Nissan Leaf Vs Peugeot 208: Moneyshake Compares< Back to blog
Two hatchbacks in their second generation that have improved in leaps and bounds since they were produced.
The Nissan Leaf was more impactful when it was first released back in 2011 – made other electric cars look like golf buggies with its design (that actually looked like a car) and decent range. Arguably kickstarted the modern EV craze and is now better than ever, with a range-topping e+ version capable of more than 200 miles, an improved design and enhanced onboard tech.
I think the Peugeot 208 would like to forget its first generation (2012-2019 which was no match for rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo. However, this latest 208 has improved in every way imagineable and challenges even more premium small cars now.
So, we know these cars have taken a similar journey since birth, but which one comes out on top when it comes to the nitty gritty? Found out in this review, where we compare everything from design to performance and everything inbetween.
The Nissan Leaf has grown up massively since the second generation was introduced in 2017. It’s sportier, more angular look and inclusion of plenty more kit as standard makes it much more appealing. You’ll get 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, an aero roof spoiler and chrome door handles which all make the car look suave. On top of this there are more functional elements to the car’s exterior, including LED daytime running lights and rear lights, intelligent auto headlights with high beam assist, plus automatic rain-sensing wipers.
What about the 208 then? For starters, it has a much more striking look than the Leaf. This is mostly down to a very cool-looking chrome chequered grille, snazzy saber-tooth-shaped secondary headlights, a diamond black roof spoiler and 16-inch ‘Taksim’ alloy wheels (the name they give their sporty-looking alloys).
With the 208 you also get the option of a sportier ‘GT’ trim that adds chunkier 17-inch alloy wheels, more gloss black finishes on the bumpers, a B pillar, wheel arches and window surround, a blacked out grille, plus tinted back windows.
The Leaf only really adds privacy glass and larger 17-inch alloys as you go up the range, so there isn’t much in the way of a sporty spec.
Winner: Peugeot 208
What we think
While we appreciate the cosmetic updates the Leaf has received in the last five or so years, there’s more to the 208’s design that excites. For this reason, it gets the nod for us over the Leaf.
Interior design and space
For an electric car, the Nissan Leaf is quite intuitive. The moment you get inside you’ll notice a decent number of physical buttons that allow you to operate the main controls easily. It’s refreshing to see, especially because most modern EVs rely heavily on a touchscreen.
Visibility out the front of the Nissan Leaf is decent, but chunky pillars at the back of the car means that seeing out of the back is a trickier task. Thankfully, there’s a reversing camera as standard.
Every Leaf has an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display that comes with physical shortcut buttons that make it easier to use than other similar systems. The BMW i3 and Mini Electric iDrive controller is better though. Unfortunately the resolution of the screen isn’t great. Apple Carplay, Android Auto smartphone mirroring, DAB radio and sat nav all included as standard – can’t complain with this. Standard 6-speaker stereo is okay, but if you want to amp this up then a Bose system comes as standard with Tekna and e+ Tekna (subwoofer in boot).
The infotainment system in the 208 is also a 7.0-inch touchscreen display as standard and includes shortcut buttons and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. It’s no more HD than the Leaf’s, however you will have the option to upgrade it to a larger 10.0-inch display if you choose an Allure Premium spec. Or, if you go with the sportier GT and GT Premium specs, it comes as standard.
Unfortunately interior quality is nowhere near the 208 or even rival electric cars like the Renault Zoe. Not only is its design striking (thanks to Peugeot’s slick i-Cockpit design) but there are plenty of high-end materials that make it look as good as premium small cars like the Audi A1.
Winner: Peugeot 208
What we think
The Nissan Leaf struggles to compete with the Peugeot 208 when it comes to interior design. There’s a notable plushness and construction integrity inside the 208, whereas the Leaf is some way behind.
Up front in these cars you won’t struggle for room, even if you are on the more lanky side. Both allow for decent head and leg room, though the Nissan Leaf is a slightly wider model, so you’ll feel less squished.
The 208 makes up for it by having more storage space up top, however. There’s a large cubby underneath the armrest, you get sizeable door bins, trays and cupholders, as well as a roomy glovebox.
Compare this with the Leaf and things aren’t as rosy when it comes to space in the front. Sure, the door bins are a good size and you’ll get a small cubby in front of the gear selector that will fit keys or a phone, but there aren’t as many trays and the next best thing is two roomy cupholders.
How about space in the back? Well, neither are great if you’re over six feet tall. Both the Leaf and 208 have quite a low roofline, making headroom pretty tight if you’re tall.
Legroom is slightly better in the back in the 208 because there isn’t a raised floor like there is in the Leaf (this is to make space for the batteries).
As for the boot, there’s no competition here whatsoever between the two. The Nissan Leaf has a vast amount of space (435 litres) versus the 208 (311 litres). To put that into perspective, the Leaf can fit around seven carry-on suitcases, whereas the 208 can fit around five.
Winner: Nissan Leaf
What we think
If it wasn’t for such a big difference in boot size, this would be a tie. Both cars have similar levels of passenger space in the front and back, with the Leaf slightly edging it as wider-opening doors make it easier to get in and out of.
Like with most electric cars, outright pace is much better than in their combustion engine counterparts.
So, it shouldn’t surprise you then that all versions of the Nissan Leaf are quicker off the mark than even the most powerful Peugeot 208.
Two battery and electric motor pairings are available for the Nissan Leaf. The first is a 150bhp motor that’s powered by a 39kWh battery, providing a real range of around 145 miles between charges, a 0-60mph time of 7.9 seconds and a top speed of 89mph. Or, you can choose an ‘e+’ trim and you’ll get a more powerful 217bhp electric motor and a bigger 59kWh battery. This increases real world range to 210 miles between charges, cuts the 0-60mph sprint to a nippy 6.9 seconds and increases the top speed to 98mph.
We’d avoid the entry-level ‘1.2 PureTech’ engine for the Peugeot 208 as it comes with a negligible 75bhp, unless you only plan to drive in cities. Instead, the 1.2 PureTech 100 has a much healthier 100bhp that can take you from 0-60mph in 9.9 seconds (down from 14.9 seconds in the entry-level engine) and has a top speed of 117mph.
At the top of the 208 range is the 1.2 PureTech 130 which has 129bhp and an automatic gearbox that all feels pretty peppy. It can accelerate from 0-60mph in nippy 8.7 seconds and has a top speed of 129mph.
Outright pace isn’t all that counts when it comes to performance though. How the car handles and its suspension/comfort are just as, if not, more important.
In terms of comfort, the 208 has the upperhand over the Leaf, particularly in two where you’re jostled around more while turning/manoeuvring in the Leaf. Regardless of the speed you’re going in the 208 the ride is incredibly smooth.
Handling for both these cars is good, with the steering feeling predictable and nicely weighted. In fact, it might surprise you to hear that the Leaf has less body lean than the 208 while cornering.
Winner: Nissan Leaf
What we think
The Nissan Leaf is quicker off the mark, incredibly hushed even at motorway speeds and handles well for a heavier car.
While the 208 might feel more agile and composed in town, the ease of the one-pedal driving experience in the Leaf balances this out.
Price and running costs
Now down to brass tax – how much do both these cars cost?
For now electric cars are still on average more expensive than their combustion engine counterparts. As such, it probably won’t surprise you to hear that the Nissan Leaf is the more expensive option when it comes to its lease price, with offers starting from around £299 per month* on our website.
The Peugeot 208, however, is available to lease with the top-spec 130bhp engine from around £264 per month*.
*Prices accurate as of August 2022
Where the Nissan Leaf does gain ground is with its running costs, as we’ll demonstrate below.
Using the entry-level Nissan Leaf with a 39kWh battery as an example:
- Nissan Leaf avg. home charge cost (empty to full)* – £10, adding around 145 miles of range.
- Nissan Leaf avg. public charge cost (20%-80%)** – £9.50, adding around 87 miles of range.
*Assumes tariff of 28p/kWh. Cost of home charging will vary depending on electricity rate.
**Assumes tariff of 44p/kWh applicable to most rapid chargers as of April 2022.
Using the 110bhp 1.2-litre petrol Peugeot 208 as an example.
This version has a fuel economy of 48.9mpg and a 42 litre (9.2 gallon) fuel tank capacity.
- Filling up from empty to full would cost roughly £60*, adding around 450 miles of range.
- Filling up the tank from 20%-80% full would cost around £36*, adding around 270 miles of range.
*Average cost calculated using average UK fuel price of £6.5 per gallon as of August 2022
Both cars fall into very similar insurance groups – 19 for the Nissan Leaf and 21 for the Peugeot 208 – so the cost of cover is likely to be in the same ballpark. However, premiums are determined by numerous personal factors (i.e. age, number of years no claims bonus you have, etc.) and so we encourage you to run a quote online using both to get an idea of cost.
Winner: Nissan Leaf
What we think
The Nissan Leaf might be more to lease per month, but compared to the Peugeot 208 it’s one of the smallest differences in price between an electric car and petrol car that we’ve seen.
Over the course of a few years, which is the typical lease deal length, you’ll likely save enough on running costs to offset the monthly lease price too.
Overall winner: Nissan Leaf
It’s a close one between these cars. Both have improved dramatically in their latest second generation models, but the Nissan Leaf just pips it for us in important areas such as practicality, performance and running costs.
The Peugeot 208 is still a stylish, affordable runaround that will even suit a small family if you’re not quite ready to make the switch to an electric car.
But in all honesty, unless you live in a remote part of the UK that doesn’t have a local charging network and you don’t have a driveway suitable for an electric car charger to be installed, then an EV is still a viable option for most drivers.
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