New Hyundai Kona Electric & Peugeot e-2008 vs Smart #1: interiors

Has our current favourite small electric SUV, the Smart #1, met its match in new rivals from Hyundai and Peugeot? Let’s find out...

Hyundai Kona Electric dashboard

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

If you’re after a small SUV with an elevated seating position, you’ll be happier in the Hyundai Kona Electric or Smart #1. However, getting comfortable behind the wheel is easiest in the latter, mainly because it offers the most steering wheel and seating adjustment, but also because you can do the latter electrically.

Tall drivers might find that the Kona’s steering wheel can’t be pulled out far enough for them to get a comfortable distance back from the pedals, while shorter ones might struggle to see the e-2008’s instrument panel clearly over the tiny steering wheel. The Peugeot e-2008 is the only one without adjustable lumbar support, and because the seats are relatively narrow, it’s likely to be the least well suited to long journeys.

Peugeot e-2008 dashboard

The windscreen pillars are farther away from the driver in the Kona and #1, so looking around them at junctions is easier than in the e-2008. You get a clearer view over your shoulder and out the back in the Kona and #1, too, because each has larger side windows and a taller rear window. The e-2008 most needs a rear-view camera, but you have to pay extra for one (as part of a £600 pack), whereas it’s standard in the others. Still, as in its rivals, front and rear parking sensors are provided to help in low-speed manoeuvres.

At first glance, the Kona’s dashboard looks like it’s peppered with buttons, but it’s actually much more user-friendly than the pared-back approaches of 

its rivals. The physical switches and knobs for the climate control and most other secondary functions are simple to find and operate, whereas the e-2008 and #1 place most functions on their infotainment touchscreens. The #1 compensates with a voice control system that understands natural speech, whereas the systems in the Kona and e-2008 are more reliant on you remembering specific commands.

Smart #1 dashboard

Each car comes with a digital instrument panel, with the Kona’s being the largest (12.3in) and easiest to read, while the #1’s slim, 9.2in one is the brightest. The e-2008’s is simple in layout but could do with sharper graphics.

While all of our contenders feature plenty of soft-touch materials, the #1’s interior feels the most upmarket. You get faux leather on the dashboard, doors and centre console, plus real leather seat upholstery (not available in the Kona, while the e-2008’s are part-leather). The #1 feels the most robust, too, with the Kona close behind. The e-2008’s interior is far from shabby, but it’s the gloomiest of the three and there’s more unappealing plastic on display lower down.

Infotainment systems

Hyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai Kona Electric touchscreen

The Kona’s 12.3in touchscreen is bright and easy to read, with sharp graphics, while the system is packed with features, including wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone mirroring. It’s the most user-friendly here, with a logical menu layout and the quickest responses to inputs. Shortcuts are provided by a mixture of physical buttons below the screen and icons on it, all of which are well positioned within easy reach for the driver.

Peugeot e-2008

Peugeot e-2008 touchscreen

The e-2008’s 10.0in touchscreen is the smallest here and the most frustrating to use. Sifting through menus can be a chore, with the animations it displays between them making it feel slow. Some submenus are difficult to locate, while the bunched-up icons on certain pages mean aiming for the correct one can be tricky. Sat-nav isn’t included, but you can add it as part of a £600 pack, or you can use an equivalent app on your phone via wireless Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

Smart #1

Smart #1 touchscreen

At 12.8in, the #1’s touchscreen is the largest of our trio. It’s bright, with sharp graphics, and responds quickly enough to inputs. Shortcuts for the most commonly used functions are positioned within easy reach on the top right of the screen, while the temperature controls are permanently displayed at the bottom. Premium trim includes a punchy Beats audio system, while Apple CarPlay is now standard (and can be added to earlier examples via a software update).

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