As with all small cars, the Peugeot 208 makes the most sense kept as cheap as possible. The range starts at a lower price point than many of its best rivals, and this advantage continues throughout the range.
It has a range of clean, fuel-efficient engines, too. Company car drivers will be most interested in the lower-powered 1.6 diesels or lesser Puretech 1.2 petrol for their lower list prices and CO2 emissions. All the engines are frugal with fuel, but the diesels will go farthest on a tank.
The majority of small car purchases are made using PCP finance, and one of the most important aspects of this is a car’s resale values, because it has a direct effect on how much you pay each month. The 208’s resale values aren’t bad, but they’re not as strong as those of a Skoda Fabia or Volkswagen Polo. Both these cars are priced competitively, too.
Peugeot also provides ‘just add fuel’ packages. As the name suggests, these involve a monthly payment that includes all your major motoring costs aside from fuel. Only certain 208 models are available on this, though, and there are certain age limits.
Peugeot 208 equipment
Entry-level Access A/C trim is the cheapest way to buy a 208, but you get what you pay for. Air-conditioning, Bluetooth and six airbags are included, which is good, but there are no alloy wheels, only a very simple infotainment system and a fixed rear bench.
It’s worth spending that little bit extra on Active trim – we think this is the trim to go for. It adds 15in alloy wheels, which will help resale values, as well as a touchscreen infotainment system, DAB radio, a leather steering wheel and 60/40 split rear seats.
Allure and GT line trims add luxuries such as larger wheels and automatic headlights and wipers, but these are simply too expensive. The GTi cars have sportier styling and all the standard kit you could possibly expect.
Peugeot 208 reliability
In the latest customer satisfaction survey, Peugeot managed 12th place from a possible 26 manufacturers. However, its 208 didn’t do as well, finishing near the bottom of the small car table. Electrical issues including windscreen washers, radios and heaters were among the biggest culprits.
However, all Peugeots come with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty. There’s also the option to break servicing payments down in to more manageable monthly amounts if you need to.
Peugeot 208 safety & security
All 208s come with an ESP system, a speed-limiter, ABS brakes, ISOFIX mounts on the outside rear seats, six airbags and a tyre pressure-monitoring system. This is good, albeit no better than the majority of its rivals’. Nevertheless, Euro NCAP awarded the 208 a full five-star rating back in 2012 for the way it coped in crash testing.
To keep thieves at bay, every 208 comes with an immobiliser and deadlocks, but only the GTi variants come with an alarm as standard. The rest of the range needs an alarm added as an option. Security firm Thatcham took a dim view of this; the 208’s break-in score was merely average, although it scored decently for its resistance to being driven away. Both scores are worse than its strongest rivals’.
Attractive in that it’s the cheapest way to buy a 208, but equipment is pretty sparse. Air-con, Bluetooth and six airbags are standard, but there are no alloy wheels and you have to make do with a very simple infotainment system and a fixed rear bench.
Our pick Active
It’s worth spending that little bit extra on Active trim over Access A/C – we think this is the trim to go for. You get 15in alloy wheels, which will help resale values, as well as the touchscreen infotainment system, DAB radio, a leather steering wheel and 60/40 split rear seats.
Larger 16in alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, automatic headlights and wipers and rear parking sensors are your reward for jumping to Allure trim. Most of these are wants rather than needs, though, (save for the rear parking sensors) so we’d stick with Active trim and add the sensors as a low-cost option.
Even larger 17in alloy wheels do the 208’s ride no favours, while climate control is another want rather than need. Electric rear windows on five-door models is attractive, but again something you can add to lesser trims for relatively little money. The various sporty styling upgrades look great but if you’re on a budget, as most small car buyers are, we’d avoid.
Features 17in alloy wheels, an alarm, rear parking sensors, a leather sports steering wheel and plenty of sporty GTi touches. If you’re in the market for a 208 GTi, this is the one to go for.
Adds heated seats and sat-nav to the GTi’s basic specification. We’d avoid this one and save your money unless the luxuries really matter.
GTi by Peugeot Sport
An even more aggressive GTi for those after the sharpest 208 to drive. It has a wider track, different suspension, 18in alloy wheels and unique styling inside and out.