Renault’s Zoe is one of our favourite EVs, but ability doesn’t always translate into success. To address slow sales, the brand is now offering the chance to buy one of its mildly updated models outright from £17,793 after the £5,000 Government grant – £2,500 cheaper than a Nissan LEAF.

We’d still point private buyers towards the improved battery leasing deals, though, which now cost £13,995 up front and from £25 to £84 a month depending on mileage. Renault has also resolved the common complaint that the bright dash reflects on the windscreen, by trimming it in a darker material.

Mechanically, the lightly refreshed Zoe is unchanged, with an 87bhp electric motor sending 200Nm of torque to the front wheels. That means instant yet silent acceleration, making it fun around town. However, the car feels out of its depth on motorways, especially if kept in Eco mode, which limits it to 60mph.

In corners, the weight of the Renault’s batteries makes it feel less agile than the equivalent Clio. Body control and grip are reasonable, but feedback is lacking and the suspension, although generally composed, has a habit of thumping into surface imperfections.

Our biggest concern, however, still centres around battery life and charging. Renault claims a real-world range of about 130 miles, but that plummets when you venture out of town. We also tested it in cold temperatures and found the range to be less than 70 miles.

Although buyers get a home charging box for free (capable of restoring the Zoe's battery in three hours), Renault provided us with a traditional three-pin socket (normally a £495 option), which the dash display said would take 15 hours to charge from near-flat to full.

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