Peugeot 208 GTi hatchback (2013-2018)
“The exciting, economical and excellent-to-drive Peugeot 208 GTi is a return to hot-hatchback form for Peugeot”
- Great fun to drive
- Well equipped
- Odd dial layout
- Three-door only
- Pricier than rivals
Once renowned for excellent hot hatchbacks like the 205 GTi, Peugeot fell out of enthusiasts’ affections when cars like the 206 GTi and 207 GTi failed to live up to expectations. But the Peugeot 208 GTi is a real return to form for the French company and the tweaked 'GTI by Peugeot Sport' version is even more so.
Even in a marketplace that includes talented rivals like the MINI Cooper S, Renault Clio Renaultsport and Vauxhall Corsa VXR, the 208 GTi manages to hold its own. With performance rivals arriving thick and fast, the GTi can't afford to rest on its laurels and has been upgraded throughout its life to reflect how fierce the competition really is.
The 208 GTi’s sporty performance comes courtesy of a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine that produces an impressive 208bhp. It takes just 6.5 seconds to reach 62mph and yet returns a claimed 52.3mpg – so this is a very quick car that doesn’t require much compromise in economy. It’s not all about straight-line performance, though; the 208 GTi is fitted with uprated suspension and brakes to make sure it's a joy to drive in corners, too. These upgrades, along with sharp, accurate steering, make the 208 GTi a joy to drive.
If you crave hot-hatchback performance but don’t want to shout about it, the Peugeot 208 GTi is a good choice. Its styling is more subdued than many of its rivals, with fancier alloys, a small spoiler and some trademark red flashes and fancier alloys being the only real visual suggestions of the GTi’s extra performance. Extroverts are catered for, however – the 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport is available in a choice of two two-tone paint finishes.
A pair of sports seats are the biggest change from the standard the 208 inside. Other touches include red highlights throughout the interior, plus a sportier version of the 208’s very small steering wheel; you look at the dials over the top, rather than through, the wheel. It’s a design choice that works well for most, but shorter or taller drivers may have issues. The interior is well built and the materials used are of decent quality.
The 208 GTi is available in two trim levels. The cheapest is the GTi Prestige, and this comes with a panoramic sunroof, heated part-leather seats, dual-zone air-conditioning, automatic lights and wipers, rear parking sensors, cruise control and a seven-inch infotainment display with sat nav, Bluetooth connectivity and a DAB radio – though this system is a bit slow.
Upgrading to the '208 GTi by Peugeot Sport' model costs around £2,000 and brings lowered, upgraded suspension, sports seats clad in Alcantara suede fabric and a series of interior and exterior trim upgrades.
Hot hatchbacks are generally bought with the heart, and value tends to be mainly a matter of perspective. Compared to direct rivals like the Vauxhall Corsa VXR, the 208 GTi seems expensive; next to hot hatchbacks from the next class up like the Honda Civic Type R, however, it appears more reasonable.
The Peugeot 208 finished 63rd out of the 75 cars ranked in our 2017 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey of cars currently on sale in the UK. Safety credentials are excellent, with a five-star crash-test rating from Euro NCAP adding peace of mind.