Peugeot 208 Review
The entirely new version of Peugeot’s popular
208 is arguably one of the most important cars hitting the market in 2020. It
is more than merely an update; its platform is designed to accommodate petrol,
diesel or fully electric drivetrains and its technology underpins other models
from across the PSA group, including the new Vauxhall Corsa. So, an important
car to get right on many levels.
Exterior & Interior
It’s hard not to be drawn in by the 208’s
striking appearance. Slashes of light, wheel size accentuated by bold arches
and solid, unfussy body contouring. We first saw this design language on the
508 and it translates well onto the smaller 208 hatchback.
The bold forms extend inside, with deep digital
instrument binnacle, large, clear infotainment display and a row of ‘piano key’
controls in the centre of the dashboard. Comfortable seating, descent head
room, plenty of leg space and a respectable boot make for a pleasing and
Powering the 208 are two internal combustion
engines, the 1.2-litre PureTech petrol (75, 100 or 130 hp outputs) and
1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel (100 or 130 hp). The electric option is a 136 hp 50
The all-new 208 range comprises four trim
levels, with familiar names: Active, Allure, GT-Line and GT. All are petrol,
diesel or electric except the top GT which is electric only.
All trim levels are extremely well equipped,
although the entry Active misses out on the latest configurable 3D i-Cockpit
digital display. Among a number of safety features, all models have active
safety brake for pedestrians plus lane keeping assist. The top two trim levels
add night function and cyclist identification to the active safety brake
On test, we have the 1.2 PureTech 130 engine with
automatic gearbox in GT-Line specification. Peugeot pioneered looking over rather than through
the steering wheel at the instruments, using a slightly smaller steering wheel;
the latest 208 continues this theme. While it does take a little extra time to
set up the seating and steering wheel positions, after a few miles, it all
feels very natural.
Despite its GT-Line moniker, it’s no hot hatch
but it’s lively enough and the auto ‘box makes light work of stop-start
traffic. Steering isn’t the sharpest but it is comparable with its
contemporaries. Ride is a decent balance between control and comfort and it
settles down well at motorway speeds. There’s some road noise evident at speed
but otherwise it is a fairly refined experience.
In terms of ergonomics, the 3D i-Cockpit is
perhaps unnecessarily animated. And the piano switches - with 14 functions
across the seven positions - means the driver is forced to look away from the
road to make the correct selection for basic features such as climate control
and audio settings for example. It’s also fairly cluttered behind the steering
wheel, with indicator stalk, cruise control stalk and gear shift paddles all
vying for space.
Strong exterior design, a flexible choice of engines and high equipment levels including good safety kit as standard make Peugeot’s new 208 very desirable indeed. Some will love the funky display; others may find the whizzy graphics a little unnecessary.
While on test, our shiny Faro Yellow GT-Line model received a great deal of attention, a good indicator it will be a winner for Peugeot. Cleverly, the 208 platform will allow Peugeot to flex manufacture for different engine volumes in line with the take-up of electric models.
About the Author
Andrew is a freelance motoring journalist with a background in IT and the vehicle leasing industry. With a lifetime’s passion for all things automotive, he can be found behind the wheel of everything from vans to supercars. In addition to reviewing the latest vehicles and technology, Andrew also runs a couple of classic British motors. He lives at the edge of the Peak District with his son and cat.
Andrew Wright @theMotorWriter
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Peugeot 208 Hatchback
5 Door Hatch 1.2 PureTech 100 GT Line Start+Stop
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Initial rental: £1,830.67 inc. VAT
Peugeot 208 Hatchback
5 Door Hatch 1.2 Puretech 100 GT Line EAT8 Start+Stop
£359.84 pm inc. VAT
Initial rental: £2,159.06 inc. VAT
Peugeot 208 Hatchback
5 Door Hatch 1.2 Puretech 130 GT Line EAT8 Start+Stop
£370.14 pm inc. VAT
Initial rental: £2,220.84 inc. VAT