Electric Car Experts Review the Renault Zoe Add Your Review
Look and living
Approaching the Renault Zoe it looks like like a modern, stylish compact hatchback. This example was in Zircon Blue which is the colour used in most of the marketing material and suits the car well. It is a five door although it looks like a three door as the rear door handles are ‘hidden’ in the window frames, giving it a sporty look. The stylish 16 inch alloys look great but protrude a little and may be susceptible to kerbing.
Inside the car is stylish with a 7 inch touchscreen controlling sat-nav, ICE, phone and car settings. The Digital dash display shows the current speed and remaining range of the car. This car also had a reversing camera (option) which is useful but not always necessary in a compact car.
It feels spacious with plenty of head and elbow in the front. The rear is comfortable for 2 adults or 3 small people, 3 adults would be a very tight squeeze but nothing unusual for a car in this category. Boot space is generous with no spare tyre underneath the floor, just a standard tyre repair kit.
Internal storage is average with no door bins, a couple of shallow cupholders in the centre consul behind the gear stick which don’t look very usable. There is a narrow shelf and small glove box in the dashboard in front of the passenger seat.
The Zoe comes standard with climate control, electric windows and height and reach adjustable steering wheel. The model above (Signature) also has heated front seats and folding door mirrors.
7 out of 10
The Renault R-Link system is controlled through the 7 inch touchscreen. It controls the usual car functions as detailed above but has some nifty features, a map showing the driving range on the current charge. The Z.E. Trip feature enables you to find selected charge points on your journey, detailing availability, opening times, payment types and charging times.
There are two Z.E. Connected services available for your smartphone. My Z.E. Connect allows you to remotely monitor your battery charging status. My Z.E. Interactive allows you to remotely charge your battery, pre-warm or cool your car before you get in your car (very useful on a cold day) and set the charging schedule to benefit from off-peak tariffs.
7 out of 10.
Performance and Drive
As with all electric cars there are no gears, just forward and reverse. The car is started by depressing the brake pedal and pressing the start stop button, the car has keyless entry and go which is a lovely feature.
Silent before the go, which is as simple as putting the gearstick into drive and pressing the accelerator. The Renault Zoe is very smooth and accelerates quickly away, the power delivery continues smoothly as you increase speed, with sufficient of power should you need it. Acceleration is instant, making it very quick off the mark and nippy around town. Renault don’t give any performance statistics in terms of acceleration or top speed, but that’s not really what this car is about.
Road holding is good thanks to its low centre of gravity. The batteries are beneath the cars floor and between the axles, giving great weight distribution. The electric motor is in the front of the car and drives the front wheels only. Unlike some other electric cars there is no retardation when you come off the accelerator to charge the batteries so it drives like any other normal car. The Renault Zoe also features Electronic Stability Control which will help keep the car stable should it be required.
On motorways the car has an eco button to extend the range of the car, this reduces the dynamic performance of the car and limits the air-con or heating.
Road and wind noise are minimal due to the cars aerodynamic design and specially designed ultra-low rolling resistance technology.
7 out of 10.
Range, charging and greenness
Like all electric cars its range is dependent upon driving style, speed and outside temperature.
The Renault Zoe Dynamic Nav has a 40kw battery pack that gives it a maximum range of 250 miles. However this range is under specific test conditions, Renault also state its ‘real world’ ranges of 186 miles in summer and 124 in winter. The winter range being significantly lower due to the effect of cold temperatures on the batteries and the use of the cars heater. Actual ‘real life’ ranges will be even lower as town driving and short journeys are likely to be less efficient.
There are two other cars in the Renault Zoe range, the Signature Nav has the same battery pack and therefore the same performance and range. Also the Expression Nav has a different battery pack giving a summer range of 106 miles and a winter one of 71 miles.
Charging times vary on the type of charger. The home charge point included in the price (7kw) takes 7-8 hours to fully charge this model and the Signature, 3-4 for the Expression.
A typical motorway public charger (22kw) takes 2hrs 40 (1hr) and if the quick charge option pack (43kw) for the car is taken this is reduced to 1hr 40 (1hr). The quick charge option does however reduce range distance by 12 miles per charge. The likelihood is on a longer journey a 30 minute charge will give the batteries a large enough boost to complete your journey. The battery pack has a 8 year/100,000 mile warranty.8/10
Specification and Extras
This Renault Zoe Dynamique Nav specification car costs £23,770 on the road, the quick charge version costing £750 more. The price includes the £4,500 government grant. There is also a battery lease option where the price is reduced by £5,600 but then there is the addition of the monthly battery rental of between £59 and £110 per month depending upon mileage. Unlikely to be no discounts for buyers as there is currently a 9 month waiting list.
The Renault Zoe has a good specification, climate control, electric windows (front), DAB radio, sat-nav, 16 inch alloys and rear parking sensors amongt others. Options include heated seats at £250, metallic paint at £550 and rear view camera at £250 among others. The other models in the range having less or more specification as you would expect.
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A great little town car, quick off the mark with great handling. 5 star NCAP rating for safety for keeping the family safe. Large capacity boot for shopping and school bags. Prices are still high on new purchase, with a long waiting list.
- Good range for a compact car
- Nippy around town
- 5 star NCAP rating