In the third and final part of our look at the Renault electric-car range, Robin Brown looks at the Fluence ZE and who it is likely to suit.
The third part of my look at Renault's ZE electric-vehicle range examines the Renault Fluence ZE and which buyers it might suit.
The Fluence ZE is Renault's current 'normal' car - that's because it's based on the compact Fluence saloon, which boasts internal combustion engines (ICEs). As a result there's little to suggest that the Fluence ZE is anything out of the ordinary, apart from the slightly elongated rear quarter.
It's obvious that Renault has attempted to make the Fluence ZE as normal as possible, constituting a four-door saloon with a separate boot and seating for five.
Driving the Fluence ZE is a remarkably serene experience, with only road and wind noise to indicate movement. Once you get over the novelty, driving the Fluence EV is not especially different from driving any other car.
The car encourages efficient driving by indicating how much energy is being used, while regenerative braking provides a noticeable drag on speed in an effort to recover energy that might be wasted by braking. Because of this, the Fluecne ZE requires sympathetic driving to get the best out of it.
However, put the pedal down and there's a good chunk of linear acceleration up to motorway speeds, where the Fluence ZE does not feel out of place. The official range is around 115 miles so the Fluence ZE is capable of city- and town-hopping, but the lack of fast charging means it's best used for daily commutes and shorter trips.
The Fluence ZE realistically needs a dedicated wallbox at home or at work, but it can be plugged directly into domestic power supplies using a dedicated cable. Charge times are around seven hours or around ten hours respectively, depending on the socket.
As with other Renault ZE cars, the battery must be leased. However, virtually all running costs are cheaper than comparable ICE models.
The Fluence ZE doesn't skimp on practicality either. You can seat five plus over 300 litres of luggage space and you won't need to go without any of the toys you'd expect on a C- or D-segment model such as the Megane or Mondeo.
If you can make it work for you financially and on a practical footing, I feel sure that you'll enjoy the ownership proposition. Aside from everything else, the Fluence ZE is a rewarding car to drive and own.
The bottom line: If you need to drive the family to school, work, shops and leisure activities on a daily basis - and already have another car for longer jaunts - the Fluence ZE could save you a decent wedge of cash over the years. Plus it's a genuinely engaging car to drive.
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Content Written by @RobinBrown78
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