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In-depth reviews

Renault ZOE hatchback - Reliability & safety

The Renault ZOE’s five-star safety score is no longer applicable but the simple electric drivetrain bodes well

Carbuyer Rating

3.6 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.3 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Reliability & safety Rating

2.0 out of 5

The ZOE didn’t feature in the top 75 cars included in our 2022 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, although it appeared in 37th place in the 2020 edition. Renault as a brand came in a disappointing 24th place out of 29 manufacturers this year – that’s a four-place drop on 2021, and nine-place drop since 2020. 

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Customers were also unimpressed with seat comfort and storage space. Respondents did praise the brand’s running and servicing costs, however.

Renault ZOE reliability

In 2020, transmission issues with the ZOE contributed to a higher than expected 23.5% of ZOE owners reporting a fault in the Driver Power survey. In the 2022 edition, just over 22% of Renault owners (not just owners of the ZOE) reported a fault with their car within the first 12 months of ownership, which is slightly more than average. 

Safety

Safety is a grey area now. When it was launched in 2013, the ZOE picked up the maximum five-star score from Euro NCAP, and performed well when assessed for adult and child occupant protection, while its safety assistance systems were also praised. However, the ZOE was retested in 2021 and its new zero-star safety rating was certainly a shock. It’s not clear why Renault has removed the car’s head airbags but these were highlighted in the side-impact crash test and seem to be the major reason why the ZOE has been scored so poorly.

In the face of near-constant technological advances when it comes to safety and driver assistance, Euro NCAP often changes the criteria required to score five stars. It’s strange that a car can go from the maximum safety rating to the worst possible one in just eight years. Among the must-have features are autonomous emergency braking and lane-departure warning; the former is standard and the latter is added to Iconic and GT Edition trims, so the ZOE isn’t unsafe in front impact collisions. The Iconic trim also adds parking sensors, lane-keeping assist, auto high beam and speed limit awareness.

Renault doesn’t only try to keep occupants safe – all models feature ‘Z.E Voice’, which generates a quiet yet noticeable sound to warn pedestrians of the ZOE’s presence.

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Which Is Best?

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Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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