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Used car of the week: Renault Zoe

Electric cars depreciate considerably more than any other type of car on the market, so they make a great used buy. Here's our guide to one of our favourites, the Renault Zoe.

Words ByMatthew Burrow

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Ideal model Renault Zoe Expression
Prices from £7800

Why should I buy a used Renault Zoe?

Depreciation affects all cars, but it really knocks a lot of value off electric cars. The Renault Zoe is a good example: it's a great small car with an electric motor that loses a huge amount of value. It's a bargain on the used market if you can cope with the limitations of electric car ownership or if you're looking for a second car to act as an urban runabout.

All Zoes are well equipped. They all get alloy wheels, climate control, Bluetooth and sat-nav. They're also surprisingly practical. There's room for five and the boot is a good size.

It's also refined; the Zoe is a pleasure to drive in town because you travel in near-silence and the suspension soaks up all but the worst bumps.

Which model should I choose?

As a new buy, we'd go for entry-level Expression trim, but it's worth looking around the classifieds for a Dynamique Zen or Dynamique Intens model. Both have more equipment - including rear parking sensors and bigger alloy wheels - and are just a couple of hundred pounds more than the entry-level model as a used buy.

How much should I pay?

There's no need to pay more than £9000. There's a decent supply of nearly new cars available with low-mileage from £7800 and £9000.

So what's the catch? Well, on top of the purchase price you'll need to lease the battery from Renault, which will cost you between £50 and £83 per month, depending on the contract.

The £50 per month contract is for three years and allows you to cover up to 7500 miles a year. The most expensive contract is £83 per month and is for two years and up to 12,000 miles a year. When you buy your used Zoe, the old owner's contract with Renault is cancelled and you must start your own battery leasing agreement. The good news is that should anything go wrong with the battery while still in contract, Renault will repair or replace it for free.

What problems should I look out for?

Renault Zoe owners fall into two camps: those who experience no problems with their car at all and those who spend their life trying to resolve issues. There haven't been any recalls and it's worth noting that most cars on the used market are still covered by a manufacturer warranty which should give you some peace of mind.

Problems include issues with charging. One of the big ones is when it comes to scheduling charges via the website or app; owners have been caught out by scheduled charges failing.

Some owners have been locked out of their Zoe because one of the smaller 12v batteries that looks after some auxiliary functions has failed.

Renault will also replace the dashboard on early Zoes, which owners complained was too reflective.

Some owners have experienced issues with the brakes not working as well as they should. Frequently the problem relates to a compressor which Renault will fix under warranty. On a test drive, find a safe area in which to check the effectiveness of the brakes.

To find more used cars check out the What Car? Classifieds.