By Bill McCarthy
Peugeot has a proud record with small cars. The 205 GTi, which became an icon of the British roads back in the 1980s, the most notable example.
That has continued with the latest 208 and particularly the e-208, the first all-electric car in the Peugeot range. It is already challenging the best on the market as more and more people start looking at electric cars seriously, battery range improves and charging infrastructure widens.
It needs to be good as it is up against challengers like the Honda E, Corsa-e, Renault Zoe and Kia e-Niro and MINI electric.
It features an electric 50kWh, 136bhp powertrain with a claimed 217 miles range (WLTP) from a single charge. While never working on a full charge, three-quarter charge showed a range of 161 miles, there was never the range anxiety associated with earlier electric cars and I always felt there was power to spare.
The firm recommends using a wallbox charger, so the car comes with a Mode 3 Type 2 cable as standard, which will charge the vehicle in 7.5 hours with a 7kW charging point. There is also an optional facility for a booster charge cable which will give 80 per cent charge in around 30 minutes at certain charging points. The standard three-pin plug connector can take up to 14 hours for a full charge.
The latest 208 is a very stylish car and while the e-208 is essentially the same as its combustion siblings, it adds some neat little touches to distinguish it, including body coloured chequered front grille, a bespoke ‘e’ monogram and a clever innovation to the signature Peugeot Lion badge, which changes colour from different angles. This version also featured gloss black wheel arch extensions, and a diamond black roof.
Prices start at £28,100 for the Active model, rising to more than £33k for the the GT driven here.
The inside, which features the latest ‘3D i-Cockpit’, has a real premium feel, with high-end soft touch finish to dash and doors and neat chrome touches, piano-style control switches and heated, leather-trimmed front seats on this model.
It is dominated by a new 10-inch colour touchscreen and Connected 3D Navigation with Tom Tom live updates available, and controls major functions in the car like connectivity and infotainment.
The central console houses a a nifty little drive selector and the car features the now familiar compact steering wheel.
This GT specification is exclusive to the electric car and includes front and rear parking sensors and 180˚ reversing camera, 17-inch alloys active and ambient interior lighting.
Safety features include cyclist and pedestrian detection, full LED headlights, automated parking, adaptive cruise control, lane and blind spot assistance.
On the road, in true electric style, it is very nippy indeed, the instant torque powering it to 60mph in just under eight seconds, after which acceleration slows considerably, before reaching a top speed of just over 90mph, where permitted.
It handles well, feeling stable and assured, even if the GT suspension and larger wheels make it feel firm, sometimes uncomfortable over poor road surfaces.
As with all electric cars, you are constantly monitoring the range and the regenerative braking. It is selected via the B on the gear lever, and puts charge back into the battery as it the car slows. It also means you are inclined to drive more economically to maximise power recovery.
But when the power is needed, however, it is instantly on tap.
Being a relatively small car, space is at a premium. But both head and legroom is decent for front passengers, but is more cramped in the rear.
As a hatchback, it also pretty practical with boot capacity ranging from standard 311 litres, stretching the 1,106 litres with the rear seats folded. In addition there are number of stowage areas and compartments.
For easy of charging, customers can also download the MyPeugeot app, which will allow them to manage their vehicle charge remotely, precondition the temperature of the vehicle and receive ‘e-Coaching’ on how to benefit most from their vehicle.
As a first all electric effort, this is an impressive debut and should set a high standard across PSA brands. It also looks good by not falling into the trap of making electric power look slighty weird.
Peugeot e-208 GT 136
Mechanical: 136bhp, 50kWh electric motor driving front via CVT auto gearbox
Max speed: 93mph
0-60mph: 8.1 seconds
Range: 211 (WLTP)
Insurance group: 31E
CO2 emissions: 0 g/km
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles