Renault Zoe long-term test: report 6

Can you switch from a small petrol car to an electric one without changing your lifestyle? We've added our best value small electric car – the Renault Zoe – to our long-term fleet to find out...

Renault Zoe long-term parked

The car Renault Zoe R135 ZE 50 Rapid Charge GT Line Run by Louis Shaw, social media manager

Why it’s here To prove that a small electric car can be more than just a city runaround and, in the case of the Zoe, a genuinely viable alternative to a conventional small car.

Needs to Be Practical, comfortable and efficient, with a decent range between charges.

Mileage 901 List price £34,595 (before gov't grant) Target Price £34,595 (before gov't grant) Price as tested £34,655 (before gov't grant) Official range 245 miles Test range 210 miles

4 June 2021 – Going in (half) circles

While a lot of people now do substantial commutes in electric cars, I use mine mostly for short journeys in the city. As such, agility is almost as important to me as how cheap a car is to run.

Fortunately, my Renault Zoe largely impresses, thanks to its light and responsive steering. Plus, the accelerator response is very lively, which helps with nipping out of junctions and into gaps in traffic. However, there's one manoeuvre that the Zoe struggles with: the legal U-turn.

Zoe vs i3s turning circle long-term

If you ask any cabbie, they’ll tell you that central to their job is the ability to ‘turn on a sixpence’. And having spent a fair amount of time in my mum's i3, it's clear that BMW understood this part of the city car brief. Unfortunately, the Zoe’s engineers appear to have missed the memo.

Even in extra-wide streets, where turning around should require nothing more than a simple flick of the wheel, I have to do three-point turns, like I'm driving a five-metre long luxury saloon or SUV rather than a small hatchback.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this video should at least double that...

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