Review

Peugeot 208 hatchback

£10,195 - £18,745

The Peugeot 208 is a stylish French hatchback that competes with rivals such as the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Kia Rio, and Hyundai i20. It looks smart and is decently equipped. The quick Peugeot 208 GTi is an alternative to hot hatchbacks like the Ford Fiesta ST, Renaultsport Clio and the new Volkswagen Polo GTI, which arrives in the UK next year.

Peugeot wanted the 208 to rekindle some of the magic of the old Peugeot 205, which was one of the most fun-to-drive cars in its class in the eighties. Sadly, it hasn’t been completely successful. The 208's steering doesn’t give you much feedback and the car simply can’t match the agile handling of the Ford Fiesta. It is a lot more comfortable than the old model, though.

The upside to this more subdued driving experience is that the 208 feels much more grown-up than the car it replaces. Interior quality has taken a huge leap and buyers get a longer list of standard equipment. Dials sitting above the steering wheel give the 208's dashboard a unique look. However, depending on the height of the driver, this can also mean the wheel obscures the dials.

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 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine used in the GTi offers the best performance. However, we recommend the 113bhp diesel, thanks to its good balance of power and fuel economy.

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