What is it?
With the new 208, Peugeot is out to recapture some of the magic of the 205, its phenomenally successful 1983 supermini, notable among many things for the zip, civility and economy of its diesels. Peugeot did much to popularise diesel superminis, even if the base version was a normally aspirated, rev-shy device.
Now all three 208 diesels are turbocharged, this entry-level 1.4 scoring 67bhp and a 13.5sec 0-62mph time. More important are the 83mpg and 87g/km of CO2 achieved with a five-speed robotised gearbox (the manual does 74.3mpg and 98g/km).
What's it like?
Peugeot's old-school robotised shift does a better job here than in the 508 1.6 HDi. But the 208 would clearly be better off with the planned dual-clutch 'box many rivals offer. Anyway, the annoying fade and surge you feel during brisk acceleration has been dampened, even if its shifts are Sunday-afternoon lazy.
The engine delivers decent pep if you mine its mid-ranges with the paddles, but keen drivers will favour the manual. The 1.4 HDi's cornering powers aren't bad, the main disappointment being overly pointy steering caused by the small wheel, and the system's shortage of road feel.