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Europe: Renault Fluence Z.E. opens electric cars up to the frugal but willing

When an innovation makes a splash on the scale seen with the launch of Nissan’s LEAF, it is usually just a matter of time before imitations begin to emerge.

Putting Renault’s zero-emissions Fluence saloon toe-to-toe with the LEAF seems unfair as the French present something which is clearly pitched at buyers ready and willing to give electric models a shot but are priced out of the showroom by the LEAF’s £26k+ outlay.

What the Fluence Z.E. does is open up electric cars to a wider market but that lower price tag (£18,395 on the road) inevitably results in cutbacks on the standard set by Nissan.

With lower quality materials and plastics (tinny doors, wobbly gearstick), Renault’s fully electric effort may not be as well put-together as the LEAF, blatantly omitting some of the bells and whistles – most notably, the all-singing, all-dancing sat-nav replaced by an awkward and inferior alternative – but company car drivers will still be won over by how the Fluence seemingly glides along the road with a drive that, despite a lower top speed, seems to outpace the LEAF, easily matching it for handling.
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