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.
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.
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.
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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