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208 tackling small car market

Created on 26/10/2016 @ 10:38
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

Peugeot revealed a new 208 in time for the 66 plate arrival as the company continued its relentless chase to dominate the fiercely competitive small car market.

The 208 Allure Premium comes with a 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine in a five-door variant only, and has high specification with 16” Titane Matt Black alloy wheels, satellite navigation, reversing camera and a panoramic glass roof. 

This 208 looks the part and could turn out to be a popular choice with attractive fog lights finishers and exterior personalisation including an equaliser grille and gloss black door mirrors.

They are a canny bunch at Peugeot and the suits have recognised that while more people are downsizing they are unwilling to compromise on quality. So the 208 gets probably the classiest cabin in the small car sector where Ford Fiesta, Skoda Fabia and VW Polo provide most of the opposition.

There are clear facia design echoes from the more expensive models in the Peugeot camp and you get remote controlled central locking, cruise control, electric front windows, electric and heated door mirrors, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers.

You get a multifunction touchscreen, DAB radio, Bluetooth, USB input and a satellite navigation system which includes five years European mapping updates – not the sort of spec you would expect from the small car sector.

But you don’t get much space. Finding a comfortable driving position proved difficult and while the Allure Premium only comes in five-door format the rear seats proved a bit too cramped for four adults. Boot space is also cramped and the model failed the golf clubs test.

Strangely this 208 felt more at home on the open road than in town with the three-cylinder 1.2engine cruising happily. In traffic though it was a different experience thanks to vague steering and a jerky gear change.

The 208 is a delight to park though, fitting in the tiniest of spaces in the supermarket car park, thanks to rear parking aids and a reversing camera.

There’s a high level of safety equipment on board too. You get all-round curtain airbags, Anti-Locking Braking and Electronic Stability Programming – again a lot of standard equipment for the sector.

The Allure Premium also gets a leather steering wheel but it doesn’t matter how many times you try to adjust the position, you never quite manage to find a position that stops you obscuring some of the dials.

Running costs are the important factor in this segement and the 208 scores well. Thanks to CO2 levels of 104g/km you’ll pay no road tax for the first year and can expect to get over 60mpg a good thing with prices at the umps starting go up quickly.

There’s a surprising top speed of 109mph though a five-speed box and 0-62mph in 12.2seconds so the 208 is as nippy as anything else in the sector.

Price will determine the success of this latest Peugeot arrival and at £16,215 you get a lot for your money but there’s also a lot of competition out there.

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