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Peugeot 208 Hatchback review

2012 - 2019 (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 54.0
” Attractively styled and well-equipped, but not the most reliable “

At a glance

Price new £10,195 - £19,979
Used prices £938 - £11,310
Road tax cost £0 - £240
Insurance group 5 - 26
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Fuel economy 39.1 - 67.7 mpg
Range 484 - 913 miles
Miles per pound 5.7 - 8.7
View full specs for a specific version

Available fuel types

Petrol

Diesel

Pros & cons

PROS
CONS
  • Automated ETG transmission is jerky
  • Stingy entry level model
  • Unsettled ride

Written by Tim Bowdler Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 23 August 2023

Overview

Smart, efficient and practical, the Peugeot 208 hatchback is an appealing used hatchback that first went on sale in 2012. This model went off sale in 2019, but during those seven years Peugeot sold plenty of cars and won a load of accolades.

The ‘20’ prefix is legendary in Peugeot communities because of the 205. It’s considered as one of the best small hatches of the 1980s, especially in high-performance GTI guise, and luckily the 208 can also be considered one of the better cars of the 2000s.

It does, however, fight in the most competitive sector where cars such as the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Polo vie for attention alongside other talented superminis like the Citroen C3, Renault Clio, SEAT Ibiza, Skoda Fabia and Toyota Yaris. 

Peugeot 208 Mk1 known faults and common problems

This generation was on sale for seven years. And it sold well throughout Europe, including the UK. This means there are plenty on the used market and finding parts shouldn’t be a problem.

First generation 208s are approaching the bottom of their depreciation curves. Early models can be snapped up for less than £2,000. They’ve still got a bit to fall, and certainly once early cars get to around 15 years old you can expect them to drop to less than £1,000. 

208s aren’t particularly well revered for their reliability. Peugeot generally doesn’t score too well in customer satisfaction surveys and this 208 has had its share of build problems.

Buying guide

Common issues, and what to look for if you’re looking at getting one.

Recalls

During the course of its lifetime it was subject to more than a dozen recalls. Of course, all of these should have been fixed, but it doesn’t exactly bode well for reliability. Issues include failed bonnet latches, braking problems and oil leaks.

Infotainment issues

The 208’s touchscreen infotainment is a bit fiddly at the best of times, but over the course of time they’ve become known for freezing. A software update sometimes fixes the issues, but some owners have had to replace the entire unit.

Service intervals

A lot of garages will recommend a service every year or 10,000 miles. Although in reality it can depend upon the engine. It’s worthwhile looking up proper schedules before you buy.

Bodywork blows

An 11-year old Peugeot 208 will most likely have had a few owners and its fare share of parking dings. Don’t expect perfect paintwork at the cheaper end of the market. Damaged wheels might be hiding larger issues, though.

DPF blockages

Modern diesel engines with DPFs need to be driven regularly. If not, this filter can get clogged. And they’re expensive to fix. If you’re looking at a diesel 208, ensure that it’s been driven regularly.

Electric gremlins

Like with a lot of French cars of this era, electrical problems are prevalent. On the test drive make sure you press every button and keep an eye out for warning lights on the dashboard.

Choice

More than 100 variations of trim and engine level were available during the 208’s lifespan. Which means there are a lot of variables in the trim level of used cars. Check online to see what a potential car comes with, as lazy secondhand car salespeople might leave out a few features.

Puretech problems

The 1.2 Puretech engine has had a fair few problems reported. Some of which relate to the car’s ECU. Sometimes a software update can fix things.

Fuel gauge misreadings

We’ve seen several reports of fuel gauges misreading. Not much you can do about this other than keep an eye out during long journeys to see if it goes down as anticipated.

Sporty paint problems

The hot-hatch variant, called the 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport, has matte paint. You cannot clean this paint like a regular car and you need to research how to do it effectively before buying.

What models and trims can you buy?

As mentioned before, there are more than 100 to choose from when you pair the different engines with the different trim levels used throughout the years.

The cheapest, earliest cars are called Active, Access + should be avoided as it really is quite basic, Allure comes with a lot of kit. There are a few Roland Garros (although Peugeot now doesn’t sponsor the Parisian tennis tournament) special editions and the Tech Edition is the bells and whistles run-out model.

It’s offered in three and five-door configurations but there isn’t a convertible or estate model. There is a hot-hatch model, named the Peugeot 208 GTi.

Over the next few pages, we’ll review each aspect of the Peugeot 208, taking into account its practicality, comfort, fuel economy and performance. If you’re short on time, you can also skip to our verdict page to see if we recommend the 208 Mk1 as a good used car.