Poor to drive, and you can only do so for up to 80 miles at a time
Perched-up driving position won't suit everyone
Stability control and six airbags helped the iOn score a respectable four-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests. ISOFIX fittings and child locks are included
Eight-year warranty and four years' servicing come as part of the package, which is reassuring. Electric motors are relatively simple, too
Four adults will fit at a push, but rear legroom is very tight - it works best for two
All Peugeot iOns come with air-con, electric windows, and USB connectivity for an MP3 player
The iOn is powered by a 47kW (64bhp) electric motor that gives 140lb ft of pulling power from the instant you pull away. That means the iOn accelerates strongly and smoothly up to typical urban speeds and can embarrass many a small petrol or diesel car for performance. It's a doddle to drive, too, because you don't have to change gears. However, while it's easy to drive, it's not good to drive. The ride is lumpy and uncultured at all speeds, and with only modest grip on offer, things can get quite hairy on a briskly taken bend. It's very easily upset by sidewinds and the wake from HGVs, too. In town, the iOn's motor emits little more than a background hum, but on faster roads, this turns into an irritating whine. What's more, because the car is relatively tall, it stirs up a fair amount of wind noise at relatively modest speeds.
Peugeot has done its best to make the interior seem familiar. The drive selector looks like a regular auto gearbox shifter, and the battery-condition dial has been styled like a fuel gauge. However, the driving position is set high, so some drivers may struggle to get comfortable. The cabin trim is distinctly dour, making the iOn rather unappealing to sit in. The car is billed as a four-seater but while headroom isn't a problem, adults in the rear will be short of kneeroom, which means they'll be kneading the backs of the people in front through the thinly padded seats. There's not much boot space with four aboard, but you can fold the back seats forward to help accommodate larger items. Equipment includes alloys, air-conditioning and electric windows; it's not a long list but it covers the essentials for city motoring.
Reliability is an unknown quantity at this stage, but there ought to be few problems since electric cars are simpler than those with petrol or diesel engines. The cabin trim seems durable enough, too. The iOn has stability control, emergency brake assist and six airbags as standard, and achieved four out of five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests.
The only way to get an iOn is to lease it for four years/40,000 miles, which costs more than £400 a month (after reclaiming VAT). That's very expensive for a car of this size, especially compared to the larger Nissan Leaf. However, the leasing cost does take care of any worry about battery life and replacement. The longest range you can expect on a full charge is 80 miles, and significantly less if you frequently use the heater or air-con. Full recharging takes six hours but you get 80% capacity in just 30 minutes from a quick-charge point.