Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0
  • Very quick to get off the mark
  • R110 is slower to accelerate out of town
  • All models offer excellent range

What power options are there?

All cars use the same 52kWh battery. You do get a choice of power outputs now, however – with the mainstay R110 and a new R135 for a bit more poke. In addition there’s a new B driving setting for both, which is essentially a stronger regenerative braking mode.

All motor options

Model Power and torque
0-62mph time
Top speed
R110 108hp, 225Nm 11.4secs 84mph
R135 135hp, 245Nm 9.5secs 87mph

View full specs

Entry-level model is the R110. It’s simplicity itself to drive – effectively it only has one gear, so it works just like an automatic. You simply pull the gear lever into D and away you go. This drivetrain is very much at home in the city where its punchy performance off the line means you’ll easily keep up with (and will quite often be faster than) other cars.

Where the performance starts to tail off a bit is on slip roads or the motorway, where the power delivery is a bit more leisurely. It’s not slow, just not quite as stimulating as when pulling away from a standstill.

The more powerful R135 version is much more confident on faster roads. Not least because it’s 2.2 seconds faster than the R110 from 50-75mph, so gets up to dual carriageway or motorway speeds with much less of a delay. It responds strongly to prods of the throttle while on the move too, which makes it much more flexible on country roads, and able to overtake slower traffic with ease.

B mode one pedal driving

One thing that will jolt if you’re used to driving combustion-engined cars is the regenerative braking. When you take your foot off the accelerator the Zoe automatically starts to slow down as a way to charge the battery. There’s a driving mode called ‘B’, offering much strong regeneration when you release the throttle pedal. This is activated by pulling the gearshifter downwards twice.

In reality it’s not as strong as the one-pedal mode on the Nissan Leaf, but slows the car more ferociously than in normal D mode. It’s useful around town where, with practise, you can avoid using the brake pedal in most situations.

Handling

  • Light, feedback free steering
  • Easy to drive but not sporty
  • Great in-town agility though

On the road the Zoe is very easy to drive. It has light steering, which although absolutely devoid of feedback, is sharp and responsive. The car is very easy to drive in tight spaces thanks to its small turning circle, while parking isn’t difficult thanks to excellent visibility helped further by the reversing camera.

Although grip levels are high, it’s not a performance car, and there’s a fair bit of bodyroll exhibited when cornering. It doesn’t become unruly, but repeated enthusiastic turns are likely to have rear seat passengers asking you to slow down. GT-Line R135s, with 16-inch wheels, can scrabble a bit at the front when asked to move quickly; the Zoe makes most sense with smaller wheels, squashy tyres and less power.