Peugeot 208 front - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 front - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 rear - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 dashboard - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 rear seats - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 infotainment system - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 side - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 front studio - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 rear studio - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 front seats - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 boot - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 front - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 rear - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 dashboard - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 rear seats - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 infotainment system - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 side - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 front studio - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 rear studio - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 front seats - blue 69-plate car
  • Peugeot 208 boot - blue 69-plate car
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Introduction

What Car? says...

You can always rely on a French car maker to build a stylish small car. Whether it’s any good or not is another question entirely, but the current Peugeot 208 is one of the good ones.

In fact, the 208 should definitely be on your shortlist – especially if you don’t mind paying a little bit more than the class norm for a properly special interior. 

Let's be clear: this is a completely different car to the first-generation Peugeot 208. That's marvellous news because the original wasn't very good and struggled to compete with rivals such as the Ford FiestaSeat Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo in almost all the key areas.

Better still, the current model doesn’t just stack up well against those mainstream rivals. The more expensive versions in the 208 range are also genuine alternatives to the Audi A1 and Mini for those who are not overly bothered about a premium badge. 

Peugeot offers you a pretty simple engine line-up. There's one diesel, with 99bhp, and three 1.2 PureTech petrols, producing 74bhp, 99bhp and 127bhp. The headline-grabber, though, is a fully electric version, which you can read about in our full separate Peugeot e-208 review.

The trims, meanwhile, are as simple as the engine line-up, with entry-level Active Premium, better-equipped Allure Premium, sporty GT and range-topping GT Premium.

It all sounds pretty good so far, doesn’t it? Over the next few pages, we’ll put the latest Peugeot 208 up against rival small cars to see how well it does. We’ll tell you how we rate its performance, interior quality, boot space and more, and which engine and trim we recommend. 

Then, if the 208 or any other make and model takes your fancy, find the best price with our free What Car? New Car Buying service. It's a good place to find the best new small car deals.

More on the Peugeot 208

Peugeot 208 vs Audi A1 vs Mini hatchback >>

Used Peugeot 208 buying guide >>

Overview

One of the very best small cars, standing out for ride comfort, interior quality and hushed cruising manners. The 1.2 Puretech 100 engine is punchy and doesn't drink much fuel. The Ford Fiesta and other rivals are much more fun to drive but few are quite as stylish.

  • Very comfortable for a small car
  • Smart and high-quality interior
  • Punchy and frugal 1.2 Puretech 100 petrol engine
  • Steering wheel design can cause issues
  • So-so infotainment system
  • Not much fun to drive
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

The cheapest petrol engine for the Peugeot 208 is the 74bhp PureTech 75, but if you can stretch your budget to the 99bhp PureTech 100, you'll have secured the pick of the range.

The PureTech 100 is a relatively strong engine that pulls from low revs and feels gutsy if you work it harder. It's absolutely ideal for propelling you along on A-roads and motorways without any fuss, and is livelier than a Renault Clio or Volkswagen Polo with equivalent power. The 127bhp PureTech 130 (available only with an automatic gearbox) adds even more pace, but for most it would be an unnecessary expense.

Peugeot 208 image
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If you cover a huge mileage every year, it's worth considering the 1.5 BlueHDi 100 diesel. It has 99bhp too, but has even more low-rev punch than the PureTech 100. If you want an electric version with zero emissions, see our Peugeot e-208 review.

Suspension and ride comfort

The 208 scores well for comfort, offering a gentler and more supple ride than even the Audi A1 or Polo can offer. Regardless of speed, the 208 remains impressively smooth, but it’s on a motorway that it impresses most – indeed, it feels as comfortable as some larger cars. 

The 208 has softer suspension than the Ford Fiesta and Clio so there's more body bounce along undulating B-roads, but not in the wayward manner of a Citroën C3. Even nasty ridges and potholes don't cause too much discomfort.

Peugeot 208 rear - blue 69-plate car

Handling

While the 208's suspension softness make it a cushy and comfortable boulevard cruiser, it doesn’t lend itself to sportiness. There's more body lean through tight twists and turns than on the A1 and Fiesta, and it's not as keen to switch from left to right.

Peugeot has fitted the 208 with a tiny steering wheel that looks a bit go-kart like. It conveys a good amount of weight as you turn the wheel but feels a little artificial and elastic off-centre, which doesn’t give you a great sense of connection with the road.

Once you’re used to it, it does the job, but if you want a small car that’s more engaging and fun to drive, you’ll want to check out the A1, Fiesta or Clio.

Noise and vibration

This is another area of strength for the 208, relative to other cars in the class. Road noise is excellently suppressed, even at speed, and there’s little suspension noise as you trundle around town. Get up to speed and the 208 does suffer a little from wind noise around the windscreen pillars, but it’s not intrusive. 

Engine noise is controlled fairly well too. The 1.2 PureTech petrol engines make a bit of a thrum as you accelerate but quickly fade into the background at motorway speeds. The diesel sounds gruffer at all speeds, but it’s never unpleasant.

The six-speed manual gearbox doesn’t quite have the pleasing mechanical precision of the equivalents in the Fiesta and Seat Ibiza but it's not notchy like in the Mini. The optional automatic suffers a little bit of a delay when you put your foot down, and doesn’t iron out its gear changes as smoothly as it could.

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Driving position and dashboard

Unconventionally, you’re supposed to view the Peugeot 208's iCockpit digital instruments (the speedo, rev counter etc) by looking over, rather than through, the steering wheel. Peugeot has tried to make it easier by shrinking the steering wheel to the size of a dinner plate.

If you're long in the body or sit close to the wheel with the seat jacked up, you’ll probably think that's great. Many will find that the steering wheel blocks their view of the instruments, though, and will have to sit in an uncomfortable position to see the speed they're doing. We strongly advise taking a test drive to check this.

Another big gripe is the lack of physical buttons. You have to use the touchscreen to adjust the interior temperature, which is distracting. The seats are comfortable and there’s plenty of adjustment, though. Adjustable lumbar support is only available as an option on the two top trims – GT and GT Premium – as part of an expensive pack that adds leather upholstery, heated seats and a massage function.

Visibility, parking sensors and cameras

Seeing out of the 208 could be easier. For a start, the thickness and angle of its windscreen pillars obscures more than in, say, the Volkswagen Polo. There are decent-sized door mirrors but the rear pillars and tapering roofline reduce the amount you can see over your shoulders.

Still, there is salvation in the form of standard rear parking sensors on all models. If you avoid entry-level Active Premium trim you’ll also get a colour rear-view camera. The top two trims add front parking sensors. 

Eco-LED lights are standard across the range so you won’t struggle to see where you’re going at night. On the top trims, those are upgraded to full LEDs with Smart Beam Assist, which can automatically shape the main beam to avoid dazzling other road users without the need to use dipped beam.

Peugeot 208 dashboard - blue 69-plate car

Sat nav and infotainment

Entry-level Active models get a 7.0in touchscreen with shortcut buttons on both sides of the screen. A bigger, 10.0in touchscreen with sat-nav is available as an option with Allure Premium trim and comes as standard on GT and GT Premium.

Neither screen is as high definition as the equivalent in the Seat Ibiza or Polo, and Peugeot's operating system isn't as intuitive to use, either. Fortunately, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard so you can use your phone apps through the screen.

Quality

The 208’s interior is one of the most striking designs available in a small car – even including premium models such as the Audi A1.

The use of high-end materials and soft-touch surfaces makes it feel upmarket, and if you go for GT or GT Premium trim you'll get some fancy ambient interior lighting.

The build quality largely complements the style, although the Mini feels even more sturdily screwed together.

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Front space

Although it’s a small car, the Peugeot 208 has enough space in the front for even tall drivers. That said, there isn't quite as much head room as in some rivals, including the Volkswagen Polo

It's also narrower than the Polo from door to door, although there's enough width for you and your front passenger to comfortably rest your elbows on the central armrest.

Under the armrest there's a large cubby in which you can conceal a wallet, and storage space elsewhere is very good. You get sizeable door bins, trays and cup holders, plus a fairly roomy glovebox.

Rear space

The 208 isn't the easiest car to get in and out of if you're an adult of reasonable stature because of its fairly narrow door openings. There's a good amount of room for two adults in the back, though (more than in the Renault Clio), with just about enough head and leg room for taller people.

The Polo offers more rear space and the 208's optional Cielo glass roof reduces head room by quite a bit. Storage space includes a couple of small door bins and map pockets on the backs of the front seats.

Peugeot 208 rear seats - blue 69-plate car

Seat folding and flexibility

The rear seatbacks split and fold in a 60/40 arrangement as standard. This is par for the course in the small car class but isn’t as versatile as the more practical 40/20/40 arrangement you’ll find in larger cars such as the Mercedes A-Class.

If you need the added boot space often, you’ll want to turn your attention to the Honda Jazz. It has unique rear seats with a special folding mechanism which lets them fold totally flat.

With GT and GT Premium trims, Peugeot adds a height-adjustable front passenger seat. You can't add passenger lumbar adjustment, which you can with the Polo and some other rivals.

Boot space

The 208’s boot is a decent size for the class and, while it's beaten outright for capacity by the Seat Ibiza and Polo, there’s certainly enough room for a few holiday bags. We managed to squeeze five carry-on suitcases below the parcel shelf – the same number as in the Audi A1, Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio.

Annoyingly, the 208’s boot has a relatively narrow aperture compared with many rivals so it might not be as easy to squeeze large items in. You can't have a height-adjustable boot floor, either.

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

The Peugeot 208 is an attractive prospect as a cash buy, with a brochure price that’s lower than most of its obvious rivals, including the Audi A1, Skoda Fabia and Volkswagen Polo. That said, the 208’s resale values aren’t predicted to be as strong as those cars', so it is likely to be worth less after three years.

Running costs are pretty good. In our real-world tests, the 1.2 PureTech 100 petrol managed 47.9mpg, which is more than similarly powerful engines in the Renault Clio and Polo. Of course, the diesel engine will be even more economical, but it's also far more expensive to buy. Low CO2 emissions help keep company car tax competitive, but servicing costs are quite high relative to mainstream rivals.

If you like the idea of a near-silent, zero-emissions small electric car, check out our Peugeot e-208 review.

Equipment, options and extras

Even the 208's cheapest trim level, Active Premium, is quite well equipped, listing 16in alloy wheels, heated door mirrors, automatic lights, air conditioning and a leather steering wheel among its highlights. 

Allure Premium trim is our pick, and adds 17in alloys, electric rear windows, dual-zone climate control, privacy glass, automatic wipers and power-folding door mirrors, as well as a 3D-style driver display.

GT adds further cosmetic tweaks inside and out, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, along with the visibility aids. Top-spec GT Premium trim mirrors GT trim but adds special 17in alloy wheels, Alcantara and cloth seats, keyless entry and adaptive cruise control.

Peugeot 208 infotainment system - blue 69-plate car

Reliability

Peugeot as a manufacturer finished a fairly disappointing joint 28th out of 32 in the 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey. That places them below Skoda, Seat, Audi and Volkswagen. In fact, of their obvious rivals, Peugeot only managed to finish above Fiat. 

Every 208 gets a three-year warranty, consisting of two years of unlimited-mileage cover from the manufacturer and an additional year that's provided by Peugeot’s UK dealer network. Kia and Hyundai offer the longest standard warranties in the class.

Safety and security

The 208 achieved four stars out of five when it was safety tested by Euro NCAP in 2019. If you drill into the details of the test, it's as good in some areas, such as chest protection and whiplash protection for those in the rear, as the Clio and other rivals.

All models come with a basic form of automatic emergency braking (AEB) as standard, but you'll have to go for GT or GT Premium trim to get a more advanced system that works at night and can recognise cyclists as well as pedestrians.

Traffic sign recognition and a driver attention alert system are both standard on all versions, as is lane-keeping assistance. Blind-spot monitoring is only available on the two top trims.

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At a glance
New car deals
Save up to £5,412
Target Price from £16,986
Save up to £5,412
or from £169pm
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Nearly new deals
From £16,799
RRP price range £20,400 - £36,250
Number of trims (see all)4
Number of engines (see all)5
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)electric, petrol
MPG range across all versions 55.3 - 65.9
Available doors options 5
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £63 / £1,294
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £126 / £2,587
Available colours