Can the updated Peugeot e-2008 still cut it in this popular class?

Peugeot has been a real pioneer in producing a range of desirable and efficient mass-market EVs, none more so than with the e-2008 small SUV. It’s proved to be a best-seller in Europe with over 75,000 sold since its launch in 2019, with buyers liking its decent electric driving range, quality cabin and sharp styling.

However, time moves quickly in the electric car world with new models seemingly arriving every month. To counter this slew of newer rivals, Peugeot has refreshed its top-seller with updates to the car’s battery, technology and design.

Battery size and technology is developing all of the time, and what seemed like a decent powertrain at the e-2008’s launch in 2019 now looks just a little old hat. The e-2008 gets parent company Stellantis’s latest lithium ion battery pack, which is already used in the new Jeep Avenger and the updated DS 3.

Photos: PA Media

At 54kWh it’s only marginally bigger than the old e-2008’s 50kWh battery, but it importantly boosts the claimed range from 214 miles to 251 miles. Peugeot has also fitted a more punchy electric motor, tweaked the interior and given the e-2008 its ‘shield’ logo, 508-esque three-claw LED daytime running lights and new LED rear lights.

There’s a more powerful motor in this e-2008 – 154bhp versus the 134bhp of the old car, and it’s a respectable, but far from remarkable, amount of power for a small electric crossover. Power is sent to the front wheels just like before and there’s the same 100kW max charging capability, which allows for an 80 per cent charge in around half an hour, but it’s also worth mentioning the battery the motor gets its juice from is now more efficient.

Peugeot claims five miles per kWh from the battery meaning – on paper at least – the e-2008 is one of the more efficient electric SUVs around. On our drive in 35-degree Spanish heat, our car averaged 3.7 miles per kWh which would equate to a range of 200 miles.

While we’re focusing on the electric 2008 here, there’s still a petrol version available using Peugeot’s tried and tested 1.2-litre three-cylinder unit.

Aside from the new motor there are no mechanical changes to the new e-2008, and for the most part it drives just like it did before. Despite the motor having an extra 20bhp, there’s little extra performance on offer here and the 0-60mph time of nine seconds remains virtually identical to the outgoing car’s.

Even in ‘sport’ mode – which sharpens up throttle response – the e-2008 doesn’t throw the driver back in their seat, with acceleration best described as brisk rather than fast. Having said that, squeeze the throttle hard out of a junction or a tight corner and the e-2008’s front tyres will squirm. It’s a softly riding car, too, with a pleasing pliancy to the ride quality and it handled some gnarly Spanish roads on our test route with ease.

This is no hot hatch, then, but in fairness it hasn’t been designed as one. As a comfortable, electric small SUV that has more than enough performance on tap, the e-2008 excels.

In our eyes the outgoing e-2008 didn’t look at all dated, and Peugeot could have got away with simply nailing its new ‘shield’ logo on the nose.

But its designers having taken the chance to give things a tweak, so, along with the new insignia, there’s a whole new front-end, with the most obvious change being new ‘three-claw’ LED daytime running lights in a similar style to the also updated Peugeot 508. There are new LED lights and new badging at the rear, and an assortment of new colours and wheel designs.

Higher spec cars get new materials, but no matter which model you go for the e-2008’s interior has a real quality feel – so much so it makes us wonder why you’d spend even more cash on its sister car, the DS 3. Aside from expensive feeling materials, the dashboard is nicely designed and now features a slightly resigned centre console with a new gear selector.

One really welcome change is a larger 10-inch touchscreen that’s standard across the range and comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The system itself has been overhauled with a new homescreen, easier functionality and crisper graphics – it’s now one of the better infotainment systems on offer in the compact electric SUV market.

And while the e-2008 is based on the smaller e-208 supermini, there’s a good amount of space inside with decent head and kneeroom in the back seats. Allure models and above get a handy moveable boot floor for extra practicality.

Peugeot has concentrated on improving the two main criticisms of the old e-2008, namely the battery and the car’s infotainment system. The larger 54kWh battery should give a 200 to 220-mile real-world range we reckon, which will be more than good enough for most family car buyers, and the larger touchscreen and slicker software is a welcome improvement.

While the e-2008 undoubtedly remains a stylish choice with polished driving manners and a quality cabin, it is an expensive option and looks pricey against some equally talented rivals. It’s a car that requires you doing your sums before taking the plunge, but we could see many buyers falling in love with the car’s styling and plush interior alone.

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