From £11,349
The swiftest Peugeot 208 yet is a warm hatch rather than a hot one, but it's good fun to drive and augurs well for the GTI to come

Our Verdict

Peugeot 208

Peugeot has shown dynamic promise of late. Will the Peugeot 208 be a hit?

23 October 2012

What is it?

This 208, which has just joined the rest of the range on UK sale, is the closest thing yet to a properly sporting 208 pending the arrival of the 208 GTI next March (April in the UK).

The Feline is currently the top trim level, but this version with the 154bhp turbo 1.6 has extra visual up-revving and a three-door-only body style. That engine is familiar from other Peugeots and Citroens and is related to the Mini Cooper S's unit.

With power raised to 197bhp it will also appear in the GTI. In the Feline THP 156 it joins 17in wheels with 205/45 tyres, an extended tailgate spoiler, firmed suspension and glowing blue outlines for the instruments (they'll be red in the GTI) to set it apart from lesser Felines. Seats are part-trimmed in leather and there's a huge glass roof panel with a retractable blind.

What's it like?

This lightest Peugeot-Citroën product yet to use the 154bhp turbo motor promises plenty of pace, judging by the factory's headline figures: 134mph and 8.1sec to 62mph. There's a six-speed gearbox to make the most of the power and the 192lb ft of torque, whose shift is massively more precise and pleasing than the springy five-speeder fitted to the equivalent car, with the same engine, in the old 207 range.

So the Feline feels eager and light on its feet, helped by having shed around 100kg compared with that 207. Its almost lag-free torque delivery extends over a very broad speed range, with useful urge right up to the 6800rpm rev limit, and the whole way the 208 moves is smooth and easy. Quiet, too, although enlivened by a little bass sputter from the exhaust on upshifts.

Unlike that 207, whose ride could be stiff and restless, the 208 Feline soaks up small bumps smoothly and quietly and has calm, authoritative damping over big undulations. There was a danger that the tiny steering wheel's necessarily quick response and hefty power assistance could make this fastest 208 feel artificially darty, but in fact it proves to feel the most natural of the 208s we've sampled to date.

It's surprising that it feels as normal as it does, given that the wheel has to be practically in your lap if you're to see the whole instrument display.

Downsides are slightly snatchy brakes and the occasional tug of torque steer, but overall this is a more satisfying 208 than we expected.

Should I buy one?

Depends on what you want. It almost comes across as a premium compact inside, but too much hard plastic lets it down. Ignore that and you have a more sober rival to a DS3 DSport, or a more comfortable, more relaxed, cheaper and not much slower alternative to  a Cooper S.

It's a warm hatch rather than a hot one, but it's good fun to drive and augurs well for the GTI to come.

John Simister

Peugeot 208 Feline THP 156

Price £16,895; 0-62mph 8.1sec; Top speed 134mph; Economy 48.7mpg; CO2 135g/km; Engine 1598cc, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol; Kerb weight 1090kg; Power 154bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 192lb ft at 1750-4000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
16

23 October 2012

This does sound promising for the GTi. I wonder if there is much demand for this level of performance outside of a Gti however.

I am interested in the 'almost lag free' statement. The same engine in a 508 is far from lag free. Obviously the far heavier body will exagerate the lag, but has something else been done to this to improve it further?

Interesting to compare this to the diesel driven recently. Its several hundred pounds cheaper, lighter a better drive from the sound of it and MUCH quicker, if obviously rather less economical.

The GTi might be an interesting car afterall. I hope so!

 

24 October 2012

I wonder how long it will be before we get a facelift with the steering wheel and instruments in the 'right place'. Probably about as long as it took BL to get rid of the Allegro's square steering wheel. Even though it works for some people who'll be sad to see the little wheel and tall binnacle go, Peugeot must be getting jumpy about all the negative comments.

23 October 2012

0-60 in 8.1 used to be good for a hot hatch Smile

 

I suppose it is more baout the way it goes about things. Personally I like the Suzuki Swift Sport. Great sharp handling etc but without the crazy BHP. Great fun.

 

23 October 2012

A great little car. Not everyone needs to drive a screaming hot hatch, this may very well be a very good compromise.... not too hot but spicy enogh to be interesting. The article is of the "damning with faint praise" type .... but we do have to protect the Fiesta's supremacy... don't we.... Smile

GeToD

 

23 October 2012

So far this seems to be the range sweet spot and a real old fashioned warm hatch to boot.

The only flies in the ointment are it's competitors, who major on style a lot more and unfortunately in todays image driven society that may well prove to be the bigger selling point.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

23 October 2012

Surely a Polo BlueGT would be a better buy, especially if paying with your own money? Within a few hundred quid, a little lower hp but faster. Plus you get the new cylinder deactivation technology which gives 107 CO2 and 61 MPG. Looks better (IMO), and will hold it's money a damn site better too.

23 October 2012

Chip35 wrote:

Surely a Polo BlueGT would be a better buy, especially if paying with your own money? Within a few hundred quid, a little lower hp but faster. Plus you get the new cylinder deactivation technology which gives 107 CO2 and 61 MPG. Looks better (IMO), and will hold it's money a damn site better too.

Depreciation always seems to be totally illogical so we shall see. As for the cylinder deactivation, how it fares in the medium/long term (i.e. out of warranty) we shall see as well. The crankshaft will take a great battering when in two cylinder mode and a number of recent VW developments seem to have relied upon early purchasers for proving trials to a perhaps surprising extent.

23 October 2012

Chip35 wrote:

Surely a Polo BlueGT would be a better buy, especially if paying with your own money? Within a few hundred quid, a little lower hp but faster. Plus you get the new cylinder deactivation technology which gives 107 CO2 and 61 MPG. Looks better (IMO), and will hold it's money a damn site better too.

a Polo Blue GT is over £19k, when specced to a similar level to this, not a few hundred quid, and thats without the colour multimedia or panaramic roof..Is it really worth over £2k of your own money?

I dont think it is, VW are nothing special when it comes down to reliability compared to a modern Peugeot, despite what people think.

This engine is well proven and capable of kicking out up to 260 bhp, so its not even breathing hard at this state of tune, VW as stated above have a habit of using customers as guinea pigs with its smaller engine technology. 

 

25 October 2012

If you look on Autotrader the Polo is worth about 2k more 5 years old than a 207 THP which really is the extra 2k you paid for it in the first place. If you keep it 10 years then this will be probably 1k extra so I don't think this is always valid to say it will hold value better cus its a VW or BMW.

TS7

23 October 2012

It's still pug-ugly.

 

Arf arf.

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