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Used test: BMW i3 vs Renault Zoe interiors

These two are among the most affordable electric options on the used market, but which is the better buy?...

BMW i3 interior


Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality

For such small cars, you sit fairly high in the BMW i3 and Renault Zoe, higher in fact in the i3. Both cars offer good driving positions. Oddly, the Zoe's driver's seat lacks height adjustment, though, and you won't find adjustable lumbar support in either car. Both cars offer great visibility, with wide, tall windscreens and relatively thin pillars all around. 

The i3's interior is noticeably more upmarket than the Zoe's. You'll find higher quality materials and more of a variety of them. Apart from some blue details here and there, the Zoe's interior is rather drab and full of hard plastics. 

Renault Zoe interior

A 6.5in display came as standard in the i3, but the Professional media package (a £960 option when new) fitted to our test car is a must-have feature, adding a 10.2in screen, a bigger iDrive rotary dial controller with a touchpad on top (for entering postcodes with your finger), a 20GB hard drive and upgraded sat-nav with real-time traffic info.  

The Zoe has a 7.0in touchscreen with sat-nav. The menus are easy enough to get your head around, but the screen isn’t that quick to respond – especially when you’re programming a destination. It’s disappointing that Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone mirroring isn't available on either of these cars.

Both cars are spacious in the front, although the i3 feels roomier, because there’s no conventional centre console – the dashboard rather floats above your legs.

Used test: BMW i3 vs Volkswagen e-Golf

In the rear, the i3 and Zoe are identical for head room, but the Zoe has more leg room. If you're six foot or taller, you might find the i3 a squeeze. 

The Zoe has a roomier boot, too. We managed to fit six carry-on suitcases in it, while the i3 took just four. 

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