Peugeot has reignited the spark that was lost from the 206 to its successor the 207, with this new, much-improved 208, it embodies all that’s required in a small car. The 208’s exterior styling is enhanced with the now familiar floating front grille, as seen on the 508 and the recently face-lifted 308. The claw-type rear taillights and sculpted lines along the sides give the 208 an athletic appearance. The car’s interior features quality switch gear with the addition of a multi-function colour touchscreen fitted as standard from the mid-range model upwards. The instrument cluster has an elevated position, you view the dials over the steering wheel as opposed to looking through it. It’s slightly unusual at first but something you soon get accustomed to quite quickly, aided by the use of a small steering wheel.
The 208 is available with a choice of two petrol and two diesel engines. The petrol line-up consists of a 1.0-litre engine which produces 68hp and emits just 99g/km of CO2. There’s also a 1.2-litre petrol variant that offers 82hp. The diesel range is comprised of a 1.4-litre HDi model with 68hp and 98g/km of CO2 and a 1.4-litre eHDi model that also produces 68hp and a very impressive 87g/km of CO2. Peugeot estimate that 65 per cent of their sales will comprise of the petrol models, with all variants benefiting from tax band A placement, annual road tax will cost a mere €160. The 208 is available across three trim specifications, Access, Active and Allure. Prices commence from a very reasonable €14,495 with items including cruise control, ESP, multiple airbags and remote central locking fitted as standard. I test drove the 1.4HDi model in Active trim which benefits from additional items such as front fog lamps, air conditioning, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, a multi-function colour touchscreen, electric heated rear view mirrors and 15” alloy wheels.
On the road the 208 feels small yet nimble through traffic, it’s 7cm shorter and 1cm lower than its predecessor, and is in fact larger on the inside offering an additional 5cm space for rear seat passengers. There’s adequate power on offer from the 1.4-litre diesel engine, although acceleration is at a fairly leisurely pace. The five-speed manual transmission is light to the touch but has a long throw between gears. The 208 offers an abundance of space and comfort for a super-mini and scores points over its competitors including the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta. It’s a pity that the 208 doesn’t offer the dynamic driving experience that’s provided in the Fiesta, maybe Peugeot are saving the best for the highly-anticipated GTI version. The 208 clearly puts Peugeot back on the map in the Supermini category.[table “77” not found /]