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Renault updates Zoe EV with more range, power and tech

This little electric pod is now a little easier on the eyes, too.

Those headlights look awfully familiar, like they were plucked from an Infiniti.

The Renault Zoe isn't sold in the US, but it does share some DNA with the Nissan Leaf. Nevertheless, it's always nice to see a freshened-up EV rock some new tech, and that's the case with the latest update to Renault's electric hatchback.

Renault unveiled the new Zoe on Monday. It's fresh from top to bottom, sporting a new look, new tech, new EV underpinnings and everything between those points. While the overall silhouette is still nice and ovoid, the front end gets a sharper bumper, new headlights and new sculpting on the body. LED headlights are now standard. Out back, it's about the same as it was before.

The interior gets a bit more attention than the exterior. Renault promises that the Zoe's plastics are now softer to the touch, and some parts of the inside have been redesigned for better ergonomics. The most notable upgrade inside, though, has to be the standard 10-inch instrument cluster display, which is customizable and can relay turn-by-turn directions with less distraction. LED interior lighting is standard, and Iconic trims get seats made from 100% recycled material. Higher trims also get a 9.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The most important upgrade for the Zoe can't actually be seen. Under the body is a new 52-kWh battery that offers even more range than before -- up to 242 miles, by European WLTP estimates. Combined with a new (optional) DC charger that can handle up to 50 kilowatts, the Zoe should pick up juice faster than its predecessors. Those looking for better performance will be happy to find a new 133-horsepower optional electric motor, which brings its 0-to-60-mph time under 10 seconds. Both this motor and the less powerful standard motor also pack a new "B Mode" that boosts regenerative braking for a little extra range.

The new Zoe also features a revised electrical system, which gives it the ability to equip all manner of modern driver-assist systems. The Zoe can be equipped with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, blind spot monitoring and automatic headlights. Automatic parking assist is available too, as are parking sensors. The car can be managed remotely through the My Renault app, which lets people see the car's range and charging status, while also allowing for timed cabin conditioning so that it's the right temperature at the right time.

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