The Car.co.uk verdict:3.9
Peugeot's compact hatches have always been firm favourites, right back to the popular 205. Admittedly the 207 wasn’t such a highlight, but in the latest generation of the 208, the style, fun and practicality is definitely back. It even impressed the judges to take the European Car of the Year title in 2020, ahead of the Tesla Model 3 and Porsche Taycan. This is the electric e-208 as Peugeot and Stellantis go the electrification route. It sits on the same platform as the Vauxhall Corsa-e and pricing for the e-208 starts at £31,345. It is a little bit pricey compared to the new MG4 or even larger cars like the Volkswagen ID3 and the Cupra Born, but is it any good?
Written by Mark Smyth
Designed to make you feel proud
Peugeot is doing a fantastic job with design at the moment, including with the 208 which looks sporty, dynamic and premium all at the same time. The lion claw daytime running lights, striking grille and wheels pushed well out to the corners all make this a great looking hatch. There's a nice set of 17-inch diamond cut alloys and a panoramic roof, all adding to the athletic look.
Spacious and practical
It might not have as much space as the larger Peugeot e-2008 crossover, but there’s plenty of room inside the e-208 and it’s all been designed and engineered to offer good materials, a quality feel and plenty of practical touches. It all feels very well put together, nicely designed and ready to stand up to the rigours of family life. The seats could do with a bit more bolstering though, they're really soft and squidgy for some reason on the sides as though there might have been some cost-cutting there. In the back, there’s plenty of room for the kids and crucially good visibility for them as well. Boot space is good at 311 litres and more than enough for most regular needs.
Fashionable with a sporty feel
The interior feels sporty and plush with Peugeot’s I-Cockpit instrumentation layout and a go-kart like steering wheel. There is an issue here though in that Peugeot continues to think that you don’t need to be able to see your instrumentation and so the top of the steering wheel blocks the view. It’s a well documented flaw but so far it hasn’t been remedied. Elsewhere there’s a really nice layout to everything including Lamborghini-like buttons in the centre console and the materials all feel of good quality.
There are lots of storage places in the centre console, cupholders, door pockets, all that sort of thing and a nice place to put your phone. It doesn't have wireless charging though surprisingly, but it does have USB and USB C ports and a smartphone dock. Overall it feels sporty and premium and a great place to enjoy passing the miles away.
Equipment and options
A list that’s longer than the charging cable
All 208 models are well equipped, but the e-208 GT Premium gets the full list including the digital i-Cockpit displays, active driver assistance, panoramic roof, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED headlights, USB ports, the list goes on.
Engine and power
Engineered for the commute
The e-208 has a 50kWh (45kWh useable) battery and the motor delivers 136hp and 260Nm. Peugeot is claiming a 0-62mph time of 8.1 seconds and a top speed of 93mph in Sport mode.
It will charge on a 100kW public charger to 80% in 30 minutes and you're looking at around two hours to 100%. If you're going to charge it at home on a three-pin, you're looking at 24 hours but a 7kW wallbox charger will do it in seven and a half.
Then there’s that claim of 225 miles, because frankly, you'll be lucky. On a drive between Bristol and Chichester we had to charge it a few times in order to do that journey there and back and we had to use public chargers so that ended up costing a fair bit. But this isn’t a car for long distances, it’s an urban EV, just like the Vauxhall Corsa-e, BMW i3, Mini Electric and others. If you’re going to spend most of your time around town and charging at home each night, then it’s a fantastic thing to live with.
Electric fun with GTi attitude
Many electric cars suffer from having a slightly firm ride, mainly because of their weight and tyre choices. Not so in the e-208 though, Peugeot has nailed it with a pseudo McPherson suspension set-up at the front which contributes to a smooth and comfortable ride on a multitude of road surfaces.
It's one of the most comfortable electric cars I've ever driven and the handling is equally good. It's a very dynamic little thing if you want to enjoy it and you have the option to flick through various driving modes. It’s not quite as much fun from an engaging perspective as the new MG4, but it’s great that the engineers continue to inject some of the character of the 205 GTi into their cars today. It doesn't have the electrifying acceleration of some rivals but it’s quite happy to sprint away on request.
It cruises well on the motorway too, although the battery will drain quickly without any regenerative braking so take the back roads. They not only help to top up the battery but the e-208 is the most fun on A and B-roads anyway
Safe and solid
The list of safety kit is extensive, including all the basics like multiple airbags, ABS brakes and Isofix child seat anchors. Then there are the electronic assistance features such as adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, pedestrian and cyclist detection, driver attention warning and more. It all adds up to the level of safety you’d expect in a Peugeot although the 208 only scored four stars from Euro NCAP due to entry level models having less safety equipment.
Should prove to be one to rely on
The e-208 is still relatively new so it’s tricky to assess reliability accurately, but it comes with a three-year/60,000 mile warranty and an eight year warranty on the battery so you should be well covered when it comes to reliability if buying new.
At £34,595 for the GT Premium we had on test, the e-208 is not a cheap way into electric motoring, with even the entry-level versions costing far more than rivals like the Fiat 500 Electric and MG4, although it’s comparable in price to the Mini Electric and much better value than the Honda-e. It’s also not far off the price tag of some larger competitors like the Volkswagen ID3 and the Cupra Born. It’s also worth looking at the slightly more powerful 156hp version which not only gives you more power but slightly more range and only adds £500 to the cost.
A lion to be proud of
The Peugeot e-208 is one of the best looking cars in its class and when you add in the fact that it’s electric, that will be enough for many. The interior is really well designed and comfortable and when you add in all the tech, the e-208 proves to be a superb all-rounder. If you're willing to fork out the higher price or plan to PCP it and you’ll be using it as a local commuter, then it’s a fantastic option with style that will make you as proud as a lion just looking at it and driving enjoyment that will bring a smile to your face everywhere you go.