Renault Zoe Review & Prices

The Renault Zoe is a small electric car with punchy performance and an impressive range. It’s far from the roomiest EV on sale, however, and feels cheap in places

Buy or lease the Renault Zoe at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £29,995 - £31,995
Carwow price from
Monthly
£475*
Used
£10,457
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wowscore
8/10
Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Cheap to buy and run
  • Lots of the latest tech
  • Impressive electric range

What's not so good

  • Interior feels cheap in places
  • Cramped back seats
  • Fast charging capability costs extra

Find out more about the Renault Zoe

Is the Renault Zoe a good car?

The Renault Zoe is a small electric car with a decent range that’s an alternative to models such as the Mini E and Peugeot e-208.

The Zoe has been around for a while now, but gets regular updates, so it’s a bit like an iPhone in that it looks mostly unchanged year after year, yet contains the very latest technology. The current model’s latest updates include a few more air intakes than its predecessor – some of which help guide air past the front wheels to help reduce drag and maximise range – and a set of full-LED headlights.

Renault has given the Zoe’s brake lights the LED treatment too; ditching the old car’s blue lens coating in the process.

More exciting than this, however, is what lies inside. There’s a super-slick dashboard layout, a classy infotainment system and a digital driver’s display as standard. You can even get the dashboard trimmed in some whale-friendly recycled material made from old plastic bottles.

EV Range Test: Honda e v Mini Electric v Peugeot e-208 v Renault Zoe v Vauxhall Corsa Electric v Volkswagen e-Up

Thankfully, the Renault Zoe is really comfortable inside – in the front, at least. Those in the back will feel pretty hemmed-in if they’re close to six-feet tall and there isn’t enough shoulder room to carry three adults.

Chances are, you won’t be using your dinky electric city car for lugging heavy loads. Rather, you’ll be nipping through rush-hour traffic – something the Zoe feels born to do. You get a good view forward thanks to its large windows, and the light controls make tight turns a doddle.

The new Renault Zoe is capable of more than just trips to the shops, though. With its batteries fully brimmed – which takes three hours from empty using a public 22kW charger – you’ll be able to travel up to 239 miles. Charging at home using the standard 7 kWh setup will take just over nine hours. However, a 30-minute charge using a 50kW fast charger will give you 90 miles of range. This fast- charging feature is optional on the base trim and standard on the top version.

The Renault Zoe doesn’t rely on gimmicks like some electric cars. Instead, it focuses on being affordable, having a good range and, being surprisingly fun to drive – for a small electric car

It’s pretty perky for a small car, too, so you’ll have no issue scooting away from junctions or overtaking sluggish lorries. That said, the Renault Zoe doesn’t make a particularly good motorway cruiser. Sure, its electric motor is much quieter than a petrol or diesel engine, but you’ll still hear a fair amount of wind and tyre noise at speed. You do at least get cruise control to make long journeys a bit more bearable. Another point to consider is the rather poor Euro NCAP retested safety rating it received in 2021.

You shouldn’t let this put you off, though. The Renault Zoe is a very capable small electric car that comes with decent range and peppy performance, and recent updates mean you get a pretty impressive amount of standard kit, too. Just don’t go trying to carry tall adults in the back.

Head over to our Renault Zoe deals page to see how much you can save or take a look at our used Renault Zoe deals.

How much is the Renault Zoe?

The Renault Zoe has a RRP range of £29,995 to £31,995. Monthly payments start at £475. The price of a used Renault Zoe on Carwow starts at £10,457.

The Renault Zoe is priced very closely to alternatives like the Peugeot e-208, Nissan Leaf and Mini Electric. It may be one of the smaller electric city cars out there, but its value proposition has increased thanks to its superb range and the dropping of the less powerful base trim. As it stands, the top Iconic trim is the pick of the range and matches up well to other small EVs.

Performance and drive comfort

The Zoe is great to drive around town, it’s also a hoot down a country lane. Wind and road noise levels aren’t the best once heading out onto the motorway, though

In town

The compact Renault Zoe is well suited to the rigours of city driving. Great forward visibility, immediate responsiveness and a sharp turning circle give you the confidence to take advantage of even the smallest gaps in the traffic. Acceleration is smooth and effortless, though in typical electric car fashion, the brakes can feel a bit sharp until you get used to them, and the regenerative braking is also quite abrupt until you adapt your driving style to it.

The view out the rear isn’t great thanks to rather large pillars and a narrow rear window, thankfully Renault’s Easy Park Assist is now standard fitment. It’ll steer the car into tight bays for you, and parking sensors and a rearview camera are standard, too, if you prefer to take matters into your own hands.

The Zoe also comes standard with blind spot warning and slow speed pedestrian warning, which is useful to have around town.  

The ride quality is good over smaller bumps, but the Zoe can get caught out when traversing badly rutted roads, where it transmits unpleasant bumps and thumps into the cabin.

On the motorway

Now that the more powerful 135hp is standard fare, the Zoe is far more capable at motorway speeds even in base trim. It feels pleasantly solid and stable, which is not something that can be said for all small cars in this class. Overtaking performance is good too, although you’ll notice that the Zoe starts to run out of puff if you stray over 70mph. Cruise control, lane keep assist and lane departure warning are all standard, great for taking the strain out of longer trips. 

It’s not all good news though. The Zoe does exhibit a fair amount of wind noise at higher speeds, and while the front seats are comfortable enough for short journeys, taller adults won’t enjoy being seated in the rear for extended spells. 

On a twisty road

Packing the heavy battery pack under the floor gives the Zoe a planted feel around corners, and the responsive steering and impressive low speed acceleration mean that it’s quite good fun to chuck around a twisty road. 

It doesn’t lean in corners much either, and while a Peugeot e-208 or Mini Electric are even sportier, the Zoe offers a good mix of handling and comfort that should suit a broad range of customers.

Space and practicality

The Zoe is spacious in front, but rather tight in the back and there’s not a lot of space to store your effects either

The Zoe manages to feel bigger than it really is thanks to the large window area and upright driving position. The steering wheel can be adjusted for rake and reach, but the seat height can’t be changed so taller drivers may foul their knees on the steering wheel while shorter people may be seated a bit too low – it’s best to check that you fit comfortably before you buy.

Storage space is in short supply in the cabin; the door bins are fine for smaller water bottles but are a bit too narrow for much more. A pair of cupholders are provided between the front seats, but they’re located a bit too far back. The Zoe partially redeems itself with a handy storage shelf above the smallish glovebox, which has a non-slip coating to stop your phone or keys from sliding into your lap.

The centre console also offers a storage shelf ahead of the gear lever which offers wireless charging and comes with two USB ports, AUX jack and 12-volt socket for your electronic devices.

Space in the back seats

The rear doors open wide, making it easy to slot a pair of baby seats into the ISOFIX brackets. It’s not particularly spacious, though, and there’s just about enough room for two adults. Taller occupants will be brushing their heads along the roof lining, and knee room is also limited if the front seats are moved too far back. 

Three kids will fit fine in the rear, although the centre seat is raised and not all that comfortable on longer trips. Two USB ports are provided in the rear, great to keep the kids’ devices charged for those longer trips.

Boot space

The Renault Zoe offers 338 litres of boot space, way more than the 211 litres you get in the Mini Electric and almost twice as much as the 171 litres in the Honda e. The boot lip is low and the load area itself is wide and flat, with some baggage hooks for your shopping and a dedicated spot for the charging cables under the boot floor.

The seats fold down to offer up to 1,225 litres of total load space, that’s pretty good for such a small car, although the load area is not completely flat. If you need more space, you’ll need to look at the Nissan Leaf which is one size up and offers 400 litres with the rear seats up.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The Renault Zoe has a logically laid-out cabin, although there’s no scope for customisation, and some plastic trim doesn’t belong in a car with this price tag 

Renault has dropped the base Play trim for 2022 and the Zoe is now available solely in Techno and Iconic trim levels, this means that you get a posher interior and more equipment as standard. There are a few hard and scratchy plastics, though, not befitting a car of this price and there’s no option to personalise the interior with different colour seats or materials.

The previously optional 9.3-inch infotainment unit is now standard on all trims. It is intuitive to use and features sharp and clear graphics but attempting to change settings while on the move is a hit-and-miss affair, as there are no physical shortcut buttons, just a row of small icons along the bottom of the screen.

Navigation is standard, and so is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can choose whether to rely on the handy onboard system or your phone’s apps. You can also configure the screen to display various data in two separate windows.

The 10.0-inch digital driver display is also standard and can be controlled via the steering wheel buttons to display sat-nav info, battery levels and a number of other pertinent driver info.

Electric range, charging and tax

The Renault Zoe range is now solely available with a 135hp electric motor, the base 110hp version has been dropped. It feels responsive and quick enough at slower speeds, but its 0-60mph time of 9.5 seconds trails most alternatives. The Peugeot e-208 gets to 60mph in 8.1 seconds while the Mini electric is even quicker at 7.3 seconds.

It hardly feels underpowered, though, the instant-on torque delivery makes for smooth and quick in-town progress, and it gets up to motorway speeds without issue. Where the Zoe really scores is in its impressive 239 miles of range per charge. The Honda e manages just 131 miles, and even the impressive Peugeot e-208 runs out of juice at 217 miles. You’ll need to look at the one class up Nissan Leaf equipped with its larger optional battery pack to match it. As with all electric cars, achieving those stated ranges requires perfect conditions and Renault says that the range can shrink down to as little as 150 miles in winter. 

In our own testing, mostly on the motorway, we managed an impressive 229 miles from a charge, which is only 10 miles short of its claimed figure. That's reassuring if you're thinking about the odd longer trip in your Zoe.

That brings us to charging, both trims are fitted with a 52kWh battery which takes three hours to charge using a public 22kW charger, or nine hours and 25 minutes using a 7kW wall box at home. 

The rapid charge option (standard on the Iconic trim) lets you get the most out of a 50kW DC public charging point, this will give you 90 miles of range in just 30 minutes.

Safety and security

The Renault Zoe initially received a full five-star Euro NCAP rating when it was tested in 2013. However, when it was retested under the more stringent methods in 2021, it ended up with a shocking zero stars. A 43% adult occupant and 52% child occupant safety rating aren’t great, but the dismal 14% safety assist rating is what really brought the score down.

Part of the blame lies in the removal of the head airbag which used to be standard, as well as lacking certain safety devices that are standard in alternatives. However, the trim that was tested did not include features like lane assist, which is standard on all trims offered in the UK. 

Other standard passive and active safety equipment includes Easy Park Assist which incorporates front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera, and you also get cruise control, keyless entry, blind spot warning and a slow speed pedestrian warning system.

Reliability and problems

The Zoe has been on sale since 2013, albeit with some significant updates along the way, this should bode well for long term reliability, however, Renault as a brand has not done particularly well in customer satisfaction surveys in recent years. In past years owners praised the low running costs of the Zoe but one in five experienced issues in the first year of ownership. 

The Zoe does come with a better-than-average warranty with five-year/100,000-mile cover as standard. The battery pack is covered for eight years/100,000 miles and servicing is required only every 18,000 miles. 

There have been eight recalls since the Zoe has been on sale, with the two most recent issues regarding potential problems with the battery pack. Older problems like arches that could wear down brake hoses were specific to much earlier models and should have been rectified long ago if you are looking at a used option.

Buy or lease the Renault Zoe at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £29,995 - £31,995
Carwow price from
Monthly
£475*
Used
£10,457
Ready to see prices tailored to you?
Compare new offers Compare used deals