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Used electric cars: Honda E vs Peugeot e-208

You can save up to £9000 by buying either of these two small electric cars nearly new rather than new. They're both bang on-trend, but which one makes more sense used?...

Honda E vs Peugeot e-208

The contenders

Honda E Advance

List price when new £32,660
Price today £25,000*
Available from 2020-present

Honda’s first battery-electric car is desperately cute and very desirable


Peugeot e-208 GT

List price when new £33,275
Price today £24,000*
Available from 2019-present

One of our favourite small electric cars, with a stylish interior and a decent range

*Price today is based on a 2020 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing


Buyers keen to join the burgeoning electric car revolution need an awful lot of money to buy even the smallest and neatest new EV. The solution is to buy a used car, where the initial sting of depreciation means that even these popular and desirable modern motors can be had for a reasonable discount over the price of a new one.

Take these two tots. The Honda E has been wowing punters since the covers came off it last year. It's available from new with a choice of two power outputs from its rear-mounted electric motor: 134bhp in the standard version and 152bhp in the higher-spec Advance (the version we’re testing here). For that, though, you get an official range of just 125 miles and a list price north of £30,000.

Honda E rear

Meanwhile, the Peugeot e-208 is one of our favourite small electric cars, but will also set you back more than £30,000 new. However, it can officially travel much farther on a full charge.

So if you buy either of these two at around a year old you'll save yourself enough money to splash out on a decent, last-minute summer staycation. But which one of them should you be reversing silently on to your driveway?


Driving

Performance, ride, handling, refinement

Unlike most rivals, including the e-208, the Honda E’s electric motor sits at the back of the car and drives the rear wheels. That helps to give it an impressive 50/50 weight distribution, which is beneficial for handling, and also means there’s plenty of traction for standing-start acceleration.

Peugeot e-208 rear

When you push your right foot into the carpet, the Honda E will sprint from 0-60mph in just 7.2sec with not a hint of wheelspin. The front-wheel-drive e-208, on its energy-saving tyres (the Honda gets sportier Michelin Pilot Sport 4s) has more difficulty transferring its power to the road and relies on its traction control system to prevent lots of wheelspin. That said, it can still manage 0-60mph in a respectable 7.7sec.

At higher speeds, both cars have plenty of oomph, but the Honda E’s stronger pull between 50mph and 70mph makes A-road overtakes easier.

Both these cars are likely to spend much of their lives in towns or cities, but it’s worth noting that, if you want to do longer distances, the Honda E is quite a bit quieter at a 70mph cruise. It generates less tyre noise and the small cameras on the sides in place of conventional door mirrors mean there’s very little wind noise. While the e-208 is less hushed, it's far from loud.

Honda E front

The e-208 benefits from tight body control and quick steering, so it feels agile and composed in corners. By contrast, the Honda E suffers from quite a bit of body lean and its steering is relatively slow, although it gives a good sense of connection to the front wheels and the sporty tyres provide plenty of grip.

What the Honda E lacks in high-speed athleticism it makes up for in manoeuvrability around town. Having the motor at the back frees up space for the front wheels to turn more than in most cars, allowing you to do a U-turn in an area 9 metres wide, compared with 10.4 metres for the e-208. That makes navigating tight city streets a joy.

The softer Honda E also has a more comfortable ride on rough surfaces. The e-208 often jolts over sharp-edged potholes and sunken drain covers, at least on the 17in wheels of range-topping GT trim. It’s noticeably plusher in Allure trim with its smaller (16in) wheels.

Peugeot e-208 front

What about range, though? Well, that’s where the e-208 has a big advantage. On a mixture of roads in relatively warm weather, we managed to cover around 165 miles in the e-208 and a less convenient 110 miles in the Honda E.

That sort of range would have been par for the course five or six years ago, but almost every current rival, including the Mini Electric – a car we criticised earlier this year for its meagre range – can travel further on a full charge than the Honda.