Renault Zoe Z.E. 50 R135 review


Renault has overhauled its best selling electric car the Zoe. The third generation Zoe Z.E. 50 gets a bigger battery pack. The bodywork is only slightly changed with cosmetic tweaks including new and standard fit LED lights front and rear. Inside the cabin and under the bonnet is where you’ll find significant changes. The new range topping R135 version is particularly interesting with 135hp on tap and 245nm of torque – making the green supermini sized car fun to drive.

Inside the cabin is brought up to date. There is a new backlit multifunction steering wheel, floating centre console that houses the gear selector plus there are new displays (7 inch standard). The GT Line gets a big 9.3 inch centre display and a 10 inch digital driver display, both are impressive. Points of contact have been revised upmarket with the use of soft touch materials and innovative recyclables too. Zoe’s cabin was always a weak point but now on our high grade test car, its not! A new auto hold electronic handbrake replaces the manual one. A host of trim finishes are available including ones suitable for Vegans.
New Zoe can accommodate a host of driving and safety aids like easy park assist Renault’s semi-auto assisted parking. A revised ‘Easy Link’ navigation and ‘My Renault’ smart phone app improve connectivity.

Battery capacity of the new ‘Z.E.50’ Zoe is upped to 50kWh or 52kW to be precise – that is about the same power output as 4,727 iPhones. Two power outputs are available with the R110 (110hp/225nm) the new entry point. A full charge delivers a range of 395 kilometres in the R110 (up from 300km) and 386 km in the R135. A CCS combo plug is a new and welcome addition to Zoe’s versatile in-built 22kW Chameleon charger.

The CCS plug is available as a cost option on the mid-level R110 grade upwards and standard on the R135. The new plug delivers both AC electricity and DC electricity to the battery. 150km of range can be harvested from 30 minutes charging at a 50kW DC fast charger (Zoe’s max charging rate). A full charge at a 7kW home wall box takes 9 hours 25 minutes. A two hour charge at a public 11kW AC charger will deliver 125km of range. A one hour charge at a 22kW AC public charger will deliver the same. The standard Zoe has a particularly fast 22 KW in-built charger unlike many similar low priced EVs that have slower 7kW or 11kW in-built chargers.
A new ‘B’ gear selector point is significant as it facilities regenerative braking on demand. When the battery is less than full you can nearly drive the Zoe with just one pedal.

On the road the Zoe still sits tall but the R135 has enough power to be entertaining on the open road and not just around town. Motorways speeds are pretty effortless – despite a top speed of 140km/h. The electric motor’s instant pulling power is what impresses most. The Zoe is no low-slung sports car and the driving position remains overly tall – the only upside is you get a good view of the road ahead. The suspension has been slightly revised, making ride comfort acceptable on good surfaces. Stopping is more assured with disc brakes now fitted (the rears were drum). The only thing the Zoe lacks are steering wheel mounted paddles to enjoy/control the amount of regeneration/braking force… but the Zoe is built at a price point to be an EV of the people – something Renault is very keen to stress.

Play Iconic and GT line are the grades available. Pricing starts from €26,990 (R110 Z.E. 50 Play) net of incentives. The R110 Iconic starts from €28,990 and the GT Line R135 starts from €31,990. Check out Renault Ireland’s website for pandemic prompted ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ offers.

The new Zoe is an attractive proposition thanks to its greater range and improved interior.


About Author

Michael Sheridan

Michael Sheridan is a senior and highly respected motoring journalist based in Ireland. He is a frequently heard voice on motoring, transport and mobility matters and has multiple credits on national television, national print media, national and local radio and other outlets. Michael Sheridan has been a Car of the Year Judge for more 20 years (& more recently a Van of the Year judge). Michael has produced and directed many international and national motoring TV programmes and documentaries both on cars and motorcycles - including four films on the iconic Route 66. Michael Sheridan is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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