Renault Fluence Z.E. review (2012 onwards) – MSN Cars UK

27 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Renault Fluence Z.E. review (2012 onwards) – MSN Cars UK

Renault Fluence

Z.E. (2012 onwards)

What: Fluence Z.E.

Where: Portugal

Date: October

Price: £22,850 (£17,850 £5,000 government electric grant)

Available: May-June (tbc)

Summary: The Nissan has put electric cars on the map in a big way – how the first effort from partner Renault fair by In more ways than the Fluence Z.E. is a car defined by its


There’s no getting from it – the Renault Z.E. is a funny looking Not funny looking in the way a Chrysler is funny looking, but rather in the of a subtle optical illusion: about it just isn’t right.

And there’s a reason for The regular Fluence is a Turkish-made saloon based on the Mégane we’re not much interested in compact saloons in the UK, so Renault has bothered trying to sell it to us.

now. The Fluence Z.E. getting is the Zero Emissions – which is to say it’s an car. In order to accommodate the required to drive the 95hp electric motor, Renault has forced to make it longer.

The resulting bulbous back end the Z.E. to retain some space – though not as as you might think, since a 280kg battery pack behind the rear seats and match the interior room of the car.


Add a smattering of blue details, and you’ve got a assault on the fledgling electric (EV) market. And it is potentially an with prices starting at £17,850 it’s some cheaper than the £25,990 Leaf (both with government EV grant).

The value is aggressive; even once you the cost of leasing the battery unlike Nissan, Renault include the power pack in the of the car – it remains a more solution.

But is more affordable the early adopters of the EV world want? Sure, we all love a but the Fluence is not only ordinary-verging-on-ugly on the it’s decidedly unexciting on the as well.

With the drama of the new for two of Renault’s other forthcoming efforts, the Twizy and the Zoe, and the taken care of by another, the Z.E. electric van, the Z.E. is apparently an electric car for the



Not that anything wrong with we just find ourselves exactly who is going to buy it. It does a slightly greater range the Leaf – 115 miles 109 miles – but as with all electric cars (sorry), it not take you as far as the relatives, let alone continents.

Obviously, that the point. But given the range-related won’t you want to feel you’re piloting something a bit special? The interior certainly going to give you this so what about the driving

This is very much electric car in terms of straight-line Initial pick-up is exceptionally since the motor develops ft of torque instantaneously, and with a single gear, acceleration is

Turn off the radio and you’ll be by a faint electric whine, but is otherwise impressive – and there’s no vibrating fossil under the bonnet, it should be. Top is 84mph, but it’s keenest up to 55mph.

Ride and handling

Driven in an undemanding fashion on the smooth roads of Portugal, the Z.E. is comfortable and competent, a modest amount of lean the corners and good bump

But it is a touch weird. Renault modifications to the suspension mean the handles just like its ordinary Fluence brethren, yet is now less weight up front electric motor being than the internal combustion and that 280kg battery at the back.

This sees its total weight split front and 869kg rear, and the batteries are positioned in an upright the balance of the vehicle is considerably compared to the original. It feels far natural from the driver’s

Push harder and the steering seems artificially exacerbated as if for the reduced mass over the wheels, while the back end decidedly cumbersome. The car resolutely to misbehave, though, which is to the chassis engineers. Or whoever the stability control.


into a Leaf, a Vauxhall or its cousin, the Chevrolet Volt, and instantly know you’re in different – these vehicles go out of their way to ensconce you a high-tech, futuristic environment.

are no funky graphical flow-charts or energy consumption diagrams the central screen reserved for the TomTom satellite navigation And while this has special functions, ours was still petrol station locations for reason.


Keeping the car so ordinary no helps to keep the costs But again it’s clear the Fluence Z.E. isn’t out to early adopters in the way other EVs It has the look and feel of a boring car, so no surprise Renault is to sell 70% of them to fleets.

said that, it is a full Rear legroom isn’t but it offers marginally more than the four-seater Ampera/Volt making the accommodation back comfy enough for medium trips (which, let’s it, is all the Z.E. can offer anyway). about some of the plastics.

given just how much is occupied by the battery pack, included no pictures of the boot in the photography. This still 317 litres storage, however, so it’s smaller than the of the car would suggest it’s not

Economy and safety


The 115-mile range is using the same principles as fuel economy – so you can reality to be rather variable in to that official figure. cars are even more to driving style, weather and so the difference could potentially be

Given the average European commute is less that 60 the Fluence Z.E. could perfectly well as a daily for many people. Driving it no emissions (although recharging it will), and based on present prices running costs are cheaper than petrol.

Recharging the Fluence Z.E. six to eight hours using a Wall-Box (£799 including by UK partner, British Gas) or charging point, or 10 to 12 hours a suitably robust 240v socket (requires a specific priced at £414).

Servicing are said to be 20% less than in a car since there are fewer parts, while the battery is between £69 and £120 a month, on the length of the term and the number of you’re expecting to cover year.

In terms of safety, the car with electronic stability and traction control – of which are handy for containing the motor’s instant torque plus six standard airbags.

The MSN Cars verdict

The Fluence is, you sense, a car Renault is selling in the UK it can. Globally, EV network Better Place is committed to 100,000 of these cars the next five years so building a few for other markets ours isn’t going to Renault too much hassle.

You actually be able to buy one here the middle of next year, by which point Renault already be selling the Kango van and the radical Twizy. In their own ways, both make a case than the Fluence to.

The fourth and final stage in initial EV … is the Zoe supermini, set to in October 2012. This to be much more in tune UK buying tastes and should alter the electric vehicle This is the Renault Z.E. we’re all waiting for.

But we dismiss the Fluence Z.E. If nothing else it represents one of the cost effective EV solutions at the moment – and for some eco buyers perhaps that is enough.

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