Pros: Styling, real-world range, rapid charging speeds, standard equipment
Cons: Rear seat room, infotainment takes getting used to, expensive in high specification
If you are undecided on fuel type, the good news is that Peugeot offers the new 208 in petrol, diesel and electric versions. We’ve been testing the all-electric e-208 model, which depending on your driving needs, could be the best of the lot. The Peugeot e-208 is one of the most affordable electric cars on sale in Ireland with prices starting from €28,305 including the SEAI grant and VRT relief. It is a stylish five-door hatchback and it offers up to 350 kilometres of range from a single charge, with fast charging times. It goes up against other electric hatchbacks such as the Mini Electric, the Opel Corsa-e, the Honda e and the Renault Zoe among others, but is it the best option in the class?
The Peugeot e-208 is arguably one of the most eye-catching small electric cars on the market at the moment. To distinguish it from the normal petrol-powered Peugeot 208, the electric e-208 has a body coloured chequered front grille, the badges change colour from the outside when viewed from different angles and there are ‘e’ badges on the C-Pillars and rear of the car. As standard it gets 16-inch alloy wheels, colour coded mirrors and a diamond black rear spoiler in entry Active specification, but we drove the high specification GT model which has larger 17-inch alloy wheels, gloss black wheel arch extensions, a diamond black roof, LED headlights with smartbeam assist and lots of other features.
Stepping inside, the e-208 offers the same space and practicality as the regular petrol and diesel versions of the Peugeot 208. The e-208 is only available with five doors and the front seats are comfortable with lots of adjustment available through the steering wheel. The flat-bottomed steering wheel can get in the way of the digital’s driver’s display at times however, making it difficult to see the display. There is enough space for two adults in the rear although it will be a squeeze to get three tall passengers in the rear seats. The e-208’s boot is 311 litres in size, but less than what you’ll get in a Nissan LEAF (411 litres) or a Volkswagen ID.3 (385 litres). The e-208 doesn’t have any storage space under the bonnet like you get in some other electric cars too. The e-208 impresses with either a seven inch or a 10-inch touch screen infotainment system in the centre of the dashboard depending on the specification, along with a digital driver’s display in front of the driver.
e-208 Performance & Drive
Out on the road, the e-208 is fun and engaging to drive, and it’s faster than you might expect. It has a 50kWh battery and its electric motor produces 136bhp which is good enough for covering the sprint from 0-100km/h in 8.1 seconds. There are three selectable driving modes, Eco, Normal and Sport and only the Sport mode gives you the full 136bhp. We spent most of our time driving the e-208 in Normal mode, which gives the best combination of power and efficiency. There is also two levels of regenerative braking to choose from. It handles tight corners well and of all the small electric cars on the market right now, it is one of the most entertaining to drive alongside the Mini Electric. Our high-specification GT test car is fitted with larger 17-inch alloy wheels which can be a tad harsh on bumpier roads, but the entry models get smaller 16-inch wheels which would be better suited to back roads. The 208 offers a claimed range of up to 350 kilometres from a single charge, but this will of course vary depending on your driving style and conditions. We found it to be efficient during our time with it, comfortably achieving 280 kilometres from a single charge over mixed urban and motorway driving routes. In terms of charging the e-208 is well equipped as it can charge at home at 7kW or 11kW around town. The e-208 can also charge faster than most of its rivals and it can accept up to 50kW or 100kW rapid charging with a CCS type plug. We stopped at Junction 14 in Monasterevin during our test with just 14 kilometres of range left after a long journey and connected the e-208 to one of the ESB’s new rapid chargers. With this rapid charger, over 200 kilometres of range was added in just 23 minutes.
Peugeot Ireland offers the e-208 in three grades of specification; Active, Allure Pack and GT. Prices for the entry e-208 Active start from €28,305 including the SEAI grant and VRT relief and it is very well equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured trim and gloss black wheel arches, Peugeot’s i-Cockpit 3.5-inch digital driver’s display, LED headlights, pre-heating functionality and lots more. The mid-range e-208 Allure Pack starts from €30,750 including the SEAI grant and VRT relief and it adds rear LED lights, claw effect LED headlights, automatic windscreen wipers, a reversing camera, electric parking brake, automatic air conditioning, dark tinted rear windows, leather effect upholstery, Active Safety Braking, Peugeot’s clever 3D i-Cockpit head-up display and various other extras. The range-topping GT model that we tested starts from €32,865 and it leaves little to be desired with a 10-inch touchscreen system in the centre console, larger 17-inch alloy wheels, a diamond black roof, smartbeam assist LED headlights, a frameless electrochrome rear view mirror, customisable ambient interior lighting and lots more.
Carzone Verdict: 4/5
The Peugeot e-208 is one of the most desirable small electric cars on the market, with great looks, a well-equipped interior, a strong real-world range and faster charging times than most of its rivals. That said, rear seat space could be better, while it is expensive in this higher GT specification. If you are looking for an electric supermini that ticks most of the boxes, it is hard to look past the e-208, and it is definitely one of the standout options on the market at the moment.
Model: Peugeot e-208 GT
Prices from: €28,305 including SEAI grant and VRT relief
Price as tested: €32,865 including SEAI grant and VRT relief
Battery and drive: 50kWh battery, single electric motor, front-wheel-drive
Max charge speed: 100kW
Max range: 350 kilometres
Power: 136hp and 260Nm
0-100km/h: 8.1 seconds
Top speed: 150km/h