2019 Renault Zoe - The Electric Princess
The new Renault Zoe is a beautiful little electric car, full of style and technology. The Zoe was pretty much a pioneer, when it was first released back in 2012, and oozed class with its stunning looks. It soon became something of a fashion icon in the car world, showing just how good all-electric small cars could be.
Over the years, and with a growing concern over climate change, manufacturers have had to focus more on developing lower-emission cars. To achieve this, there has been a rapid surge into creating all-electric cars, therefore leaving no carbon footprint. The Zoe has gone from being the catwalk supermodel of electric cars to the 'just got out of bed look'. Other electric models have become more appealing such as the Nissan Leaf, Smart Forfour and the new Peugeot e-208. After a few minor upgrades over the years, Renault has given the Zoe a full extreme makeover, putting her squarely back on the catwalk, ready to strut her stuff against the modern-day rivals.
The Renault Zoe is available in a choice of three trim levels; Play, Iconic and the top-spec GT Line. Plenty of options to suit anyone, with a good selection of optional extras if needed.
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Engines, Power and Performance
Renault have upgraded the battery and fitted the Zoe with a new electric motor to help increase the performance. As with electric cars, there is only one gear, as such, so acceleration is instant due to the electric motor providing torque across all rev range. Previously you could choose to have the Zoe with either a 22KwH or 41KwH battery. Renault has decided to simplify this now by having just one battery choice, a more powerful 52KwH unit. Renault has cleverly been able to give two power outputs from the battery, creating the R110 and R135. The R110 gets 108hp and 225Nm of torque and is capable of hitting 0-62mph in 11.2secs. Renault says the range has increased to an impressive 245 miles between charges. Next is the new R135 which bumps power up to 135hp and 245Nm of torque, which will take the Zoe from 0-62mph in just 9.5secs and has a claimed range of 240 miles.
Renault still offers a 'buy or lease' policy for the battery when buying a Zoe, so it could be worth doing a few extra calculations to see which option suits you best. Every battery also comes with an eight year/100,000 miles warranty for that added peace of mind. If you buy a new Zoe, Renault will provide and install free of charge, a 7kW home charger which is capable of charging the Zoe from 0-100% in 9 hours 25 mins. If you use a standard public 22kW charging station, it will fully charge the Zoe in 3 hours.
There is a more powerful and quick charging powerpoint available to be fitted to the Zoe, available at an additional cost. This is capable of using a 50kW charging point, enabling the Zoe to be charged from 0-80% in just 1 hour.
Interior Quality and Technology
The interior of the Zoe is another area which needed updating and bringing back in line with other new electric cars in this market sector. Thankfully, Renault has gone through it with a fine-tooth comb, installing their latest software and making the dashboard look modern and futuristic. The build quality and materials used are of a much higher standard than previously and brings the Zoe up close to the premium BMW i3.
Every new Zoe comes with a bright, crisp 10-inch digital instrument display cluster as standard, which is customised to suit your requirements when driving. There is a 7-inch intuitive colour touchscreen located centrally on the dashboard. The infotainment system offers features such as DAB radio, smartphone mirroring with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as standard.
If you opt for the mid-level Iconic trim or above, you get Sat-Nav included as standard. Go for the top of the range GT Line trim level, and you get the new Easy Link 9.3-inch touchscreen tablet set in portrait position, with various additional tech features also included. You can choose to have this as an optional extra in the Iconic trim at an extra cost, but it is not an option in the entry-level Play model. If you have the Easy Link 9.3-ich touchscreen, you'll be able to control functions of your Zoe through the My Renault app. This enables you to stay on top of your charging levels, location and distance of charging stations, along with setting or scheduling the air-con, amongst other things.
Space, Practicality and Safety
The Renault Zoe is not a big car by any means, in fact, it is of similar size to the Renault Clio, but interior space is fairly generous. Front-seat occupants will find a decent amount of legroom and headroom, and even those taller adults should be able to find a comfortable position. The only downside is that the seats are set quite high and cannot be adjusted any lower. There is a good amount of adjustment in the steering wheel and front-to-back adjustment of the driver's seat, to get a suitable driving position.
In the back, again space is pretty good with room for three; ideally, the middle seat is more suited to a young child rather than adult though. Legroom is good for a car of this size, although tall passengers may feel the hair brushing on the roofline.
There are several storage compartments including a glovebox, cupholders and a small tray in the centre console to list just a few. The boot is pretty good, not class-leading but still quite impressive. Capacity is 338-litres rising to 1225-litres with the rear seats folded down, which is more than in most similar-sized hatchbacks and nearly identical to the new VW e-Golf.
The Renault Zoe scored an impressive 5-star rating at the Euro NCAP safety tests, thanks to a host of safety features such as; Emergency Braking System (EBS), Blindspot Monitoring and front and rear parking sensors. Another great safety feature which comes with the Zoe is a simulated engine noise to warn pedestrians, which activates at speeds up to 18mph.
The new Renault Zoe is back looking as good as ever and should prove to be a popular and desirable little electric car, perfect for those who do a lot of city driving. Given all of the standard features and the new battery with extra mileage range, is a vast improvement and sets the Zoe apart from the current crop of electric rivals.