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In-depth reviews

Renault ZOE review: performance, motor & drive

The Renault ZOE provides smooth and satisfactory performance, but offers little in the way of driver engagement

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Performance, motor & drive rating

3.5 out of 5

Price
£29,995 - £31,995
Fuel Type:
Electric
0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
9.5s87mphFront134bhp

The Renault ZOE is only offered with one, front-mounted electric motor. This offers plenty of pep – especially in the 0-30mph range – and is ideal for around-town driving. Significantly updated suspension, steering and brakes mean this ZOE is usefully better to drive than the original model, too. It’s stable and confidence-inspiring which is enough to make it fit for regular motorway miles. There’s plenty of grip if you want to have some fun, although it never goads you into tackling a twisty road the same way an MG4 does.

Renault ZOE 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

The Renault ZOE’s 0-62mph time of 9.5 seconds may not seem that impressive, but it feels really punchy at low speeds and launches off the line with the trademark zeal and gear-free acceleration of most electric cars. It even picks up just fine for the occasional overtake or to keep up with faster motorway traffic. There's an ‘ECO’ mode, which neuters throttle response quite drastically and makes things feel dull and restrained, so if you don’t need to eke the range out, then leave it in the standard mode.

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The ‘B’ mode ups the rather subtle standard regenerative braking, to the point where you can drive it on one pedal alone in slow town traffic – although the effect isn't quite as aggressive as the Nissan Leaf’s 'e-Pedal'. The way it bleeds in smoothly as you lift off the accelerator makes it much easier to get used to, though, and effortless to judge how quickly the car will stop and whether you need to use the brake pedal or not.

That standard brake response has also been tweaked; it's now more progressive and makes the current ZOE a bit easier to drive smoothly than its predecessor.

Handling

The ZOE has always felt more suited to town driving, with bigger alternatives like the Leaf feeling a bit more grown-up and more appropriate for the motorway. The latest Renault has closed the gap between the two – it now feels more planted and confidence-inspiring at motorway speeds.

It’s also now sweeter-handling around town and on twisty roads, so while the ZOE is most certainly not a 'warm hatch' like the MINI Electric, it's neat and responsive enough to feel at home on any sort of road.

A new, slim-rimmed steering wheel makes the ZOE more pleasant to drive than before, too. Ride comfort is good, even on UK roads. It bobs about a little over faster undulations and pitches noticeably under braking, but the soft ride is exactly what you want of an easygoing commuter car like this.

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Hello there, I’m Tom Jervis and I have the pleasure of being the Content Editor here at DrivingElectric. Before joining the team in 2023, I spent my time reviewing cars and offering car buying tips and advice on DrivingElectric’s sister site, Carbuyer. I also continue to occasionally contribute to the AutoExpress magazine – another of DrivingElectric’s partner brands. In a past life, I worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcast assistant for regional services in the east of England – constantly trying to find stories that related to cars!

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