For all car manufacturer’s, creating a car that will satisfy the demands of an ever changing world, must be a complete nightmare. Every time you begin, the goal posts move, especially when it comes to drive trains. So, when Peugeot’s creative team sat down to build the new 208, they had to come up with a design that would tick all of the boxes for twenty-first-century customer’s, meaning multiple drive trains, petrol, diesel & electric. And, that’s before you build a car that people actually want to buy. How did Peugeot get on ?
Launched in late 2019, CC&V had an opportunity to drive the 208 & after a couple of days behind the wheel, we have to say, that Peugeot look set to have a winner on their hands.
First & foremost, the 208 is a great looking car, combining the latest Peugeot family look, with some heritage elements in it’s design. It’s also offered as a petrol, diesel or EV, so customers can select the version that will work for them.
In more detail, there’s a choice of four specs on 208; Active, Allure & GT Line on petrol & diesel versions, plus these three & a GT model offered only as an EV. The petrol engine choice comes in the form of a PureTech 75, 1.2 litre 75bhp, 5 speed manual, a 100, 1.2 100bhp, 6 speed manual or an EAT 8 speed auto, with a range topping 130bhp.
The diesel choice is smaller, reflecting both the size of the 208 physically & the trend away from diesel power, with just one version being offered, which is a BlueHDI 100, 1.5 litre 100bhp, 6 speed manual. And, of course, Peugeot’s first all-electric car the new e-208 is available, a model we have reviewed separately on our pages.
There’s no doubting that the 208 harks back to the classic 205 in the way it looks. The chunky rear end & rear flanks in particular, tip their hat to the 205 GTI, a car I was lucky enough to drive back in the day.
The front of the car features the Peugeot family look, of narrow front headlights, dominant front grille, featuring Peugeot’s lion logo, the 208 model number is above this harking back to the classic 504 & there are vertical LED light clusters. The flanks are smooth & clutter free with large wheel arches giving the car some gravitas. The rear is dominated by the Peugeot horizontal gloss black rear cluster strip, incorporating the Peugeot lettering, that stretches across the back of the car, with the Peugeot lion claw rear headlights at either end.
Safety & security are both to the fore on 208. ABS, EBD, & EBA are standard across the range, as are adaptive driver & front passenger airbags, front & rear curtain airbags alarm, deadlocking, an electronic code immobiliser & ESP with Hill Start Assist. Peugeot’s Connect SOS & Assistance also comes as standard.
For comfort & convenience, all model’s feature a push button start, Bluetooth, DAB, Mirror Screen for Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, a 6 speaker radio & a 12v socket. Outside, all version’s come with body coloured door handles, a gloss black connecting strip & auto headlights which are also ‘ follow me home.’
The cars we drove & the range as whole, are offered in a range of eye catching colours, including Faro Yellow, Vertigo Blue, Elixir Red & Nimbus Grey. There’s six alloy wheel & six upholstery options too.
Hasd far as equipment goes, entry level Active petrol & diesel come with 16″ alloys, a single USB, a leather steering wheel, halogen headlights & a 3.5″ Peugeot I Cockpit instrument panel. Allure, takes on 17″ alloys & adds a gloss black B pillar, an electric parking brake, I-Copckpit with configurable 3D heads-up instrument panel, twin front & rear USB’s & rear LED 3D Peugeot claw effect lights. GT Line is further enhanced by front & rear parking sensors, a 180 degree colour reversing camera, 17″ alloys, gloss black wheel arch extensions, a diamond black roof, Active Safety Brake, full LED headlights, leather/cloth effect seat trim & 8 colour personalisable ambient lighting.
Inside, Peugeot have really improved the interior over the previous model, with a class leading design. There’s a centrally mounted colour touchscreen infotainment screen, plus in front of the driver, a version of Peugeot’s I-Cockpit, with a 3D version on Allure spec models & above.
All in all, it’s neatly packaged & made of decent gloss & soft touch plastics, with only the lower down areas, such as the door pockets, feeling cheaper.
The function buttons are located underneath the touchscreen, a 7″ version on Active, Allure & GT Line & a 10″ version on the GT, which enabled drivers to utilise the Peugeot piano key toggle switches & easy access buttons on each side. Some of the details on the top of these, are quite small & it takes a few minutes to decipher the functions whilst on the move. A few days behind the wheel should see this problem disappear.
Some reviewers are not sold on Peugeots small steering wheel, but in the 208, it’s perfect, really adding to the driving experience. Despite it’s diminutive size though, driver’s may need to utilise the fore & aft adjustment on the steering wheel, as the wheel can obscure the I-Cockpit dials.
In common with a number of PSA cars, the cruise control is located on a stalk on the left of the wheel. This too is obscured by the steering wheel, which the first time you use it, can be frustrating. Again, after an hour or so in the car, we were able to switch this on & off without any problem.
Peugeot have managed to make the 208 feel larger than it actually is. There’s good head & legroom in the front & the rear, with only the panoramic sunroof fitted on higher spec models reducing the rear head height. Four adults will fit comfortably, whilst a fifth will squeeze in, but won’t get much in the way of space. The cabin is light & airy, even when the black roof lining is fitted, thanks in the main to the large windows.
Cabin storage includes twin cup holders behind the gear lever, a covered armrest with storage underneath, two large front door pockets which will hold a bottle each, two small central storage areas & a decent sized glove box. There are twin USB inputs in the front, which are cleverly located so that passengers can gain access to these without the need to impede the driver.
The 208’s boot is deep & is a useful rectangular shape, but it does comes with a high entry lip. It’s a decent size too, offering 311 litres of space, which increases to 1,106 litres with the rear 60:40 bench folded.
We tested the GT Line petrol auto & the manual 6-speed diesel Allure, both the likely popular retail & fleet choices in the UK.
The petrol auto is lovely to drive, quiet, comfortable & refined. It helps that it comes with a bit of oomph, with a 0-62mph time of 8.7 seconds & a top speed of 129mph. This version offers a combined mpg of 46-52mpg & emissions of 101-108g/km. In comparison, the entry level 5-speed manual petrol Active slightly betters this, with 45.7-53.6 mpg & CO2 emissions of 93-98g/km.
Petrol may be the government’s preferred choice when it cones it car taxation, but unsurprisingly the 208 diesel smashes the petrol, with a combined fuel economy of 60.8-71.4 mpg & CO2 emissions of 85-92g/km.
The cheapest way into the range is with the Active 1.2 5-speed manual which costs £16,250 OTR with the cheapest diesel the Active 1.5 Blue HDI which retails at £18,850 OTR.
For business customers BIK rates run from 22-24% on the petrol models with the diesel more highly rated at 26% BIK.
We drove the Allure diesel first, which was not as much fun as the more powerful 130 petrol auto we tried. Never the less, it’s nippy enough when required with the manual six-speed gear set up smooth & light to the touch. The petrol auto is a joy to drive, with the EAT8’s quick shift technology enhancing the fun factor. A manual change is offered via steering wheel controls, but the auto was so good, we felt that there was not much point in even trying this.
Both models are quiet at high speed & soak up the road imperfections like far larger cars. Wind & road noise are also kept to a minimum. Utilising the touchscreen on the move takes a bit of getting used to & although the SatNav was faultless at getting us to & from our destination, the graphics are a bit wishy-washy.
As previously mentioned, on top of the piano keys, which we love, there are some very small function pads, including access to Music, Temperature, Nav, & Phone. All work well but the logo’s on these are a bit small & hard to see. Again, we’d expect a few days behind the wheel would enable you to know these off by heart & of course, all of these functions can also be accessed via the touchscreen itself.
For fleet customer’s, both the petrol & diesel 208’s are hard to fault. The low petrol BIK of 22% is attractive, whilst the combined diesel economy of up to 71.4mpg, is impressive too. The choice will depend on your commuting distance, with the shorter, urban journey, best achieved in a petrol model, whilst a longer city to city drive, will save your fuel costs if taken in the 1.5 diesel.
There’s no doubt in our minds, that Peugeot have struck gold with the 208. Apart from some fiddly instrumentation & I-Cockpit clear view issues, both of which were easily sorted over time, it’s hard to find fault in this car. It helps that it looks lovely, especially in GT Line & of course with an EV version offered, that actually look’s like a normal 208, what’s not to like ?
A Portuguese Man of War 4.25/5