Renault Zoe early morning light

Is the Renault ZOE the best small electric car? 

The Renault ZOE is a small, electric city car, and a trail-blazer for the small EV market. However, it's now not the only one for drivers to consider.

The ZOE now faces huge competition from the likes of the Peugeot e-208, Vauxhall Corsa-e, Nissan LEAF and MINI Electric (to name just a few), but does the Renault ZOE remain a firm favourite when it comes to range, design and price? Let’s find out…

Renault Zoe front view
Renault Zoe Displays

What did we drive?

Renault ZOE R135

Model Line: GT Line

Power: 134 Horsepower

Performance 0-62: 9.5 Seconds

Colour: Celadon Blue

Upholstery: Part recycled, part synthetic leather

Optional Extras: Winter Pack (£500) and Premium Paint (£660)

Side view

Renault ZOE Model Lines

The ZOE has three model specifications to choose from: entry-level PLAY, mid-range ICONIC and top of the range GT LINE. Here's a summary of the standout features of each model:


  • 15 inch alloys
  • Start/stop button
  • Auto headlights and rain sensitive wipers
  • Cruise control and speed limiter
  • 10 inch drivers display
  • Manual air con
  • Front electric windows
  • Heated, electrically adjustable door mirrors
  • 7 inch touch screen
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay


  • 16 inch alloys
  • Recycled fabric upholstery
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Climate control
  • Rear electric windows
  • Wireless phone charging
  • 2 USB ports in the rear
  • Connected services


  • Tinted rear windows and rear screen
  • Chrome grille
  • 19 inch diamond-cut alloys
  • GT Line recycled fabric/synthetic leather combination upholstery
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Blind spot warning
  • Reversing camera
  • Auto dimming rear view mirror
  • Electrically folding door mirrors
  • 9.3 inch touchscreen

Renault ZOE Price 

Whilst there are cheaper electric alternatives, the ZOE still remains to be one of the most affordable electric cars on the market. And those cheaper models like the SEAT Mii or Smart fortwo/forfour either have less seats, smaller range, or offer a lesser overall experience.

On The Road prices of the ZOE are around £26,000… which is a lot really, especially when thats for the entry-level model. For a GT Line with extras like ours it's closer to £32,000. However, when it comes to a Renault ZOE lease, prices can start under £200 a month. That's the same as you’d pay for many petrol or diesel alternatives, so the ZOE offers a much more manageable way to drive electric.

A question we hear a lot... "How much does a Renault ZOE battery cost?". Well, a new one can set you back a pretty penny. However the ZOE batteries have a warranty that lasts 8 years/100,000 miles, which is more than almost all standard lease terms. In short, with a new Renault ZOE lease, battery life isn’t something you need to worry about.

Renault Zoe Rear


Unlike many EV’s, the battery is not stored in the boot, but under the floor, meaning that no practical luggage capacity is lost. This also means that the boot space is actually not bad (despite quite a big boot lip). 338 litres to be precise: bigger than both the Corsa-e and the MINI Electric. In a slightly Nissan Juke-feeling move, the ZOE gets quirky hidden door handles. But I can’t help but feel that you have to open them in an odd way. It felt a bit counter intuitive.

Whilst there’s more room in the back than you’d think, it’s all relative. And we must remember that this is a small car. A couple of adults would be fine for a journey that wasn’t too strenuous. Most excitingly the car features no fewer than 3 Isofix points, with the front passenger seat allowing for those slightly tricky to install twisting child seats if you deactivate the airbag.

In terms of the cabin, the quality is good, and the upholstery looks great. Chrome perforated control surrounds add a high-end feel to the interior, and make up for the slightly plasticy material on the doors.

There’s 2 cupholders up front and small door bins mean that this really would be the only place to store water bottles. However, there is a neat little shelf over the glove compartment. The seats are also incredibly comfortable and offer a really good amount of support for the driver.

Boot Space

Range and Performance 

This latest ZOE also comes with the latest battery technology. This new battery, the Z.E. 50, has the exact same dimensions as the previous ZOE, however, can store 25% more energy.

The ZOE has a claimed maximum WLTP range of up to 245 miles. Real-world, though, you’re looking at around 230, however, in winter Renault say this can drop to just 150 miles. Still enough for most journeys, but a significant drop in those colder conditions. The car also uses regenerative braking to give the battery a boost of energy and ECO mode maximises the cars’ efficiency even more, limiting acceleration and Air Con use to conserve energy.

Centre console and gear selector

The 134 horsepower electric motor provides 100% torque immediately and the result is something that feels very rapid indeed. Surprisingly so, in fact, and it certainly put a smile on my face with a 0-62mph time of a deceiving 9.5 seconds. Dynamic and responsive handling compliments a hugely comfortable drive. Although a slight bug bear comes in the fact that the drivers seat gets no height adjustments – an annoyance for many I’m sure. A tonic to this comes in a reasonably adjustable steering wheel and good visibility.

SEE ALSO: Electric dreams - A look at the Vauxhall Corsa-e



The car's 52kWh battery can be charged in a multitude of ways and times. The ZOE gets a Chameleon Charger, which is unique to Renault, and allows the battery to always be charged to the maximum power output available.

Those who charge at a 7kW at home wallbox will be able to charge the ZOE from 0-100% in just under 9 ½ hours. Using a 22kW source, the ZOE will go for a full charge (0-100%) in 3 hours. And finally using a 50kW rapid charger, it will boost from 0-80% in as little as 80 minutes. 

Charger cable and bag


GT Line models like this one benefit from the 9.3 inch vertical touchscreen, which though responsive, is a little bit difficult to use whilst driving due to its angle in respect to the driver. The multimedia system is both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible, and you can also use your favourite apps like Spotify and Waze on the go. The real star of the show is the 10 inch digital drivers display which is bright, clear and easy to control.

Digital Cabin

In terms of connectivity, the GT Line gets 2 USB ports in the front, 2 in the back, a 12v socket and a AUX jack. It also gets electric windows front and back, wireless charging, Keyless entry and start, automatic wipers, auto headlights, a Lane keeping aid, Blindspot assist and Cruise control. Not too shabby, eh?

This car had an optional Winter Pack, which is around £500, and gets you heated seats, and a leather, heated steering wheel. And a BOSE sound system is also available as an option should you want it.

SEE ALSO: Reasons to lease a Tesla Model 3

Drivers Display

Final Verdict

The ZOE sets the bar high, not just in the electric car market, but in the small hatchback market in general.

Whilst small, it remains practical for those with young families. Space is much better than we expected, both inside the cabin and in the boot. But most importantly this car is an absolute cracker to drive. More so for me than both the E-208 or the Corsa-e, although those cars probably both beat the ZOE in the looks department.

Whilst even the PLAY get’s lots of nice home comforts as standard, our pick would be the ICONIC as it has most of the features you wouldn’t want to live without, although does miss out on that lovely 9.3 inch touchscreen.

So, final verdict on the Renault ZOE? I’m calling on a team consensus and it’s an easy one. We really, really, REALLY like this car. And you will too.

Woman stood next to Renault ZOE

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