New 208 can be super for Peugeot
Money may be scarce but Peugeot enjoyed a 5.6 per cent boost in UK new car sales last year.
Most popular sector in the market is supermini which accounted for more than a third of the total models going on the road.
And that’s where Peugeot’s 208 is making its mark since being launched in the summer of 2012 – helping the company’s small car sales rise to over 53,000, up 11.2 per cent on the previous year.
The Ford Fiesta reigns supreme in this sector but the 208 – with more than 20,000 ordered since it went on sale last June – is a little number than could easily come into the reckoning when touring the showrooms.
It has a sporty, fresh look at the front with the grille getting a chrome surround and this style extends to the side on top-of-the-range five-door models where the glazing is entirely surrounded with chrome.
Also available in three-door style, the model I tested was a five-door Allure 1.2 VTi 82 priced at £13,895.
The interior had a much higher spec than I expected – again benefiting from some nice satin chrome features.
Peugeot has raised the quality level substantially in the cabin with equipment and technology playing a big part of this.
The use of a smaller steering wheel allows the driver to see all dials on the elevated instrument panel over it rather than some being obscured when looking through spokes.
On the centre of the fascia is a superb multi-function seven-inch colour touch screen, giving the driver easy access to radio, sat nav and other functions.
Assisting the interior’s bright look in the test car was a £400 panoramic glass roof option.
Driver and front passenger’s comfort was excellent while leg and headroom in the rear is reasonable for this size of car and only a problem if passengers are six-foot or over.
The performance of the 82bhp three-cylinder 1.2-litre engine couldn’t be faulted.
It doesn’t exactly race off the blocks with a zero to 62mph time of 14 seconds, but it was lively and responsive when needed, moving through the five-speed manual gearbox.
There was little engine or wind noise when travelling at speed. Road holding was good with the car agile enough when cornering.
There was an occasional blip, however, when the suspension didn’t adapt so well on uneven surfaces, the steering becoming a little shaky.
That apart, and with prices starting at £9,995 (£10,595 five-door), this new offering from Peugeot is well worth looking at.
Economy is also good as I averaged just under 50mpg in a mixture of town, country and motorway driving, with official figures for this model showing 62.8mpg combined.