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Car Review

Peugeot e-208 review

£31,145 - £36,195
710
Published: 05 Dec 2023
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The electric version of the 208 is a mature and accomplished car

Good stuff

Looks, interior, better range than most electric superminis

Bad stuff

Cramped in the back, rivals more fun to drive

Overview

What is it?

This is the electric version of Peugeot’s 208 supermini. It looks very much like the combustion-engined alternative: this isn’t a car for anyone who wants to show off their zero-emission, planet-saving credentials.

And it looks like a regular 208 because it really is a regular 208. Performance and space, and even running costs, are pretty similar to the 208s that you pour flammable liquid into. The battery isn't a slab under the whole floor; rather it's tucked into the spaces under the seats, and where a petrol car has its exhaust, fuel tank and other gubbins.

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And being a 208 is a good thing. It's a car we like: the sharp styling makes it the first genuinely desirable Peugeot 2-0-something for a long while. It’s original on the inside and nicely put together, while also being decent to drive. It’s the whole package.

It looks a bit different now.

Well spotted. As well as the option of a longer-range powertrain, a mild mid-life facelift has been wrought on the 208. It's one of those facelifts that you know has happened, even if you can't quite point to the updates. Clues: new front lights and quasi-grille, new wheels, freshened tail-lamps. Inside the screen system is updated.

And the rivals?

Unsurprisingly the closely related Vauxhall Corsa Electric is the most obvious rival. The Honda e, Mazda MX-30 and obsolescent Mini Electric might be great to drive and rather desirable little cars, but are very restricted on range. Or save money and in 2024 you could get the small, short-range Dacia Spring and Citroen e-C3. The Renault Zoe has a bigger range than the Peugeot, but it’s not as desirable and is even more compromised on interior space. For something chic, wait for the Renault 5.

Is it as good as it looks?

Broadly, yes. You're installed in a sophisticated interior and it's generally very pleasant to drive. Forget the poor trim and tin-box refinement of older French superminis. The weight of the battery makes it feel more mature than the petrol version, but of course also subtracts from the agility. See the Driving tab of this review for more.

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Give me some e-numbers.

There are two electric set-ups. They sound similar: one is a 45kWh net battery and 136bhp motor. Then you can step up to a 48kWh pack and 156bhp motor. The batteries are labelled in the price lists confusingly by their gross capacities of 50 and 51kWh.

The range figures are 225 miles and 248 miles WLTP on the middle wheel size. In the bigger-battery one we got 4.1m/kWh driving briskly on a warm day, which amounts to 200 miles total. A heat pump is fitted as standard to reduce winter range fall-off: it cuts down on the amount of battery you use up to warm the cabin in colder weather.

The fact the car remains fairly small and light is good for overall efficiency. Mind you, at 1,558kg with driver it's still carrying 200kg of extra lard versus a comparable 208 petrol auto.

Charging times on 100kW-plus chargers are around half an hour for a 10-80 per cent top-up.

Strangely Peugeot says the more powerful one is slightly slower off the line, taking 8.2 seconds over 0-62mph instead of 8.1. You wouldn't notice that gap. In either case, you have to switch to Sport mode to get full power.

Our choice from the range

What's the verdict?

The e-208's combination of range, easy personality, value and surprising desirability make it a strong contender

In the old days you chose a car then decided what sort of engine and transmission to get. With the 208, in addition to petrol, with several outputs and manual or mild-hybrid auto, there's also electric. So the e-208 can appeal both to people who primarily want a 208 then opt for that powertrain. And to people who primarily want an electric car and then opt for an e-208.

Of course the 208 does have some flaws – even for a supermini it’s not particularly roomy and it’s not absolutely the best one to drive. This electric version ports over those flaws, but it still inherits the 208’s good qualities too.

The e-208's combination of range, easy personality, value and surprising desirability make it a strong contender.

The Rivals

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