Driving to pick up the Peugeot e-208 last week, I had mixed feelings about what was going to happen. I had not driven a newer Peugeot for a number of years and my previous experiences driving them were mixed. However, the car I was going to pick up was quite an important one that had already been reviewed by many who had said really good things about it.
The e-208 has the biggest battery pack of any vehicle in its size bracket - 50 kWh - and although it’s still beaten by the Renault Zoe in terms of range, it’s not really that far off. Peugeot says it should take you 340 km (211 miles), but when I climbed aboard the car, its battery was almost fully charged and its predicted range was 232 km (144 miles).
Now from what I’ve read and seen, that is a bit low, as many people have easily driven it past the 250 km (155 miles) mark and some have even reached 270 km (167 miles) on a single charge. That is still a bit off the class range king, the Renault Zoe, with the largest 55 kWh battery pack which gives it a claimed WLTP range of 395 km (245 miles) - in the real world that translates into 300+ km (186+ miles) of driving.
Gallery: 2020 Peugeot e-208 GT
However, while the Zoe has the edge on range, the Peugeot e-208 beats it in pretty much every other area. It looks better from the outside, the interior is far better both in terms of design, as well as perceived quality and if it’s the top of the range GT trim, then you could almost call the interior special.
The e-208 is also really engaging and fun to drive. I was not expecting this, based on my experience with some older Peugeots, but it’s actually fun to throw the e-208 around and chuck it into a few bends - it didn’t seem that prone to understeer and thanks to the small steering wheel, it always feels sporty and a bit of a unique driving experience.
I think its blend of qualities make it a better buy than the Zoe, especially if you don’t just want a wheeled appliance that takes you from point A to point B. There is certainly some emotion in the e-208 and I think it’s not only one of the best electric cars of its size, I think it’s one of the best currently offered by any European manufacturer.
It’s not the best at any particular thing, but it is a strong all-rounder that punches above its weight when it comes to style and fun. I was really impressed by the e-208 - it made me feel something - which is far more than could be said of my previous experiences driving its main rival, the competent but ultimately dull to drive, be in and look at Renault Zoe.
If this is a sign of where Peugeot is heading in the near future, then I declare myself very interested. I’m especially looking forward to its more performance-oriented models, such as the 355-horsepower 508 Sport Engineering plug-in hybrid that’s set go on sale sometime in 2021.