Review: Peugeot e-208 (2020)
Maximum range of 217 miles. Smooth electric powertrain. Upmarket cabin. High-spec models get smart 3D instrument display.
Expensive. Firm ride quality on rough roads. Below par infotainment.
Peugeot e-208 (2020): At A Glance
The Peugeot e-208 is the small electric car with mass appeal. Easy to drive, smartly styled and capable of covering over 200 miles on a single charge, the electric version of the 208 is an impressive and likeable EV.
Closely related to the Vauxhall Corsa-e, the Peugeot e-208 is powered by a 50kWh battery that returns 217 miles, according to the WLTP test, which puts it ahead the MINI Electric (124 miles) but behind the Renault Zoe (245 miles) when it comes to maximum advertised range.
Inside, the e-208 is identical to the petrol and diesel 208 with an upmarket fit and finish. The battery pack is placed under the floor to maximise cabin space and Peugeot's i-cockpit system combines a small steering wheel with a customisable digital display. High-spec versions also get a fancy 3D instrument binnacle that does a good job of simplifying the e-208's range and battery charge status.
The slow touchscreen infotainment located at the centre of the dash, is one of the few areas of disappointment - the systems used by Ford and Volkswagen are much more attractive to the eye and easier to use. The e-208 is also cramped in the back, which means adults will find head and leg room to be limited.
That said, on the road, the e-208 is generally relaxing to drive. The steering is light and responsive, while the 136PS electric motor provides a rewarding zip of acceleration. Officially, 0-62mph takes 8.1 seconds but the e-208 feels a lot more capable on the road, thanks to its 260Nm of instant torque.
Despite weighing a portly 1455kg, the e-208 feels light on its wheels. The power delivery is smooth and predictable, while the vehicle's low centre of gravity and firm suspension does a good job of keeping body lean to a minimum when it comes to cornering. Some might find the ride comfort to be on the firm side of comfortable but the e-208 will supress all but the harshest of road bumps.
A 100kW fast charging station can charge the Peugeot e-208 to 80 per cent in 30 minutes, while a full charge at a 7kW home wallbox takes 7.5 hours. A domestic three-pin plug will take around 20 hours for a complete charge. Peugeot also offers some useful tech to make life easier, including a smartphone app that can be used to remotely activate the charging of the car, as well as programme the heating, air conditioning and windscreen defrosting.
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Peugeot e-208 (2020): What's It Like Inside?
If you want an electric car that has the look and feel of a standard hatchback, the e-208 will be the small car for you. The layout is pretty much identical to that of the petrol/diesel 208 and it doesn't employ any of the unfamiliar and futuristic design that you'll find in the Honda E.
Both the driver and front passenger get a decent amount of head and legroom, but things are less impressive in the back. The sloping roof cuts headroom for tall adults and legroom is on the tight side. The rear doors are also quite narrow and this makes it difficult for large people to get in and out with any form of grace.
All versions of the e-208 get Peugeot's i-cockpit system, which drivers love and loath in equal measure. If you fall into the former, the small steering wheel will provide a comfortable driving position that will also make it easy to read the digital (and fully customisable) instrument cluster. Some drivers, however, will find the steering wheel is small, awkwardly placed and has a habit of obscuring parts of the digital display.
That aside, the e-208's cabin is generally a pleasant place to spend time. The fit and finish is extremely good and the quality of the materials is superior to those found in the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf. The layout is intuitive too, with smart piano-style buttons for essential car controls and high-mounted touchscreen that is fully compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Depending on spec, you get a 7.0-inch or 10-inch touchscreen. Both are easy to read on the move, but the display is narrow and the screen changes are slow. The menu system is also awkward to navigate, which means it can become frustrating when you attempt to switch from audio to maps or in-car settings. In comparison the systems used by Volkswagen and Ford are far superior.
High-spec models do get a smart 3D digital instrument cluster, which means you can bypass the touchscreen when it comes to route directions and in-car settings. Some drivers might find the system to be a little fussy to start with - the 3D layout does take a little getting used to - but we found it to do a really good job of simplifying the vehicle's vital battery and range functions.
Standard equipment (from launch):
Active models feature push-button start, 7.0-inch Peugeot i-cockpit display, Bluetooth telephone, DAB radio, Mirror Screen (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), smartphone docking station, voice recognition, six-speaker radio with MP3 compatibility, automatic headlights, 16-inch steel wheels, automatic air conditioning, pre-heating functionality, electric and heated door mirrors, electric parking brake, rear parking sensors, leather steering wheel, cloth seat trim, halogen headlights, two USB sockets in the front, twin USB sockets in the rear and a tyre repair kit (no space for spare wheel due to location of battery pack)
Allure adds 16-inch alloy wheels, combined leather-effect and cloth seat trim, automatic air conditioning, electric folding door mirrors, electric parking brake, electric rear windows, Peugeot 3D configurable head-up instrument panel, automatic windscreen wipers, rear LED lights, smartphone charging plate.
GT Line features frameless rear-view mirror, front and rear parking sensors, 180-degree reversing camera, 17-inch alloy wheels, twin chrome exhaust pipe, black roof, active safety brake, perforated leather steering wheel, eight-colour ambient lighting, full LED headlights with high-beam assist.
GT adds fully automated parking assistance, connected 3D navigation with TomTom live updates (three-year subscription), 10-inch capacitive colour touchscreen, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane positioning assist, active blind spot monitoring, Alcantara and cloth seat trim with lime green and blue stitch detail, front heated seats, gloss black piano keys.
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What's the Peugeot e-208 (2020) like to drive?
The e-208 is a lot more rewarding and relaxing to drive than the Renault Zoe, owing to the fact it is more refined and sharper in the handling department. The front-mounted electric motor operates with a near-silent hum, while road and wind noise is supressed to barely a whisper at moderate speeds. Admittedly, things got a little louder on the motorway, but for the most part the e-208 is a great little EV package.
The 50kWh battery pack takes 7.5 hours to charge from a 7kW wallbox, while a rapid 100kw charger will boost the charge from almost zero to 80 per cent in around 30 minutes. Importantly, the e-208 uses a water-cooled battery pack, which means there is no limitation to the number of rapid charges you can perform over a single journey.
Behind the wheel, there are three driving modes to choose from. Each one is self-explanatory - Eco, Normal and Sport - and even in its standard set-up the e-208 is fun to drive. Much of this is down to the suspension, which is lower and firmer than that found in its small car rivals. This means the e-208 is more willing to carry speed through bends and curves in the road, but some passengers might complain about the harshness of the ride quality on rough roads.
The electric motor delivers power to the front-wheels and the mechanical set-up feels well-suited to the instant 260Nm of torque, which means the traction control system doesn't light up when time you push the e-208 along to join a busy road.
Like its EV rivals, the e-208 uses an automatic brake regeneration system to recover energy and boost the battery charge. However, this system is not overly harsh on the brakes. In fact, in its default setting, it's barely noticeable. This means you do not get any unexpected bouts of heavy deceleration, each time you lift the throttle pedal.
The thick door pillars do hinder visibility a little at the corners, but generally the driver gets a good all-round view of the road. All versions of the e-208 get an electric parking brake as standard, along with a speed sign recognition system that displays local limits on the instrument binnacle. The range-topping GT models blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control as standard.
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