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2020 Peugeot e-208 review: do you really need more than this?

Take only what you need. Thatís been the main lesson of the coronavirus crisis so far. Feed your family, but donít hoard; shop properly, but donít panic-buy. Acts of selfishness may have reached the front pages, but Britainís response to the pandemic has so far been characterised by kindness, bravery and stoicism Ė attributes that many hope will linger after the covid-19 catastrophe is over.

And perhaps weíll apply these cooperative principles to cars, too. Iíve written before about how illogically selfish Britainís automotive landscape has become, and about how the popularity of large, heavy, inefficient SUVs is driven by the most awful part of our speciesí psychology Ė the impulse to take more resources than we need, including, in this case, space and energy. Itís possible that in three, six or twelve monthsí time, when the worst of this crisis is over, weíll look upon SUV drivers with the same scorn we viewed the loo roll hoarders and pasta panic-buyers of March 2020.

Admittedly, choosing a car is a tad more complicated than picking groceries, and some drivers really do need seven seats, or a four-wheel-drive system, or 500bhp engine, just as some shoppers really do need 10kg of penne. But once the virus has been thwarted, I at least hope we can approach car buying with the same honesty that weíre now taking to the supermarket, and perhaps reconsider some of our assumptions. In particular, I hope we can truthfully assess our own needs before purchasing something inherently wasteful.

Because when you strip away the excess, youíre left with cars like this Peugeot e-208. Itís a battery-electric hatchback, with five seats, a generous boot, and a compact overall footprint. It can travel over 200 miles on a full Ďtankí, and can be refilled from empty to 80 percent in about half an hour at a rapid charger. Itíll reach 60mph in eight seconds, itís easy to park, itís pretty, and it doesnít cost too much. Everything about it is justÖ enough.

What is the e-208 like to drive?

I wonít spend too many words on the dynamics, because they arenít relevant. Itís more than fast enough to keep up with modern traffic, both in terms of acceleration and cruising speed, and it handles pleasingly. This isnít a car for ďspirited B-road blastsĒ, or the kind of person who wants to go on one; this is a car for somebody who has approached their requirements with pragmatism and, probably, a spreadsheet.