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Used test: Mini Electric vs Peugeot e-208 vs Renault Zoe

At three years old, these small electric cars will save you around £9000 off their respective new cars prices. To find out which is best, we've pitted them against each other...

Mini Electric vs Peugeot e-208 vs Renault Zoe front static

The contenders

Mini Electric Level 2

List price when new £29,900
Price today £21,000*
Available from 2020-present

All-electric Mini promises sprightly performance and plenty of fun in corners

Peugeot e-208 Allure

List price when new £29,750
Price today £20,000*
Available from 2019-present

An impressive small car in petrol guise, but how does it fare with electric power?

Renault Zoe R135 GT Line

List price when new £32,120
Price today £19,000*
Available from 2013-present

Affordable, yet the Zoe's range punches above its price point

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

High prices are a bit of a buzz kill when it comes to electric cars. Frustratingly, given their ever-increasing appeal, many models just aren't viable buys for lots of people. Fortunately, though, it isn't all doom and gloom; look to the used market and you'll find that there are some relatively affordable options out there. 


The Renault Zoe is a very good place to start. It's been around since 2013 but received a major facelift in 2020, bringing with it a fresh exterior and interior as well as revised battery options. The version featured here, the R135 in GT Line trim, is the range-topper. 

Mini Electric front cornering

If you'd like a pair of alternatives to consider, how about the Mini Electric and Peugeot e-208? Both are sharp and stylish machines, plus they each harness parts from a conventionally powered counterpart (unlike the Zoe, which battery-powered only), those being the Mini Hatch and Peugeot 208 respectively. Search for either electric car at three years old and you'll find reasonable prices of around £20,000 – the same story as you'll pay for the Zoe.

To determine which of our trio is best, we've brought them together to fight it out. Read on and our winner will be revealed.


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

The Mini Electric certainly earns its sporty ‘S’ badge, having the most powerful electric motor of our trio. With 181bhp, it’s nearly as powerful as a petrol Mini Cooper S and far more responsive when you floor it. So responsive, in fact, that it’s tricky to get off the line cleanly on a wet road, but in just such conditions, the Mini still managed 0-60mph in a sprightly 7.2sec – albeit with the traction control light flickering all the way to 30mph.

It’s a similar, traction-limited story in the e-208, although it can’t accelerate quite as quickly from either a standing start or on the move. Even so, 0-60mph in 8.5sec is pretty punchy, considering it isn’t billed as a hot hatch. On a dry day with more grip for their tyres, both the Mini and e-208 would no doubt be a fair bit quicker.

Peugeot e-208 2022 front cornering

That leaves the Zoe bringing up the rear, but its 0-60mph time of 9.2sec is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s still quicker than most conventional small cars. And being a little less urgent means it has less of a problem putting its power down in slippery conditions – worth knowing when you need to dash into a gap in the traffic.

All three have plenty of oomph on motorways, although the Mini’s significantly stronger pull between 50mph and 70mph makes A-road overtaking the breeziest. With no gears or clutch to worry about, they all offer seamless acceleration from the get-go.

There’s also, of course, no engine noise in any of them, although that does mean your attention is drawn to wind and road noise at speed. The e-208 is the best at suppressing these unwanted accompaniments, so it’s the quietest. In the Zoe, there’s an annoying wind whistle from the rear and a little bit of suspension noise, but it’s more bearable than the Mini, which suffers from loud road roar and constant wind noise.

Renault Zoe 2022 front cornering

When it comes to ride and handling, all three are rather different. The e-208 gets the gold medal for comfort. It feels the most settled over smaller surface imperfections and takes the sting out of the majority of sharper intrusions. Only when the road gets really undulating does it begin to get floaty as it struggles to contain its weight.

In those conditions, the Zoe controls its mass better, but it fidgets more over rough surfaces and doesn’t smother bumps quite as effectively. Still, it’s a lot more comfortable than the hard-riding Mini, which is the firmest of the three and jiggles around on even smooth-looking surfaces. On the plus side, it’s well damped, so you don’t feel its body bobble around after each impact.

The Mini’s sporty setup makes it feel the most agile in corners, too, but only up to a point. Its quick, precise steering gets the nose hunting keenly for the apex and it’s the flattest and most enthusiastic through a string of S-bends.

​Mini Electric rear cornering

Unfortunately, the steering doesn’t give you any warning that the front tyres are about to lose grip – something that happens more readily than in the other two cars. Lifting off the accelerator pulls the nose back into line, but this can make the stability control system intervene to stop the rear tyres from sliding. So, it can be fun, but it’s also the most skittish.

The Zoe is the opposite. Yes, there’s lots of body lean, but with more grip and a better balance front to rear, it’s more predictable. It isn’t exactly exciting to drive, but it gives you lots of confidence.

The e-208 isn’t sporty to drive, either. Like the Zoe, it’s softly sprung and leans over through bends, but its steering is sweeter and offers a better connection to the road than the Mini’s. Serving up more grip, too, it has the best all-round handling of the bunch.

Peugeot e-208 rear cornering

In the wet, the e-208 also posted the best braking distance (from 70mph), stopping a couple of metres before the Zoe. The Mini – again, pointing to a relative lack of grip – came to a halt more than seven metres farther on than the e-208. That’s quite disappointing.

But what about their ranges? It was too cold at the time of testing for us to be able to conduct our Real Range test on the Mini and e-208, but on a regular test route, we couldn’t get anywhere near the Mini’s official range of 145 miles. At motorway speeds especially, you’ll be doing well to manage 100 miles on a single charge.

Renault Zoe rear cornering

The e-208 is better; its official 217-mile capability means far less range anxiety, and it’ll cover at least 140 miles in real-world driving. However, with an official range of 238 miles and a 192-mile result in our Real Range test, the Zoe is the one to pick if maximum distance between top-ups is your priority.

Next: What are they like inside? >>

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