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Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
3:48 PM 7th February 2020

Peugeot 208 – UK Media Launch

Peugeot has undergone a transformation in recent years and now produces some excellent cars. Not only do they look good, but surveys prove that they are reliable too. Sales were slightly up in 2019 against a gloomy backdrop, with many manufactures experiencing a marked decline in cars sold in the UK.

Expectations are therefore high that the all-new 208 will continue the good work and not only satisfy existing owners looking to upgrade, but also to win those all-important conquest sales.

The competition is stiff and varied. Gallic rival Renault has recently launched a new Clio, the German charge is led by the ever-popular Volkswagen Polo and keen drivers often flock to the market leading Ford Fiesta.

The 208 adopts Peugeot’s new design language and boasts an eye-catching front with slim headlights, vertical day-running lights and attractive grille. It is surely one of the best looking and most striking cars in its class.

In spite of a global shift away from diesel, Peugeot still wants to offer buyers a choice. ‘Choose your Peugeot, choose your powertrain’ is the strapline.

Therefore, a 100PS 1.5-litre diesel engine will be offered and whilst it is green and frugal, I suspect take up will be modest. Of more interest will be the fully electric e-208, good for around 211 miles and capable of being charged to 80% in just 30 minutes from the latest generation of 100kWh chargers.

Sadly, the e-208 was not available to drive, but I will hopefully get behind the wheel in the next month or so. Prices start at £25,050 after the government’s £3,500 grant has been deducted.

Most UK buyers will likely choose petrol power and here Peugeot offer a 3-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol engine with power outputs of 75, 100 and 130PS. Manual or automatic gears are offered too.

Take the petrol route and prices start at an affordable £16,250 for an ‘Active’ model with modest power.

Standard equipment includes the new Peugeot i-Cockpit with a compact multifunction steering wheel, configurable head-up display, either a 7” or 10” HD colour touchscreen and seven satin chrome piano toggle switches.

Also available is programmable cruise control, Lane Keeping Assist and Apple Car Play and Android Auto.
‘Allure’ trim is likely to be the most popular (from £18,850) adding smart alloy wheels, leather-effect seat trim and LED rear lighting.

Top spec ‘GT Line’ variants add front and rear parking sensors and reversing camera, full LED headlights, extra safety features and some sporty addenda (from £20,700).

My main drive was in a 130PS GT Line model with the addition of the 8-speed automatic gearbox. The latter is a smooth operator and is highly recommended.

The engine is refined and smooth and is plenty powerful enough for the 208 body. A 0-62mph sprint time of 8.7 seconds give some indication of the performance on offer.

Emissions are low at just 103g/km CO2 and up to 51.9mpg may be possible. On our 2-hour test route my codriver and I managed a creditable 43mpg without trying very hard.

A brief drive in a manual gearchange car would lead me to choose the automatic. The change is smooth enough, the throw a tad on the long side and my foot kept glancing the footrest when operating the clutch pedal.

The new 208 offers a comfortable ride on all but the very worst of surfaces and handles the twisty stuff in a safe and controlled manner. I would have liked a bit more involvement and pizazz.

The interior offers comfortable seating for four or five, with most of the trim materials being of high quality.

Owning a 208 is likely to be a painless experience. The French manufacturer now figures highly in customer satisfaction surveys and its latest generation of cars are proving to be reliable.

The 208 is undoubtedly a good-looking car, increasingly important in this design-led world. A Fiesta might offer a sharper drive for the enthusiast, but the new 208 offers a broader breadth of qualities likely to find favour with buyers.

I suspect the e-208 might just be the pick of the range, but until then, a 100PS ‘Allure’ ticks all the right boxes. Oh, and I’ll take mine in Faro Yellow please…

Fast Facts

New Peugeot 208 from £16,250
e-208 from £25,050
Active, Allure and GT Line trim
e-208 available in flagship GT trim
3 petrol and 1 diesel engine
Manual or 8-speed automatic gearbox
Luggage capacity 311 litres (1106 seats down)