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First Drive: Peugeot 208

By / 6 years ago / Road Tests / No Comments

Sector: Supermini Price: £11,695–£21,995 Fuel: 52.3–94.2mpg CO2: 79–125g/km

Peugeot’s B-segment 208 hatch remains the French firm’s best selling car, both in the UK and across Europe. More than 32,400 three and five-door models found customers here last year, with 45% of sales going to fleets. Of that number, 59% relied on petrol power, reflecting both the rising efficiency of smaller petrol engines and the lower mileages that B-segment cars typically travel.

Behind the more assertive ‘3D’ grille, sharper front bumper, two-tone headlamps and LED signature lights there are a range of Euro 6 petrol and diesel motors, offering up to 94.2mpg and CO2 levels as low as 79g/km.

These include extensions to the three-cylinder PureTech petrol line-up, with Stop/Start technology now standard on the 1.2-litre turbocharged 110hp model. The 1.2-litre PureTech engines, in both 82hp and 110hp versions, are expected to be the biggest sellers in the petrol line-up. There is also the option of a 1.6-litre THP petrol engine in GTi and GTi by Peugeot Sport models, offering 208hp.

Those looking for diesel power will be offered the 1.6-litre BlueHDi engine with 75hp, which should be the most popular, plus 100hp and a range-topping 120hp. The two lower powered diesels and all of the PureTech petrol engines have five-speed manual gearboxes, while the 120hp diesel comes with a six-speed gearbox as standard. A six-speed automatic transmission is available as an option on the 110hp PureTech model.

Peugeot has continued with the i-Cockpit cabin layout first seen at the 2012 launch of the 208, and since adopted in the 308 and 2008. The compact steering wheel is now leather-trimmed from Active specification up and the seven-inch touchscreen remains standard from Active trim.

New technologies for 208 include a reversing camera that uses the touchscreen as a monitor, plus the option of Active City Brake, which works at speeds up to 20mph. As well as standard Bluetooth, USB and Peugeot Connected apps, the touchscreen also offers MirrorLink, allowing drivers with an Android smartphone to show the phone’s homescreen and to use driving-related smartphone apps in the car. Apple iPhone connectivity is expected to become available later this year.

Accentuating the new look, with its 3D LED ‘claw’ rear lights, Peugeot is offering two textured paint finishes, in Ice Grey and Ice Silver. Produced on the line alongside more conventional colours, the matt finish has a granular feel thanks to fine particles of silica and micro-balloons of polyamide. Peugeot insists that the finish is both easy to clean and more resistant to scratching. It will cost £645, the same as a pearlescent colour.

Also new to 208 is a GT Line trim level, adopting many of the styling cues of the full GTi model, but without the power. The GT Line will be available with the 110hp PureTech petrol or a choice of 100hp and 120hp BlueHDi diesels.

In the UK, Peugeot will offer seven trim levels, from the base Access A/C, to the range-topping GTi by Peugeot Sport. Top selling fleet models are expected to be the Active trim with 82hp PureTech engine or BlueHDi 75hp motor, plus the Allure trimmed 82hp petrol model.

Verdict:

The 208 is a well-built hatchback with a fine choice of engines, delivering impressive fuel and CO2 figures. There should be something to suit all tastes.

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Dan Gilkes

Dan has been a commercial vehicle and construction equipment journalist for almost 30 years. An automotive engineer and former fleet manager, he has driven almost every van, pickup and truck that has been launched in Europe over that time. As editor of VFW, his aim is to keep readers up to date with the latest developments in the light commercial world.