Review

Peugeot 208 hatchback

Price  £9,995 - £18,545

Peugeot 208 hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Stylish looks
  • Well equipped
  • Cheap to run
Cons
  • Uncomfortable ride
  • Clumsy gearbox
  • Fiesta is more fun to drive

At a glance

The greenest
Active 1.4 e-HDi Stop and Start EGC 70 5dr £15,295
The cheapest
Access Puretech 1.0 VTi 68 3dr £9,995
The fastest
XY 1.6 THP 156 3dr £17,950
Top of the range
Roland Garros 1.2 VTi 82 5dr £18,545

"The Peugeot 208 is an excellent supermini that looks stylish, is cheap to run and has plenty of kit."

The Peugeot 208 is a stylish French hatchback that competes with rivals such as the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Kia Rio, and Hyundai i20.

Interior quality has been improved compared to the old Peugeot 207, in an attempt to match the build quality of the Volkswagen Polo, and the 208 is also more enjoyable to drive.

Peugeot has given the 208 a wide range of engines, including small three-cylinder petrols that are cheap to run and diesels that are even more efficient. The best performance is offered by the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine in the Peugeot 208 GTI hot hatchback. The 113bhp diesel engine is our pick of the range, thanks to its mix of performance and economy.

Buyers of the three-door car can choose from five trim levels: Access, Access+, Active, XY and GTi. The five-door 208 is not available as a stylish XY or fast GTi, but adds classier Feline and Allure trims. All 208s have equipment such as cruise control, electric front windows and remote central locking.

 

MPG, running costs & CO2

4 / 5

The Peugeot 208 is one of the cheapest cars to run in its class

The Peugeot 208 offers a wide range of engines to choose from, and all are cheap to run. All the e-HDi diesels have stop-start technology, which rests the engine when the car is not moving. That means the 1.4-litre e-HDi diesel will return fuel economy of 83.1mpg, while its CO2 emissions of 87g/km translate to free road tax. Even the basic diesel without stop-start can achieve 74.3mpg and is also exempt from road tax.

The petrol engines are frugal, too: the 1.0-litre VTi will see 65.7mpg and emits 99g/km of CO2 for free road tax. The pick of the petrol range is the 1.2-litre VTi. It offers decent performance, returns fuel economy of 62.7 mpg and costs just £20 in road tax annually. Even the 197bhp GTi is capable of 47.9mpg.

All Peugeots have a three-year/60,000 mile warranty, which isn't great when compared to Hyundai and Kia's five and seven-year cover, respectively.

Maintaining your Peugeot should be affordable. The company offers fixed prices on parts and fitting, while fixed-price service plans mean you can spread the cost of your car’s maintenance with small monthly instalments.

Insurance for the Peugeot 208 runs from group five in the 1.0-litre VTi model, to group 30 for the 1.6-litre GTi performance model.

Engines, drive & performance

3.5 / 5

Peugeot 208 diesel engines are very impressive

The Peugeot 208 has responsive steering and decent grip, but the steering lacks the feel needed for confident fast cornering. In general, the car can’t match the finesse of the Ford Fiesta and doesn’t feel as comfortable cornering quickly.

The basic 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine have a distinctive noise that makes them feel quicker than they actually are. The 67bhp version gets from 0-62mph in 15.9 seconds, while the 1.2-litre model does the same in 14 seconds. However, the lack of a six-speed gearbox makes them noisy on the motorway, and the standard five-speed gearbox doesn't feel very tight or precise.

Choosing the 113bhp diesel means you get a six-speed gearbox, which makes the engine quieter at speed and also improves fuel economy. This is the engine to go for if you cover a lot of miles, and a 0-62mph time of 10.8 seconds makes it a pretty nippy overtaker. Other diesel models include the 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre e-HDI, which get from 0-60mph in 15.5 seconds and 12.2 seconds respectively.

If you’re not worried about running costs and want a 208 that’s fun to drive, then the GTi is the model to go for. It has a six-speed gearbox that's nicer to use than the five-speed version, plus stiffer suspension for fast cornering. It takes just 6.8 seconds to go from 0-62mph.

Interior & comfort

3 / 5

Some of the 208's rivals are more comfortable

The Peugeot 208’s interior is a vast improvement on the old 207’s, although it's neither as well built as the Volkswagen Polo's or as nice to look at as the Ford Fiesta's. Soft-touch plastics are used extensively and the dashboard is pretty stylish. The interior has one major flaw, though: the speedometer sits right behind the rim of the steering wheel, so many drivers won't be able to see it when the wheel is adjusted to their liking. Some people may find the steering wheel unusually small, too.

On the plus side, every 208 has a height-adjustable driver’s seat, not just higher-spec models. Visibility is pretty decent, but the Peugeot – as with many modern cars – has thick windscreen pillars that can restrict your vision when pulling out of junctions or onto roundabouts.

Suspension that felt both sporty and comfortable used to be a Peugeot specialty, but that's not what you get in the 208, as it seems quite firm over bumps and potholes. Unsurprisingly, the sporty GTi is the hardest of all.

The 113bhp diesel model comes with a six-speed gearbox to improve economy and cut engine noise at speed, but all other models (bar the GTi) make do with a five-speed transmission.

Practicality & boot space

3 / 5

The Peugeot 208's practicality is on par with the Ford Fiesta's

The Peugeot 208 has a 285-litre boot – that’s nine litres bigger than the Ford Fiesta’s and a match for the Volkswagen Polo’s. Folding the rear seats flat expands it to 1,152 litres. Although the hatchback boot leaves a big opening for loading bulky items, you have to lift luggage over a slight load lip and the rear seats don’t fold down completely flat.

The Peugeot 208 is available with either three or five doors, with the latter obviously offering easier access to the back seats. Space in the back is good, with enough head and legroom even for tall passengers. Getting comfy in the front should be easy, too, while Allure models and above come fitted with a height-adjustable passenger seat.

Despite having door pockets front and rear – the front ones passing the Carbuyer big-bottle test admirably – the Peugeot loses points for its small glovebox.

Reliability & safety

2.5 / 5

Reliability unlikely to be best in class, but safety is excellent

Build quality and reliability are not characteristics Peugeot is famed for, but the 208 did reasonably well in our 2014 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey to come 49th out of 150 cars. It was praised for nippy handling and low running costs, but marked down for ease of driving. In our experience, the sat nav fitted to high-specification models can have a mind of its own, switching off mid-journey and refusing to reboot.

Safety is excellent, though, and the 208 was awarded the maximum five-star crash-safety rating by Euro NCAP. It comes with plenty of safety equipment as standard, including electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, six airbags and a seatbelt reminder.

Price, value for money & options

3.5 / 5

All Peugeot 208s get plenty of equipment

Even the basic Peugeot 208 Access has useful features such as cruise control, electric front windows and remote central locking. The next level up (Access+) adds air-conditioning and heated door mirrors. Active models bring 15-inch alloy wheels, a colour touchscreen and a DAB digital radio, while Allure cars feature 16-inch alloy wheels, climate control, automatic headlights and wipers, and an automatically dimming rear-view mirror, which stops you from being dazzled by headlights from the car behind. The GTi has the sportiest looks thanks to its 17-inch alloys and eye-catching body kit.

Peugeot offers a range of exterior additions – such as roof and bumper stickers – that allow you to customise your 208. Useful equipment options include parking assistance (£570) and a panoramic glass roof (£400). 

Second-hand values depend on specification. The basic car can be expected to retain more than 50% of its initial cost over three years and 36,000 miles, but the 1.6-litre THP petrol model is expected to be worth just 36% of its original value after the same period.

What the others say

4.1 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
The tiny steering wheel adds to the sporty feeling. At 3cm less in diameter than the 207's and the smallest in the class, it makes the car feel alert, with quick reactions once away from dead-ahead. A further benefit is that you view the dials over the top rather than through it, giving a head-up feel.
4 / 5
There are characterful 1.0- and 1.2-litre three-cylinder units at one end of the range, and two 1.6s at the other, with the more powerful one sporting a turbocharger. Between these is the 1.4 that's expected to be the biggest seller.
3.5 / 5
The Peugeot 208 hatchback has every chance of becoming a firm favourite with small hatchback buyers. It's smart, efficient and practical. With three- and five-door bodystyles it also offers variety. It does, however, have a ghost of the past to compete with. The 205, a product of the Eighties, is remembered fondly and as a result it has become benchmark to which all other small hatchbacks are measured. Few make the grade – even the 206 and the 207 that followed the 205 didn’t match up. So the 208 has great expectations heaped upon it and, at first glance, it looks like a worthy successor to the great 205.
5 / 5
It's not perfect, but taken as a whole it represents a really fresh package that is likely to appeal to a wide range of buyers - and for good reason. Peugeot really does seem to have started with that blank piece of paper designer types are always going on about.
Last updated 
4 Aug 2014

Sponsored Links

Own this car? Leave your review.