- Superb city car
- Stylish and well equipped
- Good range for an electric
- Other small cars are roomier
- Not as nimble as the standard 208
- You'll still be better off with a petrol for long drives
While other manufacturers have taken their electric cars in a different direction to their conventional models – with cars like the Volkswagen ID.3, BMW i3 and Honda e – only the Peugeot e-208's badges give the game away that's it's not like any other Peugeot 208. Does this make it one of the best small electric cars or an also-ran? We'll find out in our Peugeot e-208 review.
The Peugeot e-208 is very relaxing to drive. It makes almost no noise other than a muted electrical hum that's designed to warn pedestrians of its presence, a single gear means it moves like an automatic car with a constant wave of acceleration and regenerative brakes mean it slows down when you lift your foot off the, er, gas. All this makes the Peugeot e-208 a great car for driving in town where, incidentally, it's at its most efficient.
The Peugeot e-208 is pretty good on short country blasts, too. It builds speed progressively and remains extremely quiet and although it's a lot heavier than a petrol 208, you'll have to being going some to notice its tendency to push through corners on B roads. Efficiency nose drives a little compared to driving in town mind.
That said, on the motorway its range falls off the proverbial cliff and 200-mile trips will necessitate on the fly use of the UK's famously patchy charging infrastructure. Fine on the odd occasion, but not ideal if you do big drives everyday.
If it's the right time for you to make the move to electricity, though, nothing else about the Peugeot e-208 will stop you because it's identical to the 208.
That means it's a great looking little car on the outside and very stylish on the inside. All cars get a centre infotainment screen which has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can mirror the display of your phone on the car's big screen and use its apps for navigation, music playback and the like. Go for an Allure Premium Peugeot e-208 (we would) and you also get a digital dashboard that's bursting with slick animations that make the rival screen in a VW Polo look boring and stuffy.
The sensible German has the last laugh in terms of ease of use and interior quality, however. Finding your way around the Peugeot e-208's display takes a bit of getting used to, it can be hard to find the perfect driving position and the plastic quality is a bit patchy.
On the upside, the Peugeot e-208 does have plenty of space for adults in the front and more room in the back than you'll find in rival electric cars. However, conventional alternatives like the Polo, SEAT Ibiza and Hyundai i20 are better options if you regularly carry four tall passenger and their boots are also a little bit bigger than the Peugeot e-208's.
That being said, if you're looking for a small electric car that can replace your old petrol or diesel with as little friction as possible, the Peugeot e-208 remains one of your best options – it looks and feels like a conventional model, while bringing with it all the advantages of electric power. If you can live with the reduced range and time it take to charge the battery, the Peugeot e-208 could just be the EV for you.
If you're looking for the petrol/diesel version, you need our Peugeot 208 review.
What’s the best Peugeot e-208 model/engine to choose?
All Peugeot e-208s come with the same 136PS motor and 50kWh battery so that decision is made for you. In terms of models, we'd go for Allure Premium trim which adds the digital dashboard – a nice touch that makes the Peugeot feel more modern inside – and reversing camera. While you're at it, go for a bright colour – something like Faro Yellow or Vertigo Blue – which suit the Peugeot e-208's shapely styling.
What other cars are similar to the Peugeot e-208?
While there is no shortage of new electric cars, as a small electric electric car that looks very conventional, the Peugeot e-208 is in a group of two which includes the Vauxhall e-Corsa, which in fact shares the Peugeot's mechanicals. There are other conventional-looking small EVs but the Renault Zoe, MINI Electric and Honda e are all smaller. Meanwhile, the BMW i3 is comparable in size but has an 'out there' design which won't suit everyone.
As a result of this, getting a comfortable driving position in the Peugeot e-208 isn't an issue, but getting a good view of the dials could be a problem. That's because Peugeot's iCockpit design has them sitting above a small steering wheel that can often block your view.
While this is a fairly major issue, it is the only one that sticks out in a cabin that is generally very comfortable. Even entry-level Active Premium models have a leather-covered steering wheel and Allure models and above add a front centre armrest, climate control that keeps the interior at a set temperature and a rear-view mirror that filters glare at night.
Peugeot e-208 GT models feel a cut above the rest thanks to their heated front seats and Alcantara upholstery.
Quality and finish
The Peugeot e-208's cabin scores on visual appeal rather than interior quality. It doesn't have the same big-car-in-a-small-package feel that you get with the Volkswagen Polo, less of its plastics are soft and squidgy and the infotainment screen displays aren't quite as sharp and colourful. That said, you'd never describe the e-208 as looking dour, an accusation the Polo doesn't shake off so easily.
Infotainment: Touchscreen, USB, nav and stereo in the Peugeot e-208
Even the basic Peugeot e-208 comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so it is easy to mirror the display of your smartphone on the car's big screen giving you access to apps like Google Maps and Spotify.
Take a couple of steps up the range and you'll find Peugeot e-208 Allure Premium models combine the centre infotainment screen with a digital dashboard that sports cool animations that bring the interior to life.
Top-of-the-range Peugeot e-208 GT models, meanwhile, swap the seven-inch screen in the rest of the range for a 10-inch version which has connected services. That means the sat-nav can route around congestion as well as display petrol station fuel prices and other information, it's a neat trick although not really needed if you have a smartphone that's compatible with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.
All Peugeot e-208s come with one USB-C and four USB plugs so you have plenty of charging capacity at your finger tips.
Space and practicality: Peugeot e-208 boot space
Externally, the Peugeot e-208 is identical to the 208, measuring 4055mm long and 1755mm wide (ignoring door mirrors), which means when comes to interior space the Peugeot e-208 is identical to the petrol 208. That means you get odd ergonomics up front which can make it tricky to simultaneously have the steering wheel at your ideal height, while also seeing the dashboard's dials and readouts. If you can crack that, however, there's plenty of room up front for two adults.
The same is not true in the back where two tall adults will feel squeezed for kneeroom, while shoehorning a third person into the middle pushes your passengers on the outer seats into the car's low-slung roofline. Whichever way you look at it it's not ideal, although compared to other small electric cars the e-208 along with the Vauxhall e-Corsa is actually one of your better options for rear-seat passengers.
The same is true for boot space because while the Peugeot e-208's 311-litre boot is someway off a conventional alternative like the Volkswagen Polo (351 litres), it's some way ahead of EV alternatives like the MINI Electric (211 litres) and Honda e (171 litres).
Anything else worthy of note? Well, the Peugeot e-208 is packed full of smaller storage spaces and it is good to see ISOFIX points on the outer rear seats so it is easy to mount a pair of child seats.
The only noise the Peugeot e-208 produces is a distant hum and its instant pick at low speeds (and one-speed gearbox) mean you can squirt into gaps in traffic without having to worry about bogging down or changing gear.
Factor in its zero emissions (so no low-emission zone charges to worry about) and small size and you'd be hard pressed to find a car that's better suited to the city. You even get rear parking sensors fitted as standard so you can slide into tight spaces in a jiffy.
The only negative next to the conventional car is the Peugeot e-208's slightly more brittle ride. That's brought about by the EV's stiffer suspension needed to contain its extra heft - thanks to its batteries, the e-208 weighs more than 1500kg while some versions of the conventional car come in at less than 1000kg.
The battery is housed underneath the car's floor which helps give it a low centre of gravity and tidy handling, although it never feels quite as nimble as you might expect given its modest proportions.
Where the Peugeot e-208 makes the least sense is on the motorway and we'd advise against it if you often drive more than 150 miles in a day because you'll likely need to charge between journeys.
At higher speeds it chews through its battery quicker – it's limited to a modest 93mph top speed to combat this – and it no longer has the sparkling acceleration you get in town.
What engines and gearboxes are available in the Peugeot e-208?
The Peugeot e-208 has a 136PS electric motor that produces its 260Nm of torque instantaneously, meaning it can get away with having a single-speed gearbox and drives like an automatic car, although even more smoothly.
It scampers off the line with a handy enthusiasm that is useful when you're trying to put some clean air between yourself, cyclists and scooters or just trying to nip into gaps in traffic.
Its official 8.1-second 0-62mph time doesn't really do this low-speed acceleration justice as the performance tails off significantly the faster you go.
Another feather in the Peugeot e-208's cap is its regenerative brakes. They recharge the e-208's battery every time you lift your foot off the accelerator, slowing the car as they do it meaning a lot of the time you can start and stop using the accelerator, only pressing the brake pedal when you need to slow quickly. The regenerative brakes also reduce wear of the car's discs and pads.
Maximum EV range in the Peugeot e-208
The Peugeot e-208 can officially travel up to 217 miles on a single charge.
Refinement and noise levels
The regular 208 is a mature small car that leans towards comfort – with compliant suspension and impressive noise suppression at a cruise. The Peugeot e-208 model amplifies these qualities by being extremely quiet and relaxing to drive at town speeds thanks to its silent, torquey electric motor.
Safety equipment: How safe is the Peugeot e-208?
The Peugeot e-208 was awarded a four-star safety certificate when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP in 2019. It comes with all the safety kit you would expect of a small car including a glut of airbags and automatic emergency brakes that can detect pedestrians and cyclists as well as cars.
Peugeot e-208 GT Premium models get active active cruise control that can brake and accelerate the car as well as bringing it to a complete stop. The same kit is available as a £250 option on GT specification.
Charging times for the Peugeot e-208 vary from eight hours using a 7kW wall-mounted charger at home to 30-40 minutes using a 50kWh public charger. That could be even quicker if you can find one of the UK's few 100kWh chargers.
How reliable is the Peugeot e-208
Right now, we're not aware of any common issues that plague the Peugeot e-208, and with fewer moving parts to go wrong compared to a petrol or diesel car, the e-208 should be a dependable choice. Peugeot offers a 3 year/60,000 mile warranty, while the battery has a 8 year warranty.
Peugeot as a brand performs pretty averagely in the latest HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index, ranking 24th out of 30 manufacturers in the 2021 HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index.
Insurance groups and costs
The Peugeot e-208 sits between insurance groups 26 and 28 – it won't cost a fortune to get covered, but it will be significantly more than a standard petrol model.
VED car tax: What is the annual road tax on a Peugeot e-208?
As an electric car the Peugeot e-208 doesn't pay any road tax, however all models qualify for the government's £1500 grant which is capped at cars costing less than £32,000.
The cheapest Peugeot e-208 we found on sale was a 2020 Allure model in dark silver with less than 4500 miles on the clock, while a 2020 GT Line car with 4000 miles under its tyres, finished in an eye-catching Faro Yellow was up for a little less than £25,000.
There's savings to be made on brand new cars also with a top-of-the-range GT Premium model advertised for £32,670 – a saving of more than £1200 on the list price.
Trim levels and standard equipment
The Peugeot e-208 is available in five trim levels called Active Premium, Allure, Allure Premium, GT and GT Premium.
Active Premium is the basic trim but it's still well equipped to offset the e-208's high price relative to a conventional model of the same size. It has 16-inch alloy wheels on the outside and inside you get a seven-inch centre screen, rear parking sensors and air conditioning.
Peugeot e-208 Allure models add to that with full LED rear lights (only the daytime running lights are LEDs in Active Premium), climate control and auto wipers. Allure Premium models feel posher inside thanks to their digital dashboard and part leather seats, while the reversing camera and four interior USBs make them easier to drive and live with.
Peugeot e-208 GT models look the smartest, they get 17-inch alloys and LED lights front and back, plus plenty of sporty GT badges. Inside, you'll find the upgraded 10-inch centre touchscreen which has connected services so you can communicate to it wirelessly using an app on your phone and route around congestion on the fly.
GT Premium models get kit that makes the e-208 feel like a little luxury car. You can open and start the car without needing to take the key out your pocket, you get posh Alcantara heated seats to sit in and once you're underway you'll find the active cruise control, which can brake and accelerate the car automatically, a major boon on long journeys.