The pure-electric e-208 GT came first on DRIVEN’s road test schedule. The conventional petrol-only 208 GT came a bit later.
In 2021, that’s probably how it should be. There’s huge focus on Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) in New Zealand right now and Peugeot has come up with a winning package in the $59,990 (or $51,365 post-Clean Car Discount) e-208. It even made it onto our shortlist for AA DRIVEN NZ Car of the Year.
But spare a thought for the 208 GT 130 PureTech (aka petrol). You might not be able to tell the two apart - the BEV has a fancier grille and an “e” badge on the C-pillar - but the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) model will save you a handy $13k.
In reality they’re very different cars, whatever your eyeballs might tell you. The e-208 GT looks sporty but mostly impresses with its generous range and superbly linear performance; it’s mainstreaming the BEV driving experience in a way that few other cars can right now.
The 208 GT is all thrummy turbo-three-cylinder energy and eager handling. Even a bit of the spirit of Peugeot’s classic GTi models, albeit without the ultimate turn of speed.
The e-208 rewards a considered right foot, but the ICE 208 demands more of a full French flat-to-the-floor technique. Well, you don’t absolutely have to do that; but it’s fun.
It’s fun to fling around too, perhaps more so because you can do it all at very sensible speeds. It’s the kind of thing that might make you think twice about defaulting to a compact SUV. Hope I didn’t lose you there.
The 208 gets Peugeot’s latest-gen i-Cockpit, with lots of virtual tech and a 3D instrument panel, which is novel but also a bit hard to read sometimes. It all seems impossibly posh for a sub-$40k small car, although the idiosyncratic layout is jarring for some people.
In truth, there’s a bit too much assigned solely to the touch screen. The newer Citroen C4, which shares the same basic platform and electronic architecture, has a similar feel but is more intuitive because it brings back a bit more of the physical switchgear.
The price of the e-208 GT has brought quite a bit of attention back onto the traditional supermini in NZ; the e-2008 sister SUV is $10k more expensive and buyers are favouring the smaller car for now. It’d be nice to think the ICE 208 GT’s effervescent character could do the same in the petrol sphere.
PEUGEOT 208 GT 130 PURETECH
ENGINE: 1.2-litre turbo-petrol three-cylinder
GEARBOX: 6-speed automatic, FWD
0-100KM/H: 8.8 seconds