- Great looking inside and out
- Very comfortable
- 100PS petrol engine a great all-rounder
Not so great
- Interior quality better elsewhere
- Rear seats aren't the most spacious
- You need to spend big for autonomous driving aids
On the inside
How much does it cost to run
Prices, versions and specification
Overall verdict on the Peugeot 208
"You have to go all the way back to the 205 to find a small car Peugeot could genuinely be proud of, but the new Peugeot 208 rights that wrong. From its lion-like exterior (once you see it, you can't unsee it) to its dashing, infotainment-heavy interior, comfortable drive and excellent petrol engines, the 208 is a class act that's well worth consideration if you're looking for a small car."
The 208 is indeed supposed to look like a lion, Peugeot's mascot. Those spiky front LEDs look like the fangs of a yawning big cat against the contrasting large black grille and the 208's feline curves help keep the theme alive. It's just a happy coincidence that the car in our pictures is finished in a shade of yellow that would be ideal camouflage if you were prowling the Sahara.
There's not much feline-like about the interior, well, not unless it's a cyborg cat because the 208's is packed full of infotainment including (on all but the basic model) a digital instrument binnacle that looks cool and is also usefully multifunctional.
Unfortunately, the cabin style comes from Peugeot's iCockpit school of design which means the dials sit above (not behind) the steering wheel. It looks great but, depending on your body shape, isn't always functional. It can leave important information – like your speed – frustratingly obscured by the steering wheel.
So long as you can see the dials, you should be able to get comfortable in the front seat, but the same is not true in the back. Small rear doors make access a pain, especially if you're trying to fit a child seat, and your taller passengers won't appreciate the lack of legroom – it's one area where the 208 falls behind rivals like the Volkswagen Polo and Hyundai i20.
Both those cars also have bigger boots, although the Peugeot has enough room to gobble up a few suitcases. It lacks the good design of the Volkswagen Polo and with the rear seats folded down, the hump left in the floor makes loading cumbersome items tricky.
Once you're packed and on your way, though, you'll find a rich stream of positives. The 208's suspension soaks up bumps extremely well – it's something Peugeot used to be famed for but had lost its way on until recently – the comfortable ride makes it a very nice car to while away long journeys in and it's also very quiet.
Much of the credit for that has to go to the 100PS PureTech petrol engine – others are available, but this one's our pick. It has a pleasing growl under acceleration but at a cruise the noise dissolves away and the 100PS model, unlike the 75PS, comes with a six-speed gearbox that makes it a relaxed cruiser.
The same engine is also available with an eight-speed automatic gearbox that's ideal if you do lots of town driving. It shifts gear smoothly and suits the 208's slant towards comfort. It's an expensive option but does open up the opportunity to specify a suite of autonomous driving modes although, it has to be said, all that kit comes as standard on the excellent Toyota Yaris.
The 208 can't claim to be particularly rewarding when you do the driving. That soft and squidgy suspension translates into significant body lean in corners and the Peugeot doesn't feel as alert as a Ford Fiesta, but then neither does any other small car.
So is the 208 the king of the small car jungle? Well, it depends what you're looking for but for a company that used to be praised for producing small cars bursting with style and panache, the 208 represents a long-awaited return to form. If you like your old Peugeots, you'll love this new one.
If you're looking for the older version, you need our Peugeot 208 (2012-2020) review.
Comfort and design: Peugeot 208 interior
"The Peugeot 208 gives you the latest twist on the company's iCockpit cabin design philosophy and, it's fair to say, the ergonomics still need a little to bit of work so that the majority of drivers can both sit comfortably and see all the dashboard's instruments."
Instead of looking through the steering wheel to the dials behind, in the iCockpit the dials sit above the steering wheel and Peugeot's made the wheel tiny so it doesn't interfere with your view.
Unfortunately, there's one part of the equation that Peugeot can't manipulate – not without causing quite a lot of pain, anyway – and that's the shape of your body. Depending on the length of your arms, legs and torso, you might have to settle for a less comfortable driving position to get a clear view of the dials or vice versa. The bottom line is it's best to try the car out in person before you sign on the dotted line.
That's a bit of shame really because, ergonomics aside, the 208 has one of the nicest cabins you'll find in a small car this price. Its dashboard has a stepped design with the infotainment screen sitting on its own sculpted console that juts out from the centre console below. The large displays mean there's relatively little need for conventional buttons and the ones you do get have pleasing shark-tooth shape and metallic finish.
Naturally, the interior feels posher the further you go up the range. Basic Active models get a leather-trimmed steering wheel, while taking a couple of steps up to GT Line gets you seats with man-made leather bolsters, ambient lighting, a sportier steering wheel and a frameless Electrochrome rearview mirror that cuts out glare from other cars' headlights.
Handling and ride quality: What is the Peugeot 208 like to drive?
"The Peugeot 208 might not be as frisky in corners as its distant cousin the legendary 205, but it's extremely comfortable and easy to drive which you'll likely find a lot more relevant."
The 208's a doddle to drive in town thanks to its light controls and decent visibility, the brakes are easy to use without being snatchy and the manual gearbox is easy to work. An eight-speed automatic is optional and it changes gears smoothly although it can be a little sudden when you make off.
All models come with reversing sensors so you can squeeze into tight spaces without worrying about scuffing your bumper and GT Line cars get a rear-facing camera or you can go a step further with Semi Auto Park assist – a £250 option that means the Peugeot can accelerate, brake and steer you in and out of parallel and bay spaces. Worth considering if you hate parking with a passion.
Small cars have always been great in town but the 208 is a relatively new phenomenon – it's a small car that's great on the motorway. Yes, it's true, a combination of compliant suspension and a quiet cabin (more on that later) means it's an ideal place to while away the miles.
It does get a black mark against it though because the kind of autonomous driving aids you get as standard on a Toyota Yaris – which, up to a point, do the accelerating, braking and steering for you – are £250 option in the Peugeot and, perhaps more annoyingly, you can only have them on top-of-the-range GT Line models.
What's even more surprising is that the 208 isn't a small car you'll get any pleasure from throwing into corners – not to the mould of the old 205 anyway, or the current Ford Fiesta for that matter. It's not that it's bad in bends, but you do get plenty of body lean and the small steering wheel (yes the iCockpit again) feels unnaturally tiny.
MPG and fuel costs: What does a Peugeot 208 cost to run?
"A combination of 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engines and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel means you'll not be surprised to hear that all versions of the 208 are very frugal."
Peugeot quotes combined fuel economy figures of up to 53mpg for the 100PS model and 51.9mpg for the 130PS version, which comes with the eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard – unsurprisingly, optioning the auto on the 100PS car has a negligible effect on fuel economy. All the 208's figures are measured under the realistic WLTP testing regime, so – for a change – you can expect them to be attainable in real-world conditions.
Figures for the 75PS petrol have yet to be released but, because it lacks efficient turbocharging, it'll likely be a smidgen less economical than the more powerful models.
The diesel is the fuel economy hero. It'll return up to 73.6mpg combined, but it's worth pulling out your calculator and crunching the numbers because it'll only make sense if you do enough miles to offset its higher list price and the extra cost of diesel.
These numbers mean a petrol 208 is capable of more than 500 miles from its 44-litre tank, while the diesel, which has a smaller 41-litre fuel capacity, should get well over 600 miles between fill ups.
How much should you be paying for a used 208?
"The Peugeot 208 has been on sale for more than a year now with used prices starting from around £14,500"
That buys you a preregistered car with the 75PS engine and in basic Active trim level. This is the least desirable car of the range, but its hard to grumble with a £2500 saving on the list price and it could make sense if you're a new driver looking for a car that's be reliable as well as being cheap to tax, fuel and insure.
You can expect to pay closer to £16,000 for an Allure model with the 100PS petrol engine, however your money buys you a bucket load of extra equipment (more on that in a second) and the extra power will be welcome on motorway runs and when overtaking.
The very best 208 you can get your hands on – the 130PS GT Line – still commands quite a premium, you can expect to pay more than £20,000 for one of those, a premium that isn't really warranted.
Is the Peugeot 208 right for you?
The Peugeot 208 is the right car for you if you want a small car that looks brilliant from every angle and has a very stylish interior. It's very comfortable to drive and its 100PS PureTech petrol is a brilliant little engine. It's worth making sure you can get on with the 208's driving position, though, and if you're looking for a small car with as much rear seat space as possible, the 208 is not the small car for you.
What's the best Peugeot 208 model/engine to choose?
You'll see the Peugeot 208 in its best light if you specify it Allure trim, which is the cheapest route to the fancy digital dashboard that's the perfect addition to the stylish cabin. Allure models also get exterior upgrades that make the most of the car's stylish looks.
In terms of engines, we'd go for the 100PS PureTech petrol. It's pretty nippy, sounds sporty when you're accelerating, but settles down at a cruise to make the 208 very relaxing on a long journey. And it does all this while costing buttons to run.
What other cars are similar to the Peugeot 208?
You have plenty of options. The best all-rounder is the Volkswagen Polo, which is nice to drive as well as comfortable and its spacious interior is posh and well designed. The latest Toyota Yaris is a great shout if you want a car that's relaxing to drive and cheap to run, thanks to its hybrid engine and autonomous driving aids, while the Ford Fiesta is the car to buy if you enjoy doing the driving.
Its fellow French hatchback, the Renault Clio is another strong choice and don't look past the excellent Hyundai i20 which has a five year warranty. We'd also suggest checking out the much improved latest Vauxhall Corsa.
Quality and finish
While the 208's interior looks great, it doesn't have the best quality. Plastics in the lower half of the cabin are cheaper than the ones you get in a Volkswagen Polo and you won't find the soft-touch door caps found in the Renault Clio. That said, the main dashboard area has soft-touch materials which feel expensive and high-end models get colourful stitching and ambient lighting with eight settings, giving the 208 a cool cocktail bar vibe.
Infotainment: touchscreen, USB, nav and stereo in the Peugeot 208
All 208s come with a single USB plug and a seven-inch infotainment screen. It includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can use your phone's voice recognition system – generally a lot more reliable than car manufacturers' in-house efforts – and also its apps for things like music playback and navigation. It also means the screen recognises iPad gestures like 'pinch' and 'swipe'. The display's an inch smaller than the one you'll find in the Hyundai i20 but it makes up for it with its colourful graphics.
Allure models keep the same centre screen but add Peugeot's customisable digital dashboard. It means you can have information like nav directions right where you want them and its cool animations give it a playful character that's absent in the display available in the Volkswagen Polo. Allure models also get an extra USB plug up front, wireless charging and a pair of USB plugs for your passengers in the back.
Active Premium and Allure Premiums models add in-built TomTom sat-nav (useful if you don't own a compatible smartphone, pointless if you do) with the latter getting a larger 10-inch centre screen, which is a £650 option on GT Line cars.
Space and practicality: Peugeot 208 boot space
Getting comfortable behind the wheel of the 208 won't be an issue – there's enough steering wheel and driver seat adjustment to accommodate a range of shapes and sizes – but, as noted before, the problem is whether you'll see the dials once you're happy with your seating position.
If the driving position suits, but you want more seat adjustment, lumbar support is an option on Allure and GT Line models, however is comes as part of a pack which includes a soft Nappa leather interior, plus massaging front seats that are electrically adjustable and heated - that little lot will set you back £1400. Expensive in a car at this price point.
Less luxurious is the amount of space you get in the back of the 208. Tall adults will feel squeezed for kneeroom and with three people in there, anyone on the outer seats will feel their heads being pushed into the headlining. Long story short, if you need more rear seat space, you'd be better off considering the Hyundai i20 or Volkswagen Polo.
The 208's 311-litre boot is also smaller than you get in its two rivals although, in fairness, its size is above average for a car like this. You also have to do without the handy smaller storage areas you get on either side of the Polo's boot but the lack of an adjustable boot floor is more annoying – without it, the floor isn't completely flat so heavier luggage can't be easily slid into place.
In terms of smaller storage areas, you get large pockets in all four doors, two large cup holders, a tray for your phone and nets on the backs of the front seats. However, the glovebox is small. All 208s do come with Isofix points – for the safe mounting of child seats – on the outer rear seats.
What engines and gearboxes are available in the Peugeot 208?
The Peugeot 208 comes with a trio of three-cylinder PureTech petrol engines – producing 75PS, 100PS and 130PS – as well as one 100PS four-cylinder diesel.
You'd be well advised to skip the 75PS model unless you're a young driver looking to save on insurance costs. It's not very quick – ruling overtakes out on all but the longest, most open roads – and you also do without a sixth gear so it's noisier at a cruise.
The 100PS version sorts both those problems. It's got a tiny turbocharger so it produces more power with less effort and its sixth gear means it won't be spinning away furiously on the motorway. It gets from 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds, accompanied by a pleasing thrum that won't put you off working it hard.
It's so well rounded the 130PS model seems like a needless extravagance. It comes with the eight-speed automatic as standard, which shifts gear smoothly but also makes the 208 quite pricy. It gets from 0-62mph in a hot-hatch worrying 8.7 seconds and it feels pretty pokey in a car this size.
That leaves the diesel model which has the most torque of the lot – 250Nm – giving it effortless mid-range grunt that its performance figure of 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds actually underplays. That makes it ideal for long journeys on the motorway – as does its excellent fuel economy – but if you only do short journeys you might find its price inhibitive.
Refinement and noise levels
What the Peugeot 208 lacks in the playful verve of the 205 (a 40-year-old car that – if we're being honest – is far from relevant now), it more than makes up for with long-distance refinement and comfort. Frankly, the 208 feels like a much larger car than it really is.
Those PureTech petrol engines are central to that. Sure, they can be a little vocal under acceleration – or produce an appealing snarl, depending on your outlook – but once up to speed you'll struggle to hear them, it's one of the many benefits of having a tiny engine under the bonnet. You can amplify that effect by choosing the eight-speed automatic gearbox which means the 208's engine is barely breaking into a canter at motorway speeds.
The suspension also plays its part. Its ability to breath over bumps – rather than crash into them – not only makes the ride more comfortable it also means there's less mechanical noise sent through the suspension to reverberate in the cabin.
Safety equipment: How safe is the Peugeot 208?
The Peugeot 208 scored four stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP in 2019 although, if we were being a little harsh, we would note that most cars get a five-star rating when they're hot out the blocks.
Not to worry, the 208 comes with all the basics as standard including automatic emergency brakes that'll detect cars as well as people, cruise control, lane assist that keeps the car in the centre of its lane, attention assist that advises you when to take a break on long drives and tyre pressure sensors. All cars also come with four powerful disc brakes, not the rear drums you'll often find on cars this size.
Moving further up the range doesn't get you much in terms of safety kit (GT Line models' automatic emergency brakes can also sense cyclists, but that's the only difference), which forces you to head to the options list. GT Line cars get two £300 packs to choose from the Driver Assist Pack (only available with the manual gearbox) and the Driver Assist Pack Plus (only in conjunction with the auto).
The former adds active cruise control – so the 208 can accelerate and brake itself on the motorway – while the latter adds a stop-go function and lane positioning assist. As a result, its active cruise control can bring the car to a complete halt before making off again automatically – it's a real boon in mind-numbing stop-go motorway queues.
Lane position assist, meanwhile, is lane assist with added sophistication, instead of pin-balling you between a lane's white lines (by braking the left and right-hand sides of the car), it actually steers you. Unlike the basic system, it can also pilot you around corners so long as you keep your hands on the wheel.
Insurance groups and costs
The Peugeot 208 ranges from Group 12E insurance (75PS, Active model) to Group 25E for a 130PS version in sporty GT Line trim.
We got a quote of £360 for a 100PS Allure – the range's sweet spot – which is in line with what you'd expect to pay for one of the Peugeot's rivals. That was for a middle aged couple living in central London with an eight-year no-claims bonus, comprehensive cover (social and commuting) and covering up to 10,000 miles annually.
VED car tax: What is the annual road tax on a Peugeot 208?
You'll pay £150 a year on road tax for your 208 after the first year of registration. Tax in the first 12 months costs £155 for the 100PS diesel while the petrols are £175 (75PS, 100PS manual and 130PS) and £215 (100PS auto).
Trim levels and standard equipment
The Peugeot 208 range comprises of Active, Allure and GT Line models.
Active is the entry point to the range but it doesn't look like the basic model. It gets LED headlights, as well as 16-inch alloy wheels and a rear spoiler which help accentuate the 208's pretty looks. Inside you get equipment like air conditioning, rear parking sensors, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and a seven-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Allure models look more eye-catching thanks to their 17-inch alloys, glossy black highlights and LED 'claw effect' tail lights. They look and feel a good deal fancier on the inside because they get half (albeit man made) leather seats and a large digital screen in place of analogue dials. Extra kit includes climate control as well as heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors.
GT Line models look the most striking of all, they have diamond cut 17-inch alloys with black inserts and a contrast paint job. They also get handy equipment like bright-shining LED headlights that dip automatically, front parking sensors and a rear-view camera. Inside, you get mood lighting with eight colour choices.
On the inside
How much does it cost to run
Prices, versions and specification
Ask the heycar experts: common questions
Is a Peugeot 208 a good car?
The Peugeot 208 is a good car. If you're looking for a small car that's stylish, cheap to run and very comfortable, it should be at the very top of your list.
How much is a new Peugeot 208?
Prices for the Peugeot 208 range from £17,000 for an active model with a 100PS engine to £24,000 for the 130PS petrol in top-of-the-range GT Line trim.
Where is the Peugeot 208 manufactured?
The Peugeot 208 is manufactured in a number of places including Slovakia (Trnava plant), Morocco (Kenitra) and Argentina (El Palomar).
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