Peugeot e-208 Review
Who would have thought back in 1983 when the Peugeot 205 supermini was first launched that it would go on to sell more than 22 million units? And now there is an all-electric model - it’s called the e-208 and its pretty special.
- Striking sporty design with performance to match, plus 211-mile range
- Choice of well-equipped trim levels, including exclusive GT grade for the EV
- Modern interior featuring new 3D i-Cockpit
- Quite pricey as you step up through the grades
- The car is a little unsettled when fitted with larger 17-inch wheels
- Driving range on some rivals is better
The all-new Peugeot 208 arrives in showrooms in January and it’s guaranteed to generate plenty of excitement within the supermini sector. There are traditional petrol and diesel engines, but the big news is the introduction of an electrically-powered model and if early indications are anything to go by, it should prove very popular.
Since customers were able to register their interest for the new 208 back in August, almost 65 per cent of them have opted for the electric version. That said; Peugeot believes that the EV will eventually account for about 20 per cent of sales.
It’s worth noting that Peugeot plans to electrify its entire range by 2023.
On the Road
The all-new Peugeot e-208 uses a 50kWh battery and 136hp electric motor to deliver a 211-mile driving range from a full charge under WLTP testing. It boasts 260Nm of torque which results in instant reactions enabling the car to sprint to 62mph from a standstill in just 8.1 seconds and top out at 93mph.
And although those figures may not sound that impressive, the rapid-fire burst of pace and power makes the car feel much faster.
As is the case with most electric variants due to the EV technology, the e-208 is heavier than the petrol and diesel versions weighing in at about 370kgs more. But the clever packaging and placement of the batteries beneath the floor results in a lowered centre of gravity and that means the performance is not compromised in the slightest.
The e-208 is available in trim levels called Active, Allure, GT Line and a GT grade that is exclusive to the EV model, and that was the version we opted for.
Out on the open road, the acceleration is instant and the power levels are constant which makes overtaking simple. There are drive modes called Eco and Normal, along with Sport on the GT Line and GT versions and these alter the way the car reacts, with Sport sharpening up the handling even further.
No matter what the trim level or power source, there’s no getting away from the fact that the Peugeot 208 is a supermini so needs to deliver excellent ride and handling capabilities - it succeeds on every count.
The ride is balanced, the road holding very assured and the steering is precise with instant reactions. Long gone are the days when EVs whined at the slightest hint of throttle pressure - the power is constant; the handling sublime and the all-round driving experience is exceptional. It’s a car that puts the fun back into EV driving without having to pay premium prices.
Long sweeping bends can be attacked with confidence and the acceleration out of the corners is rapid.
Our range-topping GT model, along with the GT Line cars, sit on 17-inch wheels compared to the Active and Allure trims that have 16-inch wheels. And although the larger wheels look amazing, they do impact on the comfort levels slightly. Compared to models that we drove on smaller wheels; the ride was more fidgety over poor road surfaces and the noise levels were slightly exaggerated.
Peugeot’s tried and tested i-Cockpit small steering wheel, with flat top and bottom, is beautifully weighted and offers plenty of driver feedback. Our e-208 GT model also boasted Full Park Assist which will make you look like a complete expert when squeezing into a tight parking space.
One glance in the direction of the all-new 208 series confirms the fact that Peugeot means business with this supermini. From the front, it looks dynamic with full LED headlights featuring the three-line claw effect design. This is enhanced even further by another light feature that drops down to the bumper and looks like a sabre tooth or lightsaber.
The grille on the EV features a colour-coded chequered design with gloss black edge trim and the Peugeot Lion emblem appears to change colour when looked at from different angles.
Viewed from the side, the e-208 delivers a striking silhouette with dark tinted rear windows, stunning 17-inch alloy wheels and gloss black wheel arch extensions. But it’s when admired from behind that the car is guaranteed to turn heads. There is, of course, the traditional 3D claw-effect rear light signatures and these are now connected by a gloss black strip incorporating the PEUGEOT lettering. It’s a vehicle that looks so good, you will never want to overtake it.
The interior oozes class with a stunning new i-Cockpit layout featuring a 3D instrument cluster, smart touchscreen, tri-colour upholstery with neat contrast stitching, piano keys and gloss black toggle keys for easy access to the many on-board systems.
When it comes to driver refinement, the e-208 starts up in silence and powers its way to motorway speeds without any hint of a struggle. Yes, the larger wheels are slightly noisier over poor road surfaces, but in all honesty, we were listening hard for noise intrusion so the radio was muted.
The highly efficient suspension system is worth noting too as it irons out all but the most severe road surfaces helping to deliver a comfortable and refined driving experience.
In the car
Getting a comfortable driving position within the e-208 takes only a matter of seconds with ample manual seat and steering wheel adjustment. Then it’s just a case of taking in all the new technology the e-208 offers, especially the latest i-Cockpit layout.
There is the renowned multi-function steering wheel with flat top and bottom, a 10-inch high definition colour touchscreen (seven-inch on other trim levels) and the new configurable 3D head-up digital instrument panel. This new set-up looks superb and can be adapted to requirement, displaying information such as navigation instructions, driving range, charging details and lots more. A 2D mode can be selected if it all gets a bit too much! There are also eight colour choices for the ambient lighting to suit your mood.
On board techno treats in the range-topping GT model are plentiful with the likes of MirrorScreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone connectivity, a wireless charger, navigation with TomTom, heated front seats and plenty more.
The car has a premium feel to it with classy seat upholstery, eye-catching toggles and piano black trim. But it really is the 3D instrument panel that scoops all the headlines. It offers all the information you could possibly wish for at eye level so there is no need for distraction from the road ahead.
On that matter, the driver benefits from good visibility forwards, sideways and backwards, but the over-the-shoulder view is not great due to wide B pillars.
The e-208 is a supermini so legroom in the back is never going to be that amazing. There is room for a couple of passengers provided the front seats are not pushed back too far and they have their own USB sockets so they can stay connected on the move. There are USB and USB-C slots up front too.
Unlike some electric models though, the e-208 is not compromised by the EV technology as the battery packs are positioned beneath the floor so cabin and storage space are exactly the same as any other 208 model.
The boot can accommodate 311 litres of luggage - a limit that is increased to 1,106 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. There are plenty of other storage compartments throughout the car, including a glovebox, door bins, seat back pockets, a central cubby box, a smartphone docking station and another deep tray in front of the snazzy drive selector lever.
There are three ways in which to charge the e-208. From a domestic plug it can take 20 hours-plus for a full charge. From a dedicated home charge point the time is cut to about eight hours and, via rapid charging at a public 100kW terminal, the car can reach an 80 per cent charge in just 30 minutes.
There is the option of remote charging via the touchscreen or by downloading the MyPeugeot smartphone app. This can also be used to pre-heat or cool the car.
Buying an electric vehicle has never been the cheapest option even when the Government’s £3,500 Plug-In Car Grant is taken into account. But the e-208 is available in every trim so the entry-level Active e-208 costs £25,050, the Allure e-208 costs £26,250, the GT Line e-208 is priced at £28,100 and our GT model (which is only available on EV models) cost £29,650. These prices are after the grant has been deducted.
On Personal Finance Lease, the all-new Peugeot e-208 in Active trim, will start at £289 per month for a 48-month contract, with a customer initial rental of £5,445 and an optional final rental of £8,978.
Being as the e-208 has zero carbon emissions output you pay no road tax or Vehicle Excise Duty as it’s known these days. And this car will be very appealing to company car drivers too as the e-208 has a Benefit in Kind rating of 16 per cent across all trim levels.
The EV has a driving range of up to 211 miles under WLTP testing, but there are ways to make the most of the range via two braking modes. Put the drive selector into ‘D’ for ‘drive’ and the braking is similar to a standard car, but when you select ‘B’ for ‘forward drive with regenerative braking’ the deceleration is controlled by removing your foot from the throttle.
Insurance ratings for the new Peugeot e-208 are yet to be announced but should be available soon.
Peugeot enjoys a good reputation when it comes to reliability and the e-208 should be a good buy. It’s hard to predict how the electric technology will fare over the course of time, but the company has offered some impressive warranty deals. For example, the battery on the e-208 is covered by an eight-year, 100,000-mile manufacturer warranty.
There is also a variety of service plans on offer that add peace of mind for buyers. There are plans that cover five years with a number of mileage options and payments available upfront or on a monthly basis. All the packages are inflation-proof too. As an example, a plan covering 36 months/30,000 miles costs £8.05 per month, 48 months/40,000 miles costs £11.88 a month and 60 months/50,000 miles is priced at £12.34 per month.
These plans can be purchased up to 12 months after the car has been registered.
The Peugeot 208 has been awarded four out of five stars when tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating. It missed out on the fifth star as it doesn’t include the Active Emergency Braking radar as an option on all trim levels.
But even so, the safety systems are plentiful, especially on the range-topping GT trim which gains all the systems and driver assistance aids available.
These include the likes of an Active Safety Brake System which has intelligent autonomous braking and works in conjunction with the Distance Alert System and Peugeot Connect SOS and Assistance. Also standard are Active Lane Keeping Assist with Road Edge Detection and Road Sign Recognition.
All models come equipped with anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and emergency braking assistance, electronic stability control, tyre pressure sensors, Isofix child seat fixtures to the outer rear seats, plus a full suite of airbags.
Driver Attention Alert is added to Allure models and the higher-spec GT cars gain Active Blind Spot Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Lane Positioning Assist and Peugeot’s Smart Beam Assist.
The e-208 also has a Thatcham Category 1 approved alarm to keep any uninvited attention at bay.