= Goodwood Test: 2021 Peugeot 208 Review =
== Overview ==
If I ask you to ponder Peugeot’s ‘200’ model range yourwill almost certainly jump to the 205, or perhaps more specifically the 205 GTi. Since then we’ve had the 206, the 207 and then, in 2011, the 208. Now there’s a new car in the 200 series, and it’s called… the 208. Seemingly Peugeot has realised an eventual ‘two hundred and ten’ won’t be anywhere near as catchy

The previous generation 208 was a big deal for Peugeot chiefly because the 207 was so porky; heavier and larger than any 200 car before, it sold OK but anyone with any sense kept it at arm’s length. The 208, meanwhile, was lower, thinner, shorter and, crucially, lighter. So where has Peugeot gone with the new 208?
 We like 
- Lightweight and small, yet packed with tech
- Great design inside and out
- Thrummy three-cylinder engine
 We don't like 
- Automatic gearbox is unnecessary
- Small steering wheel remains an irritation
- There will never be a GTi
== Design ==
To begin with, this is to my eyes a very pretty little car. Peugeot’s current design philosophy kicked off with the new 3008 in 2016 (which itself has now had a mid-life facelift), a welcome shot of adrenaline for a brand that had a mostly stale-looking line-up

At the front there’s a big, smiley grille, with the now old Peugeot Lion emblem at the top. The lights, meanwhile, consist of the main LED headlights with three strips at the outside, now a Peugeot signature, as well as longer ‘teeth’ that flow down from the outermost strips into the bumper. Across the side of the car there are two subtle creases, one above the door handles and one below, as well as shiny black plastic wheel arches that go some way to give the impression the wheels are much larger than they really are (these do not come on the entry level trim). At the rear there’s a repeat of the three-strip LED signature, and like the bigger 2008 and 3008 there’s a black block of plastic running just below the rear window, something that helps break up the boot-lid nicely. There’s more black plastic at the base of the bumper too

== Performance and Handling ==
First up, the engines. There is an electric 208, known as the e-208, but alongside that there’s the more traditional internal combustion engined cars with both petrol and diesel motors. If you want a diesel there’s only one option, a 130PS (96kW) four-cylinder with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Go for petrol and there’s a choice of a 75PS (55kW), 100PS (73kW) or 130PS (96kW) three-cylinder, the first available with a five speed-manual only, the second a six-speed manual or an eight-speed auto, and the latter the auto only. We went for the most powerful 130PS petrol

If you enjoy a three-cylinder thrum then you’re in luck because that’s exactly what you get in the 208. No, a buzzy, eager little engine doesn’t make you go any quicker, but it’s good fun all the same. The petrol is a little down on torque compared to the diesel, by 20Nm at 230Nm (170lb ft), but because it weighs less and the petrol engine is a little more keen, with the exception of the e-208, it’s the nippiest 208 around. Bury your foot to the floor from a standstill and you’ll hit 62mph in 8.9 seconds on your way to 129mph

The gearbox? Well this is a curious one. It’s smooth and seems to make sensible decisions 95 per cent of the time left to its own devices. Only when you start using the paddles behind the steering wheel does it feel a little dim-witted; opt for manual mode with an ‘M’ on the gear selector and the ‘box will still change up when it wants to at the top end of the rev range, and if you change gear twice you can hear and feel two distinct and separate changes with a short pause in between. Overall, though, there’s nothing wrong with it, but why does a small car like this need it?
To drive this new 208 feels remarkably like the old one, thanks in no small part to the fact that the weight hasn’t shot up dramatically. The previous 208 was put on a pedestal because Peugeot had stripped out so much mass, the lightest weighing only 970kg, and the good news is this new car, in its featheriest, base-spec form, is only 10kg heavier. You can feel that out on the open road. What’s obvious from behind the wheel, too, is that the suspension feels a tad more refined and more controlled (you get the same set-up across the range, whether you’re in a basic Active Premium car or top-of-the-range GT Premium), although really put some stress through the chassis and you’ll get an awkward wobble or two from one of the wheels. There’s less road and wind noise, too, and although the steering is light (the Sport drive mode, compared to Eco and Normal brings more weight, as well as better throttle response) and communicates almost nothing (you feel more of the road through the seat and your behind than you do the steering wheel), it’s actually quite quick

The driving position remains a minor irritation. Peugeot has stuck to the i-Cockpit philosophy (more on the interior in a moment), where the wheel is small and should therefore be positioned lower down so you look over it to see the instruments rather than through it. It’s fine, really – you do get used to it – but there remains a feeling of sitting on top of the car rather than in it

== Interior ==
Tiny wheel and awkward driving position aside, the 208’s interior is terrific. It’s funky enough to feel interesting without getting gimmicky, and I like that a lot. For example, there’s luminous yellow stitching across the dash, door pulls, steering wheel, seats and carpets, and a chrome strip that runs the length of the dash and out across the doors has underneath it an LED strip, the colour of which can be changed with eight different options. On the practical side, though, there are still four buttons to control the front and rear windows, and the lights are operated on stalks rather than haptic buttons hidden near the steering wheel as some manufacturers have used. The 3D instrument cluster, meanwhile, is seriously jazzy and a really positive quirk, not to mention practical, as it’s customisable and can focus in on exactly what you want, whether that’s the dials and the speed or the navigation and the speed. To access the heater controls there are physical buttons, too, although further steps to change the temperature or the fan speed are done through the central screen

== Technology and Features ==
All in all, excluding the e-208, there are five models to choose from, namely Active Premium, Allure, Allure Premium, GT and GT Premium. Every one of those comes with a central infotainment screen, although you’ll get a 7-inch or 10-inch screen depending on the trim, while the instrument cluster is only 3D if you go for an Allure model or higher. Cruise control and a speed limiter is standard across the range, as is lane-keep assist, speed limit recognition and recommendation, Active Safety Brake, a driver attention warning system, tyre pressure sensors, a thermometer and ice warning, electric heated and folding mirrors, rear parking sensors, automatic lights, Bluetooth, a DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a USB port (all but the Active model get USB and USB-C)

Our GT model was pretty loaded, with the larger 10-inch infotainment screen, a carbon-effect trim across the dash, more supportive seats, a frameless mirror rear-view mirror, heated seats, front and rear parking sensors, a 180-degree reversing camera, a £500 panoramic roof, and two-tone 17-inch wheels

The Lane Positioning Assist, a £300 option on the GT as part of the Drive Assist Pack but included as standard on the GT Premium, is handy if you’re going to be spending plenty of time on the motorway. While there’s still lane assist for when you haven’t got the cruise on, Lane Positioning Assist will keep you in the middle of your lane on the motorway, rather than reacting only when you reach aline – essentially you’ll feel much less like a bowling ball bouncing of the safety barriers

== Verdict ==
The new 208 is a handsome car, both inside and out, and although it isn’t an exciting drive, and sadly there will never be a 208 GTi (the Peugeot GTi is now dead, with Peugeot Sport Engineered moving in in its place, but only on bigger models at this stage) it is a decent one. Whatever model you go for there’s a very decent list of kit included as standard, too. As a small car it shouldn’t be sniffed at, but be prepared to live with an average gearbox and a slightly awkward driving position

 The score 
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== Specifications ==
1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol
129PS (95kW) @ 5,500rpm
230Nm (170lb ft) @ 1,750rpm
Eight-speed automatic, front-wheel-drive