Looks - 10/10
After the rather lardy 207, Peugeot had to make sure they didn't make its replacement even fatter. Thankfully, they went the complete opposite direction. On the exterior the 208 looks compact and condensed. This means you really can appreciate the smooth lines, and the little design details of the car. Take the rear lights for example, which are a rather intricate design. Or the chrome detailing of the rear window, which adds class in a subtle way. The only thing I would have changed on my test car would have been some bigger alloys to complete the package. Fear not though, because the Feline model gets 17" alloys that look superb.
On the inside you are at first surprised by how roomy it is. Beneath the compact exterior lies a spacious interior full of design and style. The materials are top quality, and the little details all add together to create a great overall impression. The little steering wheel. The 'fade'-effect door handles, the straight dash, the instrument panel. All small details yet come together to make the cabin a great place to be. My test car had a full leather trim, and this made a lovely touch of class to the interior. The seats themselves are impressive; managing to both look stylish and offer practicality as well.
There are a wide range of engines available in the 208. My car had the 1.6-litre VTi petrol engine. This develops 120PS and 160Nm of torque. In a car this size, that is plenty. 0-62mph is dealt with in 10.9 seconds and the little Pug will go on to a top speed of 118mph. You really don't need a lot more performance than that, and this engine is a good one. It wants to be revved, and you get the most power at the top end. Keep the revs high, and you are rewarded with performance which exceeds the impression you'd get from the stats.
The little steering wheels helps you to throw it into corners, and the handling is superb. You get a sharp turn in, little body roll and lots of feel from the steering. Because the 208 has little overhang at either end, the cornering abilities are impressive. It never seems to lose grip, and can take corners at speeds other cars couldn't. There once was another Peugeot that could do this. People used to say that on a country road, few cars could keep up with it, and that Peugeot was the 205. This praise is very high, and to have handling reminiscent of that is a compliment of the highest order.
For normal driving the 208 is great as well. It can cruise on a motorway and pass seamlessly through towns and cities. On long drive it is comfortable and quiet and won't leave you wishing you'd driven something else.
Economy - 8/10
AS you would expect with a 1.6-litre petrol engine, it is not going to be the most efficient choice. It's not bad, don't get me wrong. Emissions are 134g/km CO2, putting the 1.6-VTi in VED band E. 12 months road tax will cost you £120, and this is similar to its rivals. The engine offers you 48.7mpg combined which is, again, similar to rivals, but if you drive more on the brisk side don't expect to achieve this. Obviously if economy is all you're after then a diesel would be your choice; all the 208 diesels are free road tax and 74mpg+. If you want a bit of fun, then you can be confident the 1.6 won't bankrupt you at the pumps either.
Practicality - 9/10
As mentioned earlier, beneath the compact exterior of the 208 lies a vast cabin for a small hatchback. There is ample room in all directions; head, leg, arms, you name it. You won't even struggle to fit adults in the back, which I think is good. There's even a reasonable boot as well. It really does leave you wondering where the 208 hides its space, because looking at it from the outside you just wouldn't think there would be half as much room as there actually is. When driving the 208, it feels as compact as it looks on the outside. You could park the thing on a playing card, and lose it in a multi-storey. To live with the 208 is a great car, its quiet, comfortable, and easy to drive. The touch screen display is easy to use and means you can control your phone, iPod and sat-nav all at once.
Fun - 10/10
No difficulty here in awarding the 208 with a perfect 10. That fantastic handling. The revvy engine. That cool, retro dashboard. It just makes you want to get in it, and find a nice road to drive on. You can have your favourite playlist on the touch screen and head off for a nice drive. Any car that makes you want to drive is a good one, and when it has the drive to match that desire then you're onto a winner. That's the 208; a winner. Not only do you want to go out and drive it, but it's such a hoot when you do that it makes you want it even more. It was with reluctance that I handed the keys back to Peugeot, and it's left me wondering about the THP model which has even more go.
A really, really good car made even better by its complete difference to the 207. As a piece of design it combines retro with stylish modern in a very effective way, and to drive it puts a smile on your face. Couple that to a good sized cabin and much higher quality finish than seen on Peugoet's of old, and you have a car that is practical to own as well as desirable. I really do urge you to go and have a look at one. Just take a look on the roads for a starter, and you will see a growing number of 208s knocking about, and that's because they are this good. If you really feel like a bit of fun, test drive one, and you will see exactly what this whole review was about.
Total Score - 46/50