Peugeot e-208 review

Category: Electric car

Small electric car is smart inside and decent to drive, but rivals are better value

Yellow Peugeot e-208 front right driving
  • Yellow Peugeot e-208 front right driving
  • Yellow Peugeot e-208 rear cornering
  • Peugeot e-208 interior dashboard
  • Peugeot e-208 boot open
  • Peugeot e-208 interior driver display
  • Yellow Peugeot e-208 right driving
  • Yellow Peugeot e-208 front driving
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  • Yellow Peugeot e-208 front right static
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  • Peugeot e-208 interior front seats
  • Peugeot e-208 interior back seats
  • Peugeot e-208 interior infotainment
  • Peugeot e-208 interior detail
  • Peugeot e-208 interior detail
  • Yellow Peugeot e-208 front right driving
  • Yellow Peugeot e-208 rear cornering
  • Peugeot e-208 interior dashboard
  • Peugeot e-208 boot open
  • Peugeot e-208 interior driver display
  • Yellow Peugeot e-208 right driving
  • Yellow Peugeot e-208 front driving
  • Yellow Peugeot e-208 front left driving
  • Yellow Peugeot e-208 rear driving
  • Yellow Peugeot e-208 rear left driving
  • Yellow Peugeot e-208 front right static
  • Yellow Peugeot e-208 rear left static
  • Peugeot e-208 interior front seats
  • Peugeot e-208 interior back seats
  • Peugeot e-208 interior infotainment
  • Peugeot e-208 interior detail
  • Peugeot e-208 interior detail
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by
George Hill
Published17 November 2023

Introduction

What Car? says...

Thinking about getting an electric car but don't want to shout it from the rooftops? The Peugeot e-208 could be the model for you.

That's because, unlike many of its rivals, this isn't a bespoke electric vehicle (EV) designed to stand out from 'normal' petrol cars. The e-208 is a Peugeot 208 with a big battery and an electric motor instead of an engine with cylinders and pistons.

The only real external visual differences compared with petrol versions of the 208 are a discreet 'E' badging on the rear haunches of the car, a unique front grille and the absence of an exhaust pipe. You'll also notice a few EV-specific functions on the driver display.

So, how does the Peugeot e-208 stack up against the best electric cars of a similar size, including the MG4 EV and the Vauxhall Corsa Electric (which shares parts with the e-208)? And can it compete with some of the newer rivals, such as the BYD Dolphin and the Volvo EX30?

Read on to find out, as we rate the e-208 for performance, range, interior quality, running costs and more.

Overview

The Peugeot e-208 is smart inside and decent to drive, but remains an expensive option in the small electric car class. Newer rivals, such as the MG4 EV and the Volvo EX30, are more practical and better value. We'd recommend entry-level Active trim, because it comes with plenty of equipment.

  • Classy interior
  • Decent to drive
  • Well equipped
  • Expensive
  • Cramped in the back
  • Driving position won’t suit everyone
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Two versions of the Peugeot e-208 are available. The entry-level car has a 50kWh battery (with a usable capacity of 46.6kWh) and a 134bhp electric motor.

It’s pretty zippy (0-62mph takes 8.1 seconds), but not as quick as the BYD Dolphin, the MG4 or the Mini Electric. As for range, the 50Wh car has an official range of up to 225 miles on a full charge. That's further than the Electric Fiat 500, the Mini Electric and the entry-level Volvo EX30 can manage.

If you want more range, the e-208 is available with a 51kWh (48kWh usable capacity) battery and a 154bhp motor.

Oddly, the additional power doesn’t give you any more performance (in fact, it’s slightly slower than the 134bhp car). We suspect that's down to the extra weight of the larger battery, which gives it an official range of 248 miles.

For comparison, that's slightly further than the Vauxhall Corsa Electric can manage, but less than the MG4 Long Range (281 miles) and BYD Dolphin 88kWh (265 miles).

Ride comfort is a strong point of the e-208. The e-208's relatively soft suspension does a good job of dealing with long-wave bumps, although it can struggle to cope with potholes and expansion joints, which sometimes send jolts through the car (especially in GT trim with the larger alloy wheels).

As with all electric cars, the e-208 has regenerative braking. In some models, the brake pedal feels spongy or over-sensitive, but in the e-208 it’s well balanced. The brake pedal is relatively progressive, which makes it easy to stop smoothly.

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If you prefer, you can strengthen the regenerative braking by selecting B mode. It’s the only regenerative setting available (some cars, such as the Hyundai Kona Electric, offer more adjustability for the regenerative braking).

The e-208 is also quieter than its main rivals, especially the Fiat 500. However, you’ll still notice some wind and road noise – especially at motorway speeds.

Despite its zippy performance, the e-208 isn't particularly fun to drive and there's more body lean than in a Mini, but it feels more stable through fast corners than the smaller 500, and there's plenty of grip.

Likewise, the steering is accurate and there's enough weight build-up as you turn into bends to give you confidence, but don't expect much in the way of feedback.

Driving overview

Strengths Decent performance; tidy handling; comfortable ride

Weaknesses Rivals can travel further between charges; some wind and road noise

Yellow Peugeot e-208 rear cornering

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

We’ll begin this section with a controversial topic: the driving position. Unconventionally, you’re supposed to view the Peugeot e-208's iCockpit digital instruments (the speedo, rev counter and so on) by looking over – rather than through – the steering wheel. Peugeot has tried to make that easier by shrinking the steering wheel to the size of a dinner plate.

If you happen to be long in the body, or like to sit close to the steering wheel with the seat jacked up, you’ll probably think the whole arrangement is great. Unfortunately, just as many people will find that the steering wheel blocks their view of the instruments and they have to move the wheel or seat to an uncomfortable position just so they can see what speed they're doing.

For that reason, we’d strongly advise taking a test drive before buying. The closely related Vauxhall Corsa Electric doesn't have that problem, thanks to its normal-sized steering wheel and clearer digital instruments.

The ‘3D’ effect of the e-208's 10.0in digital driver’s display on the top-spec GT model is a case of style over substance too. It makes it trickier to read at a glance than the equivalents in the MG4 and the Mini Electric.

At least the speed readout is in a prominent position, and you can prioritise sat-nav maps or other information depending on your needs. The mid-level Allure trim does without the 3D effect, and is therefore much easier to read. The entry-level trims are only available with a 3.5in display and analogue dials.

More positively, the front seats are comfortable and supportive, plus they offer loads of adjustment (top-spec GT cars get more bolstering and an electrically adjustable driver’s seat). Visibility is good, although the wide rear pillars limit your view backwards.

Interior quality is generally impressive. The dashboard materials feel pleasingly squidgy, the leather on the steering wheel is of a suitably fine grain and there are fewer hard and scratchy plastics than you'll find in a Corsa Electric. For the money, the Mini Electric and Volvo EX30 beat the e-208 for plushness, though. 

As standard, all e-208’s come with a 10.0in infotainment touchscreen. It’s a decent system that offers sharp graphics and a relatively quick response time. You also get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.

What’s rather annoying is that you have to use the touchscreen to adjust the climate controls. It would be far better if there were physical dials for tweaking the interior temperature, like those in the Corsa Electric. On the plus side, there’s a row of shortcut buttons for the climate controls below the screen, which makes it easier to use than systems that rely purely on the touchscreen.

Interior overview

Strengths Smart interior; decent infotainment system; wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto

Weaknesses Driving position won’t suit everyone; lack of physical dials for the climate controls

Peugeot e-208 interior dashboard

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Although the Peugeot e-208 is a relatively small car, even tall people should find enough space in the front. Head and leg room is plentiful, and the interior is wide enough to not risk an elbow fight between front-seat occupants.

There’s also a decent amount of storage space, including good-sized door bins, various cubbies, and a tray at the bottom of the dashboard. Above that, there's a hidden compartment that clicks open to reveal another handy storage spot for your phone (which doubles as a wireless charging pad on top-spec models).

Leg room in the back is reasonable if you’re not sitting behind a tall driver, and there’s a generous amount of space for passengers’ feet under the seats in front. It’s not as spacious in the back as an MG4, but it's better than in the Fiat 500 and the Mini Electric. If you regularly carry rear passengers, we’d recommend you avoid adding a panoramic sunroof – it lowers the height of the ceiling quite a bit.

The e-208 and the closely related Vauxhall Corsa Electric both have relatively small rear-door apertures that can make it a bit awkward to climb aboard. Mind you, at least there are rear doors: the Fiat 500 and Mini Electric are available in three-door form only.

If you’re wondering whether there's a practicality compromise in choosing an e-208 over a petrol 208 when it comes to luggage space, there isn’t: they both have the same boot capacity – 311 litres. That means you'll be able to carry more luggage than you would in a Mini Electric. However, there’s no handy height-adjustable boot floor as there is in the Mini.

Practicality overview

Strengths Loads of storage cubbies; plenty of space up front; more practical than three-door rivals

Weaknesses Limited rear leg room; small rear door apertures; optional panoramic sunroof eats into head room

Peugeot e-208 boot open

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

The Peugeot e-208 costs more to buy than the Fiat 500 – but then you'd expect that, because the e-208 is more practical and can travel further between charges. More of an issue is that the e-208 is priced above the BYD Dolphin and the MG4 – both of which are still cheaper with larger batteries fitted.

With that in mind, we reckon entry-level Active trim is the pick of the range, with LED headlights, automatic air conditioning, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors and a leather-wrapped steering wheel all standard.

E-Style is worth considering, too. It’s only available with the 134bhp motor and smaller battery, but adds 16in alloy wheels, front parking sensors and some extra styling details over Active. Allure is the mid-level trim and adds a 10.0in configurable digital driver’s display and a reversing camera.

The top spec GT trim comes with niceties such as 17in alloy wheels, full LED headlights, a wireless charging pad and ambient interior lighting. However, it’s too pricey to recommend.

Unlike the BYD Dolphin and Mini Electric, which are limited to maximum charging speeds of 88kW and 50kW respectively, the e-208's battery can support charging rates of up to 100kW.

If you can find a fast enough CCS charging point, you can top up the battery from 10-80% in around 30 minutes. From a 7kW home charger, a 0-100% charge will take around seven hours and 15 minutes. As an option, the E-208 can accept rates of up to 11kW with a home charger, which should lower that time significantly.

Peugeot finished in an average 21st place out of 32 manufacturers in the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey. That places it above MG and Vauxhall, but below Fiat, Mini and Nissan.

As for the e-208 itself, it finished in 10th place out of 20 cars in the electric car category, with a score of 91.2%, beating the MG4 and the Renault Zoe.

For peace of mind, Peugeot offers a three-year warranty, consisting of two years of unlimited-mileage cover from the manufacturer and an additional year provided by Peugeot’s UK dealer network. Meanwhile, the battery is covered by its own eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

All e-208s come with automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keep assist and road-sign recognition as standard. If you want blind-spot monitoring, you’ll have to pay extra for it and it’s only available as an option on Allure and GT trims.

What’s slightly disappointing is the fact that the e-208 received four stars (out of five) for safety when appraised by Euro NCAP in 2019, with whiplash protection for adults sitting in the back rated as 'poor'. For reference, the BYD Dolphin and the MG4 achieved full five-star ratings under the more stringent 2023 and 2020 testing conditions respectively.

Costs overview

Strengths Well equipped; decent charging speeds

Weaknesses Expensive; Peugeot’s average reliability rating; four-star Euro NCAP safety rating

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Peugeot e-208 interior driver display

FAQs

  • Officially, the E-208 can do up to 225 miles with the 50kWh battery and 248 miles with the 51kWh battery.

  • Despite its evocative name, the GT version is no faster or more fun to drive than any other e-208. It's simply a trim level, and comes with lots of standard equipment.

  • The e-208 is 4055mm long, 1430mm tall and 1960mm wide (including door mirrors). It's a similar size to the Renault Zoe.

  • The e-208 is built on the same production line as the regular Peugeot 208 at the Trnava Plant in Slovakia.

  • You can find the latest prices by checking our Peugeot e-208 deals page.

At a glance
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RRP price range £20,400 - £36,250
Number of trims (see all)4
Number of engines (see all)5
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)electric, petrol
MPG range across all versions 55.3 - 65.9
Available doors options 5
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £62 / £1,294
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £125 / £2,587
Available colours