Peugeot’s 208 is incredibly popular in the UK, so any changes would have to be carefully thought out to appease a public that has fallen in love with the car’s superb curves and pin-sharp handling.
Updated for summer 2015, the 208 now comes with optional textured paint that has the feel of a man’s stubble.
There are some equally bold colour options as well. Try the coffee-coloured Ice Grey, or the Ice Silver, which can be bought in the Allure and Active models with a startling Lime Yellow pack.
The new looks and tweaks reflect the French firm’s general move up the market. It’s also become a little more masculine, at least in GTi form, with a menacing Matt Black with Lacquered Red look.
The bodywork is now a touch more macho as well. There’s a deeper, wider grille, a newly designed front bumper and two-tone headlights with neat use of chrome and black.
At the back, lights are redesigned to showcase a lion’s claw, set to become a Peugeot icon, and new chrome along the flanks gives the 208 a striking new profile.
The tough-guy exterior of the Peugeot 208 hides a soft centre. There are plenty of soft-touch plastics in the cabin, plus dome delicious high-gloss black and aluminium. Even the Active trim gets a leather steering wheel that’s small enough to evoke the sporty control of go-karting.
The 208 is luxurious and desirable, but it’s great to drive, too. The manual version has smooth and slick changes and it takes rural bends without complaint. Change-ups on the automatic are equally seamless.
Want to save on fuel? You could do a lot worse than the 1.6-litre BlueHDi. Official figures suggest returns of over 94mpg, but independent testing has achieved figures far north of that. Emissions are planet-friendly, too, at just 79g/km – the best of any non-hybrid.
As if all that wasn’t enough, the latest incarnation of the 208, which will be in UK showrooms in mid-June, will also feature advanced safety features. These include reversing cameras, Park Assist and more.
Performance isn’t too shabby, either. You can get from 0-62 in the 1.2-litre petrol version in 10.7 seconds on the back of its 108bhp and you’ll top out at 118mph.
The Peugeot 208 is the French firm’s best-selling model. It’s cost-effective to own and pleasing on the eye. With these new, upmarket tweaks and a more masculine edge, the fan base can only widen even further.