The e-2008’s chassis is as benign as any you’ll find on a modern compact crossover, and it makes for a car that’s pretty blameless and agreeable to drive in the broadest terms. But just as its powertrain lacks the ability to go beyond the outright performance capabilities of a pretty ordinary compact family five-door, so does its handling provide as little to praise on the road as there is to criticise.

It’s relatively agile when manoeuvring and around town. Still, it was puzzling to some testers that Peugeot should attempt to contrive some pointiness into the handling mix of car with a steering wheel as dinky as a sideplate, only to partner that wheel with a steering rack that, at 2.8 turns between locks, is probably 20% less direct than is now typical of a car this size. So while the orbit of the wheel is smaller than it might be, you still have to turn the e-2008’s wheel a little further than you expect to in order to negotiate roundabouts and T-junctions.

The e-2008’s chassis is as inoffensive as they come, so it’s rather confusing why Peugeot made the steering so pointy; performance isn’t stomach-churning, pleasingly.

All the while, you can perceive the compromises that Peugeot has admitted in order to make the steering system work through such a tiddly tiller. The rack feels slightly elastic and over-assisted, even though it’s well enough weighted to make positioning the car easy while you’re turning in. When you’re feeding off lock, though, there’s a bit too much positivity and self-centring action to make the car corner intuitively, which contributes to the pervading sense that the rack’s power assistance is operating at the limit of its powers but is always on a hiding to nothing when it comes to adding sporting edge to the car’s driving experience.

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While the e-2008 has decent lateral body control, it, like so many EVs, can’t afford particularly high mechanical grip levels. It corners neatly and securely and has well-tuned electronic aids that keep it on your intended path even when you’re hurrying it along in slippery conditions, although it leans on them quite hard at times.

The car’s vertical composure is less consistent, becoming a little bit soft and fidgeting at quicker cross-country pace. Some steering corruption is apparent when you open the throttle all the way with a bit of steering angle applied, obliging you to keep close tabs on where you’re pointing the front wheels.

Assisted driving notes

The standard active safety specification of the e-2008 includes a lane-departure warning system, as well as automatic emergency braking (AEB) that can detect pedestrians around town as well as cars stopping in front of you in heavy traffic. The AEB system’s functionality expands to include cyclist detection with midrange models. And if you have a top-of-the-range GT (or a lowlier trim with the right option box ticked), you get a car with blind-spot monitoring, active cruise control and full-on lane-keeping assistance.

Peugeot starts in the right place with both lane aids by making them fully switchable and by keeping them deactivated once you’ve switched them off. They’re not the subtlest or smoothest such systems when operating, making you feel as if there’s a nervous driving instructor aboard. They may serve a purpose to some, though.

Comfort and isolation

Like so many affordable EVs, the e-2008 has a ride that’s entirely respectable, but it has been left a little way short of the ability to impress you with its suppleness or noise suppression. Part of that perception may be attributable to a relatively quiet electric motor on board, of course, and yet there were several sources of noise and upset you could point to in our test car that adversely affected its comfort levels.

The e-2008’s suspension comes up just a little bit short for compliance over bigger bumps around town. The twist-beam rear axle thunks and protests just enough for you to notice over speed bumps, while the audible ‘sproing’ evident from all corners over drain covers and the like speaks of the necessarily firm bushings and anti-roll bar settings that you might expect of a relatively heavy, high-riding car.

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Wind isolation is harder to fault, mind, and the comfort afforded by the driver’s seat is good but for a lack of extendable under-thigh support. There’s a second reason to think twice before specifying the sunroof: the one fitted to our test car creaked and chirruped on even roads, as if its rubber seals hadn’t quite been seated correctly. It’s the kind of build quality foible that Peugeot is likely to solve early on in the production cycle of the 2008, but on a car like the e-2008, where every squeak is an annoying one, it needs attending to quickly.