Engine options, speed, acceleration and refinement

We’ve been led towards high expectations of electric cars where performance is concerned, but it’s inevitable that as the EV market fills out and electricity seems an ever more common and normal way to power a typical family car, so will those expectations be tempered. In that respect, you could say that the e-2008 is something of a force for normalisation.

Its acceleration won’t take your breath away. It responds very keenly, and as cleanly, smoothly and progressively relative to pedal position as any EV, but it needs almost 9.0sec to sweep from 30mph to 70mph – as you might when entering a motorway or leaving a built-up area – and 9.5sec to crack 60mph from rest.

Peugeot prefers to put the charging socket where you would find the fuel filler, which is another way of making things familiar for EV newbies. It also makes parking safer. The best charging rate is 100kW via a DC CCS connection.

In both of those respects, several similarly priced EVs we’ve tested these past three years have been quite a lot quicker – and the related, 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol 3 Crossback we tested only last year was a useful margin quicker also.

And so 134bhp does indeed feel a bit underwhelming, on occasion, for a 1.6-tonne EV. Not around town, but above 50mph, the e-2008 needs plenty of encouragement to move more quickly than the average car in the morass of British traffic. Still, it responds to your right foot in a pleasing way, because it does so very smartly and precisely. In everyday motoring, it would be getting on down the road while the engines or automatic gearboxes of some regular family cars might still be lacing up their running shoes. Even so, except perhaps at particularly low speeds, the e-2008 isn’t really compelling or thrusty-feeling to drive.

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There are three driving modes on offer, with full power from the motor available only in Sport, along with a slightly recalibrated accelerator pedal. Brake energy regeneration is relatively mild, and while the effect can be dialled up when using B instead of D on the transmission, the e-2008 clearly isn’t the kind of EV in which a one-pedal urban driving style might be easily adopted.

Paddle-based adjustable recuperation modes might have made for more efficient recycling of energy and a slightly more involving drive overall, but if Peugeot set out rather to make the driving experience simple and familiar for those switching to an EV, it has achieved its aim well enough.

Strangely enough, the e-2008’s tendency to regenerate doesn’t seem to be increased by gentle braking, and yet its brake pedal does have the soft, stodgy feel of a car with such a blended braking system, which can make it tricky to slow smoothly from higher speeds. Its stopping power is respectable enough, though – our test figures having been adversely affected by a slightly damp surface.