- Max Speed
What's this, then?
A midlife refresh for the 208, Peugeot's Fiesta rival and biggest seller in its range.
Right. What's new?
Many things, most obvious of which is its new, slightly sharper nose. There are new engines, too, while the existing ones have been re-engineered to make them cleaner and greener. Standard facelift-y stuff.
Tell me about the engines.
A 109bhp version of the existing 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol supplants the 81bhp at the top of the non-GTI 208 petrol-power pyramid. With the standard five-speed manual, you're looking at 0-62mph in 9.6 seconds and a top speed of 118mph.
We drove a diesel, too: the 118bhp 1.6, which manages an official 78.5mpg on the combined cycle. And it's not even the most economical 208 - Pug claims the 74bhp 1.6 is good for 94.2mpg.
The 118bhp diesel is a couple of tenths quicker to 62mph than the petrol, and the top speed is identical. It's the quickest 208 you can buy without going GTI.
What about the GTI, then?
GTIs, in fact. You see, very quietly, Peugeot has given us a new GTI, one which sits above the standard car in the 208 line-up. It's called the 208 GTI By Peugeot Sport - and it is, essentially, is the 208 GTI 30th Edition, without the plaque. Same diff', same power, same everything. Bought a 208 30th recently? Sorry.
What are they like to drive?
We didn't drive the GTI. Not allowed. Sorry. The standard 208, however, proved the same as ever: not an inherently entertaining thing - it's too soft - so it's the flexibility of the big diesel that suits it best.
That's not to say the petrol is bad: it's quiet, tractable and plenty quick enough to keep up with day-to-day traffic, but there isn't much fun to be had from driving it swiftly. The five-speed ‘box is baggy and imprecise, and the motor isn't as much fun to work as Ford's little EcoBoost.
And like the EcoBoost, it won't get anywhere near its claimed fuel consumption figures, either. Expect mid-40s. Peugeot's petrol is catching up, but it's not quite there yet. Dynamically, the merely decent 208 is still miles back.
So, what else is new?
Textured paint. For a few hundred quid, you too can have your supermini finished in a polarising satin-slash-matte hue. Peugeot's spent four years developing this tech, but it expects only two or three per cent of buyers to check the option box. Possibly because it serves no function beyond looking a bit less shiny than normal paint.
How about inside?
It's the same. Mostly. Still fairly comfortable, but quite irritating.
Taller drivers still have to set the miniscule steering wheel weirdly low to be able to see the dials over it, the seat doesn't adjust low enough, and the infotainment system is as much of a pain as ever to programme on the move.
When can I get one?
Now. Prices start at £11,695 for one you won't want, and soar to £21,995 for one you might.
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