It could now even work for drivers who don’t have off-street parking. A charge once a week at a supermarket while you do the shopping could be enough to see you through several days, and you’ll still benefit from all of the financial and environmental benefits of owning an electric car.
Renault has recently reshuffled the trim levels on offer, naming them Techno and Iconic. Both use the 135bhp electric motor, but the main difference is DC rapid-charging, which is only available on the more expensive Iconic. It's always a good option to go for as it can get electricity into your battery in minutes rather than hours. Bigger wheels (which create more drag) and the extra weight mean the Iconic loses some of the range though - with the Techno's 239 miles dropping to 223 on the Iconic.
The Zoe’s appeal isn’t just about the range. The top-spec models now feel pretty plush inside and have technology which isn’t even standard on cars which cost twice as much, such as wireless phone charging. It’s pretty good to drive too, especially around town with light steering and a suspension system that copes well with potholes and speed bumps.
One big black mark is the car's zero rating in the new tougher EuroNCAP crash tests. This is partly because some of the accident-preventing safety kit isn't standard across the range, but there were some worrying results in the physical tests too.
Currently there's just one motor available. The 135 model is capable of surprising some sporty cars away from a standstill, although the performance does tail off as you get up to motorway speeds. Before a cheaper 110 model was on offer and even that felt quite sprightly up to 30 mph, and was perfectly adequate around town.
It’s pretty spacious too, even compared to conventional small hatchbacks. The battery pack is stored underneath the floor which makes the seating position a little more upright, but it’s never uncomfortable and the boot is big enough to compare to bigger cars such as a Ford Focus or VW Golf.
In fact, many electric car drivers buy a model like a Zoe to use as a second vehicle but find it practical enough to use every day. They then like the way it drives (and the smaller bills) so much that they end up using it more than their ‘first’ car.
It might look familiar and have been around for a few years, but the Zoe is a thoroughly up-to-date small car that’s the perfect introduction to electric motoring.