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, including the Honda E, Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe, this isn't a bespoke electric vehicle (EV) that's designed to stand out from 'normal' petrol and diesel cars. The e-208 is just a Peugeot 208 with a big battery and an electric motor instead of an engine with cylinders and pistons.
The only real visual differences compared with petrol and diesel versions of the 208 are a discreet 'e' badging on the rear haunches of the car, a filled-in front grille and the absence of an exhaust pipe.
When you sit behind the steering wheel, you'll also notice a few electric-specific details on the driver display, although the e-208 is offered with the same trim levels as the 208 – Active Premium+, Allure Premium+, GT and GT Premium.
As the first mass-produced Peugeot EV, the e-208 represents a big move for the French brand, and one that seems well-timed. Still, it needs to have the qualities to compete with rivals including the Zoe, but also the Fiat 500, Mini Electric and Vauxhall Corsa-e (which actually shares underpinnings with the e-208).
Over the next few pages of this in-depth review, we'll be finding out how the Peugeot e-208 compares with its key electric car rivals when it comes to performance, range, interior quality, running costs and much more.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Let’s start with the numbers. The e-208 has a 45kWh (useable) capacity battery that powers a 134bhp electric motor – enough to propel the car, in our tests, from 0-60mph in a spritely 7.5sec. That means the e-208 is comfortably quicker than the Renault Zoe if not quite as nippy as the Mini Electric or MG4.
The e-208 also has an official range of up to 224 miles on a full charge. You won't get that far in real-world driving, but based on our tests, you should get around 145 miles in the winter and roughly 175 miles in the summer without trying too hard. That's further than the Fiat 500 and Honda E can manage, although the Zoe has an even longer range.
Ride comfort is better than in the Zoe, though – or the Mini Electric for that matter. The e-208's relatively soft suspension does a good job of dealing with long-wave bumps, although can struggle to cope with potholes and expansion joints, which sometimes send jolts through the car. There's also more nosedive under braking than you'd experience in many rivals, including the 500 and Zoe.
On the subject of brakes, as with all electric cars the e-208 has something called regenerative braking. That means energy is recuperated during the process of slowing down, and fed back into the battery. Pressing the brake pedal increases the effect but it means the pedal feels curiously spongy, which can make it hard to slow your progress smoothly.
More positively, the e-208 is quieter than its main rivals, especially the Zoe. You notice that most at motorway speeds, where the e-208 does a great job of keeping road and wind noise where it's supposed to be: outside the car.
The e-208 isn't particularly fun to drive and there's more body lean than in a Mini or Zoe, but it feels more stable through fast corners than the smaller 500 and the Honda E, 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.
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 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 you 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-e doesn't have that problem, thanks to its normal-sized steering wheel and clearer digital instruments.
The ‘3D’ effect of the e-208's instruments on the higher trims is also a case of style over substance. It makes them trickier to read at a glance than the equivalents in the Renault Zoe and 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.
Interior quality is generally excellent. 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 Zoe or Corsa-e. For the money, only the Mini Electric beats the e-208 for plushness.
A 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system is standard, with a bigger 10.0in touchscreen on GT trim and above. Either way, the graphics aren't great and the screen doesn't always respond as quickly to prods as you'd like. You do get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring on all trims, though.
It's rather annoying that adjusting the air-conditioning in the e-208 requires you to use the touchscreen. It would be far better if there were physical dials for tweaking the interior temperature, like those in the Corsa-e. Overall, the Fiat 500, Zoe and Mini have superior infotainment systems.
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 that doubles as a ledge to store your phone on.
Leg room in the back is reasonable, and there’s a generous amount of space for passengers’ feet under the seats in front. And, while head room is a bit tight, it's better than in the Fiat 500, Mini Electric and Renault Zoe. Just make sure you avoid adding the panoramic sunroof – it lowers the height of the ceiling quite a bit.
The e-208 and the closely related Vauxhall Corsa-e 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 if there's a practicality compromise in choosing an e-208 over a petrol or diesel Peugeot 208 when it comes to luggage space, there isn’t: they both have the same boot capacity. That means you'll be able to carry more luggage than you would in a Mini Electric, but a Zoe will carry even more. Unfortunately, though, there’s no handy height-adjustable boot floor like there is in the Mini.
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 a bit further between charges. More of an issue is that the e-208 is priced above the closely related Vauxhall Corsa-e and Renault Zoe, with PCP finance deals being particularly pricey.
With that in mind, we reckon entry-level Active Premium+ trim is the pick of the range, with automatic air conditioning, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors and a leather-wrapped steering wheel all standard. Allure Premium+ is worth considering, too, and adds posher seats with a centre front armrest, some exterior styling upgrade and a reversing camera.
The higher trim levels, particularly GT and GT Premium, are too pricey to recommend.
Unlike the Mini Electric and the Zoe, which are limited to charging speeds of 50kW, 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 7hrs 15min.
Peugeot finished a disappointing 28th out of 32 manufacturers in the 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey (the e-208 itself wasn't included). 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, should help to ease any reliability concerns. Meanwhile, the battery is covered by its own eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty – similar cover to that offered by rivals.
You get automatic emergency braking (AEB) on all models which, if you go for GT or GT Premium trim, works at night and can recognise cyclists. These top two trim levels also benefit from blind-spot monitoring. However, the e-208 received a relatively disappointing four stars (out of five) for safety when appraised by Euro NCAP, with whiplash protection for adults sitting in the back rated as 'poor'.
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Officially, the e-208 can do up to 224 miles on a full battery charge. Expect 145 to 175 miles in real-world driving, though. Read more here
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. Read more here
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 didn't feature in the 2022 What Car? Reliability survey (the sample size was too small), but Peugeot finished a disappointing 28th (out of 32 brands) in the overall manufacturer league table. Read more here
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 and big savings on the Peugeot e-208 on our New Car Deals pages
|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?)||petrol, electric|
|MPG range across all versions||55.3 - 65.9|
|Available doors options||5|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£62 / £1,470|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£125 / £2,940|