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Peugeot e-208 Review

Introduction

There are plenty of electric car customers that want to shout about their decision to go zero-emission.

That’s why lots of electric vehicles (EVs) have distinctive looks, a move also driven by the freeing up of design possibilities – you don’t need to build a car around the requirements of a traditional engine if it doesn’t have one.

But not everyone wants to stand out as an early adopter. They just want a car that looks like… well, a car. And if that’s the case for you, then the Peugeot e-208 might be right up your street. Unless you look very closely, it looks like any other Peugeot 208, except it’s all-electric. 

On top of that it’s well equipped across a range of trim choices, and it’s decent to drive too.

Review Sections

Select's rating score* - 3.9 / 5

At a Glance

The current Peugeot 208 was introduced in 2019 as the latest in a long line of hatchbacks from the French manufacturer.

Trading on slick exterior looks and a very suave and eye-catching interior, it’s available in a range of petrol and diesel engines and some well kitted-out trim levels. But on top of that, Peugeot added an all-new, all-electric version, one that in many ways blends into the 208 range as just another power option alongside petrol and diesel.

The e-208 isn’t the cheapest electric car of its type, nor does it have the longest driving range from the battery, but it is one of the classier options on the market, with a premium edge to it and a well-rounded driving experience.


Key Features

The e-208 doesn’t jump out from the rest of the 208 range in the way that some rival electric cars do. The styling is virtually identical, save for a few ‘e’ badges, but it’s a proper electric car with an official range of up to 217 miles on a single battery charge.

Powertrain aside, the e-208 has plenty of technology inside to keep you informed and entertained while driving, and a reasonable level of practicality for a car of this size, with space for adults in the back and a boot that isn’t compromised by the need to carry batteries. Lots of electric rivals sacrifice boot space compared to petrol or diesel powered models, but not so in the Peugeot.

Range and Charge

Officially, you can get up to 217 miles out of a single charge of the 45kWh battery, although something closer to 160 miles might be more realistic in normal driving. 

You can charge the battery to 80% in 30 minutes if you can find a 100kW fast charger – a possible selling point over some rivals that can only charge at up to 50kW. Using a 7kW home charger, it’ll take seven-and-a-half hours.


Performance & Drive

There’s a single choice of electric power in the e-208. It’s a 134bhp motor and a 45kwh battery, which gives zippy acceleration at lower speeds, helped by the lack of a traditional gearbox (electric cars don’t need them). You just push the accelerator and go, although you’ll need to give it some extra oomph when getting up to speed on the motorway.

Like most electric cars, the Peugeot recoups kinetic energy into the battery when you lift off the accelerator or brake, and you can adjust the amount of this using the gear stick. 

On the highest setting, the regeneration of energy acts like a brake, letting you accelerate and slow down using just the right pedal. It takes some getting used to, but can make around-town driving a bit less hassle.

Handling at lower speeds is straightforward thanks to quick, lightweight steering through the unusually small steering wheel. Combined with that brisk acceleration, the e-208 is very agile in urban environments.

 It’s perfectly decent at higher speeds too, feeling composed and predictable on country roads, although it’s not a particularly sporty car. The weight doesn’t help; electric powertrains are heavy things, and any attempts at, shall we say, spirited driving won’t be particularly rewarded. 

For most people though, it’s a well judged driving experience. The ride quality strikes a nice balance between firmness for body control and softness for comfort, and bumpy road surfaces are massaged away nicely.


Running Costs

When it comes to monthly leasing costs, you’ll pay less for an e-208 than for a Mini Electric but more than a Renault Zoe, Vauxhall Corsa-e or Nissan Leaf. It’s at the higher end of electric cars of this size, albeit not by lots. Still, you may look at some larger electric cars and reflect that your budget could also stretch to them. At the time of writing, the DS3 Crossback E Tense SUV, for example, was only around £15 a month more.

In comparison to the non-electric Peugeot 208s, there is a monthly premium to have that ‘e’ on the badge, but you could save considerably on powering it. Electricity is much cheaper than petrol or diesel, especially if you can charge overnight at home and have an energy tariff that’s cheaper during off-peak hours.

Insurance groups range from 26 to 28 (of 50) depending on trim. This is higher than regular 208s, due in part to the higher purchase price of the electric version. It’s also several groups higher than the Mini Electric too.


Interior

The interior of the e-208 is virtually identical to the non-electric version, which means it’s a very modern, eye-catching design. The steering wheel is tiny, designed so that you look over it to see the digital instrument panel that replaces traditional analogue dials. 

If your size and seating position suits this, then it works well, but some may find that having the wheel where they want it impedes their view of the speedo. If you can, try sitting in one first before you click go.

The quality of the materials used is very good, with lots of plastics that feel surprisingly premium on the fingertips. It’s certainly a step up on quality from cars like the Vauxhall Corsa-E, Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe.


Technology

Peugeot’s interior tech is known by the collective marketing term ‘i-Cockpit’, and it’s used across its latest cars. It scores very highly on the eye candy stakes, as it’s visually striking, combining the sharp angles of the dashboard with the large central touchscreen (7.0 inches or 10.0 inches in diameter depending on spec) and the digital display in front of the driver.

The actual user experience isn’t quite as great, as some of the graphics on the screens look a little old fashioned, and the central screen itself isn’t the most reactive to touch on the market. 

Some design elements are questionable too – why bury the air conditioning controls in a touchscreen submenu rather than having a dedicated dial? – but there are at least shortcut buttons to let you quickly jump between sections, although they’re on the small side for ease of use while driving.


Practicality & Boot Space

The e-208 is a small hatchback, but the Peugeot engineers have done a good job maximising the space available. You should easily get four adults in, as long as those in the back aren’t too tall, as headroom is at a premium. That’s the case for most cars of this size though, and room in the rear is better than a lot of the competition.

Boot space is good, and also bigger than most rivals, in part because it’s exactly the same as other 208s at 311 litres and hasn’t been compromised by the need to store chunky batteries. A Renault Zoe has a bit more space, but the e-208 is roomier than the Mini Electric.

There’s no compartment to store charging cables, which is a bit of a shame. If you want extra luggage space, the rear seats fold down in a 60:40 split, but not completely flat – there’s a lip between the boot floor and the back of the folded seatback. 

There are plenty of storage spaces dotted around the cabin, including door pockets, glove box and trays for phones and the like.


Safety

The e-208 was given a four-star rating out of five when tested by independent safety organisation Euro NCAP in2019. That doesn’t mean it’s not a safe car, but plenty of rivals were given the full five stars. The report criticised the amount of whiplash protection for rear seat adult passengers and chest protection for the driver in some types of impact.

All models have automatic emergency braking, which on higher-spec models has the ability to spot cyclists as well as other cars. You’ll get a blind spot monitoring system on those models too. All versions have front, side and curtain airbags and Isofix child seat mounting points on the outer rear seats.

Options

The trim levels on the e-208 are exactly the same as on the regular 208, which makes a nice change – very often electric customers get less choice. That means you have five to choose from, starting with the Active Premium model. This might be the entry-level version but it’s still got a good level of equipment, including 16-inch alloy wheels, the 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, rear parking sensors and air conditioning.

The next step up is the Allure model, which uses an electric parking brake and features automatic wipers and snazzier-looking LED rear lights. Allure Premium adds a reversing camera, tinted windows and part-leather-effect upholstery, as well as a more configurable version of the digital instrument panel.

Moving into more high-end models, the GT has 17-inch alloy wheels, full LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors and satellite navigation, as well as gloss black effects on the exterior for a sportier look. The front passenger seat gets an extra Isofix child seat mounting point, and there’s also a more advanced automatic emergency braking system.

For the fully-loaded e-208 experience, the top-spec GT Premium trim has keyless entry and engine start, adaptive cruise control and Alcantara synthetic suede upholstery, as well as heated front seats.

Options include paint colours and a Drive Assist Pack, which includes adaptive cruise control, and you can upgrade the infotainment system too. GT models can be specced with a panoramic sunroof and/or leather seats.


Rival cars


What other cars you might consider will depend slightly on what you’re looking for. If you’re just after a hatchback, and electric power is just an afterthought, then there are myriad excellent petrol and diesel rivals, from the Ford Fiesta to the non-electric 208. These will almost all be much cheaper to lease, but cost more in fuel to run.

If you’re specifically shopping for an EV, then the potential rivals for the e-208 expand to other electrically powered cars.

As the e-208 is at the higher end of monthly costs for its size, you could pay a bit more for a larger electric SUV, such as the Hyundai Kona Electric or Kia E-Niro.

If your criteria is very definitely an electric hatchback, then check out the very cute but small (and quite pricey) Honda E, the excellent Renault Zoe, Vauxhall’s Corsa-e and the MINI Electric, as well as the Nissan Leaf. For something a bit more premium and funky-looking, there’s BMW’s i3 as well.


Verdict & Next Steps

If you want a traditional hatchback with a cutting-edge power plant, and don’t really want to shout about it to everyone around you, then the Peugeot e-208 could be what you’re after. 

You’ll pay a bit more for it than some of its immediate rivals, some of which have a longer mileage range, but you’ll get a very decent car that’s stylish both inside and out, and available in a range of trim levels to suit different budgets. 

The e-208 is, to all intents and purposes, a standard hatchback that just happens to emit no pollutants when it’s driving, and it drives very well. 

You should still check out the opposition to make sure you find a car that matches your priorities, but the e-208 should definitely be on your shortlist.

Where to next?

View latest Puegeot e-208 car leasing deals - from just £244.22 per month inc VAT**

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*Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top five leading independent car website reviews of the Puegeot e-208

**Correct as of 15/03/2021. Based on 9 months initial payment, 8,000 miles over a 48 month lease. Initial payment equivalent to 9 monthly payments or £2198.02 Ts and Cs apply. Credit is subject to status.


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