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The 2023 Nissan Leaf is a practical and spacious choice when considering EVs.Jay McNally McNally Multi Media/Handout

Our family currently owns a 12-year-old Toyota Venza and a lightly used Lexus RX 450h.

The Venza is nearing the end of its life and we would like to replace it with an EV sedan within the next 12 to 18 months for use around town. The Lexus will serve longer trips.

We live in a smaller community, and will not drive out of town for car servicing. Our current car dealer options in town are Nissan, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, General Motors, Subaru, Ford, Dodge, Hyundai, Kia and Toyota (who service the Lexus). What are the best EV models among these choices? Colin

Petrina Gentile: Colin hasn’t mentioned a budget, but if he’s looking for an all-electric vehicle, he’s looking at a price tag north of at least $40,000. Shall we start with the Nissan Leaf, the first all-electric mass-produced EV on the market?

Mark Richardson: That’s a good choice, and the wait shouldn’t be as long as for some others that are newer and more sophisticated, like the Nissan Ariya EV. The Leaf is slower to charge than more recent models, but if Colin charges mostly at home and can fall back on the Lexus, that won’t be an issue.

Gentile: Exactly. It’s practical and spacious with its hatchback styling. It has plenty of technology and a range of up to 342 kilometres. It costs around $42,000 – one of the cheapest EVs on the market today.

Richardson: And also one of the most established, because it’s been around for more than a decade. The rumour is that it will be discontinued in the next year or two, making way for the newer technology of the Ariya and others.

Gentile: So, now is the time to buy. It’s proven, solid technology. And it’s cheaper than an Ariya, which starts in the low $50,000 range.

Richardson: I wasn’t that impressed with the Ariya, to be honest, when I drove a prototype in California last year. It’s nice enough, but didn’t seem all that special. That’s the problem with EVs – the principles of the technology are all similar. But if Colin wants to replace his Toyota, how about the new Toyota bZ4X crossover?

Gentile: I like the bZ4X. I drove it in California a few months ago. It’s a smooth and comfortable ride, but not the most exciting or engaging vehicle behind the wheel. And the wait-list to get one is long. I liked the Ariya, too – it had some cool technology, like a parking assist system to help parallel and perpendicular park.

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2022 Chevrolet Bolt.Jeremy sinek/The Globe and Mail

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2022 Volkswagen ID.4.Mark Richardson/The Globe and Mail

Richardson: The wait-list to get almost anything electric is long. If Colin likes the idea of the bZ4X and puts his name down for one now, it might arrive in the 18 months he’s prepared to wait. Though a friend bought a Chevrolet Bolt last year and only waited a couple of months.

Gentile: I’m not a big fan of the Bolt. It has GM’s last-generation battery system. GM has newer electric models with the latest generation of battery technology coming down the pipeline in models like the Equinox and Blazer that will be worth the wait.

Richardson: But Colin isn’t asking for the latest and greatest, with long range and speedy charging. He wants an EV for the city, so why spend more money on something he doesn’t really need?

Gentile: Let’s talk about Hyundai and Kia because those dealerships are in Colin’s town and both offer some interesting electric vehicles. The Ioniq 5 is definitely worth a test drive.

Richardson: The Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6 are probably the best EVs available right now, especially for the money. And the Volkswagen ID.4 is right there with them. They’re more than Colin needs though, especially if he’s just looking for a city car.

Gentile: Of the three you mentioned, I prefer the Ioniq 5. I like the distinct, retro styling. It has respectable range, plenty of technology, and the option of all-wheel-drive.

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Hyundai Ioniq 5.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

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Kia EV6.Mark Richardson/The Globe and Mail

Richardson: The Ioniq 5 is the most practical for space, while the EV6 is the more sporty. If there’s a dog in the family, the Hyundai is the better choice. The Korean cars have the advantage of 350-kilowatt fast-charging, but that’s fairly moot these days because there are very few public chargers capable of such high speeds.

Gentile: That’s one of the major disadvantages of owning an EV – the lack of infrastructure for public charging. Colin will need to make sure he has suitable charging at home to simplify the task.

Richardson: The bigger the batteries, the farther the driving range but the longer those batteries take to charge. Colin doesn’t need massive range, but he should have access to a Level 2 charger, preferably at his house, if he’s to recharge at a reasonable rate. The basic 110-volt household plug could take about four days to properly charge a larger battery, while a Level 2 charger can do the job overnight.

Gentile: There are other electric options that have dealers in Colin’s town: Ford has its Mustang Mach-E and Subaru has its just-released first electric vehicle, the Solterra, which is built in a partnership with Toyota. But he asked for a few of our favourites and I think we covered those. So, what’s your final verdict?

Richardson: The Nissan Leaf is likely the best value for money and will have the shortest wait time, and I think it will give Colin the features and the reliability he wants. The Chevrolet Bolt would be my next suggestion, because it’s affordable and available. Of the others, they’re all better vehicles, but more than Colin needs as a second car in the city. They’re more expensive too, and probably unavailable for at least a year.

What car should you buy? Write to Mark and Petrina at and use ‘What car’ as part of your subject line. Emails with different subject lines may not be answered.

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