We test Peugeot’s Middle of the Road 208. It Makes a Lot of Sense

Peugeot revealed its sexy next-generation 208 supermini just before the world locked down. It was revealed in a petrol, diesel and electric range at the until now, last ever Geneva motor show. But it took a while to get here. That delay probably as much to do with lockdown as it was with Peugeot falling into line as a new planet in the Stellantis constellation.

Clever 208 is Longer, Lighter, Lower

Now 4 cm longer, lower and 30 kg lighter, the ‘futuristic, young’ new 208 brings a ‘more dynamic stance’ in five-doors only. It’s based on Peugeot’s new Common Modular Platform architecture. Which is also part of the deal in the new Stellantis-built Opel Corsa and likely destined to form the basis of future Fiats, and others too.

The ‘no compromise’ front-wheel drive 208 eventually launched in SA in three choices of Stellantis nee PSA’s a 1.2-litre petrol. The five-speed manual base model has 55 kW, this middling turbocharged 72 kW is a six-speed manual. And there’s a premium 98 kW 1.2T GT with an eight-speed automatic. Foreign markets also get a 72kW 1.5-litre six-speed manual diesel. Some even get a 101kW electric version with a 300km range via a 50kWh battery replacing the fuel tank beneath the rear seats.

208 comes to South Africa in basic Active, this Allure and the top GT-Line specification. An evolution of Peugeot’s petty face now carries some chic new aspects like those LED DRL ‘fangs’ each side of that jewelled grille and far better applied taillights. But the big highlight is inside, where the latest iteration of Peugeot’s marvellous i-Cockpit does duty.

Sexy Little Steering Sets i-Cockpit Ante

Now common across a broad selection of Peugeots from this hatchback to SUVs and even the bakkie, the headline is that small steering wheel ahead of neat reflective screen three-dimensional instruments. The dash has its limitations if you like to wear polarised sunglasses, but that’s the only complaint of those sexy 3D hologram-like dials. Welcome to the future.

Pitched against Volkswagen’s similarly middle of the road Polo 1.0TSI 70kW Life, the Peugeot coms at a bit of a premium. Its fighting for a slice of an ever-diminishing cake in a tricky neck of the woods, but it seems the 208 has it covered.

This version packs the 74 kW 205 Nm 1.2-litre turbo petrol triple, which matches its wheezing atmo 1.2 Active kid brother’s 5.8 litres per hundred and 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre. It was not long ago that you’d likely just skip past this one and drop the extra fifty grand for the second less to 100 km/h.

208 Savings Bigger Than Speed?

But this is mid 2022 and who knows how much more that extra half a litre will cost you per hundred by the time you read this? But the extra 50km of range will already likely save you around R120 a tank of fuel. My, how times have changed!

And it’s not that this Peugeot 208 1.2T Allure lacks for much either. That sexy little multifunction steering wheel is power assisted. It in part controls the Carplay and Auto packed Infotainment compete with Bluetooth and a pair of USB ports and onboard trip computer.

There are power windows front and rear, power folding mirrors, rain sensor wipers, cruise control and climate control too. Remote central locking has keyless access and start
And there’s rear camera park distance control. Add those auto on and off LED driving running Xenon headlights, rear fog lights and a high-level brake light and smart 16” alloy wheels too.

208 a Solid Choice in a Competitive Space

As mentioned, the power of choice is diminishing in this neck of the woods. Sure, there are still quite a few other options out there. But not many quite as sexy or as chic as this one. Of course, some South Africans still question certain brands. But rest assured, this is a solid choice in a competitive space.

So, while this particular Peugeot 208 1.2T Allure is a middle of the range option, for once it has some neat advantages over both the models above and below it. All of which probably makes this Allure the sensible choice right now. Michele Lupini

Images & data: Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Peugeot 208 1.2T Allure
Engine: 74 kW 205 Nm 1.2-litre turbo petrol I3
Drive: 6-speed Manual FWD
0-60 km/h:        4.68 sec
0-100 km/h:       10.25 sec
0-120 km/h:       14.29 sec
0-160 km/h:       29.09 sec
400m:             17.3 sec @ 130 km/h
80-120 km/h:      7.26 sec
120-160 km/h:     14.80 sec
VMax:             188 km/h
Fuel:             5.8 l/100 km
CO2:              130 g/km
Warranty/Service: 5y 100K/3y 60K km
LIST PRICE:       R365K
RATED:            8
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