best electric cars 2021
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10 Best 2021 Electric Cars In Canada

The 2022 model year marks the year when EVs are blooming from all corners of the industry, but heavy supply shortages are causing very long waiting lists. Luckily, the second-hand market is still blessed with a long list of capable 2021 EVs.

To help you during your shopping, we put together what we believe are the 10 best electric vehicles of the 2021 model year. But if you’re set on a newer model, here are the cheapest electric cars in Canada for 2022.

10) 2021 Nissan LEAF

2021 LEAF | Photo: Nissan 

Who is this for? Consumers who don’t do much mileage and look for a reliable urban EV.

Why we like it

  • Second hand models are rather affordable
  • Proven reliability
  • Battery can easily be replaced

The Nissan LEAF may have one major flaw: its cooling system is air-cooled, meaning that during a harsh Canadian winter, its range drops considerably. But if you look at it as a cheap urban electric vehicle, the package is just right. 

The LEAF has proven itself many times over from a reliability standpoint and it’s not an expensive car to run. Fun fact: the LEAF’s straight forward layout makes it super easy to swap the battery, so if the old one is going south, an EV specialist can easily install a new battery.

9) 2021 Hyundai IONIQ

2021 IONIQ | Photo: Hyundai

Who is this for? Low to medium income families who look for an affordable urban commuter that won’t cost them an arm and a leg to run.

Why we like it

  • Affordable and cheap to run
  • Spacious and comfortable
  • Could still be covered by Hyundai’s outstanding warranty

Hyundai may now sell the highly attractive IONIQ 5, but it all began with this, the IONIQ electric sedan. While it doesn’t offer as much range or performance as the new generation of electric vehicles, its 273 km of advertised range could be plenty for some. 

Like the LEAF, the IONIQ is a fantastic urban EV for short distances. Hyundai even covered the battery for the life of the car for the original owner. Worry not if you buy it second hand, as Hyundai’s stellar 10-year, 160,000 km powertrain warranty could still be valid. 

8) 2021 MINI Cooper SE

2021 Cooper SE | Photo: MINI 

Who is this for? Consumers seeking an urban EV with a bit more style and performance.

Why we like it

  • The charming looks of a MINI Cooper without the gas bills
  • Just as quick and fun to drive as a Cooper S
  • 50 kW charging means the small battery charges fast

When MINI put the Cooper SE on the market in 2020, the company made it clear that it was first and foremost destined to be a secondary vehicle. The idea being that owners presumably own another car for longer distances. So yes, like the IONIQ and the LEAF, this Cooper’s 177 km of range won’t allow you to go very far. 

But during that time, you’ll be having a lot of fun behind the wheel. That’s because although it loses its gasoline engine, this MINI is just as if not more fun to drive than its ICE counterparts. It also looks a lot cooler than a LEAF or an IONIQ. 

We reviewed the 2022 Cooper SE here, providing a better idea of how this small EV handles and performs.

7) 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric

2021 Kona Electric | Photo: Hyundai

Who is this for? Budget-minded couples looking for the most range for their dollar.

Why we like it

  • A lot of range at an affordable price
  • Fun to drive and well packaged
  • Winter mode means it performs well in the cold

The Hyundai Kona Electric was a trendsetter when it was first introduced in 2019. For much less money than a Tesla, you could get almost as much range. The Kona was one of the first affordable electric vehicles to offer north of 400 km of range. 

Add to that a good format that makes it look and feel like a hot hatchback, solid performance off the line and a winter mode that allows the battery to better manage its energy during harsh cold weather, and this is by far one of the cleverest EVs of the second-hand car market.

6) 2021 Kia Soul EV

2021 Soul EV | Photo: Kia

Who is this for? Budget-minded families who need range, a low price point and a lot of cargo space.

Why we like it

  • Funky looks
  • Spacious and practical
  • Choose your range

The Kia Soul is a survivor. No other box-shaped vehicle has lived this long. And in EV mode, Kia’s charming urban runabout suddenly became much more compelling. Its boxy design means it’s spacious inside, even if it’s small on the outside. 

Also, consumers could choose between two available batteries according to their needs. The smaller battery meant 248 km of range, while the larger one offered 383 km, which is more than enough for a daily commute.

5) 2021 Kia Niro EV

2021 Niro EV | Photo: Kia

Who is this for? Small families looking for more cargo room, without having to sacrifice on range.

Why we like it: 

  • Station wagon vibes
  • Quick off the line
  • Solid range

Yes, the Niro EV is a mechanical twin to the Soul EV and Kona Electric, but it has a few tricks up its sleeve that make it a tad more interesting. There’s more storage space, notably in the massive center console. And it’s a bit longer than a Soul, meaning its trunk has more usable cargo space. 

It also looks like a small wagon, which we like. And although Kia claims a 383-km range like the Soul, the Niro outperforms its twin, capable of exceeding the 400-km mark. We give it bonus points for being so darn quick off the line. This thing will do burnouts (but we don’t encourage it!).

4) 2021 Polestar 2

2021 Polestar 2 | Photo: Polestar

Who is this for? High budget consumers who don’t need an SUV, but prefer the styling and performance of a sedan.

Why we like it

  • Sexy Scandinavian design
  • Well put together
  • Impressive grip in the snow

Volvo’s Polestar brand may be young, but in a very short time, it has positioned itself as a serious contender to Tesla and other premium EVs. The Polestar 2 is a sedan that only Volvo could have conceptualized. It’s high off the ground like an S60 Cross Country, yet it’s elegant and beautifully styled. 

Range may be lower than a Tesla, but the build quality is considerably better, with tight panel gaps and superb paint quality. Install a set of winter tires on this bad boy, and you won’t fear a snowstorm ever again.

If you’re considering this EV, also read our 2022 Polestar 2 Vs 2022 Tesla Model 3 comparison review.

3) 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2021 Bolt EV | Photo: Chevrolet

Who is this for? Consumers looking for a spacious, practical, and reliable electric car without sacrificing range.

Why we like it

  • Solid range
  • Spacious inside
  • As reliable as a rock

The fact that the Chevrolet Bolt EV has been on sale since 2016 has allowed it to gain experience out there in the real world. What we’re noticing is that, although GM did have battery issues which were covered under a recall, the Bolt is one heck of a reliable EV. 

Stories of owners having more than 300,000 km on the odometer and requiring very little maintenance are frequent. The Bolt is spacious too, even if it’s a small car. And you’ll easily do 400 km during a warm summer’s day.

2) 2021 Tesla Model 3

2021 Model 3 | Photo: Tesla

Who is this for? Consumers looking for the most technically advanced electric sport sedan on the second-hand market.

Why we like it

Yes, the Tesla Model 3 has been plagued with early build quality issues, and some owners aren’t too happy with Tesla’s after sales service. But this car’s list of qualities easily overshadows these drawbacks. 

If you can find a clean example that’s been well taken care of, that is equipped with a wrap and the proper mud guards, it’s a keeper. Even in its most basic form, the Model 3 is quick off the line and composed in a corner, making it feel like an electric BMW 3 Series. 

Its range surpasses anything else in this class. And the fact that the car continuously updates itself, makes it one of the most exciting EVs in years. The Model 3’s interior is also one of the most distinct

1) 2021 Tesla Model Y

2021 Model Y | Photo: Tesla

Who is this for? Young families who appreciate the level of technology Tesla has to offer but would rather have it in a more usable SUV package.

Why we like it

  • Massive cargo room considering its size
  • Class-leading range
  • Will blow the doors off a V8-powered sports car

What could be better than the Model 3 sedan? How about essentially the same car but with an SUV body? That’s basically what the Model Y is. Underneath its skin hides the same battery and electric motors as an AWD Model 3, meaning this utility vehicle will exceed 500 km of range all while accelerating like a high-end sports car. 

But it’s the level of cargo space that’s off the charts. Thanks to both a trunk and a frunk (front trunk), the Model Y is hands down the most practical compact SUV on the market, more even than its main rival, the Ford Mustang Mach-E

If you’re thinking of buying a new or used Tesla, also take a look at:

  1. Tesla Financing & Car Loans in Canada: Here's How It Works
  2. Used and certified Tesla vehicles for sale

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