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Peugeot 208 Active 1.4 HDi 70 3-dr

Click to view picture galleryChic and cheerful, thats the new
  208. And how about 59.1mpg without
  trying — that
s what we averaged
  during a week behind the wheel of
  Peugeot
s regenerated three-door
  supermini hatch...


OFFICIALLY IT CAN DO as much as 74.3mpg running around, with long journeys having the potential for 83.1mpg. In these days of one-way fuel costs (ever upwards!) that's a genuine benefit. As too is the fact that you don't have to pay the government any road tax
not in the first year; not ever.

Power, in our Active HDi 70, comes from a 1.4-litre, four-pot turbodiesel that pumps out 68bhp backed up by a useful 118lb ft of torque @ 1,750rpm. And all without breaking through the 100g/km ceiling —
actually, its CO2 emissions are a certifiably green 98g/km. Drive is to the front wheels via a five-speed manual 'box. And while we're doing the numbers, the top speed is 101mph with zero to 62mph acceleration in 15.5 seconds.

The 208 comes in both three- and five-door bodystyles and whereas the styling of many superminis tends to extenuate the feminine to appeal to their projected market, the 208 (in particular the lean-looking, LED-lit three-door) will appeal to those from Mars as well as those from Venus.

“The cabin is well
executed — two stand-
out features are the
multifunction colour
touchscreen, and the
small diameter steering
wheel set low enough so
that you look over the
uppermost rim rather
than through it
...”
The cabin is well executed, with a hi-gloss black finish to the fascia, and to the gear lever and door handle surrounds. Two stand-out features are the multifunction (and pleasingly crystal-clear) colour touchscreen, and the small diameter steering wheel set low enough so that you look over the uppermost rim rather than through it.

By setting it low the elevated instrument pack is perfectly visible and the faultless white-on-black dials can be read in the quickest of glances —
in that respect it's almost as good as the head-up display fitted to Peugeot's more expensive ranges.

Yes, it's very different from the accepted norm but you quickly adjust —
even after a quick once-around-the-houses first drive you realise what a good idea it is. The shapely, well-bolstered seats, elegant cabin architecture and feel-good trim are all equally pleasing to the eye. The wheel rim is not wrapped in leather but is a moulded item although you'd hardly notice; it's grained, fine to hold and vegetarian-friendly!

Positioned at the top of the slightly buttressed centre stack is the 7-inch colour touchscreen interface. Even technophobes will be able to operate this without the help of a copy of Touchscreens for Dummies
and will instinctively be able to use its intuitive menus, graphics and icons to access and operate the driver's on-board computer, Bluetooth, the hi-fi and the 3D SatNav (a very worthwhile 400 upgrade that brings with it an extra USB socket).

The touchscreen, its 'floating' design positioning it level with the instrument pod for easy eye contact, also makes available ten Peugeot Connect Apps covering traffic, parking spaces, tourist sites, weather conditions, fuel/service stations (even the forecourt's price per litre is displayed in real time to allow the driver to bag the best price), various Michelin Guides (hotels, restaurants, etc), Yellow Pages, and everything you need to know (but were afraid to ask) about the weather.

More good news: the comfortable-looking seats are just that — comfortable. Big too. And strongly supportive, particularly the backrests. Outer padded front armrests are another welcome touch.

The driver is well served with seat height adjustability. The footwells are roomy, too, with a proper rest for your 'clutch' foot, and there's a fist of headroom plus lots of leg, elbow and shoulder room, as well as plenty of air around your knees and shins. In fact it's a big car cabin in a body that's externally smaller but internally larger than that of the 207 it supersedes.

“The comfortable-looking
seats are just that:
comfortable. Big too.
And strongly supportive,
particularly the
backrests.
Outer padded front
armrests are another
welcome touch
...”
Although the Active spec is only midway through the range you won't feel short-changed. Standard kit brings with it the by-now-essential AirCon for sticky British summers (don't leave home without it switched on), Bluetooth, USB and aux-in connectivity for the socially mobile, multifunction touchscreen, refrigerated glovebox, radio/CD with column-mounted remote controls, automatic drive-off locking, electrically-operated and heated door mirrors, one-shot electric front windows, and cruise control with speed limiter.

Your safety is well looked after by six airbags and an Electronic Stability Programme. The 208 also comes with a full house of Euro NCAP stars: five-out-of-five.

Particularly appreciated is the digital mph readout that can be called up in the driver's display between the major dials. And even the 208's warning chime (to remind you that you've left the lights on or the key in the ignition) makes a pleasant warbling sound. Neither is parking a problem, thanks to the good all-round visibility and the short nose.

The rear cabin swallows fully-grown adults whole — if they're not too tall. Access is easy thanks to the efficient tilt 'n' slide front seats (they always return to their original positions) and long front doors. Sensibly, the lower front seatbelts slide back on rails so are safely out of way when you exit or enter. Once seated, you'll find good leg room with plenty of space for your feet, plus a comfortable angle at which to lean back. The centre spot is always a hard-sell but the 208's is made more inviting by a soft base cushion.

The boot is also more accommodating than expected: the 60:40 split seatbacks drop forward to expand the boot's 285 litres to a handy 1,076 litres. The loading lip is at mid-thigh height, there's a 6-inch drop to the boot floor and the rear backrests don't fold fully flat — but that didn't stop us transporting a washing machine and other white goods! And yes, there's a full-size spare wheel under the boot floor.

There needs to be more to motoring than just a likeable, liveable cabin. Handling, for instance. Girls (and boys) just like to have fun — and a 208 fits the bill. The giveaway to its true character is that small diameter steering wheel — because it is this that allows you to exploit the agile and eager-to-play chassis underpinning the French carmaker's latest model in the '2' Series dynasty.

“Girls (and boys)
just like to have fun,
and the 208 fits the bill.
The giveaway to its
true character is that
small steering wheel —
because it is this
that allows you to
exploit the agile and
eager-to-play
chassis
...”
While some may scoff at a 15.5-second acceleration to 62mph time (in the real world this paper figure doesn't hamper its ability to easily keep up with traffic), but the 208 is something of a bloodhound — faithfully following its nose wherever you point it.

Which is precisely where that smaller than normal wheel comes into its own: allowing more arm room for some press-on wheel twirling —
an enjoyable pursuit in the lightweight and agile 208.

Through sharp bends and corners, its grippy, predictable handling makes carrying your speed through with you a no-risk, grin-inducing strategy. It also whips along at the legal limit with not a care in the world.

In sending their arrow into the gold for economy, Peugeot haven't forgotten the critical 'fun factor': their engineers have managed a pretty good trade-off for the playful handling with a ride that is compliant enough to take poor road surfaces and potholes in its stride without niggling those aboard.

Two 'green' factors come into play with this new, regenerated 208: green, as in green-eyed monster (will your friends be envious?); and good-for-the-planet green. The 208 scores highly on both counts.

Add in its numerous good points —
fun to drive, compact yet spacious, practical, stylish, comfortable and well built — and it's easy to see this good-natured 208 going on to outsell the best-selling car in the marque's history, the 206, which notched up 7.7 million worldwide sales. — MotorBar

Peugeot 208 Active 1.4 HDi 70 3-dr | 13,495
Maximum speed: 101mph | 0-62mph: 15.5 seconds | Overall Test MPG: 59.1mpg
Power: 68bhp | Torque: 118lb ft | CO2 98g/km