Long-range Renault Zoe electric car reviewed in U.K.: Forbidden Fruit


2017 Renault Zoe

2017 Renault Zoe

Enlarge Photo

The Renault Zoe is the best-selling electric car in Europe, and it has just received a significant battery upgrade.

Unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September, the updated Zoe sports a 41-kilowatt-hour battery pack, up from 22 kwh in earlier versions.

Renault says that capacity will allow a range of 300 to 400 kilometers (185 to 250 miles) on the European test cycle.

DON'T MISS: 2017 Renault Zoe electric car: larger battery doubles range

What hasn't changed is the Zoe's status as a piece of forbidden fruit for U.S. electric-car buyers.

Renault hasn't sold cars in the U.S. for almost 30 years, although its alliance partner Nissan will happily sell you a Leaf.

Meanwhile, the updated Renault Zoe is making its way into the hands of automotive journalists in Europe, including the ones at British car magazine Autocar.

2017 Renault Zoe

2017 Renault Zoe

Enlarge Photo

So what exactly are we missing?

The Zoe remains a B-segment, or subcompact, five-door hatchback, and neither its exterior styling nor its interior design received major updates.

It's the increase in range that's the obvious perk, helping to make the Zoe more practical for a wider array of buyers.

ALSO SEE: Autonomous Renault Zoe electric car to be tested in Boston by nuTonomy

A newly-available 7-kilowatt home charging station and a navigation system programmed to find public charging stations should also make ownership more convenient, notes the reviewer.

In the handling department, Autocar praised the Zoe's low center of gravity relative to the similarly-sized internal-combustion Renault Clio hatchback.

A 0 to 62 mph time of 13.2 seconds is essentially unchanged from the previous Zoe, according to the magazine.

2017 Renault Zoe

2017 Renault Zoe

Enlarge Photo

In addition to its battery performance, Renault has added some higher-end options like leather upholstery and a Bose audio system.

Still, Autocar felt the interior felt a bit cheap, even on the top Signature Nav trim level—perhaps not surprising in a car launched in 2012.

While this version of the Zoe will not make it to the U.S., a future version of France's premier electric car may share its foundation with U.S.-spec electric cars.

MORE: Nissan and Renault to share common electric-car platform in future

Recent reports have suggested the next-generation Zoe could spawn a subcompact Nissan electric car, or that the Zoe and Nissan Leaf will share a platform and other components.

Meanwhile, the 2017 Nissan Leaf remains stuck at 107 miles of range in its seventh and presumably final year.

With 250,000 sold globally, it is by far the world's most popular electric car, but Nissan has so far stayed mum on the timing or specifications of its replacement.

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