New Renault Zoe: more power, better range, plusher interior

The new Renault Zoe features plenty of improvements over the old version, so is it the affordable electric car to go for?

John Evans
Jul 31, 2019

More power and an increased range of up to 242 miles per charge are the major highlights of the facelifted Renault Zoe electric car.

Already Europe’s second best-selling electric vehicle (EV), the improvements put the Zoe supermini in closer contention with range-champs including the Hyundai Kona Electric 64kWh (up to 279 miles) and Kia e-Niro 64kWh (282 miles).

The Zoe's 30% increase in range compared with the previous version is thanks to a new 52kWh battery which, although higher capacity than the 40kWh unit fitted to earlier versions, takes up no more space in the car.

On the outside, the Zoe gets a much bolder front bumper design dominated by a large Renault badge that doubles as a cover for the charging ports, full LED headlights framed by C-shaped daytime running lights and extra chrome detailing for a more upmarket look.

Renault has confirmed only the availability of GT Line trim so far, but Dynamique Nav and S Edition trims are likely to feature in the new line-up if they follow a similar format to other Renault models. Prices and a precise on-sale date are also yet to be confirmed.   

New Renault Zoe range and charging times

A range of 242 miles on a full charge is the headline figure here. It’s up by nearly a thrid on the old Zoe, thanks to a larger 52kWh battery. 

To speed up the charging time of the new, higher capacity battery, the Zoe is available with an optional 50kW DC fast charging system that can restore around 90 miles of range in 30 minutes. It comes with a Combo-plug combining the DC two-pin connector and the traditional Type-2 socket that is otherwise standard on the Zoe. If you're still getting your head around the logistics of EV charging, take a look at our guides to electric car charging cables and the different types of electric car charging stations.

Using this more widespread 22kW Type-2 connection, the Zoe can be charged on the street, where a 78-mile range top-up can be achieved in one hour. Alternatively, at home and connected to a 7kW Wallbox, the battery can be charged from 0 to 100% in nine hours and 25 minutes, while a range of 190 miles is possible in eight hours. This means that most drivers should have more than enough time to fully charge the car at home between getting home one evening and leaving the next morning.

Crucially, the 242-mile range that Renault quotes for the new car is based on the new, more representative WLTP fuel economy test. So drivers should be able to get close to this figure in real-world conditions, though you can still expect variation depending upon traffic conditions, the temperature and your driving style.

New Renault Zoe power

There's a choice of two electric motors: the existing 80kW R110 that produces 110hp and a new, more powerful one, the 100kW R135 that produces 135hp and which will be exclusive to the GT Line version.

For the first time since the Zoe was launched seven years ago, this more powerful motor enables the car to accelerate from 0-62mph in less than 10 seconds. More significantly, it can propel the Zoe from 50-70mph, the typical change in speed you may need to overtake, 2.2 seconds quicker than a Zoe fitted with the less powerful R110 motor.

New Renault Zoe interior

The car’s interior has been refreshed with the addition of a redesigned centre console which, on certain models, houses a new 9.3-inch touchscreen media system. The console is part of a new dashboard that features improved finishes, reflected elsewhere in the cabin by the use of more soft-touch plastics for a higher quality feel.

New Renault Zoe review

We’ve not driven the car yet, so it’s impossible to say what it’s like on the road. We do know that there is a new ‘B’ mode on the car. This increases the regenerative braking effect - which adds charge back to the battery - when the driver lifts off the throttle, to the extent that it enables the Zoe to be driven using the accelerator pedal alone, at least in slow moving and stop-start traffic. That's because simply lifting off the accelerator should offer enough braking force to slow the car in most conditions.

At all other times, the Zoe operates in D mode - like the normal 'Drive' mode on a typical automatic gearbox - but as part of the model’s facelift, B mode is selected by pushing the Zoe’s new, so-called 'e-shifter' gear lever.

Meanwhile, the Zoe’s braking system has been uprated to improved brake pedal feel and disc brakes are now standard on all four wheels for more stopping power.

Along with improvements to the Zoe’s power, range and driveability come new driver assistance features including an electronic parking brake, and safety systems including traffic sign recognition, blind spot alert, automatic hill hold assist, automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist.


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