Mark Jones
Road Test Editor
4 minute read
8 Oct 2015
6:00 am

Peugeot 208 gets tweaked

Mark Jones

Peugeot's 208 range accounts for around 50% of the company's sales in SA and now, just a few years after being introduced in 2012, the 208 has undergone a bit of a facelift and tech upgrade.

The Peugeot 208 gets tweaked. Picture: Supplied

The updated range combines tweaked styling with new, highly efficient PureTech engines and an advanced automatic gearbox, while a new GT Line model adds the required sporty appeal. Peugeot’s innovative i-Cockpit has also undergone further refinement, it is said.

“The 208 has been a stalwart performer in the Peugeot stable, both here and abroad,” says Francis Harnie, managing director of Peugeot Citroën SA. However, with demand for more compact, but also more sophisticated, cars continuing to grow, it was time to update the current model.”

As seems to be the theme this week with the new car launches I attended, the changes are subtle, and for the 208 they include new headlights with black and chrome elements, while LED daytime running lights are included on the Active and GT Line models.

The Peugeot 208 gets tweaked. Picture: Supplied

The Peugeot 208 gets tweaked. Picture: Supplied

A new bumper is linked to a smoothly integrated grille that’s wider and gains a more pronounced chrome surround. Higher trim levels (GT Line) get a distinctive black and chrome grille treatment that creates a three-dimensional effect along with repositioned fog lamps.

The rear view is dominated by deep red 3D LED “claw” design tail lights wrapped up by a choice of 12 colours, some of which are completely new. The interior features Peugeot’s already mentioned i-Cockpit “love it or hate it” concept, which arranges instruments in the driver’s line of sight and places them within easy reach, and a small steering wheel. At first it was a little strange for me, but I guess if you owned the car or drove the car a bit more than the 15km I only drove on the launch, you would get used to it.

A large seven-inch touchscreen becomes the user-friendly interface for many of the 208’s infotainment functions and features, while USB and Bluetooth connectivity are also included. The entire new Peugeot 208 range is equipped with Euro6-compliant three-cylinder engines featuring PureTech technology. A turbocharged 1.2 version is at the heart of the new 208 1.2 GT Line and produces 81kW of maximum power at 5 500rpm, together with maximum torque of 205Nm at 1 500rpm.

The 1.2 GT Line is offered with a choice of either five-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearboxes, along with a claimed combined-cycle fuel consumption of just 4.5 litres per 100km for both transmissions. I got to drive the top of the range auto model and it felt very much on par with what the Polo, Fiesta and Clio competition offer.

The Peugeot 208 gets tweaked. Picture: Supplied

The Peugeot 208 gets tweaked. Picture: Supplied

But I hardly got a chance to stretch the 208’s legs and I will wait until I have conducted a proper road test before I seriously comment on the fact I saw 9.0 litres/100km on the test drive –and that is far away from what is claimed. The normally aspirated 1.2 litre engine employed in the 208 1.2 Active is claimed to be even more frugal, recording a combined-cycle fuel consumption figure of 4.3 litres/100km. This three-cylinder is credited with 60kW of power at 5 750rpm and 118Nm at 2 750rpm.

Safety has always been a priority with Peugeot and the new 208 is no exception and achieves a five-star Euro-NCAP safety rating, thanks to its comprehensive array of active and passive systems throughout the entire model range that include the likes of ABS anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assist (EBA), along with dual front airbags, inertia reel seatbelts, and front and rear head restraints.

In addition to these safety and security features, the Active model gets side airbags and Electronic Stability Control (ESP) as standard, while the GT Line versions also benefit from curtain airbags. So reading this, the Peugeot 208 makes a decent bid for your money and I am sure more people would own a Peugeot if they actually took the time to go drive one.

The Peugeot 208 gets tweaked. Picture: Supplied

The Peugeot 208 gets tweaked. Picture: Supplied

But for a whole lot less money, you can drive the equivalent VW Polo or even the range topping Fiesta ST. And when you couple this with a weak Peugeot brand perception locally in terms of spares pricing, servicing and poor resale values, you might begin to understand that as good as the car is, it is not top of mind when it comes to purchasing a new car in this segment.