Lotus wants a little more civility to its sports cars. Plus, of course, electricity
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The Top Gear car review:Renault Zoe
For:Nowt better in the class for the money – there’s space, style, smooth drive, and that all-important range
Against:Power isn’t that instant, making it a bit of a slog on the motorway
What is it?
Electric cars come in many sizes. The Renault Zoe is among the smallest, but packs as much range and practicality as some of the leaders. And for much less cash. Its latest updates it even better.
The original 22kW battery is still offered, but the new Z.E 40 battery upgrade adds another 100 miles of range in NEDC driving claims, up to an impressive 250 miles. That’s 20 more than a Nissan Leaf.
There’s also the option of a quick charge upgrade, which knocks an 80 per cent charge at a motorway supercharger down to just 65 minutes, from the standard Z.E. 40 recharge time of 1hr 40m. Even seven and a half hours from the free 7kW wall box doesn’t feel too arduous. It’s overnight or a typical work shift.
With all this extra driving capability at your fingertips, the price is still the market leader, too. After government grant, the Z.E 40 basic model is just £18,170 (minus battery hire). More than five grand less than the Leaf.
Like the Leaf, this is an EV that’s been designed as one from the ground up, rather than being converted from an existing car. Renault’s thus been able to idealise the design, placing things where they should be rather than where they’ll fit and, more importantly, ensuring it ekes out maximum range from those floor-mounted batteries.
It’s got the style, the range and the price to lure in even the most reserved EV drivers – it looks good on paper. But what’s it like in the real world?
The fastest80kW Dynamique Nav R110 40kWh 22kWCh 5dr Auto
The cheapest80kW Dynamique Nav R110 40kWh 22kWCh 5dr Auto
The greenest65kW Dynamique Nav Q90 40kWh 43kWCh 5dr Auto