The Peugeot 208 is a stylish hatchback that flies the flag for the daring French manufacturer that has created some of the most iconic small cars in history. The new Peugeot 208 builds on the traditional strengths of value for money, sporty handling and classic good looks to create an instant icon that takes the fight to the rest of the field.
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The new Peugeot 208 is, quite simply, one of the most elegant small cars on sale. The lines are still curvaceous compared to many competitors, but Peugeot has moved away from the bulbous designs of yesteryear and gone for a clean, simple approach that will win legions of new fans.
A snub-nose front end rakes steeply, which makes the car easy to place on the road and in the car park, while the sloping shoulderline gives it a hint of aggression that is simply absent from some of the French marque's more cuddly competitors.
Neat design touches abound, including the complex rear light clusters, a sporty front grille and sharp creases down the side that give a muscular feel even to the entry level models. In GTi spec, the 208 is a force to be reckoned with.
There's 50 mm extra legroom in the rear compared to the outgoing model and there's no doubt that passenger space is impressive for a car in this class. Space was one of the major considerations with the new Peugeot 208 interior design, as was a new communications system, which is operated with a touchscreen system that hints at high end luxury.
The 208 comes with a small steering wheel and a novel approach to cockpit design; with typical French flair, the marque has gone for an entirely different look and feel to the German and Japanese competition.
Ride comfort can be a deciding factor and while there are softer cars, the 208 strikes an elegant balance between outright comfort and refinement and a sporting set-up that makes it fun to drive too.
Weight saving was a major concern for the French manufacturer. It's no secret that cars have got heavier over the years, but in the name of efficiency the marque used lightweight tensile steel panels, as well as a smaller footprint, to reduce the weight of the 1.4 to less than 1,000 kg.
Speaking of efficiency, the 1.4-litre Hdi diesel model can return an incredible 74.3 mpg, while the entry level 1-litre petrol engine pumps out just 87 g/km of carbon dioxide. If you're looking for pure performance, the 1.6-litre turbocharged GTi comes with a whopping 197 bhp, too, so the flagship should retain Peugeot's sporting credentials.
Other key features include that innovative interior touchscreen system, which is a major bonus in a car in this class.
The new Peugeot 208 comes equipped with Active City Brake, which can help detect and avoid an impending crash by applying the brakes at urban speeds of less than 20 mph. Other advanced safety features that are generally seen on higher end cars include a reversing camera and park assist, the automatic parallel parking system that can help avoid those nasty and expensive scuffs.
ABS with brake force distribution, an Electronic Stability Programme, an arsenal of airbags that include front and rear curtain and a seatbelt alarm are standard on all the models and the car even comes with automatic hazard lights.