Motoring review: Renault Zoe

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Way back when the best offering was the Reva G-Wizz you had all the reason to worry, the only people who drove them were naive Green Party followers. Despite its top speed of just 50 miles per hour and even the smallest of crashes meaning imminent death, it was somehow still heralded as the future of the motor car – mostly by those who knew nothing about cars.

Electric Renault Zoe

Interior

Everyone in 2005 who wasn’t wearing rose tinted glasses, just saw the Indian built G-Wizz as a symbol of the electric car, thus giving all EVs a bad name. Consequently making everyone think that all EVs are ugly, impractical vehicles that no one outside of London could use every day.

Just over a decade later Renault is here to change people’s opinions with the charming looking Renault Zoe. The slim headlights and animated grill give it a cheerful, yet purposeful look. The Rear light design is one of the best in its segment, with its blue accents and funky shape.

This is the first electric car I’ve driven, and I’m pleasantly surprised. Forget everything you know about how a car drives. Full power is given to you instantly and never drops until you drop the accelerator- or reach about 80mph.

I love a good manual gearbox, but the way electric vehicles work just make conventional gearboxes feel obsolete. The Zoe only has one gear and you are always in the power band – meaning you always have the maximum power available.

This power makes the Zoe pretty fun to drive around town, the suspension is soft without creating too much body roll, and the car scurries away under acceleration activating the traction control due to the huge torque figures. The Zoe also benefits from congestion charge exemption making it the perfect London runaround.

Take the city car out of its natural habitat and start driving spirited, you will find some of the Zoe’s flaws. The soft suspension can unnervingly unstabilize the car when cornering on an uneven surface, making you correct the steering constantly.

Electric Renault Zoe

Rear View

It is clear that the Zoe wasn’t built for Welsh B Roads, as the steering wheel is too big and the nonadjustable seat is set too high up – which is frustrating. True the Zoe shouldn’t be a hard riding sports car in its original form, but given the power delivery, I have no doubt Renault Sport would be able to create the first ever electric hot hatch with a few tweaks to the interior, suspension and power output.

Being based on the Clio means that the Zoe already has a platform made with practicality in mind, the boot capacity is bigger than both the Fiesta and Polo at 338 litres. Although the Nissan Leaf is a larger car, the Zoe’s boot is almost as big, yet is a better shape for loading boxes. It is the same story for passenger space, four six-footers will fit in the cabin with relative comfort.

The range was recently improved from 130 miles up to 250 under NEDC conditions, meaning that a large number of people could realistically make the switch from petrol and benefit from all perks of an electric drivetrain.

I wasn’t sure before, but after driving the Zoe, it is clear to me that electric cars are the future. Electric vehicles have advanced so much over the last five years, going from being a joke, to a drivetrain that will defeat petrol in every aspect. The Renault Zoe is a perfect example of how the future is going to look, if you still aren’t impressed by electric cars, you will be soon.

More information on the Renault Zoe can be found at any Renault dealer, including branches in Keele, Hanley, Stafford, Burton and Cannock.

0-62mph (0-100kmh): 13.5 Seconds
Top Speed: 84mph
Power: 88hp
Range: 230 miles
CO2 g/km: 0
Price: £18,170

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