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Renault Zoe review: It's all about the range

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Impressive range is the highlight of the new Renault Zoe and for many, that’s the most important thing.
Renault was one of the first companies to come out with a fully-fledged electric car. The likes of the Zoe and the Nissan Leaf dominated that first-gen space, seemingly a good step ahead of the mainstream in offering electric driving. That’s one of the reasons why the Zoe is one of the top selling European electric cars (EVs).
Renault’s position with the Zoe was to offer an affordable city car, but separated the cost of the car and lease of the battery, so there was a two-tiered approach. That meant that the Zoe was relatively cheap as EVs go, but then you had to pay a battery lease too, which soon added up.
Now it’s an all-in approach, which sees the Zoe starting from just over £26k and swelling to over £30k for the top-of-the-range option. But all these cars have the same battery pack – and that’s the Zoe’s strongest selling point. Compact design
The Zoe has always been a small city car. It was on the roads before many smaller city cars started to appear so it neatly falls into the sort of entry-point for electric cars. You can go smaller with the Seat Mii electric, for example, but the Zoe now finds itself flanked by cars like the Honda e and the Mini Electric.
Therefore it’s a fitting time to give the Zoe a smart new design. It’s more angular and attractive than the previous version, which now looks a little soft. But it’s great that you’ve got things like back doors – something the Mini doesn’t stretch to – although it’s unavoidable that the rear bench doesn’t give your passengers a lot of space once they’re in, especially if you’re squeezing in three people. Pocket-lint
Instead you have a respectable boot space, big enough to be useful at 225 litres, expanding to 338 with the rear seats folded, meaning that there’s space for you to stash all your shopping or school bags, while the front seats are spacious enough.
There are three different trims of Zoe, pictured here is the top-of-the-line GT, although the exterior differences are minimal. All have strong shoulders and ripples in the bonnet, giving a sporty feel to things. It looks as though the aim was to reform the previous design with a slightly more aggressive take – and to many that will add appeal.
You’ll have to opt for the Iconic or GT to get alloy wheels and escape the slightly budget look that the Play wheels bring, but otherwise, from the outside, all the options look similar – and we think it’s a great-looking compact car. Interior changes
Where those different trim levels really have an impact in inside. The immediate thing you’ll notice is that the GT gets a larger display in the centre of that car, with a 9-inch screen compared to the 7-inch of the Play and Iconic trim. That’s a handsome addition, adding some techy appeal, although the Iconic can also get this display for a £800 charge.
The quality of the interior has had a lift over the previous versions of this car too. There’s still a mix of materials with plenty of harder plastics, but it fits the car’s positioning. On the GT trim there’s synthetic leather mixed with recycled fabrics resulting in a quality finish; step down a trim and its fabrics for the seating.1/7Pocket-lint
We like the addition of fabrics to the door lining, giving a premium lift where sometimes you’d just find plastic – although it doesn’t go anywhere near as far as the Honda e in creating a unique interior feel.

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