Affordable EVs? The best electric crossover SUVs under $50,000


The names might be new but the spin is the same: automakers keep introducing new crossover SUVs, but now, they’re electric.

The 2023 Toyota BZ4X and related 2023 Subaru Solterra play catchup to rival electric cars including the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen ID.4, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, and the Tesla Model Y, not to mention smaller electrics that have been on sale for years, such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt EV. 

A near twin to the 2023 Subaru Solterra, the BZ4X compact crossover heralds the first of seven planned Toyota models with the BZ, or “Beyond Zero,” naming convention. Standard with single-motor front-wheel-drive or available with dual-motor all-wheel-drive, the 2023 BZ4X follows Toyota’s traditionally conservative approach to new vehicle technology.

Instead of rewriting the book on what a clean-slate car can be, the BZ4X serves as a progression of the excellent Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid, offering Toyota customers a smooth bridge from gas power to fully electric locomotion. But Toyota plans to sell only 7,000 of its first EV in its first year of sales in the U.S., limiting its upside amid an increasing number of electric compact crossovers. 

Here’s a look how these new rivals with the odd names stack up. 

Note that for DC fast-charging rates, the automakers of most electric cars slow down the flow of electrons after the 80% threshold is reached to protect the battery from heat stress. It may take just 30 minutes to go from 10-80% of charge, but once past 80% it could take another two or three hours to reach 100%. 

2023 Subaru Solterra

2023 Subaru Solterra

2023 Subaru Solterra

2023 Subaru Solterra

2023 Subaru Solterra

2023 Subaru Solterra

2023 Subaru Solterra

2023 Subaru Solterra

2023 Subaru Solterra

Powertrains: Dual-motor all-wheel-drive with a 72.8-kwh pack. Unlike the Toyota BZ4X, it does not have a single-motor option in front-wheel drive. 

Output and range: It makes 215 hp and 249 lb-ft, and has a range up to 228 miles. 

Charge rates and times: Level 2 charging at 6.6 kw takes about 13 hours. Level 3 DC fast-charging recoups up to 80% in less than an hour at a peak rate of 100 kw.  

Price: The base Premium costs $46,220, including the $1,225 destination charge. The Touring tops the lineup at $53,220. Subaru vehicles qualify for the full federal EV tax credit of $7,500, depending on your tax liability.  

2023 Toyota bZ4X Limited AWD

2023 Toyota bZ4X Limited AWD

2023 Toyota bZ4X Limited AWD

2023 Toyota bZ4X Limited AWD

2023 Toyota bZ4X Limited AWD

2023 Toyota bZ4X Limited AWD

2023 Toyota bZ4X Limited AWD

2023 Toyota bZ4X Limited AWD

2023 Toyota BZ4X

Powertrains: Single-motor front-wheel-drive versions have a 71.4-kwh battery pack; dual-motor all-wheel-drive models use a 72.8-kwh pack. 

Output and range: Single-motor models have an output of 201 hp and 196 lb-ft of torque, and an EPA-estimated range of 252 miles for the base XLE; dual-motors make 214 hp and 248 lb-ft, and have a range up to 228 miles. EPA certification has not been completed yet. 

Charge rates and times: Level 2 charging at 6.6 kw takes about 13 hours. Level 3 DC fast-charging on single-motor FWD models recoups up to 80% in 30 minutes at a peak rate of 150 kw; the dual-motor AWD versions take longer because the charge rate peaks at 100 kw.  

Price: Single-motor versions start at $43,215, including $1,215 destination (all prices henceforth include destination fees). The AWD XLE costs $45,295, and the Limited tops the lineup at $49,995. Toyota vehicles qualify for the full federal EV tax credit of $7,500 until Q3 2022, then it’s halved to $3,750 until 2023, then halved again before full phase out by Q3 2023. 

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5

The Ioniq 5 combines retro hatchback styling cues with futuristic lighting and wheels, and excellent packaging on the inside. It’s a rethink of how interior space can be optimized, and its 800-volt charging on 350-kw DC fast-charging is the kind of state-of-the-art tech found on EVs that are twice as expensive. 

Powertrain: A 77.4-kwh battery pack and single-motor rear-wheel drive or dual-motor all-wheel drive. A smaller 58-kwh battery variant is planned, but has not yet been released. 

Output and range: A 168-kw single-motor model makes 225 hp and 258 lb-ft, and has a range of 303 miles and EPA efficiency of 114 MPGe; the AWD model has a 74-kw motor up front and 165-kw motor in back that make 320 hp and 446 lb-ft, with a range of 256 miles and EPA efficiency of 98 MPGe. 

Charge rates and times: Level 2 charging via a 10.9-kwh onboard charger takes less than seven hours for RWD models or 8.5 hours for AWD models. Thanks to the Ioniq 5’s large 800-volt battery system, it can DC fast-charge at a rate of 240 kw and either battery size charges from 10-80% in just 18 minutes. At a 50-kw fast-charging station, it would take about an hour to recoup 80% of charge. The Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 have the fastest charging rates currently on the market, and with bi-directional charging, it can charge another EV or other electric devices. 

Price: The base Ioniq 5 SE costs $44,825 (including $1,225 destination) while the top Limited trim costs $51,825; AWD costs $3,500 or $3,900 extra on the top Limited trim. The smaller 58-kwh battery pack model will start at $40,925. Hyundai electrics still qualify for the full $7,500 federal tax credit. 

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV 6

Kia uses the same platform and mechanicals as the Ioniq 5, but packages it in a sleeker, sportier style that looks as much like a fastback European tourer as it does an electric crossover. Unlike the Solterra and the BZ4X, the EV6 and Ioniq 5 will never be mistaken for one another. Unlike Hyundai, Kia sells the EV6 nationwide and offers the smaller battery pack and cheaper base model now. 

Powertrains: A smaller 58-kwh battery pack and rear-wheel drive come with the Light model; a larger 77.4-kwh model can be had with single-motor rear-wheel drive or dual-motor all-wheel drive. 

Output and range: The 58-kwh model has a 195-kw motor that makes 167 hp and 258 lb-ft, which is the same torque as models with the larger motor and battery pack; it has a range of 232 miles and EPA efficiency of 117 MPGe combined. The 77.4-kwh pack comes with a motor that makes 225 hp and 258 lb-ft; this model has the same efficiency rating but a range of up to 310 miles. Models with the larger pack and dual-motor AWD churn out 320 hp and 446 lb-ft, but performance sacrifices efficiency as the EPA rating falls to 105 MPGe combined and a range drops to 274 miles. 

Charge rates and times: Level 2 charging via a 10.9-kwh onboard charger takes less than seven hours for RWD models or 8.5 hours for AWD models. Thanks to the EV6’s large 800-volt battery system, it can DC fast-charge at a rate of about 240 kw and either battery size charges from 10-80% in just 18 minutes. At a 50-kw fast-charging station, it would take about an hour to recoup 80% of charge. The Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 have the fastest charging rates currently on the market, and with bi-directional charging, it can charge another EV or other electric devices.

Price: The base Light model costs $42,115, including a $1,255 destination fee. The larger pack with a single motor in Wind trim costs $48,225, and adding another motor for AWD adds $3,900. On the top $52,455 GT-Line, AWD adds $3,700. Kia electrics still qualify for the full $7,500 federal tax credit. 

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E

The Mustang Mach-E took the iconic muscle car name and was the first affordable electric crossover to face off against the Tesla Model Y. It mimicks the touchscreen layout of Tesla, but can’t match the tech sophistication. Yet the Mach-E makes a compelling, rear-drive bridge from one era of accessible sports cars to another, and it has crossover versatility.

Powertrains: A 70-kwh Standard Range battery comes in single-motor rear-wheel-drive or dual-motor all-wheel-drive configurations; a 91-kwh Extended Range battery is also available. 

Output and range: Single-motor versions make 266 or 290 hp and dual-motor models make 346 hp in the standard line and 480 hp and 600 lb-ft in the AWD GT. The Mach-E is quick in any form, with 0-60 mph times falling between a swift 6.1 seconds and a blazing 3.5 seconds. The Select RWD has a range of 247 miles, the GT has a range of 270 miles, and the Route 1 Extended Range with RWD has the best range at 314 miles. 

Charge rates and times: Level 2 charging at 48 amps takes about 11 hours for RWD models. The Standard Range pack with DC fast-charging at a peak rate of 115 kw can charge at 80% in 38 minutes, and the Extended Range pack at a 150-kw peak takes about 45 minutes. 

Price: The base Select model with rear-wheel drive and the Standard Range 70-kwh battery costs $43,995, and adding a second motor for AWD adds $2,700. Buyers have to move up to the $49,200 Premium model to get the Extended Range battery. At the top of the lineup, the Mustang Mach-E GT costs $61,095, and the GT Performance Edition adds another $5,000. Every Mach-E is eligible for the $7,500 federal EV tax credit for now, though Ford is on a similar EV sales trajectory as Toyota, so the phaseout could begin this year. 

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S AWD

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S AWD

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S AWD

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S AWD

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S AWD

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S AWD

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S AWD

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S AWD

2022 Volkswagen ID.4

The VW ID.4 arrived not long after the Mustang Mach-E to offer a conservatively styled but spacious alternative to the Model Y. The tech falls short, with a touchscreen layout and climate controls that are needlessly complex, but the ID.4 is the least expensive electric crossover in our list, which goes a long way in our book, even if the range trails the leaders.

Powertrain: Single-motor rear-wheel drive or dual-motor all-wheel drive are offered, both with a 77-kwh battery pack. 

Output and range: Single-motor RWD models have 201 hp and 229 lb-ft, while AWD models get a boost to 295 hp and 339 lb-ft of torque, which cuts the 0-60 mph time from the seven-second range to the five-second range. The 2022 ID.4 Pro gets 112 MPGe and has a 280-mile range, while AWD drops it to 101 MPGe and 251 miles of range. Better-equipped ID.4 Pro S versions with AWD are rated at 95 MPGe and 245 miles of range.

Charge rates and times: Level 2 charging at 50 amps with VW’s 11-kw onboard converter takes about 7.5 hours. Level 3 DC fast-charging to 80% takes 38 minutes at up to 135 kw. 

Price: VW charges $41,955 for the base Pro model, or $45,635 for the Pro AWD. Pro S models start at $46,455 with rear-wheel drive or $50,135 with AWD. VW electrics still qualify for the full $7,500 credit. 

2020 Tesla Model Y

2020 Tesla Model Y

2020 Tesla Model Y

2020 Tesla Model Y

2020 Tesla Model Y

2020 Tesla Model Y

2020 Tesla Model Y

2020 Tesla Model Y

2022 Tesla Model Y

The electric compact crossover for the masses fulfilled its mission of being first to market, but Tesla betrayed its promise of affordability by increasing the price regularly, including at least a $10,000 jump in the past 18 months. Yet, despite some build quality issues, the brand’s bestseller in the U.S. remains the efficiency leader in its class, and has the most sophisticated tech.  

Powertrain: Both Long Range and Performance models have dual-motor all-wheel drive, but Tesla doesn’t disclose battery sizes or outputs. The battery pack is estimated to be 75 kwh of usable capacity. 

Output and range: The AWD Performance model has been estimated at 480 hp, has a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds, and a range of 303 miles. The AWD Long Range model hits 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds, and has a range of 330 miles. 

Charge rates and times: Level 2 with 48 amps and an 11.5-kw converter takes more than seven hours. DC fast-charging at up to 210 w takes about 30 minutes to get to 80%. 

Price: Long Range versions start at $64,990 (including a $1,200 destination charge) and Performance models start at $67,990.



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By Kelli