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Renault Zoe Hatchback Review

The Renault Zoe is the fourth full electric plug-in production car from the French car manufacturer, following on from the Fluence Z.E four-door, the Z.E. Kangoo van and the zany Twizy city car.

Although on the face of it the Zoe appears fairly good value, with the £5,000 Government plug-in vehicle grant combining with an already relatively low list price for an electric vehicle, once you factor in the £70 extra each month you’ll pay for renting the battery it does hike the ownership costs up somewhat.

Great for town driving

On the road the Zoe is fairly agile and nippy around town. Its 87bhp electric motor has 220Nm of pulling power, but that torque is available anywhere in the rev range which makes the car feel faster than it actually is.

Officially it’ll do 0-62mph in 13.5 seconds and top speed is 84mph, but this car is really about shorter distances and city driving. For that purpose it’s pretty good, as long as you’ve got means to charge it regularly.

Capable of around 100 miles per charge

Like any other electric plug-in vehicle the major concern for potential Zoe buyers will be the car’s limited range. Like its major rival, the Nissan Leaf, the Zoe is only able to complete a claimed 130 miles on a full charge – and that range could be seriously reduced if driven hard or if you keep the air-con on at full blast.

A full charge from a household socket takes around nine hours but if you use one of the fast-charging points being installed all over the country, you can get around 80% of the charge in just 30 minutes. Using the Wall-Box you get free from Renault upon purchase, it’ll take 3.5 hours to charge the Zoe and that can cost as low as £3 in electricity charges.

The advantage of all this is that the Zoe is extremely cheap to run. A full charge from the mains will cost you around £1 and with zero emissions it’s free to tax, while company car drivers will be pleased to find that their tax bills will be incredibly low too.

Battery must be leased

On top of the Government-discounted list price, Zoe buyers will have to factor in the £70-a-month cost to lease the battery. The lease lasts 36 months with 7,800 miles a year, but it does include comprehensive breakdown assistance should anything go wrong.

The Zoe has a very particular set of attributes which make it excellent in the city yet not so good in other situations. Read on for the full Renault Zoe review to learn more.


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