The Renault Zoe is now so much a part of our life that it’s hard to look back without some kind of regret that we didn’t buy it sooner.
Tempted by the low lease prices (£75 deposit, plus £150 a month for car and battery thereafter over two years when we signed up), reduced running costs and its suitability for commuting around London, we’ve now come to discover myriad additional and unexpected reasons for loving Zoe life.
Like all electric cars, it’s great to drive, smooth, silent and relaxing at all times, but with the joy of serious torque when you need it. In traffic especially, the smoothness and on-demand go are a real boon.
It’s compact, too. That sounds obvious, but the benefits are worth dwelling on. It’s a breeze to place the Zoe on the road and in no way daunting to park. These things count when you travel around congested parts of London.
It’s here that the generous kit list pays dividends, too. If you’re used to a modern car, this may not chime, but we traded in a 2007 Ford C-Max for the Zoe. When you get a reversing camera, phone connectivity and a touchscreen for the first time, life just gets better.
Yet the Zoe is compact but still spacious. Our car is chiefly used by my wife, who regularly ferries the kids around. It’s not a cavernous family car but, four-up, we’d happily travel the 100ish miles you can squeeze from a charge without stopping - and then do it all again after a stretch to recharge the car.
Perfect, then? Well, yes, but 2500 miles and approaching a year in, I can’t help but tease my wife by suggesting alternatives - after all, there are other cars that will do what the Zoe does. A BMW i3? Too ugly and too expensive, I’m told. A Nissan Leaf? Too bland, both in styling and naming. A VW e-Golf? Too boring, all round. A Tesla Model S? Finally, some hesitation - but she knows as well as me it’s beyond our means.
The proof will come at the end of the lease, when we’re faced with renewal on what I suspect will be significantly altered terms; by then, there should be a new Zoe on sale, with significantly greater mileage, while the government grant to incentivise electric car sales will likely continue to reduce and, most likely, demand for electric cars will increase, making it likely Renault’s own incentives will also reduce.
But like I say, I can’t imagine life without a Zoe in it.
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