Pros and Cons of a Zoe over a Leaf
The Renault Zoe and the Nissan Leaf are very similarly spec-ed BEVs. And as a second hand import from the UK, they are very similarly priced. Here are a few Pros and Cons between the two to help with your decision making.
Note that both the Leaf and the Zoe can be configured with various options, and can originate from various markets, and so some of the pros and cons listed here may not be relevant.
- The Type 2 onboard AC charger can charge from a standard industrial 3 phase sockets at up to 22 kW, in conjunction with a portable EVSE (Leaf can only charge at 3.6 kW or 7.2 kW, depending on the model)
- The range estimator or GOM (Guess-O-Meter) is much more reliable - so much so that it's actually useful
- Active battery cooling
- NZ maps (TomTom) can be saved onto the car’s SD card with ease (via the R-Link Toolbox)
- Everything is in English
- The 2013-2016 Zoe has better range compared to the Gen 1/Gen 2 leaf
- The 2017 Zoe has better range compared to the Gen 3 Leaf
- The car exterior styling looks better/more conventional
- Placed higher in seat respect to wind screen gives better visibility for average height person
- The Zoe is easier to park in town than Leaf. The Zoe is a noticeably smaller car – it’s about 5 cm narrower and about 40 cm shorter (at 408 cm long vs 445 cm).
- There is talk of a battery upgrade path for the 22 kWh battery to the 41 kWh battery, of around £8,700 for a battery swap (an extra £4,400 if you want to keep your original battery). Full details coming later in 2017.
- No Chademo or CCS Combo charging option
- The interior has an overall cheaper feel
- The doors sound tinny when closing
- If something goes wrong then the support from Renault NZ is an untested quantity, and you do not have the community knowledge and access to second hand parts as you do with the Leaf
- Still haven’t got the charging timer working – may be because the car is not connected to the phone network
- There is no headrest for the middle passenger in the back seat (can have as an option, or as DIY post-delivery)
- Glove box is tiny
- My coffee cup doesn’t fit in the coffee holder
- Rear seats don't lie completely flat when lie down (although it’s not too difficult to remove the rear seats completely)
- Rear seats don't split
- The outer rear door handle needs explanation for anyone who hasn't driven in it before, and it might be too high for young kids
- While there are several ways to lock a Zoe, eg (i) press the lock button on the key, (ii) push the button on the door handle, (iii) walk away with the key in your pocket; and several ways to unlock a Zoe, eg (i) press the unlock button on the key, (ii) push the button on the door handle; some sequences are not possible. For example, if you lock the car via pushing the lock button on the key or pushing the button on the door handle, then you cannot unlock the car via pushing the button on the door handle. Confused? You will be!
- Some of the translation falls a bit short. Eg, instead of "Instantaneous Power" (displayed in kW) it says "Direct Consumption"; instead of "Monitoring Tyres' Pressure" it says "Learning Tyres Pressure"; instead of "Battery Charging Unsuccessful" it says "Battery Charging Impossible"
- You only see battery state of charge percent when turning the car on – compared to the Gen 2/Gen 3 Leaf where the SOC% is visible on the dash at all times. However, given that the range estimator is more useful, the SOC% is not really needed so much.
- At 65 kW (88 horsepower), the Zoe has noticeably less power compared to the Leaf (80 kW / 107 horsepower)
- If you change between normal drive mode and eco mode (or vice versa) while driving, you get kicked out of cruise control. This doesn't happen in the Leaf.
- While there is an Android-based app called CanZE, which is useful for getting some data out of the Zoe, such as State of Health, it is not nearly as spec-ed as LeafSpy
- You’re now invisible to the EV world – wave at a Leaf and they don’t recognise you as an EV :(
Differences that aren't really pros or cons, or might be for you
- Cruise control increment is 2 km/h rather than 1 km/h in the Leaf
- Minimum cruise control is 30km/h – the Leaf’s minimum is 38km/h
- No warning beep when reversing
- It makes quite the whine when charging up
- Speedo ‘safety margin’ is a fixed amount of 2-3 km from actual speed; compared to the Leaf where the ‘safety margin’ is a percentage of actual speed (8% in the case of my Leaf)
- On the one hand the gear stick seems a step backwards compared with the Leaf (eg you need to manually put it into Park each time you turn off). On the other hand, the Zoe gear lever is more intuitive to a new driver, in that it’s more like a “normal car".
Some minor, but pretty cool, features
- Even though you turn the car off, the radio stays on until you open the door of the car
- Close the doors with your key in your pocket and the car locks with a beep as you walk away
- Flick your lights after stopping the car at night, and that gives you 30 seconds of head light illumination to walk to your house
The Kids’ Pros
- You can put your feet under the seat in front – can’t do that in a Leaf
The Kids’ Cons
- With the integrated headrests of the front seats, the kids can't see "through" the seats and so can't get as good a view and feel more "closed in"
- No drink holders
- Less storage room for the back seat passengers in the seats in front of them (one slide-in-from-the-side pocket rather than the Leaf's conventional pockets behind each seat)
- Don't think the seats are as comfortable compared to the Leaf's
- A bit less seat room with three kids along the back
- Feels bouncier and not as smooth a ride as the Leaf
- No light in the ceiling that the kids can reach to turn on