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First UK drive: Peugeot 208. Image by Peugeot UK.

First UK drive: Peugeot 208
Sampling Peugeotís striking supermini back on home turf for the first time.

   



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Peugeot 208 1.2 PureTech 100 Allure

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Our first chance to get to grips with Peugeot's Fiesta- and Ibiza-challenging 208 supermini, after our first international drives of the regular models and the full electric version last year. And we've come to a definitive verdict on which trim line you want for the French stunner, that's for sure...

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Peugeot 208 Allure 1.2 PureTech 100 S&S
Pricing: 208 range from £16,250; Allure PureTech 100 from £18,850, car as tested £20,195
Engine: 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed manual
Body style: five-door supermini hatchback
CO2 emissions: 97g/km (VED Band 91-100: £130 first 12 months, then £145 annually thereafter; CO2 based on NEDC-correlated)
Combined economy: 46.6-53mpg (WTLP low and high combined range)
Top speed: 117mph
0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
Power: 101hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 205Nm at 1,750-2,000rpm
Boot space: 311-1,106 litres

What's this?

It's the new, second-generation Peugeot 208, and if you make with the clicking of the black, underlined words which say 'regular models' up above, then you can read all about it. Suffice to say, now it's back on uglier UK number plates, it has lost none of its visual appeal, either outside or in. This is clearly the market leader in this segment right now, and no, we haven't forgotten the Volkswagen Polo's cabin in that assessment, either.

Driven here is the UK's big seller, the 1.2-litre PureTech three-cylinder turbocharged petrol, finished in Allure trim and fitted with the six-speed manual gearbox (an EAT8 automatic eight-speed transmission is an option). The reason the Allure is such a good buy like this is threefold: one, it retails at less than £20,000 basic and, even with a few options as on our test car (pearlescent paint, for £695, and the ten-inch capacitive colour touchscreen with Connected 3D Navigation with three years' worth of TomTom Live updates, for £650), it's not much beyond the 20k marker; two, Allure is the first level at which the 208's glorious 3D iCockpit digital instrument cluster is standard fit; and three, the 1.2 PureTech 100 manual seems to be about the perfect drivetrain for the car, as we shall now tell you.

How does it drive?

On the international launch, there was a bit of a mixed bag of feelings in the wake of driving the 208 for the first time. In the early to middle part of the 2010s, Peugeot got its act together and started making decent-driving, good-to-look-at motors again, after a somewhat bleak period for fans of the Lion marque. The bold styling revival, in particular, appears to be reaching its zenith with the latest wave of products, nowhere more so than on this compact 208 body. The problem was, however, that not all the 208s we drove at launch (a 75hp Active, a 101hp Allure and a 130hp GT-Line, and then the e-208 GT) blew us away. Some were fun for driving something very low-powered in a totally unsympathetic manner, but you wouldn't want to live like that for years on end; while others had a ride quality that wasn't the most convincing. Case in point being the e-208, which felt way too rough when traversing tricky tarmac as the full-on GT range-topper.

But some time on our own gnarly surfaces in our favourite from the international launch has convinced us. Like the debate over the comfort and plushness of an Inscription Volvo versus its snazzier-looking but firmer-riding R-Design alternative, with the 208 you want to ignore the GT-Line and tick the Allure spec instead. Thus equipped, the ride quality is excellent. Really smooth and forgiving, without the body control becoming all loose and wayward, the 208 will feel like a much more grown-up and refined sort of vehicle, when it's on a motorway or cruising along a fast-flowing A-road, than its circa-£20,000 price tag would have you believe.

You don't lose a lot in terms of visual appeal, either, by having the Allure; in fact, you could say that without the black-plastic spats for the wheel arches, it's actually the most attractive 208 of the lot. On the flip side of its refinement, the 101hp is nicely sorted for handling, albeit it's not the most engaging supermini we can think of - both the Ford Fiesta and SEAT Ibiza have it covered in this regard, and that's without having to resort to the performance version of the Ford. But there's still a lot to like with the 208. It has a good amount of front-end grip and pleasant, clean steering, which allows for tidy placement of the car without too much effort. Its rear axle doesn't feel the most mobile and the charismatic little 1.2, while willing and boasting a great soundtrack, is never going to light anyone's fire with 101hp, even in a car which only weighs 1,090kg at the kerb. Nevertheless, the 208 is more rewarding and involving to drive than a huge slew of its competitors in the B-segment, and it's also nicer to pilot than any crossover of the same sort of size we can think of, so there's still plenty of that Peugeot dynamic DNA retained in the hatchback's make-up.

Verdict

The smartest-looking machine in this segment is also one of the strongest superminis you can buy. What time on UK roads in the Peugeot 208 has taught us most, though, is this: spec it wrong, and you might find the car a bit underwhelming. Spec it right, however, as per this 101hp Allure and what you have here is among the top three contenders in the class.

5 5 5 5 5 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Safety

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 8 Feb 2020



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2020 Peugeot 208 Allure UK test drive (GT-Line pics). Image by Peugeot UK.2020 Peugeot 208 Allure UK test drive (GT-Line pics). Image by Peugeot UK.2020 Peugeot 208 Allure UK test drive (GT-Line pics). Image by Peugeot UK.2020 Peugeot 208 Allure UK test drive (GT-Line pics). Image by Peugeot UK.2020 Peugeot 208 Allure UK test drive (GT-Line pics). Image by Peugeot UK.

2020 Peugeot 208 Allure UK test drive (GT-Line pics). Image by Peugeot UK.2020 Peugeot 208 Allure UK test drive (GT-Line pics). Image by Peugeot UK.2020 Peugeot 208 Allure UK test drive (GT-Line pics). Image by Peugeot UK.2020 Peugeot 208 Allure UK test drive (GT-Line pics). Image by Peugeot UK.2020 Peugeot 208 Allure UK test drive (GT-Line pics). Image by Peugeot UK.








 

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