13.11.2020Peugeot e-208 review
As EVs get increasingly mainstream, it makes sense that familiar model names become available as pure-EV versions. It’s a key part of the transition to widespread electric sales, and something that the PSA Group - incorporating Peugeot, Vauxhall, Citroen, and DS Automobiles - has certainly decided to follow. The latest-generation 208 supermini is also available as an e-208 alongside the rest of the ‘conventional’ range.
Review by Chris Lilly
Currently - and there will no doubt be the famous GTi badge applied to the 208 model in due course - the quickest Peugeot supermini you can buy new is the e-208. Electric power gives a 0-62mph time more than half a second faster than anything a petrol engine can provide. It’s the familiar tale too, in that at lower speeds, and in short bursts, the e-208 feels quicker than the acceleration time suggests. There’s a real sense of, if not hot-hatch ability, certainly warm-hatch pace is on offer from the electric Peugeot. Although it’s best suited to urban work - the usual trips to shops/school/work - the 100 kW motor feels plenty good enough for motorway work, something that can’t always be said about similarly powered EVs. The pace remains even at high speeds, but it’s not to the significant cost of economy. Throttle response is great even for an EV, and the braking system feels good even factoring in the modulation between brake regeneration recuperation and friction braking.
The e-208’s handling perfectly compliments the performance, as the little Peugeot feels like an eager, agile supermini. It’s a great car to drive just about everywhere, with a blend between comfort and driving dynamics that has traditionally been a strength for Peugeot. In built up areas, the e-208 will dart through traffic and out of junctions nicely, and it’s steering is well set-up for car parks and other tight areas. This is helped by the small steering wheel, but more on that below. The e-208 even behaves well on the motorway, settling down capably, though clearly larger cars are more comfortable at this sort of pace. Those so inclined will find that the low centre of gravity, due of the battery placed in the floor of the car, will have fun on a twisty road too. As mentioned above, this isn’t a hot-hatch, but it’s got many of the attributes to put a smile on your face.
I reckon the latest-generation 208 looks great, and there’s virtually no difference between the ‘e-‘ and standard versions. The test car was fitted with GT trim which gave it a little, subtle menace added to the crisp styling, and it’s one of the best looking superminis on the market by my reckoning; up against some rather stylish rivals too. The interior can be criticised as being rather snug in the back, but those in the front won’t be struggling for space. The rear pews will seat an adult, but best kept for occasional trips really, though most child seats will fit fine. The boot is a decent size, neither too small nor exceeding rival offerings. It has no real cable storage space other than the main boot area, and other crumbles can be aimed at the relatively small aperture for the rear doors. However, if you only need to use the rear seats occasionally, and rarely do a huge tip run in a supermini, the e-208 will likely prove more than practical enough for your needs.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
The e-208 features the latest generation of Peugeot’s i-Cockpit set-up. It’s something that I love, featuring a small steering wheel, and an instrument binnacle that sits above the top of the wheel so drivers look over it rather than through it. Some fine the idea odd, but personally I find it a real plus point for the Peugeot. The rest of the i-Cockpit concept sees digital driver’s instruments, which help give the Peugeot a premium feel. There are ‘piano-key’ switches, with touch-buttons sitting on the ledge above, but I personally found the features to almost be placed the wrong way around. It’s a nice system to use and it works well however, and the system partners well with a touchscreen infotainment system which is good - not class-leading, but certainly . . . well, good. Seats throughout are both supportive and comfortable, in fact pretty good for the class, with those up front particularly so. The part leather/part cloth trim looked great, and the side bolsters kept people in place well.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
The official range for the Peugeot e-208 is 217 miles, which is a pretty good distance in most books. Those regularly covering long distances will want closer to 300 miles, but then they won’t really be in the market for a supermini. For the car’s class, it’s easily possible most drivers will only need to charge once a week, or even less, apart from the occasional longer trip. If sticking to town work, I found that a range of around 280 miles is possible with real world driving, though this drops to around 160 miles if staying outside of built up areas - running mainly on country roads and dual-carriageways. It’s a wide variety of real-world results, but shows the versatility available from the little Peugeot. It’s certainly not best picked for anyone regularly covering more than 150 miles a day - or 300 miles a day with the chance to rapid charge easily - but since this includes the majority of UK buyers, it’s not much trouble. There are longer-range and more efficient EVs around, but the e-208 is a good electric supermini.
There are the usual suite of systems for drivers to try and maximise range, with variable brake energy recuperation the most important one. Drivers can switch between D and B using the drive selector, with D offering gentle braking performance whilst topping up the battery, and B far stronger ‘braking’ strength. As with many EVs, manually switching between them makes for the best efficiency scores. The e-208 is powered by a 50 kWh battery, which can be charged at up to 7 kW on AC charge points and at up to 100 kW on DC ultra-rapid points, all via the CCS inlet placed on the rear flank where you would find a petrol or diesel 208’s filler flap. Driving modes are available, enabling the car to be switched between Eco, Normal, and Sport.
There are six trim levels available for the e-208, four core specifications and two additional models. These are Active and Active Premium, Allure and Allure Premium, GT Line, and GT. Standard kit across the board includes the i-Cockpit with DAB, Bluetooth, USB, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity. There’s also a smartphone docking station, voice command recognition, 16-inch alloys, pre-conditioning and air conditioning, LED headlights, leather steering wheel, electric parking brake, and rear parking sensors. Allure models get part leather upholstery, a head-up display, LED rear lights, automatic wipers, and electric windows all round. Premium versions of the Active and Allure trims add connected 3D navigation on the 7-inch touchscreen for the former, and 10-inch system on the latter. GT Line adds a 180-degree reversing camera, parking sensors front and rear, 17-inch alloys, GT Line trim, Active Safety brake, and eight-colour ambient lighting. GT models - as tested - get the 10-inch touchscreen system adaptive cruise control, lane positioning assist, gloss black panels, and heated front seats.
The Peugeot e-208 features many of the same strengths and weaknesses as the conventional models. It’s not particularly practical, but it looks great, is pretty comfortable, and drives nicely. There are better supermini EVs to drive in the shape of the Mini Electric and Honda e, but these don’t travel as far, whilst the Renault Zoe goes further but can’t match the driving dynamics. It’s pitched in the middle ground, and will appeal to anyone who wants a supermini that happens to be an EV.
Model tested: Peugeot e-208 GT
Engine / CO2: 100 kW electric motor / 0 g/km
Trim grades: Active, Active Premium, Allure, Allure Premium, GT Line, and GT
On-road price: From £26,025.
Warranty: Three years / 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 4.0 Stars