Top 10 Best Looking EVs On Sale Today

OCT 8 2014 BY JAY COLE 57

McLaren P1 - Looking Good Outside Our Hotel During The Geneva Motor Show In March

McLaren P1 – Looking Good Outside Our Hotel During The Geneva Motor Show In March

Taking a break from the hard and fast news cycle of the week, we are stepping back for something a little less precise – “The Top 10 Best Looking EVs On Sale Today”.

Just Missing The List At #11, The Kia Soul EV

Just Missing The List At #11, The Kia Soul EV

And rather than just put out a list myself representing InsideEVs, we opened it up to all the writers (and a few important unseen, yet vital cogs in the machine) to submit a “Top 10” list of their own to form a consensus.

Just as a disclaimer about the who, what, why and how of qualifying, here are the rules to make the list:

  • the EV must be in production today
  • the EV must be mass-produced
  • the EV must appear on at least 50% of the ballots
  • the average finish decides ranking

In total, 13 writers and 8 others took up the challenge and came up with the following scientific result.

Spoiler: To find out the correct “Top 10” list, scroll to the bottom to find my own picks

Tesla Model S In Hong Kong

Tesla Model S In Hong Kong

1. Tesla Model S (8 – 1st Place Votes):  Clean, proportional lines takes the day again.

The race for first was very tight, in fact there was three vehicles all quite close in the voting for the top spot.  In the end the Model S finished first by virtue of  appearing on all ballots (the only EV to do so)

BMW i8 Gets The Blade Runner Treatment

BMW i8 Gets The Blade Runner Treatment By YasidDesign

2. BMW i8 (8 – 1st Place Votes):  Funky doors, supercar sensibilities.

Showing just how close the race for first was, the BMW just missed scoring the top spot as both it and the Tesla had the identical amount of 1st and 2nd place nods.

Just Kidding, The Mitsu i-MiEV Did Not Make The List

Just Kidding, The Mitsu i-MiEV Failed To Impress The Judges (Photo: Mitsubishi Japan Promotional Video Screencap)

Mitsubishi i-MiEV – Is An Electric Car … that didn’t make the list

Not Your Dad's Cadillac

Not Your Dad’s Cadillac

3. Cadillac ELR (2 – 1st Place Votes): GM showed us the extended range Converj Concept at the 2009 NAIAS in Detroit – then they went ahead and didn’t change a thing other than to give it a new name in production.  We would give our left arm for GM to scrap the next generation of ELR and just rebadge it as Chevy Volt 2.0, sight unseen.

The race for the medal positions were much closer than expected, and to the Cadillac ELR’s credit it manage score the vast majority of its votes in the top 3 spots.

"Hey, Look At Me!"

“Hey, Look At Me!”

4. Porsche 918 Spyder: (2 – 1st Place Votes):  Hi, I’m a $845,000 supercar that can both plug-in and zip to 60 mph in 2.5 second…and I look it.

Given its lofty pricetag and elite status, one might assume the 918 should have finished higher, or much lower in the rankings, it all depends if you feel it should eligible for the list at all – something our writer’s struggled with.  Ultimately, the fact Porsche is making 918 of the them saw it make the cut.

Strongest Looker (and best selling) Of All The Plug-In Fords - The Fusion Energi

Strongest Looker (and best selling) Of All The Plug-In Fords – The Fusion Energi

5. Ford Fusion Energi:  The highest ranking everyman’s EV, the plug-in Ford appeared on more than 2/3rds of all ballots, with most results showing the Fusion solidly in the middle of the pack – although it also netted itself a couple 2nd place votes as well.

Panamera S e-Hybrid - No One Sells More Plug-Ins With A Starting Price Of $100,000 Than Porsche

Panamera S e-Hybrid – No One Sells More Plug-Ins With A Starting Price Of $100,000 Than Porsche

6. Porsche Panamera S e-Hybrid: Another premium EV unsurprisingly made the top 10 for “best looking”.  For those who chose to vote for the Porsche, none placed it lower than 6th – a feat no other EV managed.

Chevrolet Volt - America's Best Selling Plug-In Still Appeals To Our Crew

Chevrolet Volt – America’s Best Selling Plug-In Still Appeals To Our Crew

7. Chevrolet Volt: America’s first mass produced EV is apparently still a favorite to see on the streets.  While only 1 vote put the Chevy in the top 3 it did make onto more than 80% of all lists.

Fiat 500e - The Styling Much Loved By Europeans Is Quite Popular In North America As Well

Fiat 500e – People Really Like The Style Of The 500 Cars. What New?

8. Fiat 500e:  Unsurprisingly, the electric Fiat shows up on the list – those who like the Italian styling, seem to like it a lot.

2015 Ford Focus Electric Catches Our Eye - Just Not Our Pocket Books

2015 Ford Focus Electric Catches Our Eye – Just Not Our Pocket Books

9. Ford Focus EV:  Ok, we did not see this one coming, but the Focus EV showed up on 66% of the ballots (but mostly near the bottom) pushing it into the Top 10.  Goes to show you, if Ford marketed (or stocked) this car a little more (or at all),  it could be a much stronger seller than the 100-odd copies it sells every month in the US.

Checking In At Number 10 - The BMW i3

Checking In At Number 10 – The BMW i3

10.) BMW i3: The most polarizing of any car on the list, the BMW i3 received a high volume of ‘bottom of the pack’ votes, enough for it to just eek out a win for the last spot.  It should be noted that 3 persons declared if the i3 made the cut they wanted psych evals on those who voted for it (more or less)

Now as promised, my own “Top 10 Best Looking EVs On Sale Today

Please, Don't Everyone Agree With Me All At Once

Please, Don’t Everyone Agree With Me All At Once

Feel free to share your own “Top 10” …if you dare

Categories: BMW, BYD, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Kia, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Renault, Smart, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo


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57 Comments on "Top 10 Best Looking EVs On Sale Today"

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“What?! No LEAF, on a list of best looking cars?”
Said no one, ever… including this LEAF driver.

I voted for the Leaf.
…and I drive a Volt.
1) BMW i8
2) Tesla S
3) ELR
4) Volt
5) Leaf
6) i3

If the fiat and the ford focus made the list, I am very surprised the leaf wasn’t on there.

too funny

Wait… Twizzy before the ELR, but right after the Model S??? WTF.

It appears that those writers and vital yet unseen contributors have good taste.

I think the rankings look correct……

I’d actually like to see each person’s individual list (they could be anonymous) just so I could see how different people see the cars as a group. THe only thing that really surprised me about this list is the i3 coming in at the bottom. I think it was number 4 or 5 on my list.

Here’s my list (1-10):

Porsche 918 Spyder
Model S
BMW i8
McLaren P1
Fusion Energi

You could have stopped at the VW XL1…the only one designed by engineers. The rest were designed by frustrated interior decorators!

LOL — like your list, Eric!

Nevermind how at a production run of a whopping 250, it completely fails to meet the “mass produced” metric.

Here was my list:
1) BMW i8
2) Cadillac ELR
3) Tesla Model S
4) Chevrolet Volt
5) BMW i3
6) Ford Focus Electric
7) Nissan Leaf
8) Ford Fusion Energi
9) VW e-Golf
10) Ford C-Max Energi

We kinda think alike David. Here is how I voted:
1) BMW i8
2) Cadillac ELR
3) Ford Fusion Energi
4) Tesla Model S
5) Chevy Volt
6) BMW i3
7) Fiat 500e
8) Mercedes B-Class
9) Honda Fit EV
10)Ford Focus EV

I will add mine to the lineup. Surprised that the B-Class did not make the cut!

1) BMW i8
2) Cadillac ELR
3) Tesla Model S
4) Chevy Volt
5) Fiat 500e
6) Ford Focus EV
7) Ford Fusion Energi
8) Mercedes B-Class
9) Prius Plug-In
10) BMW i3

Here is my list: (note: I only used vehicles on the monthly scorecard)

1 – Model S
2 – i8
3 – ELR

Big Gap

4 – Panamera S-E
5 – Fusion Energi
6 – Volt
7 – 500e
8 – Focus Electric
9 – B-Class
10 – LEAF

I’ll also add, my wife loved our LEAFs looks, so that is probably the only reason it scratched onto the list. And it would have to be the new grey color with the aero wheels…

Same here! I only used the monthly sales scorecard, which listed 19 vehicles.

My List (I like sedans and new concepts)
1) i8
2) Model S
3) Panamera
4) ELR
5) Fusion
6) Volt
7) i3
8) 500e
9) B Class
10) Soul


This is the list that I sent. I didn’t include any “hybrid” cars.


1) Tesla Model S
2) Fiat 500e (Fiat / Chrysler)
3) Ford Focus EV
4) Mercedes B-Class ED (Daimler)
5) VW eGolf
6) Smart EV (Daimler)
7) Kia Soul EV
8) Mazda Demio EV
9) Nissan LEAF
10) Toyota RAV4 EV *** discontinued August 2014
11) Honda Fit EV *** to be discontinued winter 2014-2015
11) Chevrolet Spark EV (General Motors)
12) Nissan eNV-2000
13) BMW i3
14) Scion iQ EV (Toyota)
15) Mitsubishi iMiev

Tony Williams
R&D Manager
Quick Charge Power LLC
TonyWilliams (@)
1-844-387-2787 ext 701

I’d rank your RAV4 higher on the list. I think they are pretty nice looking. Wish it had fast charging though. I hope your fast-charge port project for it works out.

That i-MiEV sure is atrocious. And the branding is terrible. It is a pain to type out or even pronounce ‘i-MiEV’. And what ever happened to it being called the Mitsubishi-i (which is also a terrible name)?

Porsche 918, BMW i8, and ELR would be my top 3. Much more innovative design directions. The Model S is too similar in design to the Aston Martin, Jaguar, and even shares rear end resemblance to a Kia Optima.

Agreed! The Model S looks like a generic premium sedan. Nothing wrong with that, but much like Hyundai Genesis, it lacks personality. They wanted a premium sedan, which will compete with all the premium sedans out there, and they succeeded. A design marvel it is not.


Model S is design perfection

none of those cars you mentioned come close

Jay only likes the BYDs because they usually have nice looking Chinese models next to them. The marketing works!

I believe they (the models) are actually a standard option and come with the Qin. Handy to help make sure you stay plugged in at public charging spaces, (=

I was going to make a comment about Jay’s list but in an unusual display of restraint I kept my mouth shut.

The i3, one of the ugliest cars in the history of the world… places #10 on this list. Oookay.

Well, it ranked #5 on my list.. You know what they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I thought it was “in the eye of the beerholder”?

#2 on mine! haha.

(then again, my list excluded things like the Model S, Caddy, Porsche, i8, etc)

I would beg to differ. When you are driving the i3 on the road, it’s like a show on wheels. The reaction of common people driving on the streets around you is much more positive than what we have seen in online publications like this one. That has to count for something.

I never had that experience with the LEAF or any other plug-in I drove before. The LEAF has a very controversial design also, but aside from the bulbous headlights, it resembles a Versa closely enough for most people not to take much notice. Great car otherwise.

I’m not insinuating that BMW did something astonishingly great, but they are doing their part to help promote plug-in vehicles, and get them noticed in everyday driving. Like it or not, the i3 truly stands out from the crowd, and no, people are not covering their eyes or ears when spotting it. They take photos instead.

That’s a very important aspect of EV design, which prompted me to place it on my personal list too.

i3 are you kidding me?

My list of the top 9 cars available in America that can be purchased by the common man. I used an arbitrary $50k price ceiling.

1. Fiat (especially the grey/red version)
2. i3 (I’m one of those that needs a psych evaluation!)
3. Ford Fusion Energi
4. Kia Soul
5. Outlander EV (coming next year
6. Chevy Volt
7. eGolf
8. Mercedes B Class Electric
9. Rav 4.

the rest are forgettable to me, except the LEAF which I find to be the ugliest car ever produced in the history of Earth. But I have compassion for LEAF owners because I like the i3, another car that people evidently hate!

Nobody ever posts this picture of the 500. I like it so much better than the orange (which is also cute)

Of course, it’s all subjective, but one car that would definitely make my list, although it’s not on sale, is the concept iMiev Sport (Google it). I really with Mitsbishi had brought this design to market, rather than the more predictable and much less challenging commercial iMiev on the roads now.

The i-MiEV Sport looks like a Leaf driving in reverse.

Meh. That i-MiEV Sport is still pretty damn goofy looking. Perhaps a little better than what is on the market now but not much.

It kinda looks like the Audi TT though (which I also think is ugly).

From a European point of vue :
– The Twizy (that I see quite often) is objectively fugly but, according to the people who tried it, funny…Ok, nether in the top 10 for its looks anyway

– The ZOE is really,really nice…Certainly not top spot but in the top 10? Definitely

– The BMW I3 is fugly on photos,but coming in the way of one leaves a strange feeling, because it’s wide and bulky, and looks really cool and well-done (from the outside anyway)

– The new fiat 500 is a bit too round and small…Not in my top ten

– The E-up, just like the up, looks nothing more like a yoghurt pot…Too small to even rate

– The Mitsubishi I-miev looks just as sad and shabby in true life as on photos

– I think I came across a Tesla once and was a bit deceived by the true looks – and the dashboard is atrocious to a European

– The LEAF is much more watchable in reality than on photos, still no beauty of course

I guess this may be why the reasonably priced Spark EV is not selling so good. It is a decent economy EV . . . but it is pretty small and not so good looking. The more expensive but similarly specced Fiat 500e is outselling it . . . despite not having a fast-charger port which it really needs to add.

The Ford Focus EV is a pretty nice looking car . . . but I gotta admit, the fact that it looks exactly the same as the gas version hurts it in my mind. There really is a bit too ‘the Prius effect’ wherein some people (including me) do want a different looking car to distinguish their EV.

I guess I just want everyone to recognize all the EVs that are getting on the roads instead of just having them blend in. (But I don’t like the Prius design.)

Ok, so thanks to this list we’ve finally learned what’s the common theme that separates cars costing more than the average annual family income, from the rest.

They just look better to most eyes. Besides the Model S, there’s nothing else that really justifies paying so much money for a car.

I guess it’s like being able to pay to marry a supermodel 🙂 Which some people do manage to pull off 🙁

Haha… some people, like me, prefer the opposite. I’m glad my car (an FFE) is a “stealth” EV. I don’t want to drive around screaming “I have an EV!!”. People paying attention will notice the “Electric” emblems on my FFE and, when they do, the realize electric cars don’t have to be “weird”.

Once, I caught a couple looking in my car in a parking lot. I overheard them saying, “it’s just like a regular car.. look how big it is”.

Oops, meant to reply to the immediately previous comment.

No worries. Personally I think it’s good to have both – the “stealth” EVs and the “eye-popping different” EVs.

Even though in a beauty contest I would rank only the latter, because with the former in the mix you are really comparing apples an oranges.

The FFE in particular (and all of Ford’s EV offerings 2 of which made it to these top 10), is a BEV squeezed into an ICE-dictated external design, with pretty serious consequences for trunk space.

I realize that this is a beauty contest, and I agree with the mission of ’embrace all things with a plug’ that I see here, but I think a conclusive debate about what qualifies as a Useful EV is overdue. IMHO, there are models on the list that are clearly and plainly not EV in their nature. If the battery and motor cannot move the vehicle alone for much more than parking, the vehicle is an EV-Boosted ICE, the polar opposite of a BEV (even with range extender). So how to define the vehicle whose Obvious Mission is to eat track, tires and gasoline at the fastest rate possible – yet has a Plug? It gets ~10mi AER on a good day in perfect weather, which exceeds PiP, so it must be an EV? But So clearly It.Is.Not. Perhaps a ratio would work? i.e., when the HP of the ICE portion of the vehicle in question exceeds 100% of the EV portion? The i8 would be a .56 EV (129/228), the i3 would be a 5.0 EV (170/34). The Volt is a 1.9 EV (149/80). But then the VW GTE comes in at a .72 EV (107/148).. ouch. Maybe the… Read more »

The new concept version of the Outlander PHEV would probably bump the i3 off the bottom of the list. If they would actually get their $#!+ together and sell it in the US….

Smart ED is a clean looking little car

I would disqualify the i8 from the list since although it is a plug-in, it has an EPA rated all-electric range of ZERO.

My list:
Top 10
1 Porsche 918
2 BYD Qin
3 BMW i8
4 Tesla Model S
5 Porsche Panamera Plug-In
6 Volvo V60 Plug-In
7 Volkswagen Golf GTE
8 BMW i3
9 Audi A3 e-Tron
10 Mercedes S500 Plug-In

And the models I chose from:

Models for sale
Audi A3 e-Tron
BMW i3
BMW i8
Bolloré Bluecar
BYD e6
Cadillac ELR
Chery QQ3 EV
Chevrolet Spark EV
Chevrolet Volt
Citröen C-Zero
Fiat 500e
Ford C-Max Energi
Ford Focus Electric
Ford Fusion Energi
Honda Accord Plug-In
Honda Fit EV
Kandi EV
Kia Soul EV
Mercedes B-Class ED
Mercedes S500 Plug-In
Mitsubishi I-Miev
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Nissan Leaf
Opel Ampera
Peugeot iOn
Porsche 918
Porsche Cayenne Plug-In
Porsche Panamera Plug-In
Renault Zoe 
Smart Fortwo ED
Tesla Model S
Toyota Prius Plug-In
Volkswagen e-Golf
Volkswagen e-Up!
Volkswagen Golf GTE
Volkswagen XL1
Volvo V60 Plug-In
Zotye E20

And somehow I forgot about the McLaren P1, which would have made it into my top 10 list.

I am totally late to the party but I did submit my list yesterday so I reckon I should share it, here it is as submitted in Letterman reverse order, complete with comments:

10. MBZ B-Class ED
9. Chevy Spark
8. Ford Fusion SE Energi (Black)
7. Chevy Volt
6. Fiat 500e (retro blue with orange sport package is sweet!)
5. Kia Soul EV (the white with aqua trim, ooooo! Is it for sale yet?)
4. BMW i3
3. Cadillac ELR (yep, love this styling man)
2. Tesla Model S (duh!)
1. BMW i8 (c’mon, too easy)

Most surprised so many people are putting the Volt and the Leaf higher than the Zoe. I know of 3 people who picked the Zoe over the Leaf purely on looks.

I didn’t pick it just on looks, but they did help 🙂

how does the tesla look like an aston martin when the frickin fusion looks like one rofl

I leased a beautiful Focus EV BECAUSE it didn’t look like a moon cruiser concept from the 70’s-(i3, spark) The Tesla is beautiful. The Leaf is not. The Mitsubishi is trying too hard to look like something. The rest are going away or hard to get.
Fully electric= all in.

I can see why the BMW i3 was polarizing to the voters. Honestly, the front end does remind me a little bit of a Pontiac Aztec.

I’ll go with George Betak’s response. I have a Volt and an i3. The Volt, while quite handsome, is conventional looking. It just blends in with the automotive scenery. The i3 gets noticed in a more animated way. My wife calls it “breaking necks”. We show it quite often at various car shows and get more positive comments on its looks. It comes across as a high quality car while the Volt is more pedestrian. The i8 would have been my top choice. Too bad the BMW Active E and the Tesla Roadster weren’t in the running.

Personally I like the Ampera (European version of the Volt) better than the Volt. Too bad they do not sell it in NA. I wonder how it would have done against the others?