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In-depth reviews

Renault ZOE review - Interior, design and technology

There are plenty of gadgets and gizmos, but some systems are fiddly and quality could be improved

Renault says the Zoe was designed “from the ground up” as an electric car, although it has been developed on the platform used by the Renault Clio, as well as the Nissan Note

Updated at the end of 2016, the Zoe is distinctive thanks to its neat light clusters, and a sleek exterior with few features to disrupt the airflow and cause unwelcome drag. Notably, it also has a high shoulderline and small window area designed to cut heat build-up and loss – important for reducing the demands on the battery-sapping climate control.

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Inside, the dash is carried over from the Clio, but instead of conventional dials, you get a stylish digital TFT display that shows range and speed, as well as graphics telling you whether the regenerative systems are pumping power back into the battery, or discharging it.

Renault has tried to create a modern, minimalist feel with lots of light-coloured trim. Generally, the results are pleasing, but material quality doesn’t feel up to the standard of the Volkswagen e-up!, and we suspect the pastel cabin will be hard to keep clean if you regularly carry children.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

An R-Link infotainment screen is standard on the Zoe. It includes sat-nav, Bluetooth and downloadable apps, although it’s a little fiddly to use.

The key interface is a seven-inch touchscreen floating in a central binnacle that’s designed to look like the latest tablet PCs, and will already be familiar to Clio owners.

In the Zoe there’s an added level of functionality around the charging system. It works in sync with a phone app, which allows you to remotely control the battery charge scheduling and pre-set the cabin ambient temperature while the car is still hooked up to the grid – so you don’t waste precious battery power on cabin heat (or cooling) at the start of your journey.

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