New Nissan Leaf vs Renault Zoe vs Volkswagen e-Golf

With an improved range between charges, Nissan’s new electric Leaf promises to be more usable than ever. Is it better than the Renault Zoe and Volkswagen e-Golf, though?

Words By What Car? team

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Nissan Leaf vs Renault Zoe vs Volkswagen e-Golf

Our verdict

In our group tests, there are usually clear winners and losers, but this one’s a bit different, because the best car depends entirely on your viewpoint.

The e-Golf is the best all-rounder; it’s the nicest to drive, the smartest inside and the most practical. Meanwhile, the Zoe makes the most financial sense and will get you the farthest (by far) between charges – arguably the two most important things an electric car needs to do well.

But while the e-Golf is let down by its limited range and high price, and the Zoe by its driving position, safety provisions and cramped interior, it’s actually the new Leaf that emerges from this battle with the fewest scars. Yes, it’s a pity that the steering wheel doesn’t have more adjustment and the interior isn’t plusher, but neither of these issues is a deal-breaker. And when you factor in the excellent performance, generous kit and low running costs, the Leaf actually makes the most sense to the most electric car buyers.

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1st – Nissan Leaf

For Excellent performance; decent to drive; biggest boot; loads of kit; most standard safety provisions

Against Infexible driving position; so-so interior; tight rear head room

Recommended options Recommended options LED headlights (Β£350)

Rated 5 out of 5

Read our full Nissan Leaf review

Find a great Nissan Leaf deal

2nd – Volkswagen e-Golf

For Smoothest ride; quietest; classiest interior; biggest in the back; most user-friendly infotainment

Against Limited range; high price and PCP costs

Recommended options Heat pump (Β£830); keyless entry (Β£365)

Rated 4 out of 5

Read our full Volkswagen e-Golf review

Find a great Volkswagen e-Golf deal

3rd – Renault Zoe

For Longest range (by far); cheapest on all counts

Against Lumpy ride; cheap-feeling interior; least safety kit; makes more financial sense if you lease the battery separately

Recommended options Three-pin charger lead (Β£560)

Rated 3 out of 5

Read our full Renault Zoe review

Find a great Renault Zoe deal

Specifications: Nissan Leaf 110kW N-Connecta

Engine Electric motor

List price Β£30,490

Target Price Β£25,990

Power 148bhp

Torque 236Ib ft

Gearbox Single-speed automatic

0-60mph 8.2sec

Top speed 89mph

Official max range 235 miles

Real-world claimed range n/a

What Car? test real-world range 108 miles

Specifications: Renault Zoe Q90 ZE40 i Dynamique Nav

Engine Electric motor

List price Β£29,020

Target Price Β£18,719

Power 87bhp

Torque 162Ib ft

Gearbox Single-speed automatic

0-60mph 13.0sec

Top speed 84mph

Official max range 230 miles

Real-world claimed range 174 miles (summer), 112 miles (winter)

What Car? test real-world range 131 miles

Specifications: Volvo XC40 2.0 D4 R-Design Pro

Engine Electric motor

List price Β£32,190

Target Price Β£27,690

Power 134bhp

Torque 214Ib ft

Gearbox Single-speed automatic

0-60mph 9.0sec

Top speed 93mph

Official max range 186 miles

Real-world claimed range 125

What Car? test real-world range 93 miles

Read more: The best electric cars >

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