Video: Peugeot 208 - 'The unique features on offer might just be enough to tempt people to take a closer look'
Following in the footsteps of the legendary 205 (and its impressive follow-ups the 206 and 207) was never going to be an easy task, but the 208 didn't disappoint when it arrived in 2012.
The lively engines, excellent chassis and crouched good looks made it a very popular choice amongst image-conscious millennials and this 2015 facelift looks set to increase that youthful image even further. It's now available with some exciting new personalisation packs and a fresh new colour pallet – the big talking point being the inclusion of some textured paint options (a first for the class).
Performance & Running Costs
The engine line-up consists of four petrols and a diesel – there's the entry-level 1.0l with 68BHP, two nippy 1.2ls with either 82 or 110 BHP, and then the range-topping high performance 208BHP 1.6l GTI. The heavier road users also have the option of the 1.6l Blue HDI diesel – also available in a choice of power outputs (75 or 100BHP).
Running costs are impressively low across the board, with all models (bar the GTI) costing less than €190 to tax thanks to exceptionally low CO2 emissions from those remarkably clean little engines. Keeping the tank full won't be too painful either, again with the exception of the GTI, the petrols will do between 63 – 67MPG on average, and the diesels manage over 80.
The 208 is a pleasant little thing to drive, the steering is light and the 82HP 1.2l petrol in our test car felt nippy enough for most driving situations. It's aimed at younger drivers and it's got that easy, predictable, small car feel to match. The shrunken steering wheel on this latest model adds to the fun factor.
What’s in the cabin
The interior is miles ahead of the 207 it replaced. The dashboard materials in particular look and feel much better than before and it has followed the market's lead by adding some contemporary shiny black trim around the centre console and instrument cluster. Legroom for back seat passengers has been improved and they have made clever use of the space available with some useful storage areas in the cabin, and a boot amongst the largest in the class. A shiny new touchscreen infotainment system (standard on all bar the base model) completes an impressive revamp.
Value for money
The range starts at €14,895 and as always with Peugeot, kit levels are exceptional. While the entry-level Access does get all the basics, the Active trim is the one you want to go for if you want real value for your money. Starting at a little over €17,000 – it comes with an impressive list of features as standard including air-conditioning, parking sensors, the seven inch colour touchscreen infotainment system, a multi-function leather steering wheel, and 15 inch alloy wheels. The €1800 jump to the Allure will upgrade those wheels to 16 inch, add LEDs, automatic lights and wipers, automatic dual-zone air con and tinted windows.
It's a full Five Star Euro NCAP car (although it was tested before the new rules came in). There are 6 airbags and ESP stability control as standard as well as the option to add some extra features like city brake support which will help prevent low speed collisions, and the Peugeot Connect SOS system which will automatically call emergency services should the airbags deploy.
Reliability is no longer the issue it has been in the past for Peugeot and the new 208 is a solid and well-built superrmini. Small cars hold their value well and once you exercise a reasonable degree of caution when choosing from the new colour pallet, residual values should be pretty good.
So why the 208 over all the other super minis scrapping out there at the moment? Well there's the price for a start – that well-specced Active trim undercuts many of its rivals in terms of kit, and then there's those new personalisation options to consider. While they might not be enough on their own to convince buyers – the unique features on offer might just be enough to tempt people to take a closer look. And we don't think they'll be disappointed if they do.