Totally new battery and engines
The battery is first a new 52 kWh accumulator, developed in collaboration with LG Chem which has the same dimensions as the previous one although it is much larger. This was possible by reviewing the architecture of the cells and increasing the density. This new air-cooled battery now supports fast recharges in DC up to 50 kW and up to 22 kW in AC. For this the frontal socket has been modified, and now houses the CCS Combo connector. This makes the French compact the car with more versatility of charging on the market, as well as with shorter stop times, especially with regard to the alternating current charging, whose columns are also quite common in Italy.
The new engine instead has one maximum power of 100 kW (equivalent to 132 hp) and is optimized for a respectable recovery that launches the new Zoe from 80 to 100 km / h in just two seconds. With this powertrain configuration, Zoe can get there up to 395 km of autonomy in the WLT cycleP.
Another interesting novelty is the "B-mode" which can be set while driving by the usual gear lever which is basically the maximum level of regenerative braking and that, in the intentions of Renault, wants to get very close to driving with only one pedal. The choice to leave a gear-like lever has been criticized, but during use in some circumstances it comes in handy, using it almost like a second gear climb of an endothermic car, so as to slow down the car near stop and traffic lights .
In fact, therefore, Renault has listened to the criticisms and desires of the owners and potential customers, improving all the improvements, adding what was missing, with a cherry on the cake: ADAS systems. Later we will describe them in more detail.
First drive, the new engine is heard
We then went to the north of Sardinia to put ourselves at the head of the new Zoe for the first time, wandering through the winding sea and state roads typical of the place. Path chosen not by chance, with one good alternation of urban, extra-urban roads, climbs and descentsis. The variety of the route allowed us to test the vehicle in all situations, and give an initial assessment of the real autonomy with respect to the data declared by the house.
From the first kilometers we noticed the upper thrust of the new R135 engine, similar in sweetness of delivery compared to the last R110, but with a few more horses that you can hear everything in the quickest accelerations. The work on the battery has been excellent, increasing the weight of the car by a negligible value, in fact the driving does not differ much from the previous models, with a car that does not slip, glued to the road even in the tightest corners and generally agile and easy to control. But as soon as it is needed, it is ready to splash away with the typical pair of electric cars.
Finally the assisted driving systems arrive
Renault had missed the opportunity to add the so-called ADAS systems already in the second generation, while the competition on this detail had already made some big steps forward. Finally in the new version the French house has also aligned, introducing all a suite of electronic systems to improve driving comfort and safety.
The automatic emergency braking, the recognition of the road signs, the warning of exceeding the line of carriageway paired with the maintenance of the lane, the blind angle warning, and of course the classic cruise control and park assist have arrived. In our test we fortunately didn't test any emergency assistance, except for a small Lane Assist test. Zoe warns promptly if we are passing the line and, if the automatic steering is active, tries to correct the trajectory bringing us back to the center. We have noticed that it is less invasive than other brands but the judgment is personal: there are those who prefer more help, or those who feel safer with more control in their own hands. Also noteworthy are the adaptive high beam headlights.
But how far does it really go?
As mentioned the new 52 kWh battery according to the house guarantees up to 395 km of autonomy according to the WLTP homologation cycle. This is a stricter standard than those used in the past, and in fact we found ourselves in full force. It must be said that in the case of prolonged high speeds the autonomy decreases, but in our mixed route, also rich in ups and downs, after hundreds of km traveled (so not a little significant), adding up the residual range, we recorded a possible maximum that even went beyond the declared, almost up to 430 km with a charge. Value that actually goes hand in hand with our tests with previous models.
The new Zoe is therefore much more than a city car, allowing long journeys without too much difficulty. The arrival then of the rapid recharge in direct current allows to restore 80% of the charge in about 30 minutesthe.
From summer to autumn, between hairpin bends, dizzying climbs and steep descents.
All that we have told so far we have found in easy-going streets, in the sea and in summer temperatures. But how does the new Zoe make it when the season is no longer friendly and, above all, when the roads are less friendly?
We tested it in Basilicata, along a route of about 150 km, which took us from Matera to the ghost town of Craco and then finally to Castelmezzano.
We then traveled along state roads, others of great communication and fast flowing, and then also real narrow and bumpy country roads that climbed the rocky peaks of this beautiful part of Italy between hairpin bends and stiff curves.
The first thing we noticed with pleasure is the silence of the new Zoe, thanks to the soundproofing work done by Renault engineers who have integrated new sound-absorbing panels in the doors and under the floor; we found that even in rough roads the noise was very low, as well as in the freeway, marching at more or less allowed speeds, the aerodynamic noise and originated from the rolling of the wheels was much lower than we heard in cars of the same category.
Climbing instead towards Craco and Castelmezzano, facing steep climbs and really tight bends, we really appreciated the determination of the new engine that came out of the corners without any problem facing any climb in peace, with an enviable stability certainly thanks to the low center of gravity that the batteries give to this new Zoe as to almost all electric cars.
The only limit in this way of driving, gritty and pleasant, was just a little steering, which for this type of driving we didn't find to be quite precise, but too soft and certainly more calibrated for a purely citizen or highway use.
Having said that we drove a small Renault very responsive and fun, which transmits safety and can excite even without disturbing the "sport" mode but always driving in "ECO Mode" which in the end is not at all castrating.
As for consumption, we were able to stay always and easily below 17 kWh / 100 km declared, recovering the extra consumption we were uphill with downhill agility. Thus, calculating the autonomy deriving from these data is obtained about 305 km, which shows that even in the most difficult situations, Zoe can confirm a very respectable range.
Even the eye wants its part
As mentioned at the beginning, Zoe's style remained similar to the old versions, also thanks to the unchanged platform. However, Renault wanted to send a "normalization" message to make a clean break with the past. The most sold electric in Europe now it looks more like the other cars in the Renault range, with a front bumper from the more classic design, headlamps with sharper cut and LED.
But the most significant change is in the interiors, where Zoe inherits most of the solutions seen also in the new Clio. Then comes a more linear dashboard, without the futuristic aspect of the past and in general the proportions change. The tachometer zone gets bigger, always with a digital display instead of the instrumentation, but now with multiple zones that change appearance based on settings. A big step forward compared to the tight display of the past.
The central screen 9.3 is also growing, which remains the heart of the car's infotainment system. now in a vertical position and with the Easy-Link software, also compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
In general, all interiors have a more polished appearance, and often with covers of more precious materials that go to hide the plastic, which instead reigned supreme in previous models. Goodbye also to the anti aesthetics handbrake lever, now electronic and implemented by a simple button in the central tunnel. This allowed more space to be obtained in that area, also housing a wireless charging base for smartphones. In the more expensive outfits there is also the advanced audio system, as in the past realized in collaboration with Bose.
The battery has grown, but without taking up space in the cargo area. The trunk holds up to 338 liters, has a very regular shape and can increase by knocking down the rear seats. Last note for the colors, which in addition to the confirmation of shades now classic for Zoe, combines new products like the fiery red.
The price of the new Renault Zoe is lower (of which one hundred euros) than that of the previous generation. It starts from 25.900 euror for the R110 version in Life outfitting and rental battery.
Renault indeed always offers the possibility to rent the battery, thus allowing to significantly reduce the initial purchase price of the car: the rental cost is 74 euros per month for an annual mileage of 7,500 km.
If the customer will do more kilometers, the price goes up to 10 euros a month every 2,500 km, while if you want your own battery you need to add 8,200 euros to the list prices. The new Zoe can be ordered already from last 2 October, and from today it can be found in all dealers. The first deliveries are instead scheduled for the beginning of 2020.
Renault Zoe will be offered with a single 52 kWh battery, two engines, nine colors and three trim levels; to these is added a limited edition version to the launch called Zoe Edition One, full-featured offer at 31,300 euros always with a rental battery but which has a DC charger up to and including 50 kW (otherwise it is an accessory that costs 700 euros).
Among the various Renault offers we remember the possibility of having Zoe Life R110 Flex with funding at 119 euros a month with scrapping, Renault discount and state eco-incentives, excluding battery rental.
Zoe does not disappoint
Our final judgment is linked to what was mentioned at the beginning of the article. The new Zoe has everything that was expected for a model that is finally complete and able to compete on equal terms with the competition.to. The features are a confirmation of the qualities of the past and the price remains competitive also thanks to the rental formula, which the other houses do not have. Renault Zoe 2020 therefore has a good chance of maintaining the good market share it has always had, giving satisfaction to future owners.
For those wishing to further investigate, it is also possible to view our gallery with all the aesthetic details and an in-depth look at prices, including with government and regional incentives.