Peugeot 208 - Getting to know you

  • More time in the 208 hasn’t dimmed its appeal
  • Friends seem to like it too, especially the interior
  • It’s not perfect, though: there are some niggles

Over the last few weeks the 208 has had some serious miles put under its wheels, mostly travelling from airport to airport on a busy schedule of launch trips.

Having been driving around in the Peugeot for some time now, it’s reached the stage where the novelty of a new car has worn off and the real ‘getting to know you’ phase of car ownership begins.

The good news is that as the miles rack up it has remained a very likeable car and there aren’t too many glaring niggles.

I’ve got used to the fact that the gearlever’s broad gate means that when shifting from reverse to first gear in a hurry (after a three-point turn, for example) it’s quite easy to merrily set off again with the lever still in reverse – you need to be move it a little further and more slowly than you might expect to positively deselect reverse gear.

It may be a hangover from having a hard time as a press car earlier in its life, but the gearshift in general is starting to feel a little notchy and obstructive. A lower-mileage five-door 208 we tested recently with the same engine and gearbox had a far sweeter-feeling shift.

The wintry weather we’ve been having recently has also revealed that the car can be reluctant to go into first gear when it’s cold, and a couple of times I’ve deliberately pulled away in second to avoid forcing the lever into first.

Sub-zero temperatures have also shown that the heater isn’t one of the 208’s strongest features. It takes an age to warm up and even then doesn’t always keep you feeling toasty and comfortable.

Finally, like many modern three-door cars the large rear pillar and the side window’s upswept shape mean you really can’t see all that much over your shoulder. Blind-spot checks when joining a motorway or changing lanes are all but futile, and you’re better served by the 208’s door mirrors.

These minor complaints aside, I’m still really enjoying driving the 208.

An important part of choosing any car, perhaps whether admitted or not, is what your friends are going to think of it. Whenever friends and family have had a lift in the 208 it’s been well-received, the modern-looking interior design with its unusual ambient lighting strips alongside the glass roof being particular talking points.

The good news for Peugeot is that the car-buying public seem to agree – the 208 entered the top ten UK best selling cars list in January at Number 7.

Total mileage: 8,211 miles

Average mpg: 47.0mpg (indicated)