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Renault Zoe vs Nissan Leaf – Which is Better?

Electric vehicles (EVs) are surging in popularity. Thanks to their green credentials, more of us are choosing to ditch the diesel in favour of an electric or petrol-hybrid car. In fact, there are now more EV charging points across the UK than fuel stations – meaning there’s never been a better time to make the switch. 

The cars driving this electric revolution (literally) are the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf. Two of the most popular EVs in the UK, both vehicles offer impressive ranges and are more affordable than other models on the market – especially when you take into account the government’s EV grant, which will subsidise the cost of your plug-in car by as much as £3,500. 

But with so many similarities between them, down in large part to the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi alliance, it can be hard to decide which vehicle is the best. This post will compare the key features of each car, including performance, availability and design, to help you answer the question – is the Renault Zoe or Nissan Leaf a better choice for you?      

Range

Although it’s now easier than ever to charge an EV, range should still be one of your top priorities when choosing an electric car. The second-generation Nissan Leaf, which was revealed in October 2017, has a 40kWh battery and an official range of 235 miles. Bear in mind, though, this will depend on the conditions and speed at which you’re driving – one test driver noticed a plunge in range when cruising at 70mph on a motorway. 

By contrast, the Renault Zoe has a 52kWh battery and a range of 250 miles. Similarly, however, this is simply the longest range confirmed. Real-world circumstances will affect the car between charges. 

So, which is better?

When it comes to range, the Renault Zoe overtakes the Nissan Leaf. 

Practicality 

Which car has the lowest running costs? 

The cost of charging any EV will vary depending on your electricity tariff and the make of your car. According to Zap Map, the Renault Zoe will cost around £8 to charge, compared to just £6.40 for the Nissan Leaf. However that difference is mainly down to the Leaf’s smaller capacity, with a cost per mile of 3.4p and 3.3p for the Zoe and Leaf, respectively.

How long do they take to charge? 

The Renault Zoe, with its 52kWh battery, will reach full charge from a 22kW public charger in three hours. If you are using a 7kW wall box, allow 9 hours and 25 minutes. 

Using a domestic three-pin plug, the Nissan Leaf can get to full charge in 21 hours. With a 7kwH wall box, the manufacturer claims this will take just 7 hours and 30 minutes. 

So, which is better? 

It’s a draw. The Leaf charges quicker, but this comes at the expense of its range. 

Reliability 

The Nissan Leaf has a current customer satisfaction rate of 94%, making it Nissan’s most highly-rated model. While drivers of the Zoe reported some issues with electrical faults in the What Car? 2019 Reliability Survey, the car still emerged with a reliability rating of 82.3%.

So, which is better? 

Statistics suggest the Nissan Leaf is slightly more reliable than its Renault counterpart. 

Green Credentials 

The green credentials of any EV will depend on your energy source. If your electricity is renewable – for example, wind or solar – the environmental impact of charging your vehicle will be much lower than if your electricity is derived from burning fossil fuels.  

Neither the Zoe nor Leaf emits tailpipe emissions while driving. This means they are exempt from charges in Ultra-Low Emission Zones and are unlikely to be banned from city centres as crackdowns against pollution increase. 

In the future, Nissan plans to lessen the environmental impact of its cars through the creation of its ‘Nissan Energy’ ecosystem. With programmes already afoot in Europe, the US and Japan, Nissan Energy will enable drivers to store renewable energy in the Leaf. You can use this energy to power your home or return it to the national grid to promote stabilisation. 

So, which is better?

Although there is currently not much difference between the cars’ carbon footprints, the Nissan Leaf has the potential to become more sustainable. 

Design and comfort 

Both cars look familiar? There’s a reason for that. The Renault Zoe was updated earlier in 2019, and now hosts a range of interior features reminiscent of the French manufacturer Clio. In fact, with its 7-inch infotainment screen and digital dials, the Zoe is now very similar in design to its older sister – both inside and out. 

Don’t be fooled by its apparent compactness. The Zoe is almost the same size as the Clio, seating five adults. However, this space has also got to accommodate the battery. This is located underneath the seats, meaning head and leg room is somewhat restricted.  

The Nissan Leaf – which bears a strong family resemblance to the Nissan Micra – feels slightly roomier. Not only is head room more generous than in the Zoe, it also boasts boot space of 435 litres. This is one of the most impressive capacities seen in an EV, dwarfing the Zoe’s respectable 338 litres. 

Like the Zoe, the Leaf also has a 7-inch infotainment screen. (This is small by industry standards). 

So, which is better?

Thanks to its spacious interior, the Nissan Leaf wins this round. Both cars have high driving positions, which may put some drivers off, but this goes with the territory of EVs. 

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