Peugeot iOn: Road test
The iOn is Peugeot's entry into the rapidly evolving electric car market. Think it looks familiar to the Mitsubishi i-MiEV? Well, you'd be right as the iOn is the result of Peugeot, Citroen and Mitsubishi combining their resources to create a single shared platform, in order to reduce costs.
As such, the iOn is little more than a warmed over version of the Mitsubishi and an expensive one at that, with the monthly lease adding up to £415. So, despite the cost, how does this electric Peugeot work in everyday life? I spent a week finding out.
The iOn dates back to the Mitsubishi i of 2007. The only changes over the i's stretched Smart-like styling are the Peugeot-specific front panels.
Peugeot has fitted a 66bhp electric motor, which is powered by lithium-ion batteries. Being an electric car there's zero emissions, but the range is a rather disappointing 93 miles. However, speed, road gradients, stop-start traffic, ambient temperature, use of ancillary systems such as the stereo or air-conditioning will have an effect on the range.
Even though I mostly used the iOn for urban work, I struggled to get just 60 miles out of it. What is worse is that a full recharge takes seven hours from a standard 13-amp socket!
The iOn's steering is quicker and sharper than you might expect for a city car. Thanks to its narrow proportions and good visibility, parking is generally easy in this little Peugeot.
Considering its skinny tyres and short dimensions, the iOn rides well. Its soft springs hide all but the worst road imperfections. Body control is good, but there's some roll and a lack of front end grip doesn't encourage enthusiastic driving.
The interior finish is average considering this is an expensive car, plus its design isn't particularly exciting. In fact, it's virtually unchanged from the original i car. The plastics scratch and mark easily and the Peugeot-supplied stereo doesn't fit in well with the rest of the dashboard.
The 66bhp electric motor doesn't feel as fast off the line as rivals, such as the Nissan Leaf. However, once you're rolling, the iOn feels much more torquier and the regenerative braking is sharp. The only vehicle I can liken the noise of the electric motor to is a milk float! Still, it's near enough silent at speed which makes for refined progress.
0-30mph acceleration comes up in just 5.9 seconds; increase that to 62mph and the Peugeot takes a more pedestrian 15.9 seconds. The 81mph top speed means you can venture out of the city should you need to, but it can be quite a scary experience, as its tall, slim shape means that Peugeot's electric baby is quite badly affected by strong crosswinds.
Be warned though, heavy use of the accelerator could cause range anxiety as the battery does take a hammering at motorway speeds.
Despite its narrow body, the iOn's tall profile gives the interior a surprisingly spacious feel. It can easily accommodate four people. The boot is small and shallow though but thankfully there's a split/fold rear seat to increase practicality.
Standard equipment includes remote central locking, air-conditioning, electric windows, ABS and driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags.
The single-disc CD player sounds good and can pair with your phone to make and receive calls; there's also a USB port to play your MP3 player through. A navigation system is available as an option.
To sum up, the electric Peugeot iOn is a fun and refined way to travel in the city. However, it is let down by its high price, small range and how long it takes to recharge.