Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Although the official figures suggest the Zoe is capable of between 238 and 245 miles on a full charge (it varies slightly depending on which motor and trim level you go for), even Renault acknowledges that these numbers are optimistic and quotes its own ‘real-world’ ranges. It reckons 233 miles should be possible in the summer, falling to 150 miles in winter conditions.
This sounds pretty accurate to us; in our own independent Real Range tests, which are always carried out in temperatures between 10deg and 15deg C, the Zoe managed 192 miles on a full charge. That’s substantially better than the Mini Electric’s disappointing figure, if some way behind the impressive Kia e-Niro and Soul EV.
As for price, the Zoe undercuts the Peugeot e-208, Mini Electric, Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro, although it is slightly pricier than the larger MG ZS EV. Discounts are available, though, and remember that you can claim a £3000 government grant towards any new electric car, regardless of its spec. If you're buying on finance, the Zoe offers slightly cheaper monthly repayments than the ZS and is also expected to hold onto its value better.
Disappointingly, Renault came second from last in the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, finishing only above 31st-placed Land Rover. In the electric car category, the Zoe itself was rated worse than the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S for reliability.
Every new Renault carries a five-year warranty. There’s no mileage limit for the first two years, but a 100,000-mile limit applies thereafter. Renault also provides three years (or 100,000 miles) of roadside assistance cover on all its electric cars. Meanwhile, the Zoe's battery is covered by a separate eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
Safety is perhaps the biggest reasons not to buy a Zoe; at the time of writing, it isn't available with Automatic Emergency braking (AEB), something the vast majority of new cars come with as standard. Lane-keeping assistance and traffic sign recognition are standard on Iconic trim and above, although you need to go for range-topping GT Line trim to get blindspot monitoring. The latest generation Zoe hasn't been appraised by the safety experts at Euro NCAP, so we can't tell you how well it's likely to protect you in an accident.
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