It might be a long, long time since Peugeot took our breath away with the original 205. The latest iteration of the series, the 208, is ready to do that again in a number of ways. With a used Peugeot 208, you get what you pay a little more for – and that’s a lot of great features, packed into all of its variations.
In a world where supermini class has become a little generic, the Peugeot 208 makes for a refreshing change. Moving on from the previous version of the 208, the new model has had a movie makeover blossoming from an averagely attractive duckling to sultry swan. There’s been a major styling overhaul – both inside and out – to create a distinctive presence on the road as well as behind the wheel.
We’ll get on to the innovative cockpit features later. For now, let’s enjoy the car’s rounded profile and general curvaceous-ness that often attract a potential buyer’s attention. It’s been a big step-change from the boxiness of previous Peugeot hatchbacks, and has made for an altogether more rounded car.
The Peugeot 208 makes for a refreshing change.
What’s it like to drive?
The first thing most drivers notice when they get into a 208 for the first time is the size of the steering wheel. It feels go-cart sized, setting up an expectation that this is what the car will drive like.
So, the next surprise comes when they find the suspension is softer than expected. This gives the impression of being in a medium- to large-sized car, and absorbs lots of the bumps and potholes you’re certain to come across on the roads. They say silence is golden and, when it comes to wind and road noise, the 208 may not be top of the podium, but it certainly qualifies for a silver award.
The steering wheel, it feels go-cart sized.
It’s all focused around the i-Cockpit 3D display that comes in all but the most basic Active trim level. This is an eye-catching and innovative display that has the most important information projected on a foreground screen, with secondary info like the fuel and temperature gauges behind it.
You can personalise the way the display is formatted, with either dials or figures according to your taste. The one possible hitch is that you need to look over the admittedly small steering wheel to see the display – which can be tricky without the right seat set-up.
Luckily, there’s plenty of room in the front of the car and a high level of seat adjustability to accommodate this. Rear-seat passengers aren’t quite so lucky. It’s tight back there, even though Peugeot has put cut-out panels in the back of the front seats to create more legroom.
Many features like air conditioning are controlled by the seven-inch screen (which is 10-inch on Allure models and above). This can make some actions tricky when you’re on the move – keep those eyes on the road, please. The bigger-screened options are easier to use.
You’ll find the 208 is pretty middle-of-the-road when it comes to boot capacity. It’s bigger than the Ford Fiesta and the Citroen C3, and smaller than the Renault Clio. Still, you’ll easily be able to fit quite a few shopping bags in the back and at least three full-sized suitcases – just not at the same time.
French car designers have always been a little eccentric in their approach to in-car storage space – the 208 is no exception. For all the thoughtful touches - like putting the smartphone recharging point tucked away out of sight in some models - there are others like taking up half the glovebox with the car’s fuse box.
Running costs and reliability
It’s safe to assume that no car in the 208’s category is going to be a gas guzzler. Even so, all of the engines available are pretty frugal. Petrol engines give between 44.3 and 58.8 mpg, with the 1.5-litre diesel delivering between 60.8 and 73.6 mpg, depending on the type of driving.
What we love
There’s lots to love about the Peugeot 208, from its looks to the comfortable ride that it provides. It also gives drivers the distinct feeling that they’re in a much more luxurious car than they really are, thanks to the beautifully styled interior.
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Go for more than just the basic Active trim and you’ll have a high-tech, very well-equipped car. It might not be the most fun small car to drive, but it’s definitely one of the most comfortable.
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