Speaking of the battery, two sizes are available, and they correspond to the output of the rear-mounted electric motor. The 146bhp and 168bhp models come with a 52kWh unit, while the 201bhp model has a 77kWh battery that’s good for a WLTP range of 324 miles. A dual-motor, four-wheel-drive 295bhp GTX model tops the range, though it’s more of a fast cruiser than a true GTI for the electric age.
Performance of the normal 201bhp version is usefully brisk as well, and it’s very refined, even on big wheels. But there’s also enough character to ensure that it doesn’t leave you cold: neatly tuned control responses, sharp initial performance, interesting little design cues and a sense of maturity on the move.
The ID 4 offers a neat, simplified and intuitive electric-car experience, though the interior ergonomics have been simplified a bit too much. Despite a very appealing ambiance inside the ID 4, the loss of most buttons means it’s not very user-friendly – a common complaint with modern Volkswagens.
6. Polestar 2
You may remember the Polestar 1: the muscular but oh-so-svelte 600bhp plug-in hybrid GT built by Volvo’s environmentally minded subsidiary. Well, it is the smaller and cheaper Polestar 2 that really demonstrates the kind of the car this young brand wants to make.
The Polestar 2’s fundamental architecture is shared with the Volvo XC40, but the stark exterior design, warm interior ambience, Android-developed infotainment and the 402bhp all-electric powertrain make it almost unrecognisable from any other Volvo-based car in terms of its character. The 78kWh battery is rated for 282 miles of WLTP range if you go for the Performance Pack, of which is delivered about 225 miles in real-world use; and the car can charge at speeds of up to 150kW. There’s also less costly single-motor model, which in aptly named Long Range guise promises 335 miles between charges.
What impresses us about the 2 is how complete and sophisticated it feels. The control weights are nicely judged, the cabin is comfortable and it’s superbly easy to use, excepting its compromised rear visibility. There are bigger and more spacious cars on this list, and some that confer a bit more status and reflected glory; but few are quite so nice to use. That said, we’d steer clear of the expensive Performance Pack upgrade and its stiff, manually adjustable Ohlins dampers.