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 £30,095 - £34,795
Lease from new From £333 p/m View lease deals
Used price £6,700 - £24,470
Used monthly cost From £167 per month
Fuel Economy 3.5 - 4.3 miles/kWh
Insurance group 14 - 24 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

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

CONS

  • Time required to charge
  • Firm ride, with bodyroll too
  • Oddly high seating position

Renault Zoe Hatchback rivals

Written by Adam Binnie on

Is the Renault Zoe any good?

Renault is a trailblazer when it comes to affordable electrification and the Zoe hatchback, with its claimed 245-mile range, is still a convincing real world alternative to a fossil-fuelled car. The Zoe's impressive range came as part of a comprehensive facelift in 2020, which helped it secure the Best Small Electric Car category in the Parkers New Car Awards 2021, and proves that small electric cars should be hobbled by a short battery range.

But there's more to being a good EV than a decent range, and despite having been around since 2012, those recent updates keep it on the pace of newer rivals. As such, the Zoe still looks very tempting indeed. But the opposition is catching up, and a raft of newer small electric cars such as the MINI Electric Hatch, the Fiat 500 Electric and Honda e, also look tempting for very different reasons.

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'.

Read the Renault Zoe verdict

What's it like inside?

The 2020 facelift of the Renault Zoe was comprehensive, bringing it into line with the rest of the range in terms of design and tech. As well as tweaking the performance and usability to give it the longest battery range in its class, with larger digital dials, an optional portrait-orientated infotainment screen and an uplift in the quality of materials used.

It feels modern and functional as you'd expect, with an electronic parking brake and transmission selector, 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 (just remember not to leave it by a mobile phone, else your card gets locked in), using a Zoe cuts interaction to a minimum.

Read more on the Renault Zoe interior

What's it like to drive?

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.

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. But it's good to know it can go further comfortably, if needs be – unlike many of its rivals.

Read more on how the Renault Zoe drives

What models and trims are available?

The Zoe is available in R110 and R135 versions – the different numbers refer (approximately) to the amount of power available, with the former developing 108hp and the latter 135hp. All models have the same 52kWh battery pack, which means that the Zoe is a very efficient performer.

There are four models – Play, Iconic, GT Line and Riviera Limited Edition. All models come with cruise control and air conditioning as standard, and an EasyLink infotainment set-up that includes a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatability, a pair of USB ports and one auxillary port.

Top models get a larger 9.3-inch screen with sat-nav, six speakers, Bluetooth and connected navigation services, with an Auto-Update Service.

What else should I know?

Like any other plug-in vehicle, the major concern for potential Zoe buyers will be the car’s range. They're all pretty similar, depending on which model you choose – varying from between a claimed 238 and 245 miles (WLTP), which makes it easily the longest range small electric car money can buy. You'll need a Volkswagen ID.3 to beat that – and that's a larger, more expensive hatchback.

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.

Leasing online

>> Best electric cars to lease

The Renault Zoe is available with some good deals, principally because resale values are quite strong. Monthly Zoe prices start from £333.

View deal

Renault Zoe Hatchback rivals