To paraphrase lyrics from The Beatles’ old hit: ‘Fun, Fun, Fun, here we come’…That’s the latest Peugeot 208.
Lucky as some of us are to drive hugely-impressive super-cars costing anything up to £200,000, an outlay of £24,800, relative peanuts in monthly terms, can still be richly-rewarding.
Take Peugeot’s classic, yes ‘classic’, little 208.
Our spanking new test car, in cheerful Faro Yellow, shone like a lighthouse beacon outside on the dull, wet, miserable day it arrived. If you like the yellow, you should see the blue one and if you like the look of this one, take a look at the 2008 SUV too.
The basics are a 3-cylinder, 1199cc engine: a type that I now accept and enjoy (since their fuel economy is so much better than they first used to achieve).
When wound up, there’s that sporty, deep growl, and vivid acceleration when you shift down a gear. Or, in the test car’s case, foot down the accelerator and let the instantaneously quick 8-speed auto box snap into action…’snap’ is not the right word: try ‘flick.’
230Nm from 1750rpm shoots you past any crawler on that motorway. For the record, 0-62 mph is there in a brisk 8.7 seconds, too.
This engine achieved, as displayed on the trip computer, 50.3 mpg over 335 miles, including every sort of traffic and road condition. I reckon that was really good, giving a range of well over five hundred miles.
Emissions? Pity they couldn’t improve just that little bit: 103 g/km (NEDC-based estimate).
The handling of small cars like this is often one of their best features; the 208 is right up there. I admit to finding, at about 60 mph, a deserted, long, curving motorway exit that just got tighter and tighter…the more it did, the more the 208 hung on happily, as I did onto the electrically-powered steering. Safe, huge fun!
The brakes were as high-class as they have to be, of course with all the 208’s standard safety systems. A footnote here: I hope dealers selling cars like this to perhaps younger and less-experienced drivers ensure that potential owners understand how they all work, their characteristics underfoot (as with ABS) and their ultimate performance and limitations.
About the first thing that strikes a new owner on turning the ignition key is the instrument display. It’s a sort of 3D effect and without doubt a selling-point. More to the point is: does it work? In a word, ‘yes’. It’s part of the fun to choose what you want to see (or not see) displayed.
So, a small car…ever since Alec Issigonis’s brilliant original Mini, designers have had to maximise the space that might be possible. It was ever more difficult as built-in safety lead design. The industry has coped well and the Peugeot is yet another example of this: such cars usually carry just one or two at the front. But step into the rear, at which you don’t have to quite so elastic as in some others, and you might find that a reasonably long journey might not mean having to get out for a stretch too often. For small children, it is perfectly adequate; for luggage, space in the boot (under which is a space-saver spare wheel) is, of course, a bit limited, although no more than usual in this class. Folding the rear seat-backs could hardly be easier for extra capacity with only one or no-one in the back.
Around the cabin is a variety of storage cubbies, pockets and containment spaces helping to keep things tidy and smart.
Smart…the right word to sum up the 208 design, both inside and outside. And it’s a car that challenges anyone to find anything better. Maybe it’s possible, but…for the money?
Car reviewed: Peugeot 208 1.2L PureTech 130 EAT8 S&S, on the road price £23,350 0-62mph 8.7secs Top speed 129mph Engine 1199cc 3 cylinder unleaded Euro 6.2 Fuel Economy Combined 62.8mpg CO2 emissions 103g/km Max Power 130PS@5500rpm Torque 230Nm@1750rpm Transmission 8-speed automatic with manual mode
Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars.
He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0.
In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.
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