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Renault Zoe Review

Find out more about the Renault Zoe in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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8
Out of 10
Average Price £8,759
Model Review

You could think of the Renault Zoe as the rather hilarious little Twizy quadricycle’s older sister. Whereas the Twizy is has its limitations, the Zoe is a proper car with five seats, a boot and a useable real-world electric driving range.

 

Not only is the Zoe a family car, it’s also a zero-emissions vehicle, meaning it qualifies for the government’s full £4,500 plug-in car grant. This helps bring the Zoe’s price down to a lowly £14,245, but doesn’t include the mandatory monthly battery hire fee.

Latest Model

Renault first introduced the Zoe back in 2013. Since then, however, the electric car has been facelifted for the 2017 model year and gains a new 250-mile battery – the Z.E.40. There’s also the new Signature Nav top-level trim.

This new battery is the most important update for the Zoe, however, as it dramatically increases its appeal compared with its rivals. The 250-mile range is based on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), however, and Renault says that in the real world this will be closer to 184 miles in summer and 124 miles in the winter.

 

Value for money 

Standard equipment is fairly generous, with even entry-level models benefitting from Renault’s R-Link infotainment system and satellite navigation. Our mid-range Dynamique Nav specification test car came equipped with a hands-free key card, DAB radio, Bluetooth audio streaming and rear parking sensors.

Prices for the Renault Zoe start at just £14,245 – which is considerably lower than rivals such as the Hyundai Ioniq and Nissan Leaf, which start at £24,995 and £16,680 respectively. However, that price tag does not include the mandatory monthly battery hire fee, which costs upwards of £59 per month based on mileage.

If you would prefer to buy the Zoe and battery outright, you’ll need to part with £19,845 for the entry-level i-Expression Nav model.

Early models of the Renault Zoe can be had second-hand for as little as £5,000. Although these higher mileage models may soon need a battery replacement which, if not on a lease plan, can become costly.

 

Look and image

To our eyes at least, the Zoe is quite a pretty little car. There’s something very chic about its looks – which is no doubt a by-product of its French roots.

With the possible exception of the Tesla Model S, the Zoe is actually one of the most attractive-looking EVs on sale today.

While it may also be one of the most affordable, it certainly doesn’t look “cheap” and will be right at home when parked up on a fashionable high street.

Those who see their car as a fashion accessory are likely to be very pleased with the cute and graceful looks of the Zoe.

Space and practicality

Although the Zoe might look good from the outside, unfortunately the same can’t be said of its interior. That low price point starts to make itself apparent in the cabin, where you’ll find plenty of cheap and scratchy plastic surfaces.

Compared with the likes of the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, the Zoe’s low-rent interior is a bit of a let-down, although it does undercut the price of its rivals massively.

As far as space is concerned, though, it does claim back some points. Two adults will be able to sit in relative comfort in the back seats – although they might be a bit squashed if sat behind taller front passengers. Boot space stands at 338 litres, which is decent but falls short of its rivals. By comparison, the Hyundai Ioniq and Nissan Leaf offer 350 litres and 370 litres respectively.

 

Engines

If you’re in the market for a brand-new Renault Zoe, you’ll have a choice of two electric motors.

The first is the R90 motor, which develops 91bhp and 220Nm of torque, with a claimed NEDC range of 250 miles.

There’s also the Q90 motor which, although very slightly down on power compared to the R90 with 89bhp and 220Nm of torque, comes with fast charging technology that allows a 0-80 per cent charge to be achieved in a claimed 65 minutes. Range matches that of the R90.

Top speed for the Zoe regardless of the motor is 84mph with 0-60mph coming in 13.3 seconds.

Older cars are equipped with an 88bhp motor, but are only capable of a claimed 130 miles of range.

Running costs

As the car is all-electric, running costs will equate to little more than a few extra pounds on your electricity bill.

It is worth bearing in mind that a battery lease will set you back at least £59 on a monthly basis regardless of a new or used Zoe purchase with a limit of 7,500 miles of driving, but Renault will also insure the battery for damage or mechanical faults.

 

Things to look out for 

No major problems have been reported on Zoe models as of yet, but for a model line that has only existed for three years, there’s still plenty of time for common issues to crop up down the line so it’s a good idea to keep an eye out during ownership on other owner’s experiences and difficulties.

 

Rivals

With the electric car market still emerging, more and more rivals for the Zoe are appearing.

Its closest contender is the Nissan Leaf, which has been the best-selling electric car since it was introduced in 2010 — with a second-generation car set to debut in 2018.

The current Leaf comes in at a £16,680 starting price which is noticeably more expensive than the Zoe, however it does offer a more powerful motor at 107bhp — however range is a comparatively limited claimed 124 miles.

Other electric rivals include the Hyundai Ioniq and Volkswagen e-Up, though the Zoe massively undercuts the prices of both.

Which Zoe to Pick

Trims Explained

Three trim levels are available for the Renault Zoe, with battery-ownership options also available for each.

Expression Nav

Included as standard equipment is automatic climate control, Renault's R-Link infotainment system and a home-fitted charging station.

Prices start at £14,245.

Dynamique Nav

On top of the standard equipment, this adds keyless entry, a seven-inch touchscreen, rear parking sensors and leather trim to the steering wheel and gear knob.

Prices for the Dynamique Nav begin at £18,170.

Signature Nav

Following on from the other models, this adds a reverse parking camera, more leather trim to the dashboard, 16-inch Grey Shadow alloy wheels and a Bose sound system.

Prices start at £20,240.

I Expression Nav, I Dynamique Nav and I Signature Nav.

These contain the same equipment options as their similarly-named counterparts, but include the cost of the battery in one lump sum as opposed to leasing it.

In Summary

  1. Pretty looks
  2. Class-leading range
  3. Low cost
  4. Questionable interior quality
  5. Easy to drive
  6. Lacks dynamic driving experience
  7. Well-equipped
  8. Battery lease can be expensive
  9. Undercuts rivals in price while delivering more range