|Model tested:||Peugeot 208 1.2 Puretech Allure|
|Economy / CO2:||65.7mpg/99g/km|
Review: Peugeot 208 (Overall score = 3.5/5 )
Introduced in 2012, the Peugeot 208 is hardly the freshest supermini on the block, but a significant facelift in summer 2015 has kept it up to date with rivals. Since its arrival, the three-door option has been dropped and the 208 has been updated with fresh multi-media choices, new driver assistance systems and cleaner, more efficient engines. With zesty powerplants, smart looks and a well-built cabin that’s also generously equipped, it’s easy to like the 208 despite its lack of youth. However, an all-new 208 will arrive next year and it’s likely to be a significant advance on the current model.
Our test car wasn’t necessarily representative of the breed as it was a high-spec model with posh trim and plenty of buttons to press – as well as a glass roof that really opened up the cabin. Perhaps the biggest bugbear is the convex back rests that in theory offer support, but which in reality can be uncomfortable if you’re sitting in them for hours on end. Rear seat space is good though, with plenty of leg room, though the head room isn’t quite so generous. There’s plenty of front seat adjustment and the steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake so it’s easy to get comfortable.
The small steering wheel is set low so that you view the instruments over, rather than through it, but it means the rim can obscure the digital speedometer between the instruments. Cubby hole space is disappointing, with an especially small glove box, but the infotainment is easy to use (although the graphics are basic), the cabin quality is high and the instrumentation clear.
The 208 doesn’t stand out dynamically and is no class leader in any respect, but there are plenty of good points. The entry-level 82bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine lacks sparkle, but the 110bhp turbocharged version of this powerplant (the 1.2T) is just the job if the 100bhp 1.5-litre diesel doesn’t appeal. If you need an automatic, only the 1.2T will do (priced from £18,065 in Tech Edition guise), but it’s not the best two-pedal transmission. On our turbocharged 1.2-litre engine the clutch action was a bit jerky, making smooth getaways a challenge, but refinement is very good, the five-speed gearbox is slick and there’s plenty of low-down torque. With plenty of power higher up the rev range too, motorway driving is no problem at all.
The entry-level Active is all you need, but this comes only in 1.2 or 1.5 HDi forms (£14,315 or £16,390); the same goes for the next model up, the Signature. The 1.2T engine starts at £16,865 in Tech Edition form (£17,940 for the 1.5 HDi). The entry-level 1.5 HDi Active comes with steel wheels, powered front windows, DAB radio, Bluetooth and air-con.
We’d pay the extra £350 to move up to the Signature (£16,740 for the 1.5 HDi) which adds rear parking sensors, 16” alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers plus power folding door mirrors. Both petrol engines are claimed to manage around 60mpg, but the diesel is rated at 76mpg; expect 50mpg and 60mpg respectively in the real world. Service plans are available for routine maintenance; these are pitched at £12.99 per month for up to three years and 35,000 miles or £13.99 for up to four years and 45,000 miles or five years and 55,000 miles.