Last year, in December, I was doing a yearly review, answering a set of questions. One of them asked: “What was the best purchase of this year?”. I had no doubts at all about my answer: the Renault Zoe I had bought in the summer.
I had never owned a car before. But I finally got to a point in life where I needed one, so I started my research. Buying a car is a daunting task, especially if you have never owned one before.
At the time, I wish I could have read a full, honest review of someone who had been driving a Renault Zoe for a while. I couldn’t find any online, so I created one for you. Yes, you, the one considering taking a step in the direction of owning a Zoe. You’re making a great choice, but let me tell you exactly why.
For each category, I have the Renault Zoe a score out of 10. Below you can see the rationale behind each rating but, as a sneak peek, these were the results:
|Ease of Use
|Maintenance and Reliability
The Decision Process: Why the Renault Zoe?
Looking back on this past year, I can say I am genuinely happy with my purchase. In fact, I’m even more pleased than I thought I would be. The Renault Zoe has exceeded my expectations in every way.
First of all, let’s state the obvious: the Renault Zoe is an electric car. If you’re considering buying it, I imagine you’ve already decided this is the type of car you want. So far, I have only good things to say about EVs. But there is one case where I wouldn’t recommend it: if you have no way of charging it at home. In this case, you’ll spend a lot of time and money at public charging stations. Your choice stops making sense, at least from a financial point of view.
In every other case, I would say: electric is the way to go.
But even in the EV world, you have a plethora of choices. My target was entry-level cars. I wanted a “cheap”, functional car that could take me from A to B on a regular basis. I considered a few brands and models, such as the BMW i3, the Smart EQ fortwo, the Nissan Leaf, and the Renault Zoe.
The choice wasn’t so hard to make: I had driven several Renaults for work and I always liked them. Plus, they were more widely available, they are reliable cars, and have a nicer design (in my opinion). Another major advantage was the driving range, where the Renault Zoe (2019 edition) beat all the competitors, with 300km of range.
Driving Experience (9/10)
Driving the Zoe is a blast! But let me tell you a story that shows exactly that.
At first, my mom was skeptical about my decision of buying the Zoe. She was a bit afraid of the whole unknown world of EVs, and she found the Zoe too small.
A couple of months into my having the Zoe, she had already changed her mind completely. She always wants to ride with me and keeps saying how comfortable the riding experience is.
My dad is excited every time I go on holiday because I leave the car with him and he gets the Zoe experience for a few days.
Every one of my friends who tried driving it loved it. The smooth and quiet drive of the Zoe makes every trip a pleasure. I usually say, half-jokingly, that you can drive this car with only one hand and one foot. Really, you only need to press the accelerator or the brake, and the wheel is super smooth.
It’s as if the car glides on the road (not in a dangerous way!). As my mom describes it, “it’s like you’re driving in the clouds”. A truly fantastic driving experience!
The overall performance of my Renault Zoe has been impressive. It has two driving modes: Eco on or off. Usually, when driving in urban areas, I keep Eco on, as it helps me to be mindful of the speed limit. On the highway, I turn it off because I want the car to deliver easily once I ask for more speed. And with Eco off, it always delivers. It performs very well on any kind of road, even on steep inclinations.
I’m happy with the acceleration and braking of the Zoe. Both are smooth and reliable and provide a pleasant and confident driving experience. Despite this high-quality performance, the Zoe runs in a quiet and smooth way. It doesn’t make any vibrations or noise.
Actually, it does make some small noises, but they sound so futuristic that they add to the driving experience.
If you’re a conscious driver abiding by speed limits, you’ll see the Renault Zoe is everything you need. I never wished the car had a higher performance than it does; it’s more than enough for every situation.
Battery Life (7/10)
Battery performance was one of the main concerns I had before buying the car. Would it live up to the range announced by Renault? Would charging impact my itineraries? Would I be stranded somewhere with no battery? But after driving the car for a year, I can confidently say that all my questions were foolish and you have nothing to worry about regarding battery.
In terms of real-world driving range, it’s quite impressive, especially for city driving. In city conditions, I’ve found that the Zoe even exceeds Renault’s estimated range of 300km. However, when driving on highways at higher speeds of around 120km/h, the range can come down to around 200km. This is to be expected with electric vehicles, anyway.
But even if those cases, you always have the option to drive slower, with Eco mode on. Not ideal, but better than running out of battery in the middle of the highway.
My charging routine mostly involves charging the car at home, which has not posed any issues. However, I use a GreenUp socket, so I can’t precisely control when the charging stops. This has sometimes led to overcharging beyond the desired 80%, which I’d prefer to avoid for battery health. This has nothing to do with the car itself, but rather with the choice I made for my charger. If you want to read more about chargers, don’t miss our take on it, in this article (link to article still not published)
Regarding battery performance, throughout the past year, I noticed a slight change. This was during the colder months of winter, and the range dropped by around 10–15%. However, this decrease was expected, as lower temperatures can impact electric vehicle batteries.
Renault assures that battery degradation should not be an issue over time. However, I can’t help but be a little cautious about the long-term durability of the battery. In the first year, I haven’t noticed any degradation in battery capacity. But I still have some apprehension and would like to see how it performs over the next few years — I’ll keep you posted.
Overall, the Renault Zoe’s battery life has been quite reliable and good for my daily driving needs. I hope it stays like this, especially if I adhere to proper care and charging practices.
Interior Quality (7/10)
The Renault Zoe’s interior quality aligns with its value proposition as an affordable electric car. It doesn’t boast a high-end luxury feel, for sure. But it serves its purpose well by providing a decently designed interior. Personally, I value practicality and a good price over extravagant features, and the Zoe delivers on that front. The seats, in particular, are very comfortable.
A lot has been said online about the plastic interiors of the Zoe — although the newest version of the car has all those elements built out of recycled parts.
Yes, the Zoe has plastic parts but, to be honest, that doesn’t bother me. The materials are of decent quality and remain in good condition after a year of ownership. There haven’t been any noticeable signs of wear or deterioration, which is reassuring for a car in this price range.
The cabin space in the Zoe is both spacious and comfortable.
It accommodates both shorter and taller people — I’m 1.63m, my partner is 1.80m, and we both fit comfortably in the car. There is ample legroom and headroom in both the driver and passenger seats.
The Zoe offers enough storage compartments for everyday use, with a useful glove compartment and a decently sized compartment. If anything, the cup holders could be a bit larger to accommodate bigger cups.
The insulation is quite good. It blocks external noises, ensuring a quiet and peaceful cabin during drives. This contributes to a particularly pleasant driving experience.
The climate control system maintains a comfortable temperature inside the car, without any issues regarding heating or cooling. It keeps the cabin cozy during chilly weather and refreshing on hot days.
Overall, I am happy with the interior quality of my Renault Zoe. It meets my expectations for comfort, practicality, and value, aligning with my needs as a driver.
Infotainment System (6/10)
After using the infotainment system in my Renault Zoe for a year, I must say it’s been an alright experience. The system is functional, but there’s definitely room for improvement in the user experience. Navigating through the features can be a bit tricky at times. This happens especially when trying to connect to different phones via Bluetooth.
Speaking of connectivity, there have been occasional delays when transferring calls from my phone to the infotainment system. It’s not a major issue, but it can be a little inconvenient. On the bright side, I’ve managed to connect my smartphone successfully, and the audio quality is one of the highlights. Whether it’s low or high volume, the sound quality remains clear and crisp, making music and phone calls enjoyable.
Ease of Use (7/10)
After driving my Renault Zoe for a year, I can say that it’s an incredibly user-friendly car. I confess: I didn’t spend much time reading the manual. Yet I found everything I needed with ease. The controls and buttons are logically placed and intuitive to use. This is especially the case with the Eco button, which is right where you’d expect it — and this is something I use very often.
Accessing features like climate control, lights, wipers, and the infotainment system is quite straightforward.
I haven’t encountered any difficulties in understanding or using any specific features. Although I haven’t read the car’s manual, I’ve consulted it on a couple of occasions and it was helpful and easy to understand.
I am more than satisfied with the ease of use of my Renault Zoe. It’s an excellent choice for everyday driving, and its intuitive design has made my ownership experience enjoyable and hassle-free.
Maintenance and Reliability (10/10)
Maintenance is, hands down, one of the best aspects of owning a Renault Zoe. To be fair, that probably applies to all-electric cars, but let’s focus on the Zoe.
As my car is from 2020 (I bought it second-hand) and still relatively new, it’s been a smooth ride so far. I followed the recommended maintenance schedule, and finding an authorized service center was quite easy. I called a local garage that primarily works with combustion cars but also services electric vehicles. The recommended annual revision cost me 70€, and it included changing the cabin filter.
In terms of reliability, the Zoe seems solid. I haven’t experienced any unexpected breakdowns or major problems, which gives me peace of mind. It’s a reliable car that I can trust for my everyday needs.
Fortunately, I haven’t had to replace any parts in the car, and I hope it stays that way. However, I imagine that finding replacement parts would probably be manageable, given the popularity of this car.
The initial investment when buying the car was significant, especially compared to a combustion vehicle. But now I feel that I have a car without any ongoing expenses. Moreover, in my country, electric cars are exempt from car tax, and I enjoy free parking in my city for only 12€ per year.
Charging the car hasn’t had a noticeable impact on my electricity bill. This is great, especially considering I total around 1000km per month. Overall, the Zoe has been cost-effective, making it an excellent choice for everyday use.
Also, the Zoe’s low maintenance also contributes to its eco-friendliness. With fewer parts to replace, it reduces the environmental impact associated with traditional combustion cars. I appreciate that my car aligns with my eco-conscious lifestyle and helps me contribute positively to the environment.
The Zoe has been a reliable car for my daily commutes and occasional road trips. It allows me to enjoy the perks of electric driving with minimal stress. The peace of mind and cost-effectiveness that come with owning this car make it a great choice for anyone seeking an eco-friendly and hassle-free driving experience.
Would I Recommend Buying a Renault Zoe in 2023?
After owning the Renault Zoe for a year, I truly recommend it to anyone in the market for an electric car.
My decision to choose the Zoe has proven to be a great one, as I’m more pleased with it than I initially thought I would be. The car’s performance has been outstanding, both in the city and on the highway.
The battery life has met my expectations, providing a perfect range for my daily needs. However, for long trips, I tend to use my partner’s diesel car, as the Zoe’s range reduces at higher speeds. I encountered no challenges related to charging the car or finding charging stations, which has made my driving experience stress-free.
The interior quality is decent for a car of its price range, and the seats are very comfortable. The infotainment system is a bit hard to use, but it provides good audio quality. The car’s ease of use has impressed me, as I found everything intuitive without having to consult the user manual. Maintenance has been minimal, with only 70€ for the recommended annual revision.
It offers fantastic value for money, with its low maintenance costs and smooth driving experience.
Considering all these factors, I couldn’t recommend the Renault Zoe more. It’s an especially good car for single people or couples without children.
The only cases where I wouldn’t recommend the Renault Zoe are if you don’t have access to home charging, or if you prefer luxury vehicles. Apart from these two scenarios, the Zoe is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an electric car that performs well in everyday driving scenarios.
After one year of ownership, my experience with the Renault Zoe has been nothing but positive.
Maybe I got lucky. Other Renault Zoe owners might have different experiences or have bad luck happening to them. But my experience has really been a smooth one. I bought the car and now I just get to enjoy it, hassle-free. It’s a fantastic feeling! I see many people being servants to their cars, considering the number of expenses they require: fuel, repairs, tires change, for example.
In my case, 70€ for a whole year, plus 12€ of parking, and zero issues sounds almost too good to be true.
Of course, it’s not a cheap car if you compare it to combustion ones. But it pays out in the long run. And you know that in the meantime, you’re contributing to a cleaner, better environment.
Overall, I absolutely recommend the Renault Zoe to those seeking an affordable and reliable electric car. As electric cars become more and more popular, the Renault Zoe stands out. It is a valuable and practical choice for eco-conscious drivers looking to embrace the electrified era of transportation.