Our favorite EVs in 2018

EVs have come a long way, baby. What started as a class of only a few cars has developed into a group of vehicles that are just as sporty, roomy and easy on the eyes as their combustion counterparts. 

Here are Roadshow editors' favorite vehicles that guzzle electrons, not gas.

Caption:Photo:Tesla
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Emme Hall's pick: Chevrolet Bolt

The Bolt is all about value. With a range of 238 miles per charge, that hits close to Tesla's furthest cruisers. However, a starting price of $30,000 puts it way ahead of Tesla in terms of affordability. Sure, the Model 3 is supposed to start around the same price, but so far, we haven't seen that trim come to market.

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Emme Hall's pick: Chevrolet Bolt

The 150-kW (electric motor is good for about 200 horsepower, but EVs are all about that sweet, instant electric torque. 266 pound-feet of twisting power goes to the front wheels for very responsive performance at low speeds and a peppy around-town feel. Floor it and the 3,580-pound hatchback will do an eerily silent, sub-7-second 60 mph sprint.

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Emme Hall's pick: Chevrolet Bolt

However, the tech is a tad disappointing. There is no adaptive cruise control and no navigation option. A large 10.2-inch color touchscreen display serves as home to a unique version of Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system. The software here has been stripped down to the essentials like satellite and terrestrial radio, Bluetooth calling and audio streaming, plus USB connectivity for audio playback.

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Jon Wong's pick: Smart ForTwo

I didn't shed any tears when Smart ditched the gas powertrain in the US to only offer the electric Fortwo. The gas Fortwo was dreaded, while the electric version makes a fairly strong case for a zippy city car with 80 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. People will scoff at its 11.4 second zero-to-60 mph time, but acceleration to 40 mph is brisk which is what you want in urban traffic.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Mercedes-Benz USA
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Jon Wong's pick: Smart ForTwo

The 8.8-foot long EQ Fortwo is maneuverable for snaking through crowded streets and is likely capable of slotting into the together parking spots you'll ever come across, but the its EPA-estimated 58 miles of range isn't something to write home about.

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Jon Wong's pick: Smart ForTwo

With tax credits, you could have a Smart EQ Fortwo for as low as $16,400, which gets you a unique, practical and fairly entertaining urban transportation.

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Steven Ewing's pick: Volkswagen e-Golf

Its 150-mile range isn't the most impressive in today's modern EV space, but it's still more than ample for most electric car buyers. I've spent long periods of time with the e-Golf on a couple of occasions, and with regular charging, the range was never an issue.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
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Steven Ewing's pick: Volkswagen e-Golf

The best thing about the e-Golf is that it's as functional and nice to drive as any other Golf model. VW's little guy is one of my favorites in the compact car space today, and the electric version is just as enjoyable to drive with lots of room in back for all your belongings.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
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Steven Ewing's pick: Volkswagen e-Golf

You get the same excellent infotainment tech as Volkswagen's other Golf models, which means an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard. The e-Golf has the same high-quality cabin materials as VW's other hatches, too.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
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Kyle Hyatt's pick: Tesla Model 3 Long Range

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the most hyped cars in history, but after spending a week with one, the hype is for real. The Model 3 in its Long Range single motor trim is one of the best implements for daily transportation that I've ever used.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Steven Ewing/Roadshow
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Kyle Hyatt's pick: Tesla Model 3 Long Range

With a real, useable range of around 300 miles -- comparable to that of most modern internal-combustion vehicles -- range anxiety is a total non-issue. You probably won't be finding yourself at a Supercharger that often either, unless you're on a road trip.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Steven Ewing/Roadshow
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Kyle Hyatt's pick: Tesla Model 3 Long Range

The Model 3 is comfortable, thoughtfully designed and packs ample cargo room into both of its trunks. It's minimal, sure but I never found myself wanting for anything even on longer drives. Tech is abundant, and while the navigation is among the best I've ever used, the music interface was one of the vehicle's only low points.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Steven Ewing/Roadshow
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Chris Paukert's pick: Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf started the modern affordable EV race, and this second-generation model is finally here to keep pace with the world it created. No, it doesn't have the range of some of the vehicles it's compared against, but it's significantly cheaper than most, starting at under $30,000 before incentives.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow
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Chris Paukert's pick: Nissan Leaf

Today's Leaf offers 151 miles of range, which is plenty for most folks, and a longer-range version is coming. Prospective buyers will appreciate its sprightly acceleration, good space and normalized appearance (the original Leaf looked like a deflated frog, this one looks like a Nissan).

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Chris Paukert's pick: Nissan Leaf

The Leaf holds two tech trump cards, too: E-Pedal, which is a better implimentation of one-pedal driving tech than most of its rivals, and the optional ProPilot Assist advanced driver aid that combines intelligent cruise control with lane centering. 

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Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow
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Tim Stevens' pick: Jaguar i-Pace

Jaguar's first foray into EVs resulted in an all-electric crossover SUV that will do 240 miles on a charge, delivers 394 horses through all four wheels and looks quite fetching. Yowza.

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Tim Stevens' pick: Jaguar i-Pace

The i Pace scoots to 60 in just 4.5 seconds, a smidge quicker than the Model X 100D. Strong acceleration comes with something not found on any other major production EV: an engine noise. Yes, put the I-Pace in its sportiest Dynamic mode and, by default, the car emits a subtle hum that sounds like someone put a V8 in the trunk of the Jetsons' flying pod.

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Tim Stevens' pick: Jaguar i-Pace

Inside two screens in the center dashboard comprise the InControl Touch Pro Duo infotainment system. For good measure there is also a configurable gauge cluster for the ultimate in customization. However, the system relies on a steady diet of menus and submenus, which can be confusing the first time out. Budget some time to learn all the menus before heading out on the road.

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Jake Holmes' pick: Hyundai Kona EV

Though we haven't driven it yet -- a full review is coming to Roadshow soon -- the Kona EV's 258-mile driving range is one of the best among affordable electrics.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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Jake Holmes' pick: Hyundai Kona EV

We already liked the practical and reasonably spacious gas-powered Kona, and the electric version should retain those virtues. With 201 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque, it should be fun to drive, too.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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Jake Holmes' pick: Hyundai Kona EV

The Kona EV also features plenty of tech for the driver and passenger, with pre-collision braking, wireless phone charging, a head-up display and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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Andrew Krok's pick: Tesla Model X P100D

Do you have a ludicrous amount of money and want acceleration named to match? Boom goes the Model X dynamite.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Tim Stevens/Roadshow
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Andrew Krok's pick: Tesla Model X P100D

With its 100-kWh battery, the Model X P100D has the best range of any current electric SUV on the market at 289 miles.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Tim Stevens/Roadshow
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Andrew Krok's pick: Tesla Model X P100D

Do you want your SUV to hustle like a supercar? The Model X P100D will do the runup to 60 mph in under 3.0 seconds. That really is ludicrous. 

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Published:Caption:Photo:Tim Stevens/Roadshow
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Antuan Goodwin's pick: Kia Soul EV

The Soul only promises around 100-ish miles of range per charge, but that's still a very respectable amount for urban commuting and errand running. Plus, available ChaDeMo rapid recharging gets you back up to 80-percent range in around 30 minutes.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Kia
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Antuan Goodwin's pick: Kia Soul EV

Starting around $33,950 before incentives (or around $38K fully-loaded), the Soul offers a respectable and affordable balance of price, range and features.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Kia
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Antuan Goodwin's pick: Kia Soul EV

Other than being the torquiest Soul you can buy at 210 pound-feet, it's rocking everything we already love about the standard Soul — great UVO 3 infotainment, loads of boxy style and plenty of space for cargo out back.

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Manuel Carrillo's pick: BMW i3

With a range of 114 miles and starting price of $44,450 before tax credits, the BMW i3 is falling behind in an era of EVs that offer about 100 miles more range for thousands less. Still, the i3 has a lot going for it.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow
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Manuel Carrillo's pick: BMW i3

Although on sale since the 2014 model year, the i3 still looks cutting-edge. For those who want to stand out while they whir quietly past, the i3's visual pop is there to win hearts ... for those who are fond of its polarizing looks.

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Manuel Carrillo's pick: BMW i3

The BMW i3 graces the scales with only 2,961 pounds thanks to its carbon-composite structure and body panels. As a result, its 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque mean zippy acceleration (7.2 seconds to 60 mph) as well as lively handling. 

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Published:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow
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Robert Weber's pick: Hyundai Ioniq Electric

The Hyundai Ioniq is one of the few good-looking EVs you can actually afford. Starting at under $30,000, you get a range of 124 miles on a charge — an equivalent of 136 MPG. Tech is plentiful, design is sleek and cargo capacity is better than most with the lift gate and foldable rear seats.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
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Robert Weber's pick: Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Range anxiety will occur, with less estimated miles than many competitors -- but the affordability and subtleties of the Ioniq help make up for what it lacks.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
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Robert Weber's pick: Hyundai Ioniq Electric

If you're looking for an electric vehicle that blends in, looks good, offers above average cargo space and won't break the bank, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric is for you.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
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