The greatest of Es?
What Car? UK|October 2021
Both of these trendy small electric cars have as much wow factor now as when new, and you can save around £5000 by buying them at a year old

Price today £24,000*

Peugeot e-208 GT

List price when new £33,275 (before gov’t grant)

Available from 2019-present

One of our favourite small electric cars, with a stylish interior and a good range

HONDA E

1 Physical switches and dials for the climate control are not only easy to use but also operate with slick precision

2 There’s a three-pin socket and an HDMI port for showing movies or playing games via the infotainment screen

3 Digital screens for the door mirrors take a while to get used to, but they’re well positioned and work well in low light

PEUGEOT E-208

1 Adjusting the temperature while you’re driving can be tricky, because the controls are on the touchscreen

2 Some drivers will find that the steering wheel blocks their view of the instruments if they set it at a comfortable height

3 Eclectic mixture of materials looks good, but the plastics found lower down don’t feel as robust as the Honda’s

IF YOU’RE KEEN to join the electric vehicle (EV) revolution, you’ll need an awful lot of money to buy even the smallest new model. If you buy used, though, someone else absorbs the initial sting of depreciation, so even the most popular and desirable modern motors can be had for rather less than you’ll pay for a new one.

Take the two tots we’re testing here. The retro-styled Honda E has been wowing punters since the covers came off it last year. It’s available from new with a choice of two power outputs: 134bhp for the standard version and 152bhp in higher-spec Advance form. It’s the latter we have here, and it cost the first owner close to £30,000, after the £3000 (now £2500) government grant for EVs had been applied.

Or perhaps the more conventional-looking 134bhp Peugeot e-208 is more to your taste? It’s one of our favourite small EVs, and it, too, cost around £30,000 when new.

Fortunately, buying either of these two when they’re a year old will save you a decent bundle of cash. But which one of them should you be parking silently on your driveway?

DRIVING

Performance, ride, handling, refinement

Unlike in most rivals, the Honda’s electric motor sits at the back of the car and drives the rear wheels. That helps to give it 50/50 weight distribution, and, as fans of sports cars might know, that’s beneficial for handling and traction alike.

Indeed, the Honda can sprint from 0-60mph in just 7.2sec with not a hint of wheelspin. Meanwhile, the front-wheel-drive Peugeot, on its energy-saving tyres (the E gets sportier Michelin Pilot Sport 4s), relies on its traction control to keep wheelspin in check. That said, it can still manage 0-60mph in a decent 7.7sec.

Both of these cars are likely to spend much of their lives in towns or cities, but they still have plenty of oomph at higher speeds, with the Honda’s stronger pull between 50mph and 70mph making A-road overtakes easier. The Honda is quite a bit quieter at a 70mph cruise, too, generating less tyre noise and very little wind noise. That said, while the Peugeot is less hushed, it’s far from loud.

The Peugeot’s quick steering helps it to feel agile and composed in fast corners. By contrast, the Honda’s steering is relatively slow, plus it leans in corners more, although its sporty tyres provide plenty of grip.

The Honda is at an advantage in urban environs, though; having its motor at the back frees up space for the front wheels to turn more than in most cars, allowing you to make a U-turn in an area nine metres wide, compared with 10.4 metres for the Peugeot. That makes negotiating tight city streets a joy.

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