30.4.2012 Peugeot 208 VTi review
If Peugeot has got its market analysis right; smaller size, sub 1.4 litre engines, better fuel consumption, less aggressive styling, more agile handling (helped by a welcome weight reduction) better quality interior trim and more competitive pricing compared to the 207 should see the new 208 challenging the market leading Ford Fiesta and the quality champion the Volkswagen Polo.
From a keen driver's point of view the 1.2 litre petrol is a more fun drive and that car in particular comes nearest in character to the 205 which saved the company in the mid 1980s. However, lack of sixth gears for calmer cruising is disappointing.
Review by Russell Bray for nextgreencar.com
A three-cylinder 1-litre engine producing 68 bhp when wound up to 6,000 rpm and 95 lbs ft of torque from 3,000 rpm isn't the recipe for rapid transport, but thankfully the engine's willing nature means it feels brisker than the bald figures of 0-62 mph in 14 seconds and a top speed of 103 mph suggest. For town work there's enough uumph but a sixth gear would be appreciated for motorway jaunts. Vague gear change doesn't help matters.
Thanks to a 114 kg weight saving on average compared to the 207 which it replaces, and nearer 173 kg when you compare the three-cylinder petrol engine with its four-cylinder predecessors, the 208 feels more agile. This is emphasised by quite a fast steering rack and a small steering wheel that you look over to view the instruments. There's an initial stickiness to the electrically assisted power steering that can make it difficult to drive smoothly through a series of bends. Once on an arc though a corner the 208 holds its line well.
Not as pretty as some Peugeots of the past – it looks rather like it has been punched in the mouth (grille) at the front, while the back is lardy rather than tight and taut. Wide pillars of swept back windscreen create blind spots and rear three-quarters vision isn't great either. Final side window isn't a window at all, just a styling touch to remind of the classic 205 model of the 1980s which saved Peugeot from disaster. The cabin is fashioned in better quality materials than you usually find in a French car with the dash in most models dominated by a large touch screen to operate various system functions such as satellite navigation. Rear seat headroom is insufficient for tall passengers. It is 3965 mm long and 1829 mm wide.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Peugeot has managed to maintain the cabin size of the outgoing 207 – the cars are built on the same wheelbase platform – while reducing its overall length in a bid to appeal to women buyers who found 207 too big. Small steering wheel was fine for me, but some drivers might find the rim goes across the instruments.
Pedals are close together if you have big feet, the gear change action is pretty sloppy and brakes bite harder than would be ideal. Ride comfort was firmer and noisier than on arch rivals like the Ford Fiesta and VW Polo. Would prefer rotary wheel seat back rest for finer adjustment rather than notched. Touch screen logic for sat nav etc not as easy as tablet computers and can distract.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Wring out the 999cc three-cylinder engine and you will pay the price at the pumps, but with restraint and planning ahead my brief test drive suggests you should be able to get close to the 65 mpg overall figure if you indulge in gentle cruising. The 54 mpg urban figure derived from consistent laboratory tests might be trickier as there is no stop-start engine function. Carbon dioxide emissions of 99 g/km make this version of the 208 free from UK road tax and the London's congestion charge. The 208 is covered by a three-year/60,000 mileage warranty.
The 208 has low weight (975kg), good aerodynamics and a fuel efficient indirect injection engine. Recycled or of natural origin green materials are used for 25% of the car's polymer materials. The rear bumper for example and the fan assembly are made entirely using these materials. The bumper alone saves 1,600 tonnes of energy per year. Only the top of the range 115 bhp turbo-diesel 208 is fitted with stop-start and a standard six-speed gearbox which seems a big mistake. The new 208 has been given a Next Green Car Rating of 30
Remote control central locking, power steering, height and reach adjustable steering wheel, electric front windows, radio/CD player with steering column remote controls, anti-lock brakes with brake force distribution, front driver and passenger airbags, side airbags and curtain airbags, 15 inch diameter wheels with 'Bore' wheel trim, trip computer, full size spare wheel. You have to move up to Access+ trim to get air conditioning, heated door mirrors and cruise control with speed limiter.
Model tested: Peugeot 208 VTi 1.0 Access
Body-style: Three door 'Supermini'
Engine/CO2: 68bhp 999cc three-cylinder petrol / 99 g/km
Trim grades: Access, Access+, Active, Allure, Feline
On-road price: 208 range starts at £9,995. Test car £9,995
Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles
In the showroom: June 28th 2012
Review rating: 4.0 STARS
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