Last updated on May 1st, 2020 at 12:55 pm
When the original Renault Zoe launched, it undercut the Nissan Leaf by a significant amount and was widely regarded as one of the best choices for an electric vehicle under the £20,000 mark. Once production ramps up later this year, the new Zoe will be available in three trim levels, from Play and Iconic through to GT Line. That range spans £26,000 to almost £30,000 (including the £3,000 government grant). WhichEV asks if Renault has positioned its new range correctly and looks into rumours about the French company ceasing production of petrol and diesel-fuelled cars in China.
Despite the price-hike, the Zoe does feel like the spiritual successor to the wildly popular Clio. The battery is capable of delivering 32% greater range than the original, increasing the WLTP to 245 miles (395km) which should help reduce range anxiety and keep you relaxed.
That relaxation will be enhanced by the fact that your Zoe will also monitor blind spots, assist you with staying in lane and parking – as well as automatically adjusting your headlights. The instrument dial is a customisable 10in TFT, adding to the futuristic feel.
It's compatible with both Apple and Android devices and your entertainment will be delivered via a Bose sound system. We reported back in November that the Zoe has the best residual values in its segment, which is useful if you're planning an all-out purchase instead of a lease. The battery and traction systems come with an eight-year 100,000-mile warranty, while the rest of the vehicle is covered for five years.
You can choose to drive the new Zoe like a conventional car, with two pedals, or you can go into ‘B-Mode' for single pedal driving. We don't think the ‘B' stands for bumper cars, but the principal is the same.
Plus, if this is your first Zoe, you get a free 7kW BP Chargemaster Homecharger unit – complete with installation. Given that BP is shy about sharing the price of this product on its web site, it's hard to put an exact value on it but – including installation – it has to be worth close to £700.
Another thing worth noting with the prices and models, is that there are two motor options. Cars with R135 in their description will have a 100kW motor and the R110 models will offer an 80kW motor.
As a customer-option, you can also fit 15, 16 or 17in wheels – and choose from nine main colour options.
From its initial revelation back in 2009, the Zoe has developed into quite a sophisticated-looking product with a lot of driver-friendly features. We're only worried about the price. That price anxiety comes into play more when you consider that Renault seems to be pulling back from petrol and diesel products in China.
According to sources, Renault's sales were 80% under its production capacity in China for 2019, so it makes sense to focus on the future and also to work closer with Nissan. François Provost, Renault's chairman in China, has called for “a new chapter in China” and to “more efficiently leverage Renault's relationship with Nissan”. Perhaps that will be good news for the duo's partners in China, including Jiangxi Jiangling, eGT and Brilliance Jinbei.
We're hoping to give the new Zoe an in-depth test once the pandemic restrictions have lifted. For now, we're happy with the external design, the company's history in this sector and the range of gadgets and assists provided. Our only concern is how much it will cost.
Bear in mind that you can get a top-of-the-line Renault Kadjar for less than £25,000 – which comes with a similar feature set and specification, albeit with a conventional engine. The price gap (before any grants etc are taken into account), from the S Edition Kadjar to the GT Line version of the Zoe, is more than £6,000. You have to wonder where that additional money is going?
For now, business customers looking for an affordable lease and 0% BiK can expect to order an R110 from £155 ex VAT on a two-year contract for 10,000 miles a year and £176 for the faster R135 version.