Last updated on July 3rd, 2021 at 07:32 pm
- Attractive design
- Stylish interior
- Decent driving fun
- Limited knee room for rear-seat passengers
- Connected sat-nav only standard on higher trims
- Needs 50 miles more range
Range (WLTP): 217 miles Top Speed: 93 mph 0 to 62: 8.1 sec Cost/Mile (@14p/kWh): 3.2p
The Peugeot 205 was a 1980s legend, particularly in GTI form. Since then, various successors have gone from strength to strength. The 208 has been around since 2012, with the second generation arriving in 2019. At the same time, Peugeot released the e-208. The company has recently rejigged the model range, giving us an excuse to look at this popular hatchback EV.
Price and Options
The e-208 sits in a range alongside four petrol and a diesel engine version, but we don’t like to talk about those. All cars share a platform called CMP and externally look the same, apart from some e-208 branding. The main change since the 208 was originally released is that the trim levels have been adjusted. The basic Active trim level has been dropped, so now the range starts at Active Premium, followed by Allure, Allure Premium, GT and GT Premium.
The differences in price vary as you go up, but no trim is more than a grand more than the one below. The GT Premium was introduced at the end of 2020, pushing the previous GT range-topping trim to second place. The GT Line that sat below that has been discontinued as well. All cars cost below £35,000, so benefit from the government’s plug-in grant. Prices range from £27,225 for the Active Premium to £31,475 for the GT Premium, including the £2,500 discount. Our review was a GT with some optional extras, so came in at £31,470.
One thing all versions have in common is that ubiquitous Stellantis drivetrain we have seen so many times before, with a 136hp motor and 50kWh battery. This combination has graced almost all the Stellantis cars we have reviewed, with the exception of the Citroen e-Dispatch van, which had the same motor with a bigger battery, but the most relevant comparison is the Vauxhall Corsa-e, which is basically the same car as the e-208 underneath.
With the discontinuation of the Active trim, the e-208 is now well equipped across the board. All cars have push-button start, Bluetooth phone connectivity, DAB radio and the i-Cockpit dashboard plus a central LCD, as well as electric windows front and back. A lot of what you get extra is cosmetic improvement with each level, and the electric versions of the 208 get features like rear USB ports, automatic wipers, and automatic air conditioning at all trim levels where the fossil fuel versions don’t.
All cars have rear parking sensors, but this is augmented by a rear camera with the Allure Premium and above. Front sensors arrive with the GT version. So these are some reasons to buy a better trim. However, the key differentiation appears to be whether you get the connected sat-nav and 10in screen or not, which is standard from the GT and above, while other cars get a 7in multimedia panel. With the 7in panel, navigation is a £650 extra, including a three-year TomTom Live subscription. It’s almost worth the trim upgrade to a GT just to get this feature. If you want adaptive cruise control, you will need the GT Premium, or pay for an add-on. This is also the only one with heated front seats.
The basic colour is yellow, with white being £275 extra, metallic colours costing £545, and pearlescent £695. Metallics include a couple of greys and black, while pearlescent options include red, blue and white. Our sample is one rung down from the top, a GT, in pearlescent Vertigo Blue, which is apt because it’s vertiginously bright. The basic car has 16in alloy wheels. You get nicer-looking diamond cut alloys with the Allure, and then the GT and GT Premium add 17in diamond cut alloys. You can even add a panoramic sunroof for £500, which is quite reasonable.
Speaking of the Corsa-e, this is the main car you are likely to compare the e-208 to visually, and we think Peugeot wins this comparison hands down. There is some similarity with the shape of the front lights, but Peugeot’s trio of LED lights on the GT and above add an aggressive look. The complicated Peugeot front grille is clearly meant to echo a lion’s mane (a lion is the company logo, after all) and this gives the front plenty of character as well.
The black plastic wheel arches provide a more rugged air, with a vague nod towards the ever-popular crossover format, although this car has no real pretentions in that direction – thank heavens, because there are too many vehicles in this class now. The black wing mirrors and B-pillar are classy, and the diamond-cut alloys stylish. Overall, we like the look of this car. It is an attractive little hatchback with some French flair.
Leather is not an option with any of the e-208 trim levels, but the seat material does get plusher as you go up the range. The basic car has cloth, then a leather-like material is used from the Allure and above, with different colour stitching depending on trim. The GT Premium switches to Alcantara and adds heating. The seats are comfortable enough, with a decent amount of head room in the front. However, whatever trim level you go for, the seats are mechanically adjusted.
Overall, the interior of the e-208 feels more luxurious than the Vauxhall Corsa-e, and that extends to the ergonomics. The central console has two cupholders and a space for your phone, which is big enough for an iPhone 12 Max. Wireless charging, however, is a £100 option. The door to this area has a ledge for your phone to prop it up on so the screen is visible, but that isn’t large enough for the Max. There are two USB ports including one USB-C, plus a 12V adapter socket. The glove compartment is minimal – barely large enough for actual gloves.
The rear seats have adequate headroom for adults, but the knee room is rather limited, particularly if the person in front is tall and has their seat all the way back. The larger e-2008 is the much better car if you want to transport adults regularly in the back. The middle seat is also too narrow for an adult to feel comfortable on a long journey, and its back doesn’t fold forward to provide a central armrest or cupholders for rear occupants.
There are two USB ports for rear passengers on all the e-208s, but no separate air conditioning vents. The two outer rear seats integrate ISOfix points for child car seats, but the front passenger seat only gets these on the GT and GT Premium.
Storage and Load Carrying
This is a small hatchback, but the boot is reasonable in its class at 311 litres – more than the BMW i3 for example. But it’s almost exactly the same as the Vauxhall Corsa-e. There is a small amount of space under the boot floor, but only for some emergency kit, not the charging cables. Drop down the rear seats, which have the usual 60/40 division, and you get 1,106 litres.
That is pretty typical for a hatchback this size, just 12 litres less than the Corsa-e. However, the boot floor isn’t flat, it has a step in it, which won’t be ideal for transporting some items. If you want more boot space, the Peugeot e-2008 is much more like an estate car in boot capacity terms.
The first thing you will notice about the e-208's controls is the rectangular steering wheel. This is not a yoke (thankfully), but it's still a bit of an acquired taste, unless you like its quirkiness. However, this does make finding the home hand positions very easy indeed without looking. We think Peugeot has the steering wheel buttons about right, with enough to be useful but not so many that you need to look closely to push the right one. The combination of buttons and rollers on both sides make them easy to operate.
There are separate stalks for windscreen wipers, lights, and cruise control. All cars get what Peugeot calls the i-Cockpit, which gains a 3D look from Allure Premium and above. Peugeot calls this head-up but it's not really. It just looks quite cool by providing a sense of depth. You get a big digital readout of current speed on the right, with a gauge further along showing power delivery or regeneration. The right-hand-side shows the remaining range both graphically and in numerical miles.
The drive control system is familiar from other Peugeot cars. A gearstick-like affair operates drive, reverse and neutral, with a second pull down on this stick to engage B-mode. A big B then appears on the screen to show this has been enabled, providing extra regenerative power. You need to push a button on the side of the gearstick to make it work, presumably a safety feature. A button on the top engages park. There is a separate electronic parking brake. A large rocker switch toggles between Eco, Normal and Sport motor power modes. The air conditioning has discrete “piano” keys for control, making it quite easy to adjust when driving.
The central touchscreen is 7in on models up to the Allure Premium, and 10in on the GT and GT Premium. Connected 3D sat-nav is standard from GT and above, including a three-year subscription to TomTom live traffic, weather, charging stations and online points of interest search. However, adding the connected sat-nav to the Active Premium and Allure costs £650, and £950 to upgrade to the 10in screen with the sat-nav on Allure Premium. As we already said, these prices alone could be enough alone to warrant getting the GT trim. However, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all cars, so if you have an e-208 without sat-nav you can use your smartphone to provide your satellite navigation.
Performance and Driving
Generations of 200-series Peugeots have been famous for their driving enjoyment, with the 205 GTI being particularly legendary. Although the 0-62mph of 8.1 seconds is similar to the latter, the battery and enhanced safety requirements mean the e-208 is nearly 600kg heavier, however. So the driving experience is rather different. You can chuck a car weighing under 900kg around in a much nimbler way to one weighing 1,455kg.
Despite having an identical drivetrain to the Vauxhall Corsa-e, the e-208 isn’t quite so quick in a straight line and doesn’t feel quite so “cheeky”. But it’s still an enjoyable drive, capable of some fun. There is a small sense of torque steer when you put your foot down hard, but nothing too worrying. The steering is more precise than you might expect from an everyday hatchback. But the e-208 isn’t a hot hatch, it’s a reasonably quick family compact that performs well about town. It’s reasonably well planted on a motorway or dual carriageway, too.
Range and Charging
Although virtually all current Stellantis cars have the same motor and battery, the different models have subtle variations in range abilities. Although the Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e are particularly similar, Peugeot has squeezed a little more range out of the 50kWh battery, achieving 217 miles with 16in wheels, although this drops a little with 17in wheels.
As with all WLTP figures, this will be quite optimistic in our experience, but at least the remaining range readout is more consistent than Vauxhall Corsa-e’s, which we found could be quite erratic. After driving the e-208 for a week, we reckon the real-world range will be about 160 miles on average.
When it comes to charging, there's a standard CCS port. With 7kW home AC charging you can replenish the battery in 7 and a half hours. Rapid charging on 100kW DC will take a reasonable half an hour to 80%. You can also upgrade to 11kW AC for £300 extra, which will take a third off the AC charging time if you have access to three-phase power.
The e-208 is reasonably cheap to run. Based on the WLTP range and a 14p per kWh supply, you would be paying 3.2p per mile. The basic warranty is three years, the first two of which are for unlimited miles. The battery has the typical eight-year, 100,000-mile, 70 per cent capacity guarantee. Peugeot specifies a two-year, 16,000-mile service interval. However, the insurance is a little high, ranging from 26 to 28 for the GT and GT Premium, considering the faster BMW i3 is in the latter group.
Safety features are another reason why you might want to purchase one of the higher trim levels, although you do get a reasonable set of basics on all cars. Active Safety Brakes are standard across the range, alongside acoustic warnings for pedestrians. There is also lane keep assistance, as well as speed limit and road sign recognition. All cars get rear parking sensors too. The parking camera is included from Allure Premium and above, with the addition of front sensors from GT upwards.
However, blind spot monitoring is only standard on the GT and GT Premium. The Active Safety Brake feature also gains a night function with cyclist and pedestrian detection on these trims. Only the GT Premium has adaptive cruise with stop and go as standard. The GT Premium is also the only trim level with active lane assistance rather than just warnings. You can add all these functions to the Allure Premium for £500 and to the GT for £300 via the Drive Assist Pack Plus. Our car included the latter. We always think adaptive cruise is well worth the extra if you drive in heavy traffic a lot, so that’s £300 well spent.
|Price:||Active Premium – £27,225; Allure – £27,875; Allure Premium – £28,525; GT – £30,475; GT Premium – £31,475|
|Range (WLTP):||217 miles|
|Charge time (7.4kW):||7 hours 30 minutes|
|Charge time (11kW):||5 hours (optional upgrade)|
|Charge time (100kW, 80%):||30 minutes|
|On Board Charger:||7.2kW (11kW option)|
|Cost per mile*:||3.2p|
|Cargo:||311 litres / 1,106 litres with rear seats down|
*based on electricity costs of 14p per kWh