- Excellent fuel economy
- Low emissions
- Stylish looks and interior
- Comfortable around town
- Semi-automatic transmission is jerky
- Stingy entry level model
- Unsettled ride
The Peugeot 208 hatchback has every chance of becoming a firm favourite with small hatchback buyers. It’s smart, efficient and practical, plus with three- and five-door body styles 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.
Low weight, high efficiency
So the 208 has great expectations heaped upon it and, at first glance, it looks like a worthy successor to the great 205. The design is simple but effective and it certainly doesn’t have the stodginess of the 206 and 207 - it weighs an average of 114kg less than the 207 too.
It’s available with new high-efficiency three-cylinder petrol engines, while semi-automatic EGC diesel models with stop/start systems promise to return in excess of 90mpg.
Initially there are five petrol engines and two main diesel engines on offer. The range varies from wheezy but economical little 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol units to powerful turbocharged 1.6-litre diesel and petrol engines with as much as 153bhp.
Facelift and revisions for 2015
Summer 2015 saw the arrival of the facelifted Peugeot 208 – new bumpers front and rear, including a larger grille, different light designs and a new suite of colours are the most obvious changes.
Fewer modifications were made inside, although the trims were rejigged with GT Line taking the place of Feline in the hierarchy.
Engine revisions also marked out the facelift: the existing 1.0- and 1.2-litre PureTech petrols were joined by a 108bhp turbocharged version of the 1.2, with emissions down to 103g/km.
The trio of 1.6-litre BlueHDi diesels have improved efficiency in 74bhp, 99bhp and 118bhp outputs. Both of the lower-powered versions have an official economy claim of 94.1mpg, emitting just 79g/km of CO2.
The interior is one of the 208’s stand-out features. Fit and finish is very good and the bold design has a minimalist, modern feel. All 208s apart from the entry-level Access and Access+ models feature a large and rather prominent touchscreen in the centre of the dash through which the majority of the car’s functions (including the trip computer, Bluetooth connectivity, optional sat-nav system, reversing camera and so on) are operated.
Unusually, the 208 features a very small steering wheel and a raised instrument cluster, so the driver looks over rather than through the wheel at the dials. The miniature wheel does lend the car a sportier feel although not everyone gets on well with the arrangement – some drivers find the top of the wheel obscures the instruments slightly, while others have no problems.
Like many cars, the 208 is quite a spec-sensitive animal. A mid-range Active trim car with a small petrol engine will feel almost completely different from, for example, a top GT Line trim car with a large diesel engine. As ever, it’s always worth taking a test drive to see which specification suits you best.
Has the 208 got what it takes to be hatchback legend like the 205 and to compete against talented rivals? Read on to find out in our full Peugeot 208 review.
What owners say about this car
It has all the toys including cruise control it returns over 40 mpg and feels great to be in, it... Read owner review
Despite having quite a petite chassis, the car's relatively upright body stance and clever interior... Read owner review
It's a great little hatchback. Being 3 door makes access a little more awkward for rear seat users,... Read owner review