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First drive: Peugeot 208 1.6 HDi. Image by Peugeot.

First drive: Peugeot 208 1.6 HDi
Peugeot's new three-cylinder petrol engine is grabbing all the headlines, but the 1.6 HDi unit will suit high mileage users better.

 



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| First Drive | Cascais, Portugal | Peugeot 208 1.6 HDi |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

Most buyers of the excellent new Peugeot 208 will be content with the company's excellent new 1.2-litre petrol engine, but high mileage drivers swayed towards diesel power would do well to try out the top-of-the range 1.6-litre HDi model.

Key Facts

Model driven: Peugeot 208 1.6 e-HDi 115 Feline five-door
Pricing: 17,845 (208 starts at 9,995)
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door hatchback
Rivals: Ford Fiesta, MINI Cooper D, Volkswagen Polo
CO? emissions: 99g/km
Combined economy: 74.3mpg
Top speed: 118mph
0-62mph: 9.7 seconds
Power: 115hp at 3,600rpm
Torque: 270Nm at 1,750rpm (overboost to 285Nm in 3rd-6th gears)

In the Metal: 4 4 4 4 4

If you've read our first drive of the 1.2-litre version of the Peugeot 208 then you'll know we quite like the new car's looks in general. The front end needs chrome detailing and fog lights to look its best and stick to metallic colours. Our favourite view is from the back, where the pert hatchback shape is offset nicely by distinctive lights.

The big news inside - other than more rear legroom and a larger boot than the Peugeot 207 - is the unusual dashboard design, whereby you view the main instruments over the top of the distinctly small steering wheel. Some drivers may need to adjust their position to ensure they can see everything. Other than that the cabin feels well-made and the touch-screen interface located prominently gives it a contemporary edge.

Driving it: 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Unsurprisingly, the 1.6-litre version handles in a similar manner to any other Peugeot 208. In a back-to-back comparison it was clear that the extra weight over the nose dampens turn-in a little, but in isolation this car still handles well. Ride comfort is good as well.

We found the 1.4-litre HDi engine quite gruff, but this 1.6-litre unit is well isolated from the car's occupants and it's smooth too. The 115hp peak power figure doesn't tell the full story, as it's backed up by 270Nm of torque. In third through sixth this is increased momentarily to 285Nm on 'overboost', so the car feels effortlessly quick - even if the power band is relatively narrow. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, and the change is light and fast.

What you get for your Money: 3 3 3 3 3

For more details of the Peugeot 208's five-model line-up see our first drive piece. The diesel engines bring the 208 into line with the best in class for pricing though the decent specification counts for a lot. It'll be possible to specify the 1.6-litre diesel engine with Peugeot's EGS robotised manual gearbox though as standard it returns an impressive 74.3mpg on the combined cycle and emits a tax and congestion charge avoiding 99g/km.

Worth Noting

Peugeot and BMW continue their relationship with regards to engine sharing and the 1.6-litre HDi engine is identical to that found under the bonnet of the MINI Cooper D. In the MINI it returns identical economy and emissions figures. The MINI isn't really a direct competitor for the Peugeot though.

Summary

We'll admit that the pick of the Peugeot 208 line-up is the surprising new 1.2-litre petrol model, and while it punches above its weight - mostly because of the lack of actual weight - a larger capacity diesel will suit some buyers. The 1.6-litre HDi unit works well in the new car, endowing it with long-legged cruising ability without denting too much of its core appeal.


Shane O' Donoghue - 16 Apr 2012









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2012 Peugeot 208. Image by Peugeot.2012 Peugeot 208. Image by Peugeot.2012 Peugeot 208. Image by Peugeot.2012 Peugeot 208. Image by Peugeot.2012 Peugeot 208. Image by Peugeot.

2012 Peugeot 208. Image by Peugeot.2012 Peugeot 208. Image by Peugeot.2012 Peugeot 208. Image by Peugeot.2012 Peugeot 208. Image by Peugeot.2012 Peugeot 208. Image by Peugeot.



2012 Peugeot 208. Image by Peugeot.
 

2012 Peugeot 208. Image by Peugeot.
 

2012 Peugeot 208. Image by Peugeot.
 

2012 Peugeot 208. Image by Peugeot.
 

2012 Peugeot 208. Image by Peugeot.
 

2012 Peugeot 208. Image by Peugeot.
 






 

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