Renault ZOE review: reliability & safety rating
The ZOE has sold in big numbers and proved to be reliable, but a zero-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in late 2021 came as a shock
|Euro NCAP||Adult protection||Child protection||Safety assist|
|0 stars (2021)||43%||52%||14%|
As a small and simple electric car, the Renault ZOE should be a byword for reliability and there have been no major problems reported with either the first or second-generation models. But while the original incarnation
managed a five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash-testing back in 2013, the latest model received a worrying zero stars when tested against the latest, stricter criteria in late 2021.
Renault ZOE reliability & problems
The ZOE has proven to be a reliable car. The previous-generation model consistently ranked high in our Driver Power customer satisfaction surveys. Owners praised the car's handling, running costs and powertrain. While the ZOE has not appeared in our most recent survey, this should bode well for prospective ZOE buyers. Regardless, electric cars are typically very reliable anyway, since they have far fewer moving parts than a combustion engine.
In December 2019, Renault increased the duration of its standard manufacturer warranty from four to five years, with a 100,000-mile limit in years three to five, but no mileage limit within the first two years. This is a strong statement of confidence in its product, and bettered only by Kia and MG's seven-year guarantees.
The latest ZOE wasn't crash-tested by Euro NCAP at the time of its launch in late 2019, but when the organisation did put the car through its evaluation in late 2021, it was so concerned by its poor performance that it issued a rare 'zero-star' rating.
Euro NCAP said: "testing has revealed some eye-opening results from the crash test dummies used to simulate real-life impact scenarios. In the frontal offset crash, the results were rated as 'poor', due to weak protection for the chest area of the driver side dummy specifically. But it was the severe side pole test that revealed the most drastic results, with the driver’s head directly impacting the intruding pole."
The poor result was attributed to the absence of a head-protection airbag, as well as the fact that lane-departure warning and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) weren't offered across the ZOE range. Renault rectified this in January 2022 by making both safety technologies available as standard across the range – although a head-protection airbag is still not offered as of 2023.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe cutesy-looking Renault ZOE remains a solid small electric car pick thanks to its hi-tech cabin and strong range, although it’s missing several important safety and charging features
- 2Range & chargingThe Renault ZOE offers strong range for an electric supermini, however we wish it came with DC rapid charging a standard
- 3Running costs & insuranceAlthough more expensive to buy than a comparable petrol Renault Clio, the ZOE offers rock-bottom running costs
- 4Performance, motor & driveThe Renault ZOE provides smooth and satisfactory performance, but offers little in the way of driver engagement
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfortThe Renault ZOE has a well-appointed interior and comes with a large array of standard equipment
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe Renault ZOE is sufficiently spacious for supermini standards, but other EVs offer greater practicality
- 7Reliability & safety rating - currently readingThe ZOE has sold in big numbers and proved to be reliable, but a zero-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in late 2021 came as a shock