Renault Zoe vs Nissan Leaf

Background

The Nissan LEAF is a name that is synonymous with electric cars. First introduced to the world in 2010 it has won numerous awards and recognitions and in December 2019 was listed as the world's all-time top best selling EV until it was surpassed by the Tesla Model 3. The second generation Nissan LEAF has a longer range and more power.

The Renault Zoe (known as the Renault Zoe E-Tech Electric since 2021) first landed in Europe in 2012 and has been the top selling plug-in electric car in the region in both 2016 and 2020. It was updated in 2019 with a higher powered battery and faster charging options and has also received a number of awards including Best Small Electric Car By Value in 2021 by What Car?

Many manufacturer's no longer offer battery lease, which made buying electric cars a little more confusing, as they now know that an EV battery has a longer lifespan than was first thought.

Our guide will compare the two electric vehicles for you and highlight their key differences to make your decision easier.

Design

The Renault Zoe's design is heavily influenced by the brand's other supermini, the Clio, whilst the Nissan LEAF takes much of it's styling from the Nissan Micra. This is a great choice by both brands as the original models of both vehicles were scrutinised by owners for lacking quality.

The LEAF's new design has an angular front, a grille-less bumper, and an opening under the bonnet for connecting the charging cable, which makes it feel a little more "other" than those that place the connection where a fuel cap would be on a traditional car.

The Zoe's most recent styling has utilised recycled materials across it's trim, which is a great addition to it's green credentials, but primarily redesigned the battery so that it could contend with longer ranges and higher charging speeds.

Interior

Both the Renault Zoe and the Nissan LEAF have good sized touchscreens that house the infotainment systems and additional services such as sat nav, Apple Carplay, and Android Auto.

These are complimented by finishes such as a leather steering wheel, durable and high quality plastics, and recycled materials on the Renault Zoe whilst the Nissan LEAF has kept the original model's unique gear selector and Nissan's standard infotainment system that's used in other models in the range.

The LEAF has a longer and wider body which makes it more suited to a car full of adult passengers whilst the Zoe is taller which gives more headroom. Both models have their batteries located under the floor which allows them to keep the maximum amount of room possible for cargo and passenger space.

With all five seats in use, the Renault Zoe has 338 litres of boot space whilst the Nissan LEAF has a little more with 435 litres. With the rear seat folded the tables are turned, the Zoe has more space a larger 1225 litres compared to the LEAF's 1176 litres but it's not something that's likely to affect your decision making too much.

Equipment

Both the Leaf and the Zoe have standard equipment that you would expect to see on a new car such as automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, Bluetooth connectivity, and cruise control.

The Renault Zoe comes with front and rear parking sensors equipped as standard whilst the Nissan LEAF require you to upgrade from the entry trim level but does include a rear view camera with the entry level Acenta trim. It also has LED headlights across the range where the LEAF, again, requires you to upgrade your trim level.

It is worth noting that at the time of writing the trim levels for the Renault Zoe have been narrowed down to only include the GT Line +, which was previously the highest spec that was available which is the reason why it offers so much more equipment right off the bat. The Nissan LEAF offers five different trim levels across two battery options.

Renault Zoe

Performance

As fully electric cars, both the Zoe and the LEAF have a powerful electric motor in place of a traditional combustion engine which is powered by a lithium ion battery pack. Both models also have a regenerative braking mode which saves some of the energy that is generated when the car brakes. This is then stored in the battery, ready to be used again!

The Renault Zoe has one battery option available which has a capacity of 52kWH whilst the Nissan Leaf has two: one at 39kWH and one at 58kWh. Of all three options, the Nissan LEAF 39kWh has the best performance with 171 Wh/mile compared to 185 Wh/mile on the 59kWh battery and 178 Wh/mile for the Zoe's battery.

The Nissan LEAF delivers a higher top speed, with either battery capacity, than the Renault with a top speed of 90 or 98 mph compared to 87mph for the Zoe.

The 58kWh LEAF and the Zoe both offer a maximum range of 239 miles on a single charge, with the 39kWh offering a lower 168 miles. These are pretty much on par with other electric vehicles of a similar size, such as the Vauxhall Corsa E which advertises 222 miles, or higher such as the case with the (now unavailable) Volkswagen E golf which only offers 144 miles but is often compared to them.

Unfortunately the Renault Zoe is let down by its poor safety rating as an electric vehicle. Euro NCAP gave it a 0 star rating in 2021, making it only the third car to receive this rating in Euro NCAP's history. Contrastingly, the Nissan LEAF has a 5 star safety rating, giving it an obvious advantage over it's Renault cousin.

Summary

Choosing an electric car is a no brainer for future proofing how you drive as regulations start to clamp down on those with high tailpipe emissions, such as diesel cars. Electric cars are also a larger investment up front but should dramatically reduce your running costs compared to a traditional ICE car.

If you're looking at the Renault Zoe vs Nissan LEAF then either is going to give you a good performance for equipment and range whilst the main difference between the two comes down to the safety ratings given by Euro NCAP.

Our helpful teams at Specialist Cars Nissan and Specialist Cars Renault in Aberdeen are always on hand to answer any further questions and help you on your journey towards your next vehicle.