The success of the 206 and the 207 was always going to be a hard act to follow, so is the stylish 208 good enough to win Peugeot a new generation of fans? We spent a week behind the wheel to find out?
What is it? Small cars are big news at the moment and Peugeot’s latest offering was one of the most eagerly anticipated of 2012. Available in three and five-door forms the 208 is smaller and lighter than the car it replaces yet boasts more interior space.
Who is it aimed at? From first time buyers to families in need of a second car the Peugeot 207 was always a popular choice. The new model 208 is modern, stylish and high-tech and will appeal to a wide audience.
Styling? Visually the 208 represents a new design direction for Peugeot. Distinguishing features of the highly sculptured 208 exterior include a chromed floating grille and boomerang rear lamps. The result is a muscular, athletic looking car that is stylish and chic from all angles.
Under the Bonnet? Our test car was fitted with an eager 1.4-litre HDI diesel engine producing 68bhp with a five-speed manual gearbox. Peugeot also offer five petrol engines a 1.0 litre (68bhp), a 1.2 litre (82bhp), 1.4 litre (95bhp), and two 1.6 litres with outputs of 120 and 156 bhp. Other diesel options include a 1.6 diesel with outputs of 92bhp and 115bhp.
What’s it like inside? Inside the 208 is hugely spacious and it feels like a car twice its size. It’s compact but roomy and the chic styling of the exterior carries through to the interior. The high tech seven inch touch screen allows you to control everything from the radio to USB connections simply and there is a quality feel throughout the cabin. There is decent room for four adults and the 285-litre boot can more than accommodate luggage. On the downside while the seats are supremely comfortable the driving position is not ideal and the steering wheel is oddly small but overall when you consider the very classy interior and incredible space these are small gripes.
On the Road? Manoeuvring the 208 around town is a breeze as it is light and agile. On the road it is a big improvement on the 207 and the balance of comfort and handling is good and it is impressively quiet. While it feels assured at speed, on less than perfect surfaces, the ride tends to become a little choppy and body roll is obvious but generally the 208 is refined and fun to drive.
And Safety? The 208 is brimming with safety features. Not only is it the first car in its segment to obtain 5 stars from the Euro NCAP but it is crammed with passive and active safety aids that will keep you and yours safely cocooned. ABS, ESP, six airbags, a speed limiter, front seat belt warning and a collapsible steering column are standard across the entire range.
Options? The Peugeot 208 is available in both a 3-door and 5-door hatchback, with five trim levels – Access, Access+, Active, Allure and Feline – with an exciting ‘Ice Velvet’ Limited Edition
How about Fuel Economy? The 208 is lighter by 110kg compared to the 207 so it produces lower CO2. Fuel consumption is also improved and the 1.4 HDi diesel boasts a very frugal 48.7 mpg on a combined cycle of town and motorway. Emissions are a mere 98g/km.
Okay so the verdict? In a market where buyers are already spoilt for choice the 208 manages to offer something fresh and will appeal to a range of buyers. With low running costs, chic French styling inside and out and good driving dynamics the Peugeot 208 is definitely worth looking at.
Ford Fiesta £9,495
VW Polo £9,995
Toyota Yaris £11,170
Why you’ll buy one? Stylish; Modern & spacious interior; Fuel economy
Why you won’t? Not as good to drive as rivals; Keen drivers will wait for the 208 GTi
Peugeot 208 Allure Diesel 5 Door 1.4 Hdi 70 bhp 5dr
Engine: 1,397cc HDi engine putting out 68bhp and 160Nm of torque between 1750rpm
Max speed: 118mph
0-62 mph: 15.5 seconds
Emissions: 98 g/km
Model price range: £9,995 – £17,845
No of Doors: 5 doors
Euro NCAP: 5 stars
Insurance group 1-50: 11
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 48.7 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up: 285 litres
Car Seats: 2 Isofix points in the rear seats.
Spare Wheel: Full size spare wheel
Service interval (miles): 12500
Warranty (years): 3
Warranty (miles): 60000