Gentle make-over for perennial 208

Road test: Peugeot 208 GT-Line PureTech 110 Auto

Instead of looking at the press blurb, we thought we’d take a look around Peugeot’s face-lifted 208 and see if we could spot what’s changed.

It’s a couple of years since we last reviewed a 208 – the very accessible GTi – and to be honest, we’re struggling to find much different other than a gentle tidying of the nose with some additional spot lamp surround detailing. In fact, that’s about it for the external amendments, along with some tweaks to the lights front and rear. This is great news for existing 208 owners whose cars shouldn’t depreciate much on the back on the new model but is it enough to entice customers back into the showrooms?

What’s underneath?

This mid-life refresh is more about what’s underneath. Aside from the new Euro 6 compliant petrol and diesel engines now available, this new GT-Line trim level plus some colour tweaks it is not a huge step for the 208. There is now Active City brake (and a reversing camera) available but unfortunately, both are just options; there would certainly be more to shout about if the City Brake were a standard feature. We suspect some of the colour accessories will be more attractive than the £250 safety option to the 208’s customer demographic.

We have the new and attractive GT-Line model on test – the highest trim level below the GTi – fitted with one of the new 1.2 litre, three cylinder petrol engines. Excitingly, it’s an auto too. Wait, did we just use ‘exciting’ and ‘auto’ in the same sentence with a Peugeot? Peugeot’s automated manual ‘boxes have been improving in recent years but are still not a patch on the dual clutch offerings by competitors but this is a ‘proper’ auto and as such, offers speedier changes and since the drudgery of crawling through traffic often makes a manual ‘box a pain rather than fun, we’re keen to see how effective it is.

Peugeot’s push upmarket

From the off, the three cylinder is generates a lovely thrum and the auto ‘box slides up and down the cogs unobtrusively. It also does a damn good job in picking the right gear and while that might seem like an obvious requirement, it is not always met. There’s no denying a manual would allow additional driving fun, or that a set of paddles would be good but it’s not a bad drive at all and with Peugeot’s continued push upmarket, it suits the little 208 rather well.

We like the PureTech engine too. Acceleration is a quarter quicker than the comparative small diesel (0-62 mph falling just under 10 seconds rather than 13.5) and it has a lower insurance group (15E instead of 20D). While it sits in VED band B rather than A, this won’t materially affect the running costs.

So, overall, some gentle refinements to the range, sensible application of technology both under the bonnet and for the media interface and still an enjoyable drive. Is there sufficient excitement to draw in the punters? Possibly not enough of a visual change and we’d like to have seen Peugeot’s commitment to safety being made by fitting City Brake as standard but overall, there’s still much to like about the 208.

Peugeot 208 GT-Line PureTech 110 Auto

Power: 110 hp (@ 5,500 rpm), torque: 205 Nm (@ 1,500 rpm), emissions: 104g/km CO2 (band B), 0-62 mph: 9.8 secs.

Motor Writer rating: ●●●●○


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