Renault Zoe Electric - Rivervale Review
Striding out as the best selling electric vehicle across Europe, Renault has now sold more than 300,000 Zoe EVs in Europe. For every five EVs sold in Europe, the Zoe is one of them. Topping the category for the best electric small cars, the Renault Zoe now offers the problem solver for EVs - a greater range. This charming nippy car has bagged itself plenty of glowing reviews, with four stars across the board on many core motoring sites.
Launched originally in 2012, the Zoe has since seen engine and battery updates, as well as some minor tweaks to the outside and a revamp on the interiors. The new 2020 version delivers higher performance, plus, crucially, the ability to go even further between charges. Here’s our review of the Renault Zoe Electric and how it compares to other vehicles in its class.
The latest Zoe models offer a sizable ten-inch portrait touchscreen, and the materials of the dash, and interior space generally, feel soft-touch and high-end. Set quite high, and with a great user interface, the touchscreen is really user-friendly, meaning you can flick through the options when driving safely and easily.
Trim levels come in three options - Play, Iconic and GT Line. The basic Play still gets full LED headlights, seven-inch touchscreen, cruise control and air-con as standard, whilst it only has the option of the smaller R110 motor. The Iconic trim and GT Line allow you to upgrade to the R135 motor, and the Iconic offers wireless phone charging and various assistance systems. The GT meanwhile gets the 10-inch infotainment screen as standard, high-end trim, a blind-spot warning safety feature and 16-inch alloy wheels.
Safety & Tech
Driver assistance tools bring this small car confidence for motorway driving, with the likes of lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring tools. The Iconic trim offers rear parking sensors, a lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, automatic high/low beam LED headlights and traffic sign recognition. The GT Line trim meanwhile adds to that a blind spot warning, and a reversing camera.
The Euro NCAP safety assurance recognition awarded the Zoe a full five stars out of five, with a score of 89% for adult occupant protection and 80% for child passenger protection.
Charging & Range
A 52kWh battery pack replaces the older model’s 41kWh battery in newer models, and this is the update we’ve all been waiting for. The 52kWh allows for an astonishing 245 miles between charges - competition leading, and a significantly higher total than many of its EV rivals. This figure is a lot more than the Vauxhall Corsa-e, Nissan Leaf or Peugeot e-208 EV options, and is almost twice the Honda e, so the Zoe is the EV to choose if you need regular range.
This range is a third larger than even its own previous, 41kWh battery offers. The new Zoe also supports DC charging up to 50kW, as an option, so if a short, sharp surge of power is what you need, this is an extra worth having! This option allows for 90 extra miles of range in a thirty-minute charge. The usual, 22kW roadside charger that is standard across the range takes an hour to add 78 miles.
Renault will install a free 7kW wall box at your house for easy at-home charging if you have a drive or garage, and that really is a must where possible. This enables you to charge from empty to 100% in about nine and a half hours; much quicker than using a three-pin plug. A full charge should cost you about £7 in electricity according to Renault, when on a standard UK energy tariff.
The optional R135 makes the EV equivalent of 134 bhp, putting a really sprightly injection of pace into the Zoe - it’s a great option for a driver looking to do lots of motorway trips for that sense of pace you need to sit comfortably at 60-70mph.
The Zoe really is compact, making it a nifty city car. It’s quite soft and forgiving over more surfaces, and the new model is quieter than ever, with even more sound deadening added. The steering is light and accurate, and the driver’s seat is comfortable enough for even tall drivers to happily undertake long journeys in.
Storage & Space
The Zoe is fitted out with lots of usable space; door bins are big, and there’s a handy shelf above the glove box. The boot also offers a usable capacity, at 338 litres. With space for five adults, short journeys with passengers will be a cinch.
The Zoe remodel has seen the brand concentrate on any ‘trouble spots’ for EV car owners, fixing real issues without upping the price point on this car. That’s why the interior spec and infotainment system have seen an overhaul, and also why the Zoe can tot up so many miles under her belt between charges.
This dinky city car is the perfect electric vehicle option for the driver who needs the flexibility for further mileage, with the combination of generous storage space and the capacity to get their passengers from A to B too. The Renault Zoe is a great value, high-performing, market-leading EV.