Peugeot electrifies

new 208

Peugeot e-208, 2019, front
Peugeot e-208, 2019, front, action
Peugeot e-208, 2019, rear, action
Peugeot e-208, 2019, rear
Peugeot e-208, 2019, bonnet
Peugeot e-208, 2019, charging
Peugeot e-208, 2019, display screen
Peugeot e-208, 2019, interior
Peugeot e-208, 2019, boot

WHEN Peugeot launched its 205 supermini back in the early 1980s few would have predicted the overwhelming popularity of the car.

It evolved into the 208 and went on to sell more than 22 million cars.

Now there's a brand new 208 with punchy petrol and diesel engines, plus an all-electric model that really shakes up the mix, so that's the car we tried out in the Portuguese sunshine.

It's called the e-208 and features a 50kWh battery and 136hp electric motor that delivers a 211-mile driving range from full charge under WLTP testing.

The 260Nm of torque helps the car complete the 0-62mph dash in just 8.1 seconds and it tops out at 93mph.

There's no denying the fact that the e-208 is quite a looker and when viewed from any approach, it oozes dynamic design cues.

Up front there are full LED headlights featuring the three-line claw effect design with a further light feature that drops down to the bumper and looks like a sabre tooth.

The distinctive grille has a colour-coded chequered design with gloss black edge trim and even the Peugeot Lion emblem changes colour when looked at from different angles.

Viewed from the side, it's the tinted windows, 17-inch alloys and wheel arch extensions that catch the eye. But it's the rear design that really encapsulates the e-208's dynamism.

Once again there are the 3D claw-effect rear lights but these are now connected by a black strip with PEUGEOT lettering. It looks modern, athletic and very desirable.

Move inside and the interior is upmarket with premium styling and a wealth of technology to explore.

The e-208 is available in the standard trim levels across the range called Active, Allure and GT Line.

But there is also an exclusive GT version and that's the model we opted for.

Admittedly, it does mean the cost increases considerably with an asking price of £29,650 and that's after the Government's Plug-in Grant of £3,500 has been deducted.

But the GT model has all the on-board techno treats and creature comforts you could wish for with tri-colour upholstery and neat contrast stitching, piano keys and gloss black toggle keys, a 10-inch touchscreen, a compact steering wheel, plus a fabulous new 3D-effect head-up digital instrument panel.

This new panel looks superb and can be adapted to requirement, displaying information such as driving range, charging details, navigation instructions, speed and plenty more besides.

Features include MirrorScreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone connectivity, navigation with TomTom, heated front seats, a wireless charger, four USB or USB-C ports, full park assist and a great sound system.

When it comes to performance the electric 208 is a delight to drive. The acceleration is instant and the power levels are constant which makes overtaking slower moving vehicles simple.

The road holding is confident and there's no sign of any body movement into bends. In fact, the battery packs are positioned beneath the floor of the e-208, so the car has a lower centre of gravity, which is great for ride and handling.

There are drive modes called Eco and Normal on lower trim models, but the e-208 GT Line and GT gain a Sport mode which really sharpens up the responses.

The only slight downside was the larger sized 17-inch wheels. They may look the business, but they do result in a slightly fidgety ride over poorer road surfaces and the noise levels from the Tarmac are also louder as a result.

But that aside, the e-208 was accomplished on winding country roads and lapped up the challenge when the open road presented itself with swift acceleration.

The e-208 can complete up to 211 miles between charges according to WLTP testing and the range can be maximised through regenerative braking.

When the drive selector is put into ‘D' for ‘drive' the braking is similar to a standard car, but when you select ‘B' for ‘forward drive with regenerative braking' the deceleration is controlled by removing your foot from the throttle. This means you barely need touch the brake pedal whilst driving.

As the e-208 competes in the supermini sector passenger space within the five-door hatchback is never going to be vast.

However, the clever positioning of the batteries means no cabin or boot space has been compromised.

The boot can carry 311 litres of luggage - increased to 1,106 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat and there are a number of handy storage compartments throughout the vehicle.

Passenger space is okay in the back so long as the front seats are not pushed back too far, but up front the driver and passenger have ample room.

The e-208 can be charged to 80 per cent in just 30 minutes via rapid charging at a public 100kW terminal, fully charged in eight hours from a dedicated home charge point, or takes up to 20 hours from a domestic plug.

There is the option of remote charging and a new MyPeugeot App allows users to programme charging times as well as pre-heating or cooling the car.

Although the e-208 only gained four out of the maximum five stars when tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating, it is packed with safety systems and driver aids to help protect occupants, pedestrians and reduce the chance of accidents happening in the first place.

All in all, the e-208 is a fantastic addition to the EV scene and it definitely puts the fun factor into electric driving without having to splash out premium prices for the privilege.

And Peugeot has announced plans to electrify its entire range by 2023 so customers will have a wealth of EV options available.

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