Peugeot 208 review


What is?

A calculated bet. The ‘new’ Peugeot 208 is, on the face of it, another excellent French city car from a country that is great at building desirable small cars. Same name, new face, new interior and the same desire to inflate the Renault Clio, Citroën C3 and Ford Fiesta, while pinching some sales of the supposedly more chic Audi A1 and Mini.

But Peugeot wasn’t just pinning its hopes on the new face and improved quality: its launch in 2019 also saw the reveal of the Peugeot e-208. Fully electric drive, but identical dimensions, identical appearance. No blind grilles, platypus covers or custom paint, just an alternate electrical option. We’re focusing on the ICE variant here, but click on those blue words if that’s the EV you’re looking for.

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And we’ll start with the exterior, because, well, it looks very elegant, doesn’t it? Less awkward in the face than the old 208 and less fussy than the overly wrinkled Audi A1 or VW Polo. Prettier than a Fiesta too and more modern than a Mini. Top models with triple LED lights and 17-inch wheels look extremely good.

Is the interior also glamorous?

It’s certainly an eye-catcher here, with a noticeable improvement in quality over its predecessor. The small steering wheel takes some getting used to, but the ‘3D’ instrument cluster works wonderfully, projecting speed a bit more prominently than rpm and fuel. It is a really attractive and unique detail.

It’s not perfect, with the infotainment system far from the most logical to operate. There are no separate climate controls either, these are buried in the touchscreen. Still, the tactile hotkeys help, which you’ll find just behind the row of shark-tooth buttons – an acquired taste.

Rear seat space is noticeably limited, especially against rivals like the VW Polo, but rear boot space and legroom are identical in the 208 and e-208, and the batteries are located instead of the fuel tank and exhaust. Full details on inside tab.

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Is it going as well as it seems?

The range is fairly straightforward: things start with a 74bhp petrol and five-speed manual, the mid-tier version is a 99bhp of the same 1.2-litre turbo with a sixth gear or an eight-speed automatic. optional, and then there is the Same engine again, this time with 128 hp at the top of the range with the standard automatic gearbox. There is only one diesel engine, a 99bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder, but sales are expected to be minimal.

It’s not as agile as a Fiesta, but it feels nimble just because the steering wheel is pocket-sized. The ride is good on the 16, but the nice 17 on the top trim makes it worse, making the 208 more twitchy. All the details in the driving file.

Prices start from just over £19,000, or around £265 to rent. For reference, the electric variant, with its 225-mile WLTP range, starts at around an extra £10,000 (including dwindling government reimbursement).

Our choice of the range.

test peugeot 208
1.2 PureTech 100 Allure Premium 5-Door EAT8

What’s the verdict?

An extremely desirable futuristic city car with a powertrain for everyone. Just watch out for the steady ride

Beautiful to look at, well made, technically on point and good enough to drive. Need we say more?

Of course, there are little battles that the 208 doesn’t win. I need more space? Get a pole. Do you need more fun? Buy a Party. A greater guarantee? The Kia Rio. But have no doubt that this is an extremely desirable car in its own right due to Peugeot’s bloody ingenuity in doing its thing.

The styling, the eccentric cab, the electric option; it all smacks of bravery that outperforms many rival brands. The result is a very nice car.

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peugeot 208 frontpeugeot 208 rearpeugeot 208 rear

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