Over the years, the Renault Zoe has been fitted with new motors and battery variants several times, changes that cannot be seen from the outside. In 2019, the car received a new face, a new dashboard, and new engine and battery variants. Where the first Zoe had to make do with a battery pack with 25.9 kWh gross (and 22 kWh net), these values ​​have now risen to 54.7 and 52 kWh. The result was more than double the driving range. Also, the Zoe got faster, engine power increased from the original 88 to a maximum of 135 hp.

Is the Renault Zoe a suitable electric family car?

In terms of dimensions, the Renault Zoe is quite comparable to its Clio gasoline brother, the Volkswagen Polo and models such as the Peugeot 208 and Opel Corsa. Or does that also happen in practice? “Space is good for each other. My previous car was a Punto Evo, known for being the most spacious in its class. The Zoe does it even a little better. The space in the front and rear is comparable, but the trunk is clearly larger”, writes the owner of a 2014 copy.

Get support from the driver of a short-term rental Zoe. “The trunk and interior space are generous for the class. You can easily fit two adult Labs in the back and also two child seats in the back seat.” We assume that dogs and child seats are not transported at the same time. The next driver also finds the Zoe very suitable as a family car. “The car seems small, but we have three children and they can get in with two car seats without any problem.”

There are also less practical issues, this driver describes: “The rear doors open with an alternative lever, which is built into the window pillar. I can’t open the door with one hand. With one hand you use the door handle (a kind of button that you press) and with the other hand you open the door. You can certainly live with that, but a ‘normal’ handle is really much more convenient.”

renault zoe

not a typical french

Is the Zoe a typical French car when it comes to comfort? The owners don’t think so. “In terms of suspension comfort, the car is stiff, but it can still be called comfortable,” writes the driver of a 2017 Zoe Q90. Okay, is it a playful dud? “No, don’t buy this car if you want to hit some country roads. The car does not invite at all to take corners faster than normal. If you do, the electronic systems will soon intervene.

The former owner of a Twingo vouched for this experience. “It is not the iron that my Twingo diesel was, it shows that the car is heavy. The car has a stiff suspension, which does quite well in corners, but the thresholds are uncomfortable, as are bumps in the road or driving on rough road surfaces. But for 90% of the kilometers you are sitting comfortably.

renault zoe

The first generation Renault Zoe.

The chassis may not necessarily be comfortable, the Zoe has another big advantage. This primitive Zoe owner, who also owns a Citroën C5, describes it like this. “Super nice. I didn’t think either of us would rather drive the Zoe than the C5. Apparently the quiet and smooth acceleration are also important comfort factors.”

A surprising number of homeowners have criticized seating furniture. “The chairs look great, beautifully and solidly designed, but frankly they promise more than they deliver. It certainly doesn’t fit badly, but somehow they feel like they weren’t made for me.” Doesn’t seem to be the owner’s fault. “Chairs are sparsely executed. No lumbar support and only backrest height and position adjustable “and” I don’t think the seats are optimal. They give little support to the lower back and I prefer a lower seat “, are other comments. Of course, nothing is as personal as a car seat, but in this case it is certainly recommended to test it thoroughly before buying a Zoe.

And the driving range?

Where we usually ignore fuel consumption in this section, after all we have the ‘practical consumption’ section for that, you can’t escape this with an electric car. After all, it is much more relevant with such a model because of the range that can be achieved. So there is no owner to be found who avoids the ‘driving range’ issue. Now, Zoe’s drivers are often trailblazers with the corresponding attitude, so they know well what they can and can’t expect from their car. In the reviews we read little about the range. anxiety.

The ‘original’ Zoe, with a net battery capacity of 22 kWh, gives this owner between 140 and 150 km of range. “Our use is a mixture of urban traffic, regional ring and highway. By the way, your range on inland roads would be considerably longer, and if you drive in a traffic jam, you can even reach Groningen from Utrecht.” Still, you need to pay attention on longer trips, notes the owner of a younger copy. The rangefinder is not as accurate as you might expect. You have to keep a close eye on that and certainly not drive to the last mile.”

Nissan Leaf battery degradation

Battery downgrade and upgrade

Whether the range will hold up over the years depends on several factors. The owner of a used Zoe has had the battery condition checked after 123,000 km. “If the battery degenerates as little as the first seven years in the next few years (now 2 percent less than new), then I expect to drive it for at least another 25,000 km. But I really want to do it for another ten years. So it becomes really friendly to the environment. Or rather, ‘less harmful to the environment’”. A copy with almost 120,000 miles on the counter did considerably worse in an AutoWeek test. In that case, it’s good for the owners if they use the battery rental build, which Renault has since abandoned.

For those experiencing battery degradation or simply wanting to extend driving range, Renault offers a unique service: a battery pack upgrade. For example, this owner replaced the original 22 kWh battery after 100,000 km with a copy with a 40 kWh capacity to nearly double the driving range to a practical range of about 210 to about 260 kilometers.

In addition to possible battery degradation, there are a number of points that require attention. For example, a chirping sound may indicate a faulty reduction gearbox and the heater motor may eventually produce additional noises. Also, the R-link navigation and multimedia system interferes with some users, and several owners report that features load too slowly. “The reversing camera isn’t everything either: you’re already parked before it kicks in, unless you wait 10 seconds.” Apart from these points, judging by user reviews, Zoe proves to be quite a reliable companion. We read more than once that after the first Zoe, she continues to buy a new one.