French automaker Peugeot has been consistent when it comes to naming its vehicles and not only has the marque been doing that right, it has also recently been making desirable little cars. The current 208 pursues the same road of bringing an unpaired sense of style and a real feel-good fun factor. I can consider myself lucky that it was offered to us for an extended review and it had my name written over it in all its Allure and glory.
This is not the top-tier GT trim but it follows directly in the significantly improved and quite frankly stunning footsteps of its bigger siblings, the 3008 and 2008 SUV’s. Take my word for it, it has proper lances to help it in combat in the respective supermini segment.
On looks alone, the new Peugeot 208 became a hot topic of discussion in my household and ultimately it was hailed as pretty and worthy of the name ‘bundle of joy’ as well as the 2020 European Car of the Year Award. Kudos to Kevin Goncalves and Yann Beurel who are the gentlemen responsible for the exterior design of the Peugeot 208.
The overall build quality of the interior is flawlessly put in place and I have no doubt this is designed to titillate a new generation of customers within the hatchback segment. The tri-material ‘Isabella’ leather effect and ‘Cozy’ cloth seat trim with mint green double stitching is a lovely sight to behold. The brand’s iCockpit with 7” infotainment system has everything you need from Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a pair of USB ports, smartphone storage station to Bluetooth connectivity. The system is intuitive enough.
Less pleasing is the configurable 3D head-up instrument panel, the view of which is hindered by the small steering wheel and it isn’t always functional unless you find the ‘right’ seating position for the best view.
Front cabin space is good but tall rear passengers may feel quite cramped. It is a small hatch after all. With 311-litres, the boot space isn't the best in its class yet it is enough to gobble a few things and if need be, folding down the 60/40 rear seats further expands it.
As an overall great tyke, the new Peugeot 208’s driving remains the finest in the segment by far. Its power delivery to gulp the tarmac ahead is top-notch, thanks to a nippy 1.2-litre PureTech three-cylinder engine that delivers 74 kW and 205 Nm and in the case of my test unit, it wielded a six-speed manual transmission.
For something like the Peugeot 208 with power outputs that won’t send shudders down your spine, well, on paper at least, the powertrain is lively with an outstanding shove in all six gears. Road manners are commendable delivering cruising on the highway and during cornering. There is a bit of wind noise audible at high speeds but not enough to groan about. The small steering wheel may take a few turns to get used to but once that is sorted, it gets the job done.
Peugeot has long been competing in the hatchback segmennt where the likes of the VW Polo, Renault Clio and Opel Corsa play and while it’s related to the latter, it remains a cute prospect to have behind your garage door. On the fuel economy side, the 208 returned a great 6.9l/100 km without even trying to save the pennies and how does R349 900 for the subject at hand sound?
This Allure model is sold with a 3 yr/60 000km service plan as well as a 5yr/100 000km warranty.
The Peugeot 208 has returned to the battlefield with a good new product. It delivers decent driving dynamics, the right amount of tech and superb levels of comfort to make it a strong contender in the feisty hatchback segment.
It is proof enough that once customers get rid of the known but not proven fact that South Africans aren’t very fond of French cars, they may just drive a car worthy of all the styling praise heaped on this award-winning bundle of joy.