The Renault Zoe is an absolute hoot to drive, but as the fun levels go up, the range will go down
More power and range, or fast-charging ability – those are your options when you buy a Renault Zoe.
The Zoe R110 produces 108bhp, and can zoom from 0-30mph in under four seconds – ideal for zipping around city streets. It has a top speed of 84mph and covers 0-62mph in under 12 seconds. This means that it’s fine for the motorway too – it manages to keep up in fast traffic with no problem.
Charging the batteries from empty to full at home takes just over seven hours. And at a 43kW charge point you can charge the batteries from empty to 80% in 1h 40m.
The Renault Zoe is easy to drive, but it won't set your hair on fire
If you go for the slightly more expensive Q90 you sacrifice some power – it has 88bhp – for the ability to cut your charging time at a fast charge point. It takes just over an hour to go from 0 to 80%. Confusingly, it takes longer to charge at home than the R110 car, however.
As is the case with all electric cars, you’ll need to carefully plan your journey before you set off to make sure you’ll not be left stranded by the side of the road without enough juice to get home. The Zoe’s official range is an impressive 250 miles, but the Renault suggests 186 miles is a more achievable real-world figure for the R110, and 174 miles for the Q90.
It’s important to note that driving during very cold weather with the heater and headlights on could reduce the Zoe’s range by as much as 62 miles.
Its stiff suspension and special tyres with low rolling resistance mean the Renault Zoe rides a little more firmly than most rivals. On rough roads it never really settles down and even fairly small potholes can send an unpleasant jolt through the cabin.
A regenerative braking system that uses the electric motor to both slow the car and re-charge the batteries can feel a little grabby at times, but overall the Renault Zoe is a smooth and relaxing car to drive – especially around town.
Its trump card is its ability to cruise along in almost complete silence. Where your average petrol or diesel engine could feature thousands of rapidly spinning components, the Zoe’s electric motor features just one moving part. As a result, it produces no nasty vibrations or unsettling clunks and goes about its business with little more than a distant hum.
Its eerily silent driving habits mean you’re slightly more aware of wind and road noise than you might be in a conventional hatchback. Besides a faint whistling at motorway speeds, however, it never feels unrefined and you’ll be able to hear every complaint from bored kids in the back seats.