The pure electric Renault Zoe sets out to solve one of the problems most often levelled at electric cars – the cost. This five-door hatchback will do around 90 miles on a full charge, and comes with a high level of specification including a colour touchscreen and sat-nav even on the entry-level trim, plus a wall-mounted fast charger fitted for free at your home. Yet it costs roughly the same on monthly finance or a cash purchase as similarly-sized, high-spec alternatives like the Renault Clio or Ford Fiesta.
The catch is that this up-front cost doesn’t include the batteries, which come with a further monthly cost on top. This monthly contract varies in price depending on what sort of mileage you expect to do and how long you want the contract to last, but it starts at a fairly low price – less than a small tank of diesel would cost.
There is another purchase option, where you buy the battery outright up front, but this adds a big extra cost to the purchase price and makes the Zoe look a lot more expensive than conventional petrol or diesel rivals, so is harder to justify.
Overall, the Zoe has a smart-looking and fairly practical interior, is comfortable and quite fun to drive (but for an awkward brake response), and stacks up better than just about any other low-priced electric car, including the slightly bigger and more expensive Nissan Leaf.