What's the used Peugeot 208 hatchback like?
Producing a small car has been a struggle for Peugeot in recent decades. Every one of its efforts has inevitably been compared with the 205, a high water mark the company hit in the early 1980s and which it seemed doomed to be unable to match. But the Peugeot 208, which was introduced in 2012, is its best effort to date.
For starters, there’s the styling. The 208’s cute detailing, tidy curves and beaming face give it instant kerb appeal, arguably more so than rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo. The effect continues inside, thanks to a clean-looking dashboard smattered with upmarket materials.
But the 208 is more than just a pretty face. Punchy engines make it responsive to drive, and those same engines deliver decent fuel economy, too.
However, the 208 isn’t perfect. It isn’t the most pleasant car in the world to drive; the engines are all rather noisy and feed a lot of vibration back into the car. And while the steering is light, it’s extremely remote, which means it often comes as a vague surprise to find that turning the small wheel has an effect on the front end of the car.
That wheel is small because of Peugeot’s quirky interior design, which places the gauges above the wheel so that you look over its top, rather than through it, to see your speed. The problem is, this means shorter drivers will find the lower half of the gauges obliterated, while the dials themselves are tiddly and not that easy to read.
With that exception, front seat occupants will be pretty happy with their lot. The dashboard looks and feels smart and the bits you touch feel like they’re built from high-quality plastics. There are some more suspect materials further down the dashboard, but on the whole it’s a classy effort, and the front seats themselves are comfortable, offering plenty of space and lots of support.
Farther back, the picture isn’t so rosy. Both rear seat and boot space are merely average for the class, with several other used cars giving you more room to play with.
Performance fans might be interested in the GTi model, which is fast and comfortable but not as involving as some of its rivals. That said, the awkwardly named GTi by Peugeot Sport model is rather more entertaining and definitely worth a look.
The 208 received a mild facelift in 2015 that brought tweaks to the styling to bring it up to date, a few changes to the specification and several notable updates to the engine range to reduce emissions.