4 out of 5 4.0
Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

A viable and low-compromise alternative to fossil-fuelled rivals

Renault Zoe Hatchback (12 on) - rated 4 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £29,195 - £33,695
Lease from new From £181 p/m View lease deals
Used price £7,880 - £27,665
Used monthly cost £197 - £690
Fuel Economy 3.5 - 4.3 miles/kWh
Insurance group 14 - 22 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Extremely low running costs
  • Zero tailpipe emissions
  • Futuristic drive
  • Super quiet around town

CONS

  • Range depends on driving style
  • Time required to charge
  • Firm ride, with bodyroll too
  • Oddly high seating position

Renault Zoe Hatchback rivals

Written by Adam Binnie on

Renault is a trailblazer when it comes to affordable electrification and the Zoe hatchback, with its claimed 250 mile range, is the most convincing real world alternative to a fossil-fuelled car this side of a Tesla Tesla Model 3. The Zoe's impressive range has come as part of a comprehensive facelift rolled out in the UK in the early part of 2020.

Other established rivals like the Nissan Leaf and Smart ForFour Electric Drive can’t match the French car’s claimed battery range, and while a conventional hatchback like the Skoda Fabia or Renault Clio could prove cheaper to run, it doesn’t offer zero tailpipe emissions. As such, the Zoe looks very tempting indeed. But there's a whole raft of new small electric cars joining is now, such as the MINI Electric Hatch, the Fiat 500 Electric and Honda e, which are all going to make the Zoe's life just a little bit more difficult.

Renault has pushed the price of Zoe ownership up recently, though in absolute terms it's still good value. The end of the battery lease programme means you're free of monthly bills, but it means you'll be tempted by some very well-equipped conventional rivals without the excuse of 'the battery lease is still less than fuel bills'.

It’s worth bearing in mind that electric car ownership is still a bit more complicated than the plug ‘n play nature that car manufacturers would have you believe. This Parkers full review of the Renault Zoe will spell out exactly how realistic EV ownership is for you.

Interior updates for 2020

The 2020 facelift of the Renault Zoe has been comprehensive. As well as tweaking the performance and usability to give it the longest battery range in its class, the French manufacturer overhauled the dated-looking interior with a raft of Clio-like updates.

You now get larger digital dials, an optional portrait-orientated infotainment screen and an uplift in the quality of materials used.

Renault Zoe interior 2020

The parking brake and gearshifter are now electronic too, saving space in the cabin and also enabling much simpler ease of use. Now you can simply turn the car off at your destination and walk away – no longer is it necessary to shift into park and apply the handbrake.

Combined with Renault's keyless entry system that senses the card and locks the car as you walk away, using a Zoe cuts interaction to a minimum.

Renault Zoe is great for urban driving

In town the Zoe feels very quick off the line thanks to the instant torque of its electric motor. There are two versions, one with 108hp and one with 135hp. Both are faster than the versions previously available.

The first 30mph feels brisk, and while older cars tail off on the way to motorway speeds, the more powerful R135 version can boast a 0-62mph time less than 10.0 seconds. It doesn't have handling to match, though.

That figure is about as relevant as the 87mph top speed though – this is a car that will spend most of its life in the city with occasional jaunts further afield.

Capable of up to 250 miles per charge

Like any other plug-in vehicle, the major concern for potential Zoe buyers will be the car’s range. Renault used to offer the Zoe with a choice of two batteries – 22kWh and 41kWh – but for 2020 this was slimmed down to a single 52kWh choice.

How long it’ll take to charge is also a moveable feast – as well as those multiple battery types during the Zoe’s lifespan, there is also a quick charge option on older cars and a 50kW DC charger added later on.

For some context though, the largest battery takes nine hours to charge on a wallbox, three hours at a public 22kW charger, with a 0-80% charge rate of 1hr 10mins. Plugged into a domestic socket, it'll gently trickle-charge itself over 30 hours.

Click through the next few pages to read everything you need to know about the Renault Zoe including its practicality, how much it costs to run, what it's like to drive – and whether we recommend buying one.

2020 Renault Zoe rear view

Renault Zoe Hatchback rivals