Well, it has been a long fortnight hasn’t it? The Olympics. It’s a tense period when one member of the household (She) is an avid sports fan glued to the widescreen: “Quick! Quick! There’s cockroaches racing up the side of a Rio restaurant in the heat! We must get out there for the final”. The other member (He) is like a dead owl when it comes to most sports. He couldn’t give a hoot.
Stuck in the cubby hole amusingly described as an office, He gets so fed up with saying, “I don’t care. Leave me alone” every time he is loudly informed of another medal triumph that eventually he acquiesces with the occasional muted yahoo. Fortunately to relieve the tension He has this really nice Peugeot 208 GT Line to fondle.
The 100 Metres
That’s how far He has to run in the recent rather wet weather to reach the Peugeot 208. This takes care of His daily sporting activity thank you very much. In the fetching Satin White outfit and the sporty GT Line kit the car looks good at the kerb and ready for action.
It’s not a sporting motor though. The hardcore stuff is saved for the GTI version. The featured five-door car – you can get a three-door as well – is an economical 118bhp Stop & Start 1.6L diesel driving through a crisp six-speed manual gearbox. The cleanest model Peugeot 208 produces a tax-busting figure of just 94g/km of CO² and they all score well across the range. It is an engine that is easy to live with. Not quick but full of purpose, stir the stick a bit and the diesel 208 will crack along nicely.
Most users of a supermini hatch might prefer the range of ultra-modern PureTech 3-cylinder petrol motors. There’s also a 1.2 S&S turbo with 108bhp which should perhaps be a little livelier and more fun, although no doubt with a slight penalty on fuel consumption. The Peugeot 208 is also available with a 1.6L petrol engine and the new EAT6 six-speed automatic gearbox, which uses Quickshift technology allowing faster changes. He himself prefers the manual ‘box though. Prices range between £12 – 18,000, depending on model choice.
On the go the Peugeot 208 offers strong grip and good body control although for some the ride might be on the firm side of comfy. He loves the small electrically assisted steering wheel which is fast in action. Not everybody approves of this but He’s happy and that’s the important thing. Peugeot’s have always been a decent ride.
Overall the 208 handles our rotten roads fairly well especially when up to road speeds. There is some wind and road noise at high speed however but it is no worse than many. On balance the Peugeot 208 is one of the best small hatches. Not up to Fiesta driving standards perhaps but well judged nonetheless.
This latest iteration of the 208 has become sharper and more distinctive. With a new front bumper and a wider fully integrated grille the striking new look is supported by new two-tone headlamps fitted as standard from Active trim level upwards. Combined with restyled front fog lamps and crab-claw rear lights the overall look transforms the 208. It is an eye-catching car, especially in Satin White.
The Peugeot 208 has one of the classiest cabins of any small car in this sector. Standard equipment is generous across the range with Bluetooth, climate control and all the usual suspects. The front seats are comfortable and grip the driver well. There’s not a lot of point going on about His enthusiasm for Peugeot’s i-Cockpit because it is the same as the bigger 2008 which you can read about HERE. A slight downer might be that the hatchback offers only average rear passenger and boot space. As ever in this class, lanky rear seat passengers will be doing the knees-up. On balance the five-door is probably the better option.
The Closing Ceremony
The Peugeot 208 is affordable, likeable and stylish with safe and predictable handling. The days of iffy quality from the French manufacturer are behind us. Despite the superabundance of sporting televisual treats, She – not a fan of small cars – did go for a ride and said that it was good although most of the in-car conversation concerned sporting endeavour; that is at least until the excellent infotainment centre started belting out a strategically timed ‘No Fun’ by the Stooges.
It’s a likeable car that you will want to drive. Possibly pitched at a younger, more urban demographic, the car could still appeal to small families and empty-nesters who are looking for a smart, economical runaround with a bit of class. Representing France in the dash to the winning line it might not take gold but it should certainly pick up a medal. Geoff Maxted