- Practical EV driving range
- Dynamic styling and engaging performance
- Upmarket and feature-rich interior
- Expensive for a compact hatchback
- The i-Cockpit with its mini steering wheel divides opinion
- Quite a lot of road surface noise
All credit to Peugeot for its push towards full electrification while still offering customers plenty of choice along the way. The five-door 208, which was the best-selling car in Europe last year, is a perfect example of this process.
While customers can still choose petrol-powered and hybrid versions, Peugeot has improved the battery size, power output and driving range of the fully electrified model. It also gains all the latest design cues to bring it bang up to date with other Peugeot models. And, in addition, the e-208 has become the E-208 – how very grown up!
Customers can choose from well-equipped trim levels called Active, E-Style, Allure and GT. E-Style is only available with the smaller 50kWh battery while the other trims are offered with both the 50kWh 136hp and 51kWh 156hp units. We opted for the all-singing, all-dancing E-208 GT with that slightly larger battery pack and, most importantly, driving range of 232 to 258 miles between charges (higher in city driving).
The Peugeot E-208 is certainly a looker with dynamic styling guaranteed to turn heads. And the French carmaker’s design team have really upped the ante with the latest design tweaks that see the model showcasing the new-look front end with a 3D-effect grille on our range-topping GT model.
There are three long vertical light claws to give the vehicle a distinctive and feline look and claw-effect tail lights too, plus black pillars, tinted rear windows, some E and GT badging, along with 17-inch diamond-cut, two-tone alloy wheels.
Moving inside, the interior is certainly high-end with soft-touch surfaces and top-quality fixtures and fittings throughout. The black cloth seats, which can be heated, have neat yellow contrast stitching and this can also be found on the doors, steering wheel and carpet mats.
The driver’s seat is power-operated and the steering wheel has ample manual adjustment too. The compact steering wheel is part of Peugeot’s i-Cockpit set-up, which can rather divide opinion. The main problem is you get a comfortable driving position with the seat and steering wheel well set up and then realise you can’t see the instrument panel or read the speed. It seems to involve lots of peering over or through the steering wheel which is not ideal.
But that aside, the car is packed with on-board technology with a 10-inch infotainment screen that is angled towards the driver, 3D navigation with live updates, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, DAB radio, Bluetooth and plenty more besides.
There are quick access toggle keys to certain functions and an e-toggle drive selector.
On The Road
Handling & Performance
The increase in battery size to 51kWh means the latest E-208 delivers 156hp and 260Nm of torque. When it comes to performance, the acceleration through the single-speed automatic transmission is certainly smooth enough and the car can complete the 0-62mph sprint in a respectable 8.2 seconds and tops out at 93mph.
The E-208 cruises with ease at motorway speeds, but shows its true capability when faced with twisting mountain roads where the grip, balance and power all impress. There are drive modes called Eco, Normal and Sport with Sport adding a real edge to the handling.
The brakes are excellent which allows you to push the car with confidence and the steering is nicely weighted too offering plenty of driver feedback.
Then when you get to busier town centres with lots of stop, start driving, simply switch across to Eco mode and press the B button in the gear selector to increase the regenerative braking level and, in turn, boost the battery.
Another plus-point is the impressive all-round driver visibility which is a ‘must’ on a car that could well feature on the school run with cars, bikes, pedestrians and scooters darting out from all angles.
Generally, refinement levels are good with the highly effective suspension set-up smoothing out any bumps and dips. But we did notice a little tyre noise and that was on very smooth road surfaces too.
Space & Practicality
The dynamically-styled five-door E-208 has a strong road presence despite its compact proportions. It stretches 4,055mm in length, is 1,765mm wide with the mirrors folded, 1,430mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2,540mm.
There is bundles of space up front and a couple of six footers can sit comfortably without brushing shoulders. And there is actually a decent amount of space in the back too. Admittedly taller passengers will start complaining about leg room after a while, but there is ample space for children or teenagers. In addition, there are Isofix child seat anchors to the outer rear seats.
The boot has a 309-litre capacity, increasing to 1,118 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat – this is less than the petrol driven 208, which can accommodate 1,163 litres of kit. In addition, there are a number of practical storage options scattered throughout the cabin, including a glovebox, door pockets, seat back nets, a tiny central cubby, front cup holders and a wireless charging pad.
Charging the 51kWh battery from 10 to 80 per cent via a 100kW rapid charger takes just 30 minutes, while a 100 per cent boost can be achieved in 7 hours, 30 minutes if connected to a 7kW home wallbox.
The fully-electrified Peugeot E-208 line-up starts from £31,200 for the Active trim with the smaller 50kWh 136hp battery and rises to £36,250 for the GT model with the 51kWh 156hp battery. This is the model we tested.
It is worth noting that there is a considerable price hike between petrol and electric models with the entry-level PureTech 75 petrol Active car costing just £20,400.
With its larger battery, the latest E-208 can deliver a WLTP-tested 232-258 miles between charges or 320-356 miles if using the vehicle in the city where lots of regenerative braking adds to the range.
With zero carbon emissions, the E-208 makes for a sensible choice for business drivers thanks to its Benefit in Kind tax rating of just two per cent and, at present, the vehicle will be exempt from road tax, Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone fees. But, sadly this will all change in 2025 with the Government reducing or withdrawing incentives completely.
With fewer moving parts compared to a combustion engine-powered car, there should be less to go wrong so repair bills should be lower. But for added peace of mind, the E-208 comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, increased to eight years and 100,000 miles for the battery.
Peugeot has pledged its commitment to a cleaner, greener all-electric future with a promise to be carbon net zero by 2038. And if this latest E-208 is anything to go by, it’s certainly interesting times ahead for the company.
Admittedly, the E-208 carries a hefty price-tag and that could be the obstacle that stops 208 fans making the switch from combustion-powered cars, but only time will tell.