New ways of personalising the Peugeot 208 are part of a facelift from the French firm that seems squarely directed at taking trade away from the Mini and the Citroen DS3. Richard Hardie is the official Peugeot main dealer in the north-east of England.
The Peugeot 208 has proved to be a massive hit, selling 32,000 units last year and prompting fond memories of the 80s 205 among an older audience, while attracting a whole new breed of younger customer with its sleek looks and belting performance.
But Peugeot is keen to keep things fresh and has created new personalisation options, such as safety kit, a three-cylinder turbo and a 79g/km BlueHDI diesel, which will get you halfway to Neptune on one tank.
Changes are subtle. The front bumper is sharper, the grille wider and the headlamps prettier. There’s a new colour palette, 3D LED tail lights and some cool alloys.
But here comes the quirky bit. You can now personalise your 208 with option packs and special paint. How special can paint be? Try textured matte paint. Peugeot says this paint is ‘subtly granular to the touch’. On a more practical note, it’s more durable and easier to care for than conventional matte paint. Choose any colour you like, so long as it’s one of two shades of grey.
All engines now comply with Euro 6, while the 1.6-litre Blue HDi is claimed to be the most economical engine in the world. Recent independently verified figures of 141mpg would seem to bear this out. Officially, the figure is 94.2mpg, which isn’t too shabby either.
The 108bhp version, as seen in the DS3, sits better in the 208 and takes it to 62mph in 9.6 seconds, ably assisted by 205Nm of torque. And a tall fifth gear means that the 208 is in automotive heaven cruising on the motorway, sipping gently from the fuel supply through a straw like it’s an exotic and potent cocktail.
There’s a turbocharger now – not that that automatically makes it a hot hatch, as the suspension is a little soft – but you won’t be complaining at the performance.
Spec is impressive. Even in the base model, the Access, you’ll get air-con, Bluetooth, six airbags and cruise control. The Active gets alloy wheels and DAB. Go for the Allure and enjoy automatic lights and wipers, big rims and rear parking sensors.
For the whole hog, you’ll want the GT Line. It has sporty features and automatic climate control as standard. For just £250, you can have Active City Stop, in case you’re prone to crashes while blinking, and £400 will get you satnav.
Practicality and interior quality are superb, with a 285-litre boot and a seven-inch touchscreen on all but the basic model.