Peugeot’s superminis have always been stylish, but this latest 208 has certainly taken things up on a notch. This is arguably Peugeot’s most important new car in years, as it’s the first to be offered with petrol, diesel and electric power.
We’ve already reviewed the latter, but here’s our first take on the former two versions, which will make up the majority of sales.
On first glance this a model obsessed with style – from its claw-like LED daytime running lights through to its 3D rear lights, this is a model that’s designed to score points on the catwalk.
Peugeot has also given the interior a more upmarket feel alongside more technology. It’s designed to slot in the premium end of the supermini market, but is there substance behind the Peugeot to help it rival models such as the Mini and Audi A1?
Peugeot’s lengthy powertrain options is something internally known as the ‘freedom of choice’ – essentially meaning you decide you want a 208, and then you decide on the engine, or electric motor, you want to be fitted.
Here we’re trying the petrol options, with the turbocharged 1.2-itre PureTech petrol engine set to be the most popular. It’s available with 98bhp in its standard guise, but here we’re testing the 127bhp version of that engine, which is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s a good pairing for the 208 – picking up speed quickly and being nippy, quiet and economical. It’s also well-suited to motorways, and a smooth eighth gear makes it impressively refined.
You can also get an entry-level 74bhp engine, though few buyers are likely to opt for this unit. It’s ideal around town and would make the 208 a great first car, but it just feels out of its depth at higher speeds.
Ride and handling
Unsurprisingly for a small car, the 208 is a model best suited to city driving. There it proves to be nimble and compact for nipping in and out of streets, while also being easy to park.
It’s surprisingly accomplished at motorway speeds, too, with impressive refinement and limited wind and road noise. Our only gripes is that the ride isn’t quite as comfortable as it perhaps could be – feeling a touch stiff. The Ford Fiesta is a better all-rounder, but only by a small margin.Enquire on a Peugeot 208
Interior and equipment
The interiors are the one area where you really notice where Peugeot has transformed its image in recent years. The smart and futuristic designs for its models ooze premium appeal, and they easily rival other options that many would consider are ‘more premium’ on paper.
The 208 is no different, and it’s the modern ‘3D i-Cockpit’ that is our key takeaway from the interior – it’s far more versatile than many other digital cockpits available today. The quality of the is excellent, with plenty of upmarket materials and textures being used throughout.
Our only gripe is that the cabin isn’t particularly spacious, with the rear seats not really offering enough space for adults, and the boot being far from class-leading. Three trim levels are available, with the range starting with the entry-level Active. This comes as standard with a seven-inch touchscreen with smartphone mirroring, cruise control, Peugeot emergency assistance and lane-keep assist to name but a few features.
Moving to the Allure brings 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, the digital instrument cluster, LED rear lights and an electric handbrake. At the top of the range the GT-Line adds an advanced automatic emergency baking system, half leather seats, ambient interior lighting and full LED lights.
Unsurprisingly all this upmarket feel and looks comes at a price, with the new 208 costing considerably more than the version it replaced – with prices starting from £16,250. Though if you want to have the more pleasant turbocharged 98bhp engine you’ll have to spend £17,350. Prices keep rising to £23,350 for the range-topping GT-Line model, which is a touch expensive.
Peugeot has significantly improved the 208 in just about every area – dishing out an incredibly stylish and appealing model that will have massive appeal to those looking for a desirable city car.
It might lack the driving prowess of the Ford Fiesta, and not quite feel as expensive as the, admittedly, far more expensive Audi A1. But this feels like a genuinely premium supermini, and it deserves to be a hit for Peugeot.