Peugeot 208 Review
The all-new 208 is the first car to adopt Peugeot’s ‘Power of Choice’ philosophy - you simply choose your Peugeot and choose your powertrain and the rest falls neatly into place. And when it comes to the 208 there is a model to suit all tastes.
- Dynamic design and handling to match
- Well equipped trim levels with futuristic interior
- Good choice of petrol, diesel and electric engines
- Quite pricey as you move up through the higher trim levels
- Rear legroom is a little restricted
- Cover on the wireless charger compartment feels flimsy
The latest generation Peugeot 208 is available in a choice of powertrains, including a new all-electric model with a range of up to 211 miles. Customers can choose between well-equipped trim levels called Active, Allure and GT Line with the e-208 also on offer in flagship GT trim.
Prices for the Active trim start from £16,250, with the Allure priced from £18,850 and the GT Line starting from £20,700. The all-electric e-208 GT trim car has an entry price of £29,650.
Since August, customers could register an interest for the new 208 and almost 65 per cent of them have shown a preference for the electric version. That said; Peugeot believes that the EV will eventually account for about 20 per cent of sales and that the petrol engines and Allure trim levels will top the sales charts.
So there is lots of choice and a car to suit all budgets, but one thing is guaranteed and that’s the appeal of this sharply styled car.
On the Road
The all-new Peugeot 208 is available with plenty of powertrains to choose from. There is a punchy three-cylinder 1.2-litre PureTech petrol unit delivering 75, 100 or 130hp with a five or six-speed manual gearbox or eight-speed automatic transmission. For diesel fans, there is a four-cylinder 1.5-litre BlueHDi 100hp unit matched to a six-speed manual transmission and there is an all-new fully electric e-208 too.
Although we sampled a number of the new 208 line-up, we concentrated on the car that Peugeot believes will be the biggest seller and that’s the 1.2L PureTech 100 S&S 6-speed manual in Allure trim grade. With 205Nm of torque, this car can complete the 0-62mph dash in 9.9 seconds and tops out at 117mph.
Those performance figures may not sound that quick, but when you are behind the compact steering wheel in this supermini, it feels much faster. The acceleration through the gears is smooth and responsive with plenty of power on tap to tackle steep inclines with ease.
It cruises effortlessly at motorway speeds and the road holding is nicely balanced even when pushed on hard into tight bends.
There are drive modes called Eco and Normal that alter the way the car reacts, but if you want extra choice then the next grade up - GT Line - adds a Sport mode that really sharpens up the performance.
Develop a supermini with the 208’s dynamic good looks and it needs to perform - thankfully this latest 208 does just that.
Out on the fast open road with lots of twists and turns, the car grips the Tarmac like glue and that means it can be driven with a high level of confidence into long sweeping bends without any fear of body sway.
The ride can be a little firm at times, but that almost adds to the sporty character of the car.
Peugeot’s tried and tested i-Cockpit featuring the small steering wheel, with flat top and bottom, is beautifully weighted and offers plenty of driver feedback. It’s light in town centres, weighted enough on the open road, but for extra feedback, it may be worth considering a higher-graded car that gains the Sport driving mode. With this setting, you will benefit from a heavier feeling wheel which is beneficial for faster driving.
We also tested the diesel-powered car and the extra weight of this model was quite noticeable. You do gain far better economy which is good news for anyone who clocks up high mileage, but the compromise is definitely in the handling department. It feels less composed and generally less fun to drive.
With its all-new styling, there’s no denying the fact that the Peugeot 208 makes its presence known. It looks dynamic, eye-catching and very appealing from any approach.
There are full-LED headlights featuring the company’s distinctive three-line claw effect design. This appears more striking now with an additional light feature that drops down each side of the bumper and resembles sabre teeth. There’s a choice of grille designs dependent on the trim level with the chrome chequered effect looking the most upmarket.
From the side, the 208 strikes a dynamic pose with tinted rear windows, smart alloy wheels that range in size and dark pillars. But it’s when viewed from behind that the car is guaranteed to turn onlookers green with envy. There is, of course, the instantly recognisable 3D claw-effect rear light signatures and these are now connected by a gloss black strip with the name ’PEUGEOT’ written across it. This is a car that will have any following motorists admiring its sporty looks.
The interior oozes class with a new i-Cockpit layout that includes a 3D instrument cluster, smart touchscreen, top-quality upholstery with neat contrast stitching, carbon-effect inlays, piano keys and gloss black toggles. It all looks and feels very premium.
And when it comes to driver refinement, the three-cylinder 208 fires up with a raspy note and eases effortlessly through the gears as it accelerates away. There is minimal engine noise and it rarely seems to struggle even when pushed hard.
It’s also worth giving mention to the highly effective suspension system that did a fine job of smoothing out most bumps and dips along the way.
In the car
Finding a comfortable driving position takes only a matter of seconds within the latest 208 models thanks to plenty of manual seat and steering wheel adjustment. Then it’s just a case of taking stock of all the new technology on offer, especially the latest i-Cockpit layout.
The 1.2-litre petrol model that we drove in Allure trim was packed with quality features and included the all-new configurable 3D head-up digital instrument panel. This futuristic set-up looks amazing and can be adapted to requirement, displaying information such as navigation instructions, music settings, phone contacts and speed. It sits behind Peugeot’s now-familiar compact steering wheel and helps to give the new 208 a thoroughly modern and premium-styled appearance.
And there is a wealth of on-board technology to explore too with the likes of MirrorScreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone connectivity, Bluetooth, a DAB radio, a smartphone charging plate, navigation with TomTom, and plenty more.
The seven-inch touchscreen is angled towards the driver for ease of use and this increases to a 10-inch screen on the e-208 model in GT grade.
The car boasts classy seat upholstery, eye-catching toggles and piano black trim. But it really is the 3D instrument panel that scoops all the headlines. It offers all the information you could possibly wish for at eye level, so there is no need for distraction from the road ahead.
On that matter, the driver benefits from good visibility forwards, sideways and backwards, but the over-the-shoulder view is not great due to wide B pillars.
The five-door Peugeot 208 competes for sales in the supermini sector so you wouldn’t expect rear legroom to be that impressive. In fairness, there is enough space for a couple of adults to sit comfortably provided the front seats are not pushed right back. The headroom is fine if you’re not carrying any passengers topping the six-foot mark and elbow space is good. Add a third adult and it would all get a little cosy, but it would be fine for a trio of youngsters to travel comfortably. There are a couple of USB slots in the back too so you can stay connected on the move.
The boot can swallow 311 litres of luggage and this limit can be increased to 1,106 litres by dropping the 60:40 split-folding rear seats flat. In addition, there are numerous storage compartments scattered throughout the vehicle, including a central cubby box, door bins, a glovebox, seatback pockets, a smartphone docking station and another deep tray in front of the gear lever.
Isofix fixtures on the two outer rear seats make it easy enough to fit or remove a child’s car seat with good access through the wide-opening doors.
The all-new Peugeot 208 enters the market priced at £16,250 for the Active model powered by the 1.2 PureTech 75hp petrol engine with a five-speed manual gearbox. The most expensive model with traditional powertrain is the 1.2-litre PureTech 130hp S&S with an eight-speed automatic gearbox in GT Line trim costing £23,350. The all-electric e-208 models are available in all four trim levels and cost from £25,050 to £29,650, which includes the Government Plug-in Grant of £3,500.
The version Peugeot believes will account for the most sales is the 1.2L PureTech 100 S&S 6-speed manual in Allure trim. This car costs £18,850 and can deliver a combined 46.6-53.0mpg under WLTP testing with carbon emissions of 97g/km. This would result in a first-year Vehicle Excise Duty charge of £130 which would rise to £145 the following year.
For drivers looking for more impressive fuel efficiency, the 1.5L BlueHDi diesel can deliver up to 71.4mpg on a combined run and has CO2 emissions of 85g/km.
And then it’s worth mentioning the e-208 with its 211-mile range between charges and zero carbon emissions figure. This would be ideal for the driver who can charge their vehicle regularly and has a relatively short daily commute.
Insurance ratings for the new Peugeot 208 have not yet been made known but they should be revealed soon.
Peugeot enjoys a good reputation when it comes to reliability and the new 208 feels sturdy inside and out with a high standard of furnishings. The only slight area of concern would be the fold-down lid that covers the wireless charging pad - it seemed a little flimsy and could break off over time. That aside though; the car feels like it will survive the rigours of an active life.
All vehicles are offered with a two-year unlimited mileage manufacturer’s warranty and a free optional additional one year warranty provided by the Peugeot dealer network.
There are a variety of service plans on offer that add peace of mind for buyers. There are plans that cover five years with a number of mileage options with payments available upfront or on a monthly basis. All the packages are inflation-proof too. As an example a plan covering 36 months/30,000 miles costs £12.53 per month, 48 months/40,000 miles costs £16.13 a month and 60 months/50,000 miles is priced at £16,74 per month.
These plans can be purchased up to 12 months after the car has been registered.
There is also the option of adding Extended Peugeot Assistance in conjunction with the RAC. There are one and two-year policies that offer assistance from home, roadside, recovery and onward travel. European cover can also be added, with policies costing between £99 and £199.
The 208 received a four-star rating from Euro NCAP when tested for safety. It misses out on the maximum five stars because it doesn’t include the Active Emergency Braking radar as an option on all trim levels.
But safety systems are plentiful on the new Peugeot 208 with many features included as standard. There is an Active Safety Brake System which has intelligent autonomous braking and works in conjunction with the Distance Alert System and Peugeot Connect SOS and Assistance. Active Lane Keeping Assist with Road Edge Detection and Road Sign Recognition are also standard across the line-up.
All models are equipped with anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and emergency braking assistance, Isofix child seat fixtures to the outer rear seats, electronic stability control, tyre pressure sensors and a full suite of airbags.
Driver Attention Alert is added to Allure models and the higher-spec GT Line gains Peugeot’s Smart Beam Assist with the option of adding Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go.
The e-208 in exclusive GT trim, gains some extra safety kit too.
The 208 is fitted with a Thatcham Category 1 approved alarm system.