs of instant-on power, 300 miles of range and an interior that takes luxury in a fresh and unique direction, the iX has everything that we expect of a luxury SUV, and then some. Opt for the upscale, up-powered M60 model, and this truck absolutely flies, while always feeling perfectly planted. And the styling is as unique on the outside as the inside, drawing our attention.
STANDOUT FEATURES: You’ve never seen materials used like this in a contemporary car: bright velour seating surfaces and door panel trim, touch-sensitive real wood veneer in the center console, rose gold trim on the vents and door handles and faceted crystal on the seat adjustment switches, gearshift and the knob that controls the infotainment system.
GOOD TO KNOW: The iX isn’t available in a three-row configuration, but the two rows and cargo hold are plenty spacious for you and your family’s needs.
What exactly is an electric vehicle?
All-electric vehicles (as opposed to the plug-in hybrid variant) have an electric motor instead of a typical internal combustion engine. They use a battery to power the electric motor, and as such have to be charged (check out our electric charging station recs). Vehicles that are all-electric do not emit tailpipe exhaust or have typical liquid fuel components like gas. Electric vehicles use different drivetrains, so they do not require routine oil changes like their gas counterparts. That said, you do have to regularly check coolant, brake fluid and windshield washing fluid still.
How we tested
At the Good Housekeeping Institute, we have been systematically reviewing family vehicles for over a decade. Our team of engineers, analysts and testers take to the roads to ensure the vehicles not only perform well, but are practical and enjoyable for all kinds of families.
So beyond handling, smoothness, acceleration and more, our team of auto experts is looking for ergonomics and convenience, too. That means comfy seating, ample cup holders and USB ports, spots for corralling all the things and intuitive infotainment systems.
When it comes to electric vehicles, we layer on additional assessments, including battery capacity and charging speed, driving range, ease of accessing the charging port, price relative to equivalent standard model or hybrid variants where applicable and infrastructure compatibility. Before making our final picks we also leverage expert insights from our friends at Car and Driver (another Hearst-owned publication).
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
For years, the mechanical engineers, analysts and editors at the Good Housekeeping Institute have highlighted the best vehicles for your family to buy, from the best compact cars to the best crossovers, all culminating in our annual Best Family Car Awards.
Testing for this storyRachel Rothman, head of testing for the Good Housekeeping Institute, has been test driving vehicles for over a decade. She often works in partnership with the car experts at Hearst-owned Car and Driver. The regimented testing and insights they can provide are unparalleled, and coupling that with real life testing she performs with her own family of five plus that of other GH staffers and testers provides the basis for the team's auto reviews.
This particular list of best family-friendly electric vehicles was a collaboration between contributing writer Brett Berk and Rothman. They have both been test driving automobiles for well over a decade. Berk also contributes to other Hearst titles including Car and Driver and Road & Track.
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