Peugeot’s new 208 is even smarter with class-leading engines
Peugeot 208 GT Line 1.6 Blue HDi 100bhp
I grew up in an age where spoilers were big, exhausts were loud and every boy racer was proud of their skirts.
Many spent their hard-earned wages pimping their rides, even though lump under the bonnet would barely pull you out of bed.
Now, manufacturers are offering sport trims on most of their models as younger buyers tend to favour exterior style and willing to pay for it.
My preference would be to go for the look, whether it’s a premium car like the Audi A4 in S Line trim, or one of my recent test cars, Peugeot revised 208 in GT Line spec.
The 208 is a very stylish car, even without the GT look, and when it replaced the larger, less stylish 207 back in 2012, Peugeot’s 208 became one of the best-looking superminis on offer. It has a cuteness about it that the ladies will love, but choose the GT Line model and it’s beefed up and aggressive looking, which both sexes will love.
When the 208 made an appearance back in 2012, the new cockpit design saw a first for Peugeot, moving the instrument panel above a new smaller steering wheel. It looks odd but after driving it you will see the benefits of not taking your eye of the road.
The 208 just fell a little behind in the engine technology. It has the smaller petrols, with a 1.0 and a fantastic 1.2 Puretech, but the diesels offered were just a bit dated.
That’s been rectified now and the 1.6-litre diesel in my test car produced 100bhp, which isn’t a big number, but it was plenty for the little 208. More importantly, it was seriously efficient producing excellent range for a tank of diesel.
In many cases, manufacturers dazzle you with low fuel economy figures, and the 3.4 litres per 100kms Peugeot say the 208 is capable of really is an eye opener.
These fuel tests are carried out in labs and can never be reproduced during normal driving conditions.
Some of them are miles off the mark, but truth be told, Peugeot has gotten the closet of any of the cars I’ve tested this year.
I tried various driving route in different conditions and road types, and I was averaging low fours, which in old money is around 68 miles per gallon.
That’s a phenomenal return and helps to keep costs down.
The 208 GT Line has the look of the GTi, but in five-door form, it offers a lot more practicality.
There’s good space for four adults, five would be tighter than a dart at rush hour.
There is decent leg and headroom for all and the boot provides 285 litres of luggage space, which isn’t bad and should be enough for a weekly shop.
The GT Line is striking to look at and really adds an edge to the cute 208, and on the inside, Peugeot has given the GT Line a sporty finish with gloss black door mirrors, GT Line decals throughout, black and red GT Line sports seats with red stitching, leather sports steering wheel, aluminium pedals and unique 17-inch alloys.
It also comes well equipped with cruise control, dual-zone air con, electric windows, tinted rear windows and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system that incorporates the Bluetooth and entertainment functions.
Even though the GT Line I was testing only had 100 horses to play with, it never felt that slow.
It cruises nicely on the motorway and is a fantastic car around city streets with excellent manoeuvrability.
The small steering wheel really suits the 208, more so than its bigger sibling the 308.
The 1.6 diesel is much better than the 1.4 option, but I would probably go for the 1.2 Puretech with 110bhp, for me, it’s the best engine in the range, and one of the best I’ve tested this year.
If you want the looks and the power, you’ll have to stump up an extra €6,000 to get the 208bhp 208 GTi.