Small, but usually perfectly formed, Peugeot’s most compact cars have often outshone their bigger stablemates. Thanks to an essential “rightness”, the sum of their skills adds up to more than just dimensions, ride and performance.
As these things go, the new 208 is significantly more grownup in almost all respects than the 206 and 207 that preceded it. The “almost all” refers to the fact that, although it is more compact externally than its predecessors, its reworked interior packaging liberates interior roominess like never before.
The somewhat snug rear accommodation of older models has been significantly improved. Under the bonnet, the new three-cylinder 1,2 shared with (Citroën and Toyota) provides punchy yet frugal performance. The fit and finish speak of an attention to detail and a refinement well in advance of the company’s previous attempts. But that’s hardly surprising, given Peugeot’s declaration that the 208 represents the fruits of the most ambitious new model programme in its history.
At the wheel, the trademark absorbent yet controlled ride leaves no doubt that here, at least, is one area that Peugeot has not fixed on the grounds that it simply ain’t broke. And despite the modest 60 kW output of the new-generation three-cylinder 1.2 VTi petrol engine that makes its debut in the 208, it’s well suited to city driving. Besides, what’s not to like about that trademark three-cylinder bark?
At a competive price, the entry-level 208 1.2 VTi Access gets dual front airbags, air-conditioning, alarm/immobiliser system, central locking, electric front windows, audio system with USB and Bluetooth connectivity and five-year/60 000 km service plan.
Drive front, 5M
Engine three-cylinder 1,2
Power 60 kW at 5 750 r/min
Torque 118 N.m at 2 750 r/min
Economy 4,5 litres/100 km
CO2 104 g/km
Price R 154 900