Road Tests

Renault Zoe

3

thumbs upLots of room, high levels of standard kit, smooth and brisk to drive. New Model has 250 mile range

thumbs downLong charging times, pricey, complicated battery lease deal

Should You?

The Zoe is a bewitching little EV with lots of low speed urge and impish character. Range is around 100 miles (new model has ZE40 battery giving 250 mile range) if you drive carefully but for practicality you’ll need the Rapid Charge model to be able to take advantage of fast chargers but then the range drops to 80 miles in real world driving. We’d advise leasing the batteries (Renault will replace them if they fall to 75% efficiency) even though all reports say that battery life span is good. Standard equipment is better than the Nissan Leaf with Sat Nav and keyless entry and the Zoe is outstandingly smooth and refined on the road. The cabin is impressively huge and there’s plenty of room for four adults. 0-30 mph takes just four seconds so town driving is where the Zoe scores. Impressively cheap if you’re a company car driver.

My Charging Life

If you use a normal three-pin socket at home you’ll wait nine hours for a full charge. Renault refined the electric motor spec of the Zoe to make it more efficient so you can now only have fast charging on one model - the Dynamique Nav Rapid Charge – which gets you to 80% fast charge in 30 mins. We’d recommend having the option of being able to use the network of 45kWh fast chargers for sheer convenience. Range is around 95 miles in real world driving. Leasing the batteries for a fixed amount every month lowers the initial purchase price and gives the peace of mind of a free replacement if the range falls with use. Used Zoes looking very attractive now with prices down to £5k.

The Downsides

Still not that cheap new compared with other superminis and high initial depreciation. Used buyers may be put off by battery leasing deals and go for a Leaf instead. That nine-hour slow charge cycle is far too long.

Verdict
5

A little poppet to drive and amazingly refined and capable. Get a Zoe that can be rapid charged and you’ll love its feeling of cut and thrust urban mischief. A used one makes the best buy of all.