Zoe ready for EV

boom

Renault Zoe, 2019, front
Renault Zoe, 2019, front, action
Renault Zoe, 2019, side
Renault Zoe, 2019, rear
Renault Zoe, 2019, charging
Renault Zoe, 2019, instrument panel
Renault Zoe, 2019, gear lever
Renault Zoe, 2019, rear light cluster
Renault Zoe, 2019, motor
Renault Zoe, 2019, rear seats
Renault Zoe, 2019, boot
Renault Zoe, 2019, badge
Renault Zoe, 2019, steering wheel
Renault Zoe, 2019, display screen
Renault Zoe, 2019, charging point

IT'S one of the stalwarts of the electric age and Renault is bringing the Zoe right up to date with the launch of the third generation model.

Due for release in January 2020 and priced from £25,670 the new car has a zero emission range of 245 miles and - at the top of the line up - more power and performance.

That version costs from £27,120 but all new Zoes can be had for £7,000 less if the battery pack is leased and not bought with the vehicle.

Leasing the battery is down to personal choice and of the 10,000 Zoes sold so far in the UK almost half have gone for that option.

Acquiring the car that way takes the entry level price down to £18,670 after the Government grant for environmentally-friendly cars - almost £5,000 more than what the Zoe cost when first introduced in 2013.

However, the improvements Renault has made to its five-door all-electric hatch have been considerable and the Mark 3 model can be had with a 135hp motor which gives the Zoe a 0 to 60 time of 9.5 seconds and a top speed of 87mph - a significant improvement on the acceleration front.

We tried out the new higher powered model on some mountain roads in Sardinia and the Zoe passed muster without hesitation.

More power makes for better high end acceleration and the Zoe feels swift all the way up to motorway speeds.

On our trip we covered 86 miles but saw a decrease in available range of only 72 miles such is the benefit of regenerative braking which can recharge the battery on the move.

Use it wisely - and there is a B mode on the transmission to maximise its efficiency - and it is possible to drive the Zoe purely from the accelerator negating the need to use the foot brake.

The car came fully charged and used some 35 per cent of its capacity over the journey taking the total available range up to some 260 miles.

That pits the new Zoe favourably with other similarly sized EVs such as the Kia e-Niro, the Hyundai Kona and the Nissan Leaf - and the Zoe comes with plenty of Renault's distinctive styling.

The front of the new model now has LED headlamps, fog lamps in the air intakes and a larger lower grille while at the rear the tail lights now incorporate dynamic scrolling indicators.

Inside, there is a new fabric trim made out of recycled plastics and that not only looks snazzy but creates a contemporary feel.

The instrument panel is digitised and can be configured in a variety of ways on a 10-inch screen while the main display panel in the centre of the dash is now portrait shaped and 9.3-inches tall.

It's clear and easy to use with a split-screen option and full smartphone connectivity.

Other changes inside include a redesigned steering wheel with control for the cruise control, audio and trip computer incorporated, a new look to the gear selector which is now very comfortable to hand while there is also an electronic parking brake with a useful auto hold function that's a boon in traffic.

Safety equipment on the top range GT-Line Zoe includes blind spot detection, lane departure and traffic sign recognition as well as fully automated headlamps and an auto parking facility.

While there are no paddle shifters - a feature of the Korean cars used to vary the brake regeneration - driving the Zoe is utterly conventional and the ride is good, quiet and refined.

The new car is the same size as before which means space in the rear is tight for three adults but the room is on par with that of similarly proportioned hatches.

Boot capacity is unaltered and ranges from 338 litres to a maximum of 1,225 and onboard storage space includes a small shelf cut into the dash above the glovebox.

It is smart and modern and to help make the switch to electric driving Renault will fit a home charger free at any buyer's property - and a full charge from zero will take almost nine-and-a-half hours.

Faster charging from a 23kw public charger takes three hours says Renault while a 50kw DC charging point - of which there are only a few in the UK at the moment - can be done in just under an hour.

With the electric revolution now a certainty in the motoring world, battery electric cars will become more and more popular, especially among everyday models.

Zoe sales in Britain were up around 50 per cent last year to 3,646 and with the demand from customers growing rapidly Renault expects sales on the new model to soar by almost 80 per cent during 2020.

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