For a while, a few years back, I was fortunate enough to run a Morgan Plus 8. It turned heads wherever it went, and it soon became clear that ‘ownership’ earned you entry to a pretty exclusive club of like-minded owners who liked to share stories, swap anecdotes and gather for a natter at every opportunity, be it in person or online.
When we leased our Renault Zoe, it never occurred to me that the same thing might happen - on reflection, a bit of an oversight. Sure, not even the most ardent fan can claim the Zoe is in any way as extrovertly styled as a Plus 8, but in many ways it is as left-field a choice, with the added excitement of breaking new technological ground and requiring buyers to really make a different kind of leap of faith to get involved.
No wonder people like to talk about the car, both as interested onlookers and avid owners. By chance, last Christmas a member of the Renault Zoe Owners Club walked past my house, spied our car and then, armed with the information that I worked for Autocar by the relative they were visiting, got in touch. In doing so, he opened my eyes to an enthusiastic and supremely knowledgeable community that has proved both friendly and informative and has greatly speeded up my understanding of the car and how to get the most out of ownership.
The real beauty is that this group of super-evangelists really care about the Zoe but rarely apply blind prejudice. They’ll defend the car to the hilt against the likes of the Nissan Leaf or Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, for instance, but never shy away from highlighting a shortcoming in it, in Renault or in the charging network. For good, honest advice, I’ve found nowhere better, and it’s all underpinned with some good-humoured banter delivered with a generous tone that never strays outside the boundaries of goodwill.
What’s clear is that even after more than six months of ownership, our experiences and knowledge are pretty limited in comparison with those of many owners, many of whom happily commute hundreds of miles a week in their cars. No bother, because we wouldn’t change a thing. Our Zoe continues to be the perfect urban runabout, ideally suited as a family runabout in and around London and, frankly, not used for much beyond that. That it is ridiculously cheap and fuss-free to run as well is an added bonus.
I’ve always said that if the Zoe suits your lifestyle then it is can be your ideal car. The owners club community has opened my eyes to the fact that the Zoe can suit your life in far wider and more variety-filled ways than I could have imagined. If you are tempted by a Zoe, I’d heartily recommend you follow your instincts - but before (and after) you do, click on the link and check out the Renault Zoe Owners Club.