Crowned 2020 European Car of the Year and available with petrol, diesel and electric powertrains, the Peugeot 208 is one of the best-looking superminis on the market.
Developed alongside the very similar Vauxhall Corsa range, the EV version (marketed as the e-208) features the same 50kWh battery and 134bhp electric motor, giving a claimed range of up to 222 miles. However, real world range is closer to 200 miles.
Considering that they are so closely related, it’s admirable that the designers have managed to create two cars with such different personalities.
The e-208 is arguably the more stylish of the two with its seductive lines and distinctive “lion’s teeth” daytime running lights and “lion claw” tail-lights.
The big difference is inside where, in common with other Peugeots, there’s an “i-Cockpit”. In other words, there’s a small, low-set steering wheel, while the dashboard is raised and set back, so you view the instrument cluster by looking over, rather than through, the steering wheel.
To be frank, the driving position takes some getting used to and it’s not for everybody. Ultimately, for many the choice between the Corsa-e and e-208 will come down to whether they prefer a conventional cabin, or not.
The interior itself has a classy feel with plenty of soft-touch surfaces and a series of cool piano keys (or toggle switches) in the centre console which act as short-cuts to the infotainment screen above.
There are four trim levels and the entry-level Active Premium model’s standard kit includes 16-inch alloys, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus autonomous emergency braking (AEB).
Mid-range Allure Premium adds a slick 3D digital instrument panel and a colour reversing camera.
The GT gets a 10.0-inch central touchscreen with connected navigation, upgraded emergency braking which works in the dark and can spot pedestrians and cyclists, plus black door mirror caps and wheel arches.
GT Premium is the top-of-the-range spec, adding adaptive cruise control with stop-go functionality, plus Alcantara and cloth seat trims inside.
Effortless to drive, you simply select ‘D’ using the dinky gear shifter in the centre console, and you’re away. Choose between Eco, Normal or Sport drive modes (Eco will do just fine) and enjoy the ride.
The official stats say it’s capable of sprinting from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds, but it seems swifter, while top speed is 93mph.
As you’d expect, it’s very refined (except for a distant EV whine), though the ride might be slightly too firm for some. Nevertheless, it handles well with decent grip and controlled body lean in more challenging corners. However, it’s never going to set your pulse racing like a hot hatch.
It’s a doddle to drive in an urban environment, thanks to its light steering and instant torque, though the brake pedal is on the light side.
Visibility is good, apart from the slim rear screen and chunky pillars. Front and rear sensors, along with a clear, rear-view camera on the infotainment screen, help with manoeuvres.
Space is no problem up front, but it is a little cosy in the back for larger passengers. Boot space is same as its petrol and diesel siblings – 311 litres or 1,106 litres with the rear seats folded.
If you have a 7kW home wallbox, the e-208 will fully charge in approximately 7.5 hours. Find a rapid 100kW public chargepoint, and it can reach 80% in as little as 30 minutes.