That familiar EV calling card of instant, torque-rich acceleration is present and correct in the e-208, its smart step-off making it a particularly effective performer in town driving. And with just a single-speed reduction gear transmission, acceleration is delivered in a seamless surge, with no pause for clutch take-up from standstill or for any gearchanges.
The Peugeot’s ability to zap away from traffic lights has the potential to leave its driver, and those of other, piston-engined cars in the vicinity, a little bamboozled.
Like similarly powerful electrified rivals, the e-208 is at its best at low to medium speeds, where the car feels almost hot hatch quick. Above 50mph or so, acceleration tails off fairly sharply, at which point it feels no more potent than a mid-range naturally aspirated petrol equivalent.
The Peugeot will cruise comfortably at the motorway limit, but it requires surprisingly large throttle openings to do so and that has the expected negative knock-on effect on the range. Engaging Sport mode (there’s also Normal and Eco) increases the sensitivity of the throttle pedal for greater responsiveness.
Pull the stubby gearlever back from the ‘D’ position into ‘B’ and you engage that more aggressive regenerative braking mode, with full off-throttle delivering enough retardation to trigger the brake lights and allow true ‘one-pedal’ driving. Get your anticipation right and you should only need to touch the brake pedal in the last few metres before slowing to a stop. This is doubly useful because there’s still some tuning of brake pedal progression and feel needed. Smooth stops in the e-208 require delicate footwork.
One area where the Peugeot scores against rivals is in its refined performance, helping it to take full advantage of the near-silent power delivery of electric motors.
Often these hushed mechanicals highlight other noises in the car, but not so with the e-208, which does a fine job of isolating occupants from wind and road noise. (There’s an acoustically tuned windscreen as standard.)