Peugeot 208 Review

Find out more about the Peugeot 208 in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

£10,170
Average price
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3
Out of 5

Pros

  • Stylish design
  • Fun to drive
  • Economical engines

Cons

  • Compact cabin
  • Small steering wheel
  • Off the pace of some rivals
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    0 - 103 g/km

  • Video

  • Price Guide

  • Trims

  • Summary

Review

Following on from the hugely popular – but ultimately uninspiring – 206 and the relatively unloved 207, the 208 was tasked with bringing Peugeot back to the head of the pack in a supermini segment once ruled by small French hatchbacks.

Fortunately for Peugeot, the 208 delivered in spades, rekindling some of the fire started by the 205. Not only was it a massively good-looking car, but it had a joie de vivre (or ‘Zest for Life’) that had been missing from little French cars for some time.

The 208’s i-Cockpit was designed to make the car feel more entertaining to drive, with its tiny steering wheel and high-set dials, while the dashboard had been decluttered to remove many of the buttons, which relocated to the central touchscreen.

It isn’t a hugely spacious model, with limited space for rear passengers and a relatively small boot, but the 208 stood up well in comparison with its rivals. It offers similar space to the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo, and came with the option of having three- and five-doors on the first-generation model.

Current model

The second-generation 208 model was launched at the start of 2020, and with it came a whole new look with a front end that was more aggressive, with bold-looking headlamps and daytime running lights that run down the front bumper. Then around the back, the taillights have merged across the boot like we’ve seen in some Porsches.

It all looks very smart especially alongside some of its rivals in this class. In fact, while some rivals have gone down the conservative styling route with their B-segment superminis, Peugeot has decided to take a different direction. It’s safe to say it’s worked. This treatment isn’t just reserved for the 208 though, as it’s part of a new design era for Peugeot – as shown on models like the 508 family saloon and 2008 crossover, which are shaking things up in their sector.

One thing you may not know is that the 208 has much in common with the new Vauxhall Corsa – in fact it’s built on the same CMP platform. That’s no surprise considering the companies merged in 2017.

Unlike previous Peugeot superminis, the 208 is only available in five-door form, which means there’s none of that awkward squeezing through a tight gap to get into the back seats.

Engine wise, there’s a healthy choice with not only a mix of petrol and diesel, but also an electric version too.

Value for money

Prices for the latest version of the 208 start at £17,155 and for that you’ll get an entry-level Active model which comes with 16-inch alloy wheels as standard, plus a seven-inch touch screen infotainment system. It certainly doesn’t feel lacking when it comes to standard kit, though prices have taken a step upmarket. It’s now more expensive than the Volkswagen Polo and Seat Ibiza, though it feels far more premium than before to justify its price.

Electric models are considerably more expensive, though, with prices for these starting from £26,025, and that’s including the government’s £3,000 plug-in car grant.

That said, there are already big savings off the list price on nearly-new models – models starting from £14,000 for examples with just a few hundred miles on the clock.

Looks and image

The latest generation 208 is without doubt less conservative than most of the rivals. Its aggressive look with those angular headlamps and daytime running light really makes it stand out in this segment.  It’s not a million miles away from the chic and stylish design of its predecessor that has earned it praise from all corners, but is a welcome change.

The interior is just as eye-catching as the exterior, too, with plenty of soft-touch materials and piano black gloss on show. The first thing you’ll notice is the rather small steering wheel which impedes the view of the screen. The shortcut keys on the centre console are also a nice touch.

Behind the wheel the 208 is also very pleasant to drive – being agile and cornering well. It’s not the most fun choice in this sector, though, as the steering is very light, while the small steering wheel can take time adjusting to.

Video review

Space and practicality

As we said earlier, the latest version of the 208 is only available as a five-door hatchback, and while that makes access easier for anyone getting in the rear seats, when they get there, they’re not spoiled with lots of space.

It’s a cosy and compact cabin rather than well proportioned. Plenty of adjustment makes it easy to get comfortable, but, as with the previous model, the steering wheel feels small and a bit unnatural compared to some of its rivals. Also, the i-Cockpit layout which displays all the usual information you’d get in front of the driver is set higher up. The idea is that it means the driver doesn’t have to take their eyes off the road too much to see important information. However, we’ve found that the small steering wheel can obscure the view of the dials.

Things are slightly better in the electric model, the e-208. In some rivals, adding batteries impacts cabin space but because of some clever packaging the space isn’t any less than the petrol or diesel versions.

The boot isn’t class leading, if anything it’s at the other end of the scale, offering 311 litres of space which is better than the Ford Fiesta but falls short of the Volkswagen Polo or Renault Clio. Fold the rear seats down and this expands to 1,106 litres.

Engines

There’s plenty of choice when it comes to powertrains, so it’s worth picking carefully.

The turbocharged 1.2-litre three-cylinder PureTech unit is available in three different power outputs ­– 74bhp, 98bhp or 127bhp and it’s a great engine that works beautifully with the car, coping well with most of what’s asked of it.  The 74bhp and 98bhp versions feature a manual gearbox as standard, though an automatic comes with the more powerful 128bhp version.

On the diesel front there’s a 1.5-litre with 99bhp which comes with a six-speed manual, and is best-suited to those doing a lot of motorway driving.

The electric e-208 offers a claimed 217 miles on a single charge thanks to its large 50kWh battery, while an electric motor producing 134bhp makes it the quickest 208 available – able to accelerate to 60mph in 7.9 seconds.  

Running costs

The beauty with superminis is that on the whole they’re relatively cheap to run, and that’s exactly the case with the 208. If you go for the 74bhp 1.2-litre petrol it should return around 53.6mpg and emissions of 113g/km of CO2. The more powerful 130bhp version will still deliver over 50mpg with emissions of 127g/km of CO2.

If you want the best economy then the diesel is well worth considering, with the 1.5 litre BlueHDi returning an impressive 71.4mpg and emissions of just 104g/km.

If you go for the electric version, it will cost around £6,500 more than the diesel model, but should be able to do around 217miles on a single charge. It is quite expensive, but the running costs will be cheap. As for charging times, it will take around seven hours to fully charge using a 7kWh home wall box or 30 minutes to get to 80 per cent from a 100kWh public charger. 

Things to look out for

Peugeot’s reputation for reliability is not brilliant, but the 208 has generally been regarded as one of its more dependable models, and the latest version should be better still.

The previous generation version was subject to a recall for the bonnet latch, and some cars were recalled for having air in the braking system that reduced braking performance, so check this work has either been done or is not necessary before you splash the cash.

Some cars have also been known to suffer infotainment screen issues, which can only be sorted by a Peugeot dealer, while some find that the manual gearbox is sometimes reluctant to go into reverse. It’s not a fault per se, but it seems to be an irritating design flaw inherent to that transmission.

Rivals

The 208 is in a very competitive segment, and in fact it’s one of the most highly contested markets of them all and there are some pretty well-established names already. Rivals include the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio, Volkswagen Polo and Vauxhall Corsa.

Outside Europe, the hugely spacious Honda Jazz and the brilliant-to-drive Mazda2 offer much of the Japanese competition, while the Toyota Yaris, Nissan Micra, Hyundai i20 and Kia Rio are also popular choices.


Depreciation

Because of the large numbers produced, Peugeot 208s do depreciate relatively quickly, but the positive side of that is that you can pick a fairly new, low-mileage example for an affordable price.

If you’re looking at the previous generation model, low-mileage examples selling for thousands of pounds less than the list price. Of course, it’s not technically a new car, and it will have less warranty remaining, but the saving makes it a hugely compelling option – particularly if you’re not too fussed about colour and interior trim options.

Early 208s with higher mileages, meanwhile, tend to sell for around £3,500-£4,000, while a three-year-old car with a sensible odometer reading will probably set you back in the region of £5,500.

Which 208 to pick

Cheapest to buy when new

1.2 PureTech Active Premium 5dr

Most MPG

1.2 PureTech Active Premium 5dr

Fastest model (0-60)

100kW Active Premium 50kWh 5dr Auto E-208 Electric

Trims explained

Six trim levels are available on the new 208, with equipment highlights and pricing as follows.

Active

This entry-level grade comes well-equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, rear parking sensors, LED headlights and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You also get a leather steering wheel, automatic lights and autonomous emergency braking.

From £17,155

Active Premium

Opt for the Active Premium and this adds satellite navigation and advanced connectivity features.

From £17,805

Allure

Allure models come with larger 17-inch alloy wheels, climate control, as well as a digital driver display in front of the driver, and wireless smartphone charging pad. It also comes with additional gloss black styling, electric rear windows, an electric parking brake and automatic wipers.

From £19,755

Allure Premium

Go for the Premium version and this will add a larger 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, as well as stylish shortcut buttons on the centre console.

From £20,405

GT Line

The GT Line adds plenty of extra standard kit – including plenty of extra style. Design highlights include its revised 17-inch alloy wheels, gloss black styling kit and notably the gloss black roof. It also comes with front parking sensors, a reversing camera and full LED headlights with the intricate ‘claw’ daytime running lights.

From £21,455

GT

The top-spec GT grade is only found on the electric e-208 – hence its big jump in price. This comes with a large 10-inch touchscreen, Alcantara upholstery and heated front seats. But it also adds additional safety kit, such as adaptive cruise control, lane positioning assist and blind spot monitoring.

From £30,275

Summary

  1. Compact cabin
  2. Stylish design
  3. Expensive alongside some rivals
  4. Good on road manners
  5. Strong levels of performance
  6. EV available
  7. Optional extras expensive
  8. Infotainment fiddly to use
  9. Small steering wheel
  10. Good build quality

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