The Zoe corners with conviction and stays flat while resisting understeer. You can feel the weight, all 1468kg of it, but the centre of gravity is lower than the latest Clio’s, whose platform the Zoe shares. That’s because the 22kWh, 400V battery pack is spread under the floor, so the Zoe is a proper five-seater with a normal-size boot.
Initially the battery promised 81 miles, but a check after 22 gentle suburban miles showed 70 miles of remaining range. The range was down to 43 miles after a further 14 miles of rapid driving with full acceleration, but after ambling for another 14 miles there was still 42 miles of range left. Overall, the Zoe went further than its range-calculator initially thought it would.
Among its range-extending devices is a reversible air-con system that heats the Renault Zoe as well as cooling it without stealing much energy from the battery.
Energy recuperation from slowing or braking is strong, too, but the integration of virtual brakes with real ones isn’t entirely smooth and feathering to a gentle halt takes some skill. More jolts come when the wheels fall heavily into road surface breaks, but otherwise the ride is smooth and supple on the bespoke Michelin Energy Z-E tyres.
Should I buy one?
This is an electric car that you could actually consider buying, helped by the free fitment of a home charging unit, paid for by Renault (25 per cent) and the government (75 per cent).
In city traffic the Zoe makes even more sense. It waits patiently and silently at the lights, surrounded by clattery, time-served diesels that seem like relics.
When the lights switch to green, the Zoe streaks ahead of dawdling hatchbacks to snick into gaps. It's a brilliant urban car.
Renault Zoe Dynamique Intens
Price £15,195, plus battery rental from £70 pm; 0-62mph 13.5sec; Top speed 84mph (limited); Range 130 miles max; CO2 0g/km; Kerb weight 1468kg; Engine Electric motor; Power 87bhp at 3000-11,300rpm; Torque 162lb ft at 250-2500rpm; Gearbox Single-speed, clutchless