Peugeot 208

The Essentials

  • Price from £9,995
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 83.0mpg
  • What is it? The Peugeot 208 looks great and has a smart cabin. Sadly, that style isn't backed up by an entertaining drive

Great

  • Chic styling
  • High quality interior
  • Most versions will be cheap to run

Gripes

  • It isn't as good to drive as rivals
  • Some ergonomic issues with cabin
  • The competition is so much better
  • Drive

    It doesn't ride or handle well at all

  • Inside

    Some drivers may have to peer through the steering wheel to see the instruments

  • Safety

    Everything you'd hope to find on the safety kit list is included, from six airbags to stability control

  • Reliability

    Peugeot has a patchy record but its predecessor - the 207 - fared okay

  • Space

    Split folding seats aren't standard

  • Standard and extras

    We recommend Active trim

  • What's it like to drive?

    If it were as good to drive as it is to look at, the 208 would go straight to the top of the supermini class. Sadly that's not the case, because while the steering is sharp and light enough to make parking manoeuvres easy, things deteriorate at higher speeds. The handling feels flabby and the ride is crashy.
    The lowest-powered petrol engines are clean and cheap to run rather than a punchy. That said, the 1.2-litre with 81bhp is flexible and relaxing to drive. If you ask for a sudden burst of pace the engine protests noisily, but otherwise the car is refined and quiet.

  • What's it like inside?

    The 208's driving position won't suit everyone, because you view the instruments over the steering wheel rather than through it. The problem here is that shorter drivers may well find their view obscured. The touch-screen infotainment system - standard in mid-spec Active cars and above - also disappoints. You drag your finger across the screen to perform certain tasks, which is hard to do accurately on the move.
    What's impossible to fault is the feeling of quality inside the 208's cabin. Smart materials and stylish design make it more than a match for the VW Polo or Ford Fiesta. There's plenty of space inside, but rear headroom is reduced if you buy one with the optional panoramic sunroof. Not all models have rear seats that split and fold, which limits the car's practicality.

  • How reliable is it?

    Based on the quality feel of the 208 we would hope not. It's too new to feature in any ownership satisfaction surveys, and Peugeot's historic reliability record is only average, but the 208's predecessor, the 207, was one of the company's more reliable models.
    Everything you'd expect to find on the safety kit list is included, from six airbags to stability control to help keep the car on track in a swerve. The 208 scored a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests, but its specific scores of 88% for adult occupant safety and 78% for children aren't as good as the VW Polo's.

  • Should I buy one?

    If good looks come above comfort or driving appeal on your list of priorities, the Peugeot 208 is hard to beat. Prices are a match for the Ford Fiesta and running costs are very reasonable, particularly with the smaller engines, which escape road tax.