The new all-electric Renault Zoe tackles range anxiety head-on

Driving an electrical automotive requires a little bit of forethought earlier than you set off on a journey. That’s not essentially a foul factor; it’s simply completely different in comparison with a petroleum or diesel-powered mannequin.

Brief hops aren’t actually a difficulty, however longer runs will be making an attempt and downright worrying when you’re working low on volts. You subsequently have to think about vary issues and what you’ll do with the time when you’re ready for the battery to cost. The identical goes for topping up on the different finish when you plan on making it again residence once more. To be trustworthy, it may be a little bit of a ache when you’re not an organised sort.

However Renault’s newest Zoe might assist to place an finish to vary nervousness. The brand new and improved EV supermini comes with a extra highly effective 52kWh battery, which sees it get pleasure from a 32% improve over the older mannequin’s 41kWh powerpack. It’s sufficient to do greater than 200 miles. Getting the ability to the street is finished by way of a brand new 100 kW motor, though there’s additionally a barely tamer 80kw energy unit on supply too.

Driving this specific battery-powered automotive is subsequently a really relaxed affair. That air of calm begins with the welcoming inside, which options an array of plush new fittings, restyled areas together with the centre console with its very cool drive selector and tremendous comfortable seats. The steering wheel is properly trimmed too. It’s all much more upmarket than you may count on for a automotive that’s keenly priced from £18,670 (about $23,000, AU$34,000).

For the long term

Nonetheless, essentially the most soothing facet is the aforementioned vary of this nice little automotive. Renault has achieved a effective job with the brand new battery, and as we came upon on a prolonged, to not point out relatively hilly journey not too long ago, the Zoe is greater than able to taking you on a long term. Higher nonetheless, it’ll get you again once more with nothing to fret about.

Renault reckons the Zoe is sweet for 245 miles, and based mostly on our expertise of the automotive we’d say that’s in all probability fairly correct. Earlier than you get into the supermini although it’s instantly apparent the place the automotive has been tweaked from an exterior perspective. The entrance finish is maybe essentially the most noticeably completely different from the outgoing mannequin. Effectively, not completely different as such, simply rigorously honed.

Renault Zoe

(Picture credit score: Renault)

The adjustments are refined however efficient, with a extra refined hood, cool gildings to the grille insert and a few funky wanting LED headlights, that are complimented by slick new working lights. It’s sufficient to provide the Zoe loads of driver attraction, which is additional complimented due to some tasty new colors, together with Celadon Blue, the attractive Flame Crimson and a relatively extra restrained Quartz White.

Again to that fetching inside although and the trio of Renault Straightforward Life trim choices – Play, Iconic and GT Line present one thing for everybody. In a nod to environmental issues Renault has used recycled plastics and sustainable supplies for lots of the inside parts. In reality, the Iconic fashions even go as far as that includes upholstery that’s 100 p.c recycled materials.

Renault Zoe

(Picture credit score: Renault)

We predict the Zoe actually advantages from the remodelled 10-inch TFT instrument cluster, which is straightforward however efficient. You get an important real-time view of how the battery is faring when you drive. The 9.3-inch touchscreen within the centre of the sprint is value exploring too, that includes because it does Renault’s Straightforward Hyperlink multimedia system. There’s additionally wi-fi smartphone charging on the Iconic and GT Line trim choices by way of a pad down on the centre console.

We discovered the satellite tv for pc navigation system OK, but it surely’s bought a number of quirks, which progressively evaporate the extra you utilize it. Elsewhere although you’ll discover Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus Straightforward Join apps that time you within the path of charging places. That stated; we discover {that a} fast scan utilizing Zap Map remains to be the most effective methods of discovering out the place and when you’ll be able to perform your subsequent cost.

Nonetheless, as we’ve already talked about, you definitely end up much less preoccupied with recharging the battery on the Zoe. In reality, vary nervousness barely reared its head throughout our prolonged time out, which took us from the ocean to the hills and again down once more.

Foolproof charging

The supermini handles OK too, with disc brakes all spherical serving to it to cease, whereas going round tight mountain corners is nice enjoyable due to its moderately balanced really feel. There are three completely different wheel designs and sizes; 15, 16 and 17-inch, so you’ll be able to personalize the expertise much more. General the trim choices appear to cater nicely for many tastes and budgets.

Journeys will be additional embellished due to the all-new driving mode selector. Situated within the revamped centre console, this provides you entry to the B mode, which helps you to benefit from the regenerative braking facet of the Zoe. This additionally places some goodness again into the battery as you head down these inclines. It really works OK however lacks the enjoyable issue of one thing just like the e-Pedal within the Nissan Leaf.

Renault Zoe

(Picture credit score: Rob Clymo)

Apparently, the brand new 52kWh battery, which weighs 325kg, is bodily no larger than its predecessor. Extra usefully although: the Zoe now has direct present or DC charging alongside AC, although you’ll have to pay additional for that privilege. And, on a sensible word, the Renault brand on the nostril of the automotive covers the charging level, which suggests it’s simply accessed, even when you’re parked at a type of places which have annoyingly quick connecting cables.

Should you’ve bought entry to a extra highly effective DC outlet then you will get round 90 miles again on a cost in roughly 30 minutes, which is greater than sufficient to get you out of hassle. Nonetheless, with that spectacular new vary and the Zoe’s total capabilities, it feels to us like the brand new mannequin will get you there and again once more no downside. You may even really feel blissful skipping a top-up altogether in the course of the journey.

There’s an extra vary anxiety-beating consolation blanket too: Renault is providing a free 7kWh residence wallbox for home recharging. Whereas it will not supply blisteringly quick recharges it’ll be greater than satisfactory for getting your battery again as much as 100% in a single day. That’s an actual bonus and ideal for what this automotive is designed to do.

Deliveries of the brand new lengthy vary Renault Zoe start in January 2020.

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