Compact Peugeot with chic
The 208 is one of Peugeot's biggest hits and it's been refreshed to prolong that success, writes Geraldine Herbert
It's fresh and fun with a larger scope for personalisation, making Peugeot's newest 208 a great choice for those that need a small car with chic styling.
From the outside little has changed, but the 208 has always looked quite smart and this new version gains a distinctive grille, personalisation packs and contrasting wheel finishes. New paint options include a vibrant 'Orange Power' metallic paint and two textured paint finishes available in 'Ice Grey' and 'Ice Silver'. The textured paint, a world-first on a volume production car, is subtly granular to the touch and promises to be more hard-wearing and easier to care for than conventional matt paint.
Inside, French flair meets practicality and the instrument cluster is fun and funky while the seats are nicely bolstered and supportive.
The overall feeling is one of comfort with style and there are plenty of storage options to keep most happy. A seven-inch touchscreen that allows you to access audio, satnav, phone and internet will be standard from the entry level trim.
Brand new to the 208 is MirrorScreen, which makes it possible to transfer the screen of a smartphone to the vehicle's display, to make full use of its applications.
The boot, at 285 litres, is not the biggest in class but it can be easily increased to 1,076 litres by simply dropping the rear seats.
For the first time, buyers get a new 1.6BlueHDI 100bhp diesel as an option, an engine that recently set a new long-distance fuel economy record, travelling 1,337.19 miles using 43 litres of fuel and returning 141.2mpg. Petrol options include a new 110bhp 1.2-litre 3 cylinder petrol that comes with a choice of a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox. There's also a 1-litre PureTech (68hp) and 1.2-litre PureTech (82bhp) engines. All of the petrol and diesels now meet Euro 6 emissions standards.
On the road, the 208 has always been a good to drive, it feels compact and confident but while it grips the road nicely there is considerably more body roll on tight corners than many key rivals and the five-speed gearbox makes hard work of steep climbs.
The smaller than normal steering wheel adds to the overall sportiness but depending on your driving position, the rim can end up completely obscuring some vital dials.
The addition of the Active City Brake is a great plus, especially since the 208 is likely to spend most of its time in city traffic. Through the use of a short range sensor that is fitted at the top of the windscreen, other vehicles driving in the same direction or stationary can be detected and the brakes applied automatically at speeds up to 31kmh to help prevent imminent collisions.
Prices and spec details will be confirmed closer to the 208's Irish launch in July, but as before, the new hatchback will be sold in three and five-door versions with three trim levels: Access, Active and Allure. A new sportier trim level spec, the GT Line, joins the range and extras include the 'Equalizer grille', gloss black grille, separate front foglamps, 17-inch alloys and red Peugeot lettering. The 'GTi by Peugeot Sport' add specific suspension and steering settings with a lowered height, wider tracks and 18-inch wheels.
The Peugeot 208 packs some big car features into a chic body. Now with more kerb appeal, fuel efficient engines and smart styling, the 208 is likely to tempt buyers away from the Fiesta, Corsa and Clio.
Joining the range also this summer is the new Peugeot Tepee, a practical but smart MPV that can seat five or seven and is likely to be priced in the region of €23,000. Despite the "boxy" appearance, it's actually quite appealing and space is particularly impressive and will accommodate three Isofix child seats in the back. On the road, the Tepee feels a lot smaller and more compact that its dimensions would suggest. It is light and easy to manoeuvre and while the van-like large window and mirrors may be less appealing aesthetically, they certainly make for great visibility. Safety features include reversing camera, touchscreen and Active City Brake. Designed with growing families in mind Peugeot's Tepee promises to be practical, safe and economical to run.