ELECTRIC superminis are steadily growing in popularity - many of them as second vehicles - and the third generation Renault Zoe is one of the best.
The Zoe offers five doors in a fairly stylish package and with zero carbon emissions it gives its owners big financial rewards including tax-free motoring and exemption from any congestion charges.
In addition it offers a driving range that will be acceptable for most of its purchasers.
Range anxiety and high prices prevent many people from taking the big switch to all-electric, so the Zoe offers a range of 238 miles in the right conditions and competitive pricing.
The French company sold more than 3,500 of them in the UK last year and they hope to increase that number substantially with this latest mode.
This latest version is on offer with two outputs - one with 107bhp and the other with 134bhp.
I tried out the more powerful model in range-topping GT Line trim. With 245Nm of torque the compact EV has plenty of zing and can sprint from 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds and onto a top speed of 87mph.
Apart from the top speed that compares well with most superminis and it does it with no road tax.
The five-door Zoe is not bad looking either thanks to its chrome stamped grille, signature C-shaped full LED front and rear lights, body-coloured mirrors and door handles, hidden rear door handles and handsome 16-inch diamond cut alloy wheels.
Inside the Zoe is much improved with lots of soft touch surfaces, comfortable part synthetic leather seat upholstery, a synthetic leather steering wheel, plus a raft of useful techno treats.
A lot is taken from the new Clio and the main focal point is the upright 9.3-inch portrait infotainment screen with navigation, smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a reversing camera and a good sound system. There is a wireless phone charger, two USB ports and automatic climate control too. Use all of these at one time and you will reduce the range.
The car also featured a Winter Pack costing an extra £500 - and much appreciated in the current weather conditions - that added heated seats and a heated steering wheel but again you have to remember that using them also shrinks the range.
The Zoe drives well and it is hard to detect the difference from a normal automatic supermini . With no gears to change the single-speed gearbox allows for smooth acceleration and extra driving range can be gained by selecting B on the gear lever which increases the energy recouped thanks to regenerative braking. It also means the car can be driven without using the brakes.
The Zoe is agile and its light steering means it is really at home in town driving. There is room for four adults to travel in reasonable comfort and there is good visibility.
It is also quite practical with a 338 litre boot and if you drop the split-folding rear seats that goes up to a respectable 1,225 litres. The cabin also offers plenty of storage space and cup holders.
The Zoe comes complete with the latest safety tech and it secured a maximum five stars when tested for its Euro NCAP rating. It includes lane keep assist, lane departure warning, cruise control and speed limiter, traffic sign recognition, blind sport warning, electronic stability control, an anti-intruder device with automatic door locking, plus a full suite of airbags.
To entice buyers and help them make the switch to electric driving Renault will fit a home charger free at any buyer's property - but a full charge from zero on the domestic supply will take almost nine-and-a-half hours.
Faster charging from a 23kw public charger takes three hours. A £1,000 option fitted to this car enables you to use a 50kw DC charging point - if you can find one - which means you can charge-up in just under an hour.
I plugged in to one of the 23kw chargers and was very disappointed by the result. After leaving the car for an hour the result was only an extra 12 miles on the range. This may have been due to the very cold weather but I found it annoying.