New Honda E vs Peugeot e-208: interiors

Tempted by the cute retro looks of the Honda E? That’s understandable. But does it have the substance to match one of our favourite small electric cars, the Peugeot e-208?...

Honda E dashboard

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

We’re big fans of the Peugeot e-208’s interior. With its plethora of swish materials, including gloss black and carbonfibre-effect trims, it has a futuristic look that’s backed up by fine build quality.

The Honda E's is even better, though. The slim-rimmed two-spoke steering wheel is wonderfully retro and feels lovely to hold, and between the dense-feeling upholstery and wood-effect trim, the dashboard is as striking as a piece of G Plan furniture.

There’s substance behind the style, too, with the Honda E also benefiting from a better driving position than its rival. You see, while both cars’ seats are highly adjustable, the e-208 has an unusually small steering wheel that you’re supposed to look over rather than through to see the high-set instrument panel.

This arrangement won’t work for some drivers, who will find that the steering wheel either blocks their view of the ‘3D’ digital instruments or is uncomfortably close to their legs, whereas the Honda E has a normal-sized wheel and clearer 12.3in digital instrument panel.

Peugeot e-208 dashboard

In terms of visibility, the Honda E also has the edge – but by a smaller margin. It has thinner windscreen pillars and larger side windows than the e-208 – helpful when you’re trying to see around corners or pull out of a junction. Judging the Honda E’s extremities when you’re parking is easier, too, thanks to a larger rear window.

That said, the Honda E’s ‘virtual’ door mirrors take some getting used to. The cameras feed the rearward view from the sides of the car to small screens on the outer edges of the dashboard, and when you’re on the move, the screens display useful guidance lines to help you judge how far away you are from other cars when you indicate. However, refocusing your eyes on a screen always seems to take a fraction of a second longer than it would with good old-fashioned glass mirrors.

On the up side, the virtual mirrors (which include a camera for the central rear-view mirror as well in the Advance) have better clarity in low light conditions than conventional mirrors.

Infotainment systems

Honda E

Honda E infotainment screen

The Honda E has more displays than the Starship Enterprise, but it’s the two 12.3in touchscreens in the middle of the dash that we’re interested in here. You can display most functions on whichever screen you choose, but it’s a shame that the graphics aren’t as sharp as you might expect, the screens are sometimes slow to respond to prods and the menus can be rather confusing. At least you can use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto phone mirroring to bypass Honda’s system.

Peugeot e-208

Peugeot e-208 infotainment screen

The e-208’s touchscreen is a decent size (10.0in) and its graphics are clear enough. It also sits high up on the dashboard, making it easy to see without taking your eyes too far from the road. However, it can be sluggish to respond to commands, and we’re not fans of the shortcuts below the screen. They bring up the main menus (for the sat-nav or radio, for example), but they’re touch-sensitive rather than real buttons, so they’re very tricky to interact with on the move.

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