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Peugeot E-208 Hatchback (2023 - ) Electric review

Peugeot updates the e-208 and makes an already excellent small electric car a little better

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Words by: Auto Trader

Last updated on 17 November 2023 | 0 min read

The Auto Trader expert verdict:


Available new from £32,000

Peugeot has updated the E-208 small hatchback because it’s about halfway through its life, originally arriving in 2019. Most of what’s been improved or altered is basically standard mid-life update stuff: new LED lights at both ends, new colours (including the striking shade of yellow pictured), new wheel designs, some interior trim changes, and more kit thrown in. The battery and motor have both been given a bump too, although that actually happened before this facelift, in 2022. It’s improved both power and range, albeit not to a transformative extent in the former case, which we'll come to. All of this makes a car that was already basically superb a little bit better; Peugeot has shifted more than one million 208s since 2019 and it’s easy to see why. It looks fantastic inside and out, it’s lovely to drive (if you’re the right size for it), and the electric version specifically is the best one - the most refined, cheapest to run, and the quickest in the real world. It’s not flawless, by any means - and it’s looking very expensive these days - but the E-208 could reasonably be called the best small hatchback on the market. Or at least the most interesting. Read on to find out why.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickBrilliantly designed, unique and high-quality interior
  • tickStill looks as fresh and distinctive as ever
  • tickMuch improved battery range

At a glance:

Running costs for a Peugeot E-208

You’ll probably find that a petrol 208 will ultimately cost a bit less over three years of ownership
Let’s start with the price, because at north of £31,000 for a basic Active spec E-208, it’s not a cheap car. Even in the context of a basic 208 with a petrol engine, which will set you back £12,000 less, it looks pricey. But it’s proper jarring to know that it’s in the same ballpark as, say, a Volvo EX30 or a Fiat 600e – and within touching distance of the recently updated Tesla Model 3, at the top of the range. Yikes. If you’re looking at things from a PURELY cost-based perspective, and you’re financing privately, then you’ll probably find that a petrol 208 will ultimately cost a bit less over three years of ownership. That said, the E-208 is the better car, and very cost-effective to run on a day-to-day basis if you charge it mostly using an EV-specific home tariff with cheap overnight electricity. You will of course get significant tax breaks if it’s a company car, too. The usable battery capacity has gone up by three kilowatt hours over 2019’s version, to 51kWh, meaning a bump in WLTP range, from 217 miles to 248 miles. It can charge at up to 100kW speed too, meaning the all-important 20-80% electricity fill-up takes less than 30 minutes. It’s worth considering insurance costs as well, because the E-208 is in a relatively high insurance band, beginning at 25 (of 50).
Expert rating: 2/5

Reliability of a Peugeot E-208

On a more subjective level, the E-208 just feels very well-built throughout. A real high-quality product
The E-208 hasn’t been around for long enough to get a proper gauge on how reliable it is long term, but we have no reason to believe it’ll be problematic. It’s had only one recall in three years, for a possible electrical issue. This is the point at which we tell you that electric cars require less maintenance by nature too, because of the motor’s scarcity of moving parts. And then we tell you that because Peugeot is part of The Big Stellantis Group, the E-208 shares most of its bits with the Vauxhall Corsa-E and a whole host of other electric cars from Citroen, Jeep and DS Automobiles. Therefore, you’re looking at something built from bits tried, tested and proven far and wide – literally millions of cars. On a more subjective level, the E-208 just feels very well-built throughout. A real high-quality product. Most of the surfaces and the switchgear feel chunkier than James Hetfield’s low E string, and even the doors have the sort of “thunk” that you’d expect from a German saloon. This is Peugeot’s smallest car, remember. A petit French hatchback. How times have changed.
Expert rating: 4/5

Safety for a Peugeot E-208

It’s very safe but in a generally passive sort of way: strong body shell and some useful tech as standard
At a time when safety systems are becoming ‘active’ to the point that they’re an actual distraction – see the Volvo EX30 for details – the fact that the E-208 is fundamentally 2019’s car is a bonus. It’s very safe but in a generally passive sort of way: strong body shell and some useful tech as standard, like automatic emergency braking (at speeds up to 87mph), and one of the better lane-keeping systems we’ve tried. Which is to say it doesn’t shove the car sideways if it's within six feet of a lane marking. It has a four-star Euro NCAP rating, which is one away from top marks, but that’s mainly because it doesn’t perform well in the pedestrian test, whereas it does protect adult and child occupants very well indeed. What we would say, though, is that the E-208 feels very 2019 from a user interface point of view too. The infotainment software has been improved for 2023, but general intuitiveness is still nowhere near what Peugeot is doing in newer stuff like the 308, with its customisable shortcut switches. It’s the sort of setup that just demands a little too much time spent lingering on a screen, to do simple things like knocking the climate control down a couple of degrees. It could be worse, but it also could be a lot better.
Expert rating: 4/5

How comfortable is the Peugeot E-208

If you’re taller or have long legs, the steering wheel will feel like it’s resting on your knees
Describing the comfort of an E-208 is like describing the comfort of a cashmere jumper that’s only available in one size. If that size doesn’t fit your frame, you’re going to feel restricted no matter how luxurious the material feels. The E-208 is the smallest application of Peugeot’s i-Cockpit setup, which is defined by a very small steering wheel and the digital speedometer sat above it. The issue is, if you’re taller or have long legs, the steering wheel will feel like it’s resting on your knees, partly because the seat doesn’t go low enough. So you’ll compensate by pushing the seat as far back as it’ll go, which means your arms are too outstretched. In a car with no space to spare, i-Cockpit just doesn’t work as well as it does in a 308 or a 508. There really isn’t much space to spare, either. Unlike the related Vauxhall Corsa, which feels relatively airy inside, this is almost cramped, front and back. Shallow windows don’t help. That said, it’s just a really interesting thing, so you’ll probably forgive the quirks even if you’re too tall to fit properly. The teensy steering wheel, sharp steering and small dimensions generally give it the sort of ‘go-kart’ feel that the MINI marketing department could only dream of. The ride quality is a little on the firm side because it’s electric – extra weight means stiffer suspension settings – but overall the balance is good. It doesn’t lean too much, nor does it thump too hard over potholes and things.
Expert rating: 3/5

Features of the Peugeot E-208

You could easily make do with an Active (base spec) car. It’s very well specified
The infotainment screen is 10-inches across the range now, albeit a basic Active E-208 has analogue dials and a ‘standard definition’ touchscreen; it does seem odd to make the screen bigger but dial the pixel count down in the base car. Just like it’s odd that the electric seats in top-spec cars still have manual front-to-back adjustment. The 3D and HD instrument display for top-level GT cars is impressive, but it’s not a deal-breaker, and in fact, you could easily make do with an Active car. It’s very well specified. It gets wireless smartphone mirroring, voice recognition, alloy wheels, a leather multi-function steering wheel, automatic climate control and rear parking sensors. GT trim is the best-looking by virtue of bigger wheels, gloss black exterior trim, colour-selectable interior lighting, and part-leather seats, but at more than £36,000, it’s just too expensive.
Expert rating: 4/5

Power for a Peugeot E-208

The responsiveness of the electric drivetrain makes the E-208 feel right at home as a city car
Peugeot has bumped the electric motor by 20hp compared to the 2019 car. It did that in 2022, along with the slightly bigger battery, and carried the changes over to the facelift. So, we’ve gone from 134 horsepower to 154 horsepower. Quite a bump, but unusually – and surprisingly – the 0-62mph time has increased slightly, from 8.1 seconds to 8.2. We can probably put that down to the extra weight of the battery. Regardless, it still feels quick enough, albeit you need to be in Sport mode to unlock the car’s full power, or mash the accelerator to the floor in Normal Mode; in Eco and Normal modes, power and torque are reduced to preserve battery life and the car feels substantially less brisk, especially in the former setting. Still, the responsiveness of the electric drivetrain makes the E-208 feel right at home as a city car – sharp, alert and easily controllable – more so than petrol versions. It’s also, of course, much quieter. It’s true, however, that you can buy a lot more outright pace in an EV for this money. The MG4 XPower, for instance. Sure, it’s a different sort of car - a substantially bigger crossover - but it’s priced akin to a GT spec E-208 and it bashes out 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds.
Expert rating: 3/5