How Does a 2015 Renault Zoe Compare to a 2016 Nissan Leaf?

Two of the most common affordable cars out on the road here in the UK at the moment is the 22kWh Renault Zoe and the 30kWh Nissan Leaf. Read on to see how they compare and to see which one might be most suitable for you and your family.


What Are We Comparing?

On our forecourt, we almost always have in stock examples of the 22kWh Renault Zoe and 30kWh Nissan Leaf. Both are affordable, five-door cars that have been proven on the road now for several years. Both cars are a popular choice amongst new EV owners due to their low price point, manageable battery range, and ease of use. They also both look like 'normal' cars, providing a familiar feel for many.

How much room is there inside?

If you are just sitting in the front two seats most of the time then both cars provide plenty of space. A 6ft adult can find a comfortable driving position with ease and the passenger won't struggle in either. The main difference here, however, comes in the back.

Whilst a child seat does fit in the back seat of both cars, the Nissan Leaf certainly has more to offer. The full-size doors open to reveal extra legroom for the rear passengers and a wider middle seat. The Zoe can seat five people, however, we wouldn't recommend this for longer trips.

What about in the boot? The differences continue here too. Whilst the Zoe will certainly fit your weekly food shop, getting a full-size pram in here or a couple of large suitcases will prove to be tight. Due to the battery being underneath the back half of the car, the boot doesn't go as deep as you might think. Keep this in mind with both cars.

Which Car Has a Better Spec?

If you love your gadgets and have every button that a car of this age and price can come with, then look no further than the Tekna version of the Nissan Leaf. Nissan really went all out on this model and features include 5x heated seats, a heated steering wheel, an upgraded Bose sound system, 360 camera, CHAdeMO fast charging, and programmable pre-heat and charging times. No doubt many of these features add (unnecessary?) weight to the vehicle, but it does add a slightly premium feel to a car that otherwise might not.

The Renault Zoe however does not come lacking. Many models include a reverse camera, cruise control, speed limiter, programmable pre-heat, and keyless entry. One big difference though is the lack of a rapid charge option. The older Zoes with the 22kWh do not have a CCS port for rapid charging. The fastest charging Zoe (Q90) will charge at 22kWh (peak) when connected to a suitable charger, but the mighty Leaf can manage 50kw when connected to CHAdeMO, resulting in the battery charging from 0% to 80% in around 30 minutes. When travelling on a long road trip this will certainly make a difference to your journey time, but it is typically not what these cars are used for.

Do I Own the Battery?

To those unfamiliar with the world of electric vehicles this may seem an unusual question - 'if I own the car then, of course, I own the battery?' The truth is that for many Renault Zoes with a 22kWh battery then in actual fact, you will own the car but the battery inside it will be on lease from Renault. Although this might sound scary, it actually comes with many benefits.

Leasing the battery provides a lifetime warranty on the battery whilst the lease is paid. If the battery health ever dips below 75% from new, Renault will replace the battery at no cost to the car owner. In reality, what we are seeing from six to eight-year-old cars is that normally the battery on a Zoe has deteriorated by less than 10%, we believe in fact surprising even some of the engineers at Renault. You can read more about owning a vehicle with a battery lease in our full article on the subject by clicking here.

The Nissan Leaf has never had a battery lease option - the owner of the car owns the battery in full. This helps to explain why a similar age and milage Zoe is usually cheaper than a Leaf. Nissan does provide a good warranty, however, covering the battery for 8 years or 100,000 miles (more on that on the Nissan website here). The Nissan Leaf has also been on sale in the UK since early 2011, so Nissan has plenty of experience in the electric vehicle world and their batteries are usually very reliable.

The best way to tell how healthy your battery is in a Nissan Leaf is by looking at the number of battery bars shown next to the charge level indicator. A new battery has 12 bars on the far right side. As cells in the battery deplete over time, the car will gradually lose battery bars that will never return. A 2015-year car can sometimes still have 12 bars remaining and if not will have at least 11 in most instances.

Which Should I Buy?

Both cars are extremely popular in the UK. If you like the extra space, extra tech, and fast charging ability of CHAdeMO and have a little more cash to spend then the Leaf is for you. If you would like the security of the battery lease, don't need to do long journeys very often, or perhaps have a second car, then the Zoe might just be perfect.

If you are still on the fence - get yourself down to your local quality used electric vehicle dealer, and talk all options through with them. You can always give Forecourt-E a call too, we will be happy to talk about both vehicles with you in a non-sales manner.

Thanks for reading, and good luck in your search for your next electric car!

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