As a compact hatchback, the Peugeot 208 had a lot to live up to. The great Peugeot 205 of the 1980s was one of the best small hatches of that decade, so Peugeot hoped for similar success when they launched the 208 in 2012. There was certainly an improvement style-wise on the 206 and 207 that preceded it, as well as lots more cool kit. The Peugeot 208 is available with 3 or 5 doors, with a 2015 facelift altering the looks slightly too. There's also a performance version, the 208 GTi, which is a real hot hatch.
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.
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