If you are old enough to remember the Peugeot 205 you may recall how its styling, particularly in GTI colours, stood out in a world of plain Metros and Fiestas. It looked great and drove well making it hugely popular back in the day and meaning it is still much sought after as a modern classic today. The Supermini models that followed carrying the Peugeot Lion badge never quite recaptured the eye catching appeal of the 205, until, that is the second generation 208 first came off the production line in 2019. It has the same compact good looks and stylish appeal as the 205, meaning the French car maker has found itself with another winner on its hands.
Both in its petrol and diesel versions the Peugeot 208 has made a name as a very good car. Its size shape and practicality also makes it very suitable for an electric power train. This has led to the evolution of the Peugeot e-208, a fully electric version of the model that goes up against the likes of the Opel Corsa-e, Renault Zoe and Mini-electric.
So do the qualities of the 208 transfer well to an electric platform and does the e-208 make its mark in increasingly crowded e Supermini sector?
- Very Drivable
- Plenty of Grip
- Low tax and running costs
- Very pleasing to the eye
- Slightly more expensive than the base petrol version
There is something about the shape and style of 208 that makes it very pleasing on the eye. Its lines and curves come together beautifully meaning that it looks great from all angles and it has a sporty stance and plenty of road presence for a small car. The e version looks almost identical to petrol and diesel models with only some badging and trim making a difference. This means if you want to make an electric car statement, this may not be the car for you, however, if want to drive something that just looks good and just happens to have electric power, this may well be the car for you.
Like its internal combustion engine cousins, the car comes in three trim levels; Active, Allure and GT. All are pretty well specified and there is a choice of alloys and colours to allow drivers to express their personality.
The e-208 offers something called PEUGEOT 3D i-Cockpit which features a multifunction steering wheel , a configurable 3D head-up display and 7 or 10" touchscreen and 7 "piano" toggle switches. It comes together to make the interior look modern and attractive as well as providing comfort and practicality. There is also a feeling of luxury that many other small car interiors cannot match.
The infotainment system has the normal Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a DAB radio, Smartphone docking station and also a degree of voice recognition for phone and navigation. The touchscreen system takes a bit of getting used to, but the piano keys can be used for many common functions.
Front seating is relatively spacious, with good easy driving position adjustments. The rear seats, which can be split for larger carrying capacity, are adequate for two adults and perhaps three on shorter journeys. This makes the 5-door e-208 a more practical option than some of the other electric Superminis on the market. The boot also offers a respectable 311 litres, although there is no additional storage under the bonnet.
The e-208 is powered by a 50kWh battery and single electric motor which sends 136bhp to the front wheels. The top speed of 150km/h is not going to break records, but like most small electric vehicles the beauty of the power lies in its swift and smooth delivery. The car feels faster than its 0-100km/h in just over 8 seconds. This is largely due to the 300Nm of torque which is available in the sportiest driving mode.
Peugeot quote a range of up to 362kms, which is competitive for cars of this size. However, in real world conditions 280 to 300 would seem more realistic, which is adequate for most types of use. Charging is also good with an 11kW home box offering a full home charge in just 5 hours and a 7kW box taking 7.5 hours. It also has the capacity to handle 50 and 100kW rapid chargers with the later giving an 80% charge in just 30 minutes.
The electric version of the 208 is still relatively new to the road, so as yet there is little data and feedback on reliability. There is generally little to go wrong with the electric battery and motor set-up, so this should be a reliable car. Peugeot finished 4th in the most recent Driver Power customer satisfaction survey out of 29 car makers, while the petrol and diesel 208 finished in the top half of a 75 car model survey. The signs are therefore good for the e-208 when it comes to trouble free motoring.
The e-208 is low tax car and, subject to a reasonable driving record, should not cost the earth to insure. Of course one of the big attractions of a small electric vehicle are the savings that can be made by not having to fill a tank with petrol or diesel. In truth making an accurate estimate of these savings is not really possible because of the number of variables involved. If you do however, have access to a home charging point, where it is cheaper to charge than a public fast charger, you should be able to save around 90% on electricity cost compared to fuel. Servicing costs on the e-208 will also be lower in the longer term. All this makes the e-208 and attractive proposition in economy terms.
This is a very drivable little car, with responsive handling a smooth ride and sharp steering, especially when sport mode is selected. Generally speaking ride comfort and noise levels are better than its rivals, although like most electric vehicles you do feel a jolt if you hit a bigger bump.
When cornering, the car is very stable and offers plenty of grip. It feels like a very competent car on the road, even at faster speeds on a motorway, but perhaps slightly lacks that element of fun that some smaller city electrics can deliver.
The e-208 comes with Peugeot Drive Assist which has safety features such as lane keeping assist, road sign recognition and autonomous emergency braking as standard. You can also add to the driver assistance systems by selecting the GT trim.
The most recent Euro NCAP safety test, in 2019, awarded the 208 a 4 star rating, which is very respectable for a car of this size. This includes an impressive score of 91% for adult occupant protection and 86% for child protect.
- Running Costs
If you are in the market for a Supermini and don’t often do longer journeys, then the e-208 will probably make a lot of sense, especially if you have off-street parking. It is a good looking well equipped small car that is comfortable, stylish and drives very well.
At €28,730 for the base Active trim model it is over €6000 more expensive than the base petrol version, so some careful consideration would need to be given to how much you want an electric model. However, for buyers who think that electric is the way to go, the e-208 could provide the perfect introduction to EV motoring.