Re-engined 208 First Drive: YES! Peugeot is BACK!

208 Range

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Peugeot debuted their reimagined 208 range at a secret private estate (with an extra-long very curvy driveway doing a pretty good imitation of a quaint country road) recently.

We drove the new models after a short spin in the old model and the difference was chalk and cheese. Gone is the shoddy 18th century 4 speed auto in favour of a shiny new 6 speed Aisin auto. The engines are new too, and are now Euro 6 compliant.

I’d like to take a moment to mention Peugeot-Citroen is taking great steps to ensure their published fuel/econ figures haven’t been dodgied like those at VW. Sadly this cataclysmic fiasco has done nothing for VW, or any other auto maker. The public are quite rightly asking questions and deserve answers. In fact a news team asked a few passers by what they thought of when they saw the VW badge on a piece of paper and all but one made snarky comments.

PSA Peugeot Citroen are going one step further and are transitioning to “real world” figures that should more closely resemble those buyers may expect. This is a welcome innovation and will no doubt put a few noses out of joint. There will be no snarky comments about figures that are honest. We’ve been saying for years that we are sick to death of having to qualify our published fuel economies as “claimed figures” because we knew damned well they were nothing like what the average driver would get.

Watch this space.

Meanwhile:

There are the new 60kw or 81kw 1.2 turbo petrol engines which love to buzz at full pelt. While they aren’t exactly rockets, they are just the ticket for those wanting a bit of Euro without having to sell their first-born. They start at under 20 grand and should give the big boys a bad case of heart burn. There is also a new badge with the GT Line. It slides in just under the fabulous GTi and has a slightly grander interior than before. By grander, I mean a bit more stuff. The 208 cabin was already making a decent fist of being classy and they come in 3 or 5 door.

Some models get stop/start and if this doesn’t annoy the bejeezuz out of you in 30 seconds you’re just not normal. Most just turn it off, but you have to disable the function every time you start the car. Moving right along, Active City Braking is now available on the Allure and GT-Line as an extra cost option. You can have a reversing camera too, also as an extra cost. With any luck both of these will become standard equipment in due course.

The GTi gets 153kW and 300Nm, leading to a 0-100km/h time of only 6.7 seconds – yet improves on fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions. Its drive train is a revised version of that which first surfaced in the recent 30th anniversary edition of the 208. The GTi comes only in the 3door hatch and only in manual. There are a couple of neat new colours and textured paint finishes (a first on a mass produced car) which are meant to add a retro touch.

For me, it hinges on the drive and even the base models get around corners like a cat on carpet, but none matches the GTi for chutzpah. The slight increase in power belies its ability to drag much more than its weight in fun from and already fun car. At $35,206 (drive-away), the GTi is good value. It is up against Fiesta ST and Polo GTI I feels a touch better than both and is certainly better looking.

On the road is where it counts and the GTi can be thrown into corners with gay abandon. It seems to enjoy being taken by the scruff of the neck, willingly revving to the limiter without complaint. Keeping the gears down a bit brings out the best in the engine but for the times when all you want is a relaxing sashay away, it is quite happy dawdle round town. The best bit is the suspension won’t rattle your teeth from their sockets as previous models did.

All models get new light (LED) treatments and updated trim and wheels. In one way or another there has been value added even if in some cases there is a modest increase in cost.

3 doors is more comfy if you like a lot of space to get in and out. The extra long door opening is best for someone who is a bit taller. Obviously the GTi is my pick not just because it is the top of the range but because it is the best drive by far.

We will bring a full report once we get our mitts on a GTi over the Christmas break, but let’s just say they’ve been given the attention they deserved all along. Peugeot is at great pains to revisit the best of its past by adding the best of its future. I can see bits of 205GTi partially because that’s what Peugeot intended, but, because any fool can see Peugeot is back.

Peugeot 208

RRP*

Full Driveaway

Current Offers

208 Access 60kW PureTech manual

$15,990

$19,523

$16,990 clip_image002

208 Access 81kW PureTech e-THP automatic

$18,990

$22,645

$19,990 clip_image002[1]

208 Active 81kW PureTech e-THP automatic

$21,990

$25,735

$22,990 clip_image002[2]

208 Allure 81kW PureTech e-THP automatic

$25,990

$29,855

 

208 GT Line 81kW PureTech e-THP automatic

$27,490

$31,400

 

208 GTi 153kW e-THP manual

$30,990

$35,206

 
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