Peugeot 208 hatchback
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Price £9,995 - £18,545
- Stylish looks
- Cheap to run
- Uncomfortable ride
- Clumsy gearbox
- Fiesta is more fun to drive
At a glance
"The Peugeot 208 is an excellent supermini offering stylish looks, decent levels of kit and low running costs."
The car's interior quality is up compared to the old model, in an attempt to match the build quality of the Volkswagen Polo, and the new model is also more enjoyable to drive.
Peugeot has given the 208 a wide range of engines, which includes small three-cylinder petrol engines that are cheap to run and diesels that are even more frugal. The best performance is offered by the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine in the Peugeot 208GTI. The 113bhp diesel engine is arguably the 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 does without the stylish XY and fast GTi models, but gets classier Feline and Allure trims. All 208s come with equipment such as cruise control, electric front windows, and remote central locking.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Peugeot 208 one of the cheapest 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 diesel engines come fitted with stop-start technology, which rests the engine when the car is not moving. That means the 1.4-litre e-HDi diesel engine will return fuel economy of 83.1mpg, while its CO2 emissions of 87g/km translate into free road tax. Even the basic diesel that doesn’t have stop-start can achieve 74.3mpg and is also exempt from road tax.
The petrol engines are frugal, too, and the 1.0-litre VTi will get 65.7mpg and emits 99g/km of CO2 for free road tax. The pick of the petrol-engine 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 offer a three-year/60,000 mile warranty, which is pretty basic when compared to the lifetime/100,000-mile warranty that comes with the Vauxhall Corsa. Hyundai and Kia offer five and seven-years’ cover, respectively.
Maintaining you 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.
Interior & comfort
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 is neither as well built as that of the Volkswagen Polo or as nice to look at as the Ford Fiesta. Tactile, soft-touch plastics are used extensively and the dashboard, on the whole, is stylish to look at. A big complaint is the placing of the speedometer right behind the rim of the steering wheel, which means many drivers will find it obscured from their line of sight. Some drivers may find the steering wheel unusually small, too.
Making up for this is height and reach adjustment for the steering and a height adjustable driver’s seat, fitted across the range. Visibility is pretty decent, but the Peugeot – as with many modern cars – has thick windscreen pillars that can restrict your vision.
Tuning suspension to be both sporty and comfortable used to be a Peugeot specialty, but it’s not something replicated in the 208. Its suspension can feel firm over bumps and potholes. Unsurprisingly, the sporty GTi is the firmest of all.
The 113bhp diesel model comes fitted with a six-speed gearbox to aid economy and cut engine noise at speed, but all other models (bar the GTi) make do with a five-speed gearbox.
Practicality & boot space
Peugeot 208's practicality is on a par with the Ford Fiesta
The Peugeot 208 has a 285-litre boot that’s 9 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 aperture for loading bulky items, there is a load lip to lift luggage over and the rear seats don’t fold completely flat.
The Peugeot 208 is available with either three or five-doors, with the latter giving an obvious advantage when it comes to accessing the back seat. Space in the back is good, with head and legroom allowing space even for tall passengers. Getting comfy in the front should be easy too, and 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
Reliability unlikely to be best in class but safety levels are above criticism
Build quality and reliability are not characteristics that 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 scored highly for its nippy handling and cheap running costs, but was marked down in the ease of driving category. The sat-nav fitted to high-specification models in our experience can have a mind of its own, switching off mid-journey and refusing to reboot.
Safety is excellent, though, and the 208 got the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests. It comes with plenty of safety equipment as standard, including electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, six airbags, and a seatbelt reminder.
Engines, drive & performance
Peugeot 208 diesel engines are very impressive
The Peugeot 208 has responsive steering and decent amounts of grip, but the steering lacks the feel 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 engines offer a characterful thrum that makes them feel quicker than they actually are. The 67bhp version gets from 0-60mph 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 five-speed gearbox fitted feels slack to use.
Opting for the 113bhp diesel means you get a six-speed gearbox, which makes the engine quieter at speed and also helps the car return excellent economy. If you cover big mileages, it is the engine to go for and 0-60mph in 10.8 seconds makes it a comparatively nippy overtaker. Other diesel models include the 1.4-litre 70 diesel and the 1.6-litre e-HDI diesel, which get from 0-60mph in 15.5 seconds and 12.2 seconds.
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 gets a six-speed gearbox that is nicer to use than the five-speed version, has stiffer suspension for fast cornering, while 0-60mph takes just 6.8 seconds.
Price, value for money & options
All Peugeot 208s get decent levels of equipment
Even the basic Peugeot 308 Access comes with useful features such as cruise control, electric front windows, and remote central locking while the next level up, Access +, adds air conditioning and heated door mirrors. Active models add 15-inch alloy wheels, a colour touchscreen and a DAB radio, while Allure models get 16-inch alloy wheels, climate control, auto headlights and wipers, and an automatically-dimming rear-view mirror, which stops you from being dazzled by headlights. The GTi has the sportiest looks thanks to 17-inch alloys and 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 park assist (£570) that allows the car to park itself, and a panoramic glass roof (£400).
Second-hand values are model dependent, so the basic car can expect to hold on to more than 50 per cent of its initial cost over three years and 36,000 miles. The 1.6-litre THP petrol model, meanwhile, is expected to be worth just 36 per cent of its original value over the same period.
What the others say
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.
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.
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.
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.