Renault Zoe First Drive Review

New extended range version of Renault's all-electric Zoe

Renault Zoe Ireland Review
The Renault Zoe now has the option of an extended range of a theoretical 400km

The Renault Zoe is Renault’s all-electric supermini. The Zoe Z.E. 40 has just arrived in Ireland, and has a new battery that gives this model a theoretical range of 400km (NEDC), which is now the longest range of any mainstream electric vehicle.

Styling

The Renault Zoe is a compact car for the city. Renault has gone down the conventional route in the design of the Zoe. This is standard supermini that will not draw too much attention to itself, yet there is still drama in those thin swept back headlamps and giant Renault lozenge in the centre of the grille. There are a choice of eight body colours including three new ones: Mars Red, Titanium Grey and Ytrium Grey.

Interior

The dashboard and centre console design is similar to the Renault Clio, and it’s easy to get comfortable quickly behind the wheel of the Zoe. The cabin does look cheap in places, and sombre plastics feature a lot. Infotainment is provided via the Renault R-Link multimedia system and operated using a 7” touchscreen that includes Bluetooth and navigation. The driver instrument display shows information regarding speed, battery power and an econometer that shows you how efficient your driving is.

Renault Zoe Ireland Review
The interior of the Renault Zoe

Practicality

The Renault Zoe has five doors as standard. There is seating for five, but this is a small car so rear seating space will be tight for tall passengers. The boot is a good size for a supermini at 338 litres.

Electric power

When tested using the European standard NEDC, the Renault Zoe has a range of 400km, but in real world driving, you can expect to see somewhere between 250 and 300km of range. The Zoe can be charged from any of the 1200 public charging points in Ireland or from a domestic mains supply or wall charger. Renault Zoe is a zero emissions vehicle so motor tax is just €120 per year. The car produces 92hp and 220Nm of torque. 0-100kmh is 13.5 seconds, with a top speed of 135kmh.

On the road

The boost in the electric range allows for much more comfort behind the wheel, with less of the dreaded range anxiety. The Renault Zoe is smooth and easy to drive, while the compact dimensions make it agile and easy to manoeuvre. The Zoe is quiet and refined with just some audible road noise. On larger roads, the Zoe feels stable and secure, though motorway driving at high speeds will see the range drop more quickly. For a small car the steering is not overly light, so it doesn’t feel lost on tight, twisty rural roads, and handles predictably in corners. Acceleration is smooth and adequate, and the Renault Zoe is perfect for nipping around city streets.

Renault Zoe Ireland Review
The Renault Zoe Z.E. 40 is priced from €27,490

Equipment

There are three trim levels for Renault Zoe in Ireland – Expression Nav, Dynamique Nav and Signature Nav (new for 2017). Expression Nav is the entry model and does not have the new battery. The range for this model is a theoretical 240km. Equipment includes climate control, R-Link and cruise control. The Dynamique Nav and Signature Nav models have the new battery with 400km theoretical range. Dynamique Nav equipment includes 16” alloys, rear parking sensors, chrome front grille surround, auto lights and wipers and four electric windows. Signature Nav adds leather upholstery, parking camera, BOSE sound system, heated front seats and some bronze interior detailing.

Pricing

The Expression Nav model costs €23,490 including grants. Dynamique Nav with the Z.E. 40 400km battery costs €27,490, while Signature Nav costs €29,990. All prices include the battery, so there is no additional expense for battery lease.

Rivals

The Hyundai Ioniq, Volkswagen e-Golf, BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf are the main rivals for the Renault Zoe, though Zoe currently has the longest theoretical range.

Renault Zoe Ireland Review
The Renault Zoe Z.E. 40 is on sale now and Renault Ireland are offering 24 hour test drives

Verdict

When it comes to electric cars, range is everything, and the Renault Zoe Z.E. 40 now has a major advantage over mainstream competitors as the real world range of 250 to 300km allows for more comfort in every day driving. At €27,490, the Renault Zoe Z.E. 40 is expensive for a small car, but for the right buyer, Zoe is an attractive entry into electric motoring.

Renault Ireland is rolling out a 24 hour test drive programme, so buyers can see if Zoe can really suit their lifestyle. For more information visit www.renault.ie.

Caroline Kidd

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