Affordable Electric Car of the Year 2021: Renault Zoe

The Renault Zoe is the 2021 Auto Express Affordable Electric Car of the Year, with the Fiat 500 and MG 5 commended

In the closely fought Affordable Electric Car class, the Zoe still edges ahead of its rivals. It’s a smartly styled, practical and cost-effective all-electric supermini to buy and run, so the Renault takes the honours in this category for the second year in a row.

There are many reasons why the Zoe wins, but chief among them is its range. Updates last year saw the introduction of a 52kWh battery, which gives an impressive claimed range of 245 miles. Rapid 50kW charging is also available, giving 80 per cent capacity in a little over an hour.

Another reason for the Renault’s success is how well the platform it’s based on works as an EV. As a result it packs a surprising amount of space into a supermini-sized footprint – its 338-litre boot is bigger than many cars from the class above. Its bright and airy interior looks great and is packed with all the latest tech – including a pair of clear displays that are easy to use – and numerous advanced driver aids. There’s even the option of eco-friendly seat trim fashioned from recycled materials if you want to reduce your car’s environmental impact.

On the move, the Renault’s instant torque, excellent visibility and handy dimensions make it a doddle to drive around town, but it’s equally at home on the open road, where its relatively long range combines with a controlled ride, composed handling and excellent refinement. There’s a choice of motor outputs, but we’d plump for the top 133bhp R135, which gives a touch more pace for only a little extra cash, and without sacrificing the Zoe’s trademark excellent refinement.

Best deal

Renault Zoe Iconic R135 50 Rapid Charge (£30,595 incl. Govt. grant)

Zero per cent finance means that it’s not just the running costs for the all-electric Zoe that are affordable. Iconic trim equipped with 50kW charging comes in at £327 per month over three years on a PCP with a deposit of £3,100.

Commended

Fiat 500

Fiat 500 - front

Our favourite city car takes a deserved runner-up spot here. It can’t match the Zoe for space or range, but with its cute looks, upmarket interior and nimble handling, the Fiat is still a compelling choice. Great-value pricing, a lengthy list of standard kit, and a choice of battery sizes add to the 500’s appeal.

MG 5

MG 5

If value for money is at the top of your EV shopping list, then look no further than the MG 5. For as little as £25k the current model delivers an impressive 214-mile range, while a facelift due later this summer will improve that even further. The MG 5 is also generously equipped, very roomy and backed by an eight-year warranty.

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