New Renault ZOE price changes announced and battery lease withdrawn

As you can no longer lease the Renault ZOE’s battery, the range now starts at £25,670

Renault has axed the option to lease the battery when you buy a new Renault ZOE. Buyers will now need to buy the battery as part of the whole package, rather than paying less for the car and then leasing the battery separately, which effectively increases the base price of the car by £7,000 to £25,670. Up until now, Renault had offered both choices, but class-leading residual values has led the French firm to simply its offering.

The ZOE may now start at £25,670 after the Government’s £3,500 grant but you no longer have to pay a monthly fee to lease the battery. Having to buy the battery is no more expensive than leasing it if you consider the cost as a whole, and a PCP finance offer available for the ZOE means the cost of buying the battery can at least be spread out over the course of the two-year deal.

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Renault is offering a deposit contribution of £562 and, after a £2,995 deposit, the monthly payments come to £269 over two years. The current deal is set at 0% APR.

The trim levels available now mirror those of other Renault models, so the entry-level Play trim starts off the range at the advertised £25,670 price. The updated ZOE can be ordered later this month, with first deliveries starting in January 2020.

The Play model is the entry-level ZOE but features plenty of equipment as standard. LED headlights, air-conditioning, DAB radio, cruise control and auto headlights are all fitted, and there’s a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Stepping up to Iconic trim brings sat nav, climate control, wireless smartphone charging, rear parking sensors and 16-inch alloy wheels. Starting from £20,170, Iconic is arguably the most eco-friendly choice, as its seat upholstery is made completely from recycled materials.

A new GT Line trim level tops the range, and comes with a more powerful 100kW electric motor. Choosing this model also brings front parking sensors, a reversing camera and blind-spot monitoring.

The new electric motor gives the ZOE a boost in performance. For the first time, 0-62mph takes less than 10 seconds in a ZOE, and top speed is increased by 3mph to 87mph. A new ‘B-mode’ driving mode allows the ZOE to be driven using one pedal; take your foot off the accelerator and the car will glide to a halt without you touching the brakes. This regenerative braking technology helps to replenish the battery and available range. Buyers will still be able to choose the 106bhp 80kW motor from the current ZOE as the entry-level model of the latest one.

Whichever electric motor you go for, the battery is new and has a larger capacity than the one in the outgoing model. At 52kWh, it has 20% more capacity without being physically bigger and now offers a range of up to 245 miles. The current model manages up to 186 miles, so the extra range makes the ZOE more usable and appealing to first-time EV buyers.

Only Iconic and GT Line trims offer fast-charging capability; choose these models and you’ll be able to use a 50kW DC charger and top up the battery to 80% in 70 minutes. Charging from a 22kW chargepoint takes three hours, while using the free 7kW Renault wallbox takes almost 9.5 hours.

Changes to the styling are subtle. Renault has refreshed the ZOE’s exterior with a new front bumper, tweaked C-shaped LED headlights and extra chrome detailing. The charging point is still behind the Renault badge on the car’s nose. Since Renault launched the ZOE seven years ago, it has become Europe’s best-selling EV, which explains why Renault has chosen not to dramatically alter the car’s size or styling.

Renault has given the interior of the new ZOE a complete overhaul, with a new 9.3-inch portrait touchscreen taking centre stage. It features the company’s recently introduced Easy Connect infotainment system, which allows you to set sat nav directions and the climate control, and see real-time availability of charging points, from your phone.

The screen, shared with the new Clio, is fitted as standard on all models. There’s also wireless phone charging, plus a new gear selector and parking brake. With this updated model, Renault has included more safety kit such as blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance.

The larger battery means the Renault ZOE’s 245-mile range beats that of the Nissan Leaf e+ by six miles, and is comfortably more than the new Peugeot e-208 (211 miles) and Vauxhall Corsa-e (205 miles).

Read where the Renault ZOE ranks on our list of best electric cars to buy this year.

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