One of the better looking and more affordable electric cars on the market, the Renault Zoe could be a real alternative for those looking for a supermini and cover little mileage.
The Renault Zoe is a fully electric vehicle so it is without your conventional combustion engine. It’s 41kw battery, according to NEDC range figures, puts it in second place only to Tesla when it comes to EV range among cars that are available in Ireland – (how you drive the car will determine the range). Renault's NEDC test results show a range of 400km. In real world driving terms you should expect this figure to be around 300km, which is still very impressive. This is dependent on your style of driving, if you are flat out on a motorway, the battery will run out faster than if you were just rambling around town. It gets a punchy 87bhp from the electric motor or 60bhp on Eco mode. Acceleration is swift thanks to its 220Nm of torque that is delivered instantly once you put your foot on the pedal.
The Zoe feels quite conventional behind the wheel, despite the lack of noise, thanks to its normal looks and interior. There is an impression of an elevated seating position for the driver which feels a bit unusual for a supermini. The steering feels a little vague and the placement of the battery can make the Zoe front heavy and lean in the corners. The overall ride quality is quite good, but once you lift your foot off the accelerator, the regenerative braking system kicks in making it feel like the car is dragging.
The Zoe is available in three trim levels. These are Expression, Dynamique Zen and Dynamique Intens. Each model comes with a 7 inch touch screen mounted on the centre console housing Renault’s R-Link infotainment system. Dynamique Zen adds electric windows to the rear, a leather steering wheel and gear knob, an ‘acitve scent diffuser’ and the interior is gets the Teflon treatment to reduce marking. Dynamique Intens gets you a different upholstery pack with rear pockets on the back of the passenger seats.
The Renault Zoe is an attractive city car with great styling and a nice interior. The dashboard is carried over from the Renault Clio but with added flair. Instead of the conventional rev counter and speedo, it gets a funky TFT digital display showing you speed, range and when the regenerative braking system kicks in. The dash, as well as the cabin is finished in an attractive pastel white. While it looks good, we’re not sure it will stand the test of time. The quality of materials used are not to the highest quality but are aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
You can be reassured in the fact that the Renault Zoe is a very safe electric car. It achieved the full five star rating in Euro NCAP crash testing. Standard safety tech includes anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution and emergency brake assist. It also gets a full set of six airbags, hill assist, traction control and understeer control.
The Zoe is based on its Renault Clio sibling so while it is the same width, it is actually longer than the Clio. The battery is fitted under the front and rear seats, which is the reason for that raised ride height. This does not compromise headspace or leg space which is ample in both the front and rear of the car. Boot space is a very decent 338 litres and because it benefits from that extra length, its boot is nearly 40 litres larger than the Clio’s. The rear seats also fold, but not flat so it is possible to store larger items if required.