ExteriorThere's plenty of French style on the outside of the 208. The body is a great deal sleeker than the previous 207 with a nice compact shape, fitting neatly into the supermini category. It's got distinctive headlights plus a grille with lots of nice shiny trim. If you go for a post-facelift model you get updated bumpers, a larger grille, fresh light designs with more LED usage, and a new suite of colours to choose from.
InteriorPeugeot have really been bold with the 208's interior, going for a minimalist dashboard that stands out from the competition and a cabin that's well-made with a high-quality finish. A small steering wheel adds a dash of sportiness and every 208 has cruise control and electronic stability control. All 208s from 2015 onwards have a large touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus features like air-con, DAB radio and Bluetooth. Options you can add include Sat Nav, climate control and sports seats, while autonomous emergency braking and an emergency call button are available as additional safety features.
DrivingThe 208 has a nice balance between comfort and sportiness. It's easily manoeuvrable, making it a good city car, and is relaxed enough over longer distances, particularly if you go for the six-speed gearbox. Refinement is good too, with little noise getting in. If you want a really exciting drive, the GTi is well worth the money, offering brilliant cornering ability and a true hot hatch experience. It doesn't sacrifice comfort either, with the suspension still soft enough to absorb bumps nicely, meaning the GTi is great for both challenging roads and more everyday driving.
PracticalityThe 5-door hatchback is the better option in practical terms, with easier access to the rear seats and more space. Given its compact size, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the large boot (which can be increased significantly if you fold down the rear seats) and the plentiful head- and legroom in the back. It's well-suited to trips out with friends and is even suitable for family life. It's a good car safety-wise too, with a 5-star crash rating, six airbags and two ISOFIX fixings for child seats.
Engines and transmissions
A good choice from the range of petrol engines includes the 1.2-litre PureTech, available in five-speed manual or six-speed automatic, which are turbocharged and use stop/start technology to save fuel. The GTi's extra pace comes from a 1.6-litre THP engine, which enables the 208 to reach 62mph in less than 8 seconds - as little as 6.5 seconds in the higher output versions. If economy is more important to you though, you can go for the excellent 1.6-litre BlueHDi diesel, which can post incredible economy rates of well over 80mpg. This is available in five-speed or six-speed manuals, depending on which output you choose.
The Peugeot 208 has the qualities to suit a variety of drivers. Its value for money, low running costs, and compact size make it an attractive option for first-time buyers and students, yet its practicality means viability for young families too. The GTi version, meanwhile, offers plenty of fun for keen drivers. So whether you fancy tearing round corners at speed or simply pottering around town with friends, the 208 could be the car for you.