Kildare motoring review: The new Renault Zoe is an affordable and electric drive

The new Renault Zoe: The pioneering EV has been revitalised and refreshed in its latest iteration

Breda Corrigan

Reporter:

Breda Corrigan

Email:

bcorriganmotoring@gmail.com

Kildare motoring review: The new Renault Zoe is an affordable and electric drive

The new Renault Zoe

When the Renault Zoe launched in 2013 there weren’t many similar models in the Electric Vehicle range and the Zoe gained popularity with its pleasant, subtle styling and affortable price tag. Now the new model Reanult Zoe has been revitalised, refreshed and is ready to power ahead as Ireland’s most affordable electric car.

Built on a reworked version of the same basic platform as the original, the new Zoe boasts a refreshed exterior design, with new lines, a bigger, bolder Renault logo (which hides the charging ports), a new front bumper and new standard LED lights. In fact, the styling of the new Zoe is closely related to the recently launched Clio, and is bang up-to-date in every crucial area.

More Power, More Performance

The inside of the new Zoe features a revitalised interior that feels a big step forward from the previous model. There is a 10-inch digital instrument display as standard, customisable lighting and a revamped dashboard centred on an infotainment touchscreen which features the latest version of Renault’s Easy Link system. Additionally, the new Zoe now offers better performance than ever before, with a choice of two power outputs — 110bhp and 135bhp — depending on the model chosen.

Three Trim Levels

The new ZOE is available in a choice of three trim levels — Play, Iconic and range-topping GT Line, with the 110bhp power unit available in Play and Iconic models, and the 135 bhp unit available as an option in Iconic trim and standard in the GT Line. The new Zoe’s main rivals are the similar-sized Honda E, Mini Electric, Opel Corsa-e and the Peugeot e-208, with more rivals set to join this very competitive market segment in the near future.

Easy Charging Options

Under the skin, the new Zoe gets a large-capacity 52 kWh Z.E. 50 battery that delivers a range of up to 395 km (WLTP) — the best driving range in its segment and an increase of 32% over the previous 41 kWh pack. Despite the increase in range and capacity, the battery has not increased in size physically, meaning no loss of interior space. The Zoe now also offers fast direct current (DC) charging, in addition to the alternating current charging (AC) options already available at home or on the street. Charging the battery is also made more straightforward by the Renault Easy Connect smart services, which allow quick and easy location of charging points. Located behind the Renault diamond logo charging hatch, the new Combo (CCS) plug is slightly larger than the previous plug and consists of both a European standard socket and a two-pin connector for DC charging. The central location of the socket makes charging even easier, especially on public charging stations which have their own cable.

Thanks to this Combo plug, the new Zoe is able to charge quickly with a direct current (DC) up to 50 kW, simply by inserting the charging cable attached to the terminal into the two-pin connector that is sited below the type-2 socket. Replenishing the battery in this way can add around 145 km of range in as little as half an hour.

Test Car Verdict

My test car was a Renault Zoe GT Line R135 Z.E. 50 (Zero Emission, 52kWh battery) which looked striking in Blue Celadon metallic paint. Generous equipment can be found across the new Zoe range, with my review car equipped with 16” diamond-cut alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, part recycled — part syntethic leather set upholstery, front and rear parking sensor, rear view camera, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high beam, over speed protection, traffic sign recognition, Easy Link radio and navigation with a 9.3” touchscreen, climate control, wireless Smartphone charger and a split-folding rear bench for added practicality.

All modesl in the new Renault Zoe range are fitted with an automatic gearbox as standard. This single speed transmission provides linear and fluid acceleration, which maximises driving pleasure. From behind the wheel, the new Zoe feels much like a traditional internal combustion engined supermini to drive, with the welcome omission of engine noise coming from under the bonnet. Renault claims that the new Zoe’s soundproofing has also been substantially improved, thereby enabling the car to offer the quiet cruising that EV buyers enjoy.

Pricing

Pricing for the new Renault Zoe starts at a very competitive €26,990 (after VRT reliefs and SEAI grant). However, for a limited time, Zoe buyers can switch to electric with a €1,000 Green Grant and 3 months deferred payments at 2.11% APR (terms and conditions apply).

Contact Joe Mallon Motors, Naas, on 045 897675.