The new Peugeot 208 on test for Changing Lanes in the Blackstairs Mountains
The new Peugeot 208 on test for Changing Lanes in the Blackstairs Mountains

Caroline drives the new Peugeot 208!

2020 sees the arrival of an all-new Peugeot 208 hatchback in Ireland. Headline features are a radical new look and stunning new interior concept that raises the game for small cars. Peugeot is also making waves with the debut of the first ever all electric, e-208, along with petrol and diesel variants. The 208 range starts from €18,300 in Ireland. Let’s take a closer look.

When Peugeot revealed the new latest generation of the 208 back in 2019, it was a radical departure in design for the French supermini. A slew of awards followed including European Car of the Year and a Red Dot Design Award. In January, the new Peugeot 208 made its debut in Ireland, so it is from an Irish context we review it now.

Peugeot in Ireland has seen their lion in ascent. The launch of the new generation 3008 in 2017 boosted the brand’s fortunes. This award-winner debuted stunning SUV style and innovative i-Cockpit interior arrangement.

What’s so special about the new Peugeot 208?

Now these top-drawer Peugeot character traits have worked their way down to the 208. What results is a charismatic small car that brings new levels of engagement and presence to the B-segment. Just like the trendsetter 205 from 30 years ago, the Peugeot 208 disrupts any notion that small cars need be boring.

The new 208 is available with a choice of diesel, petrol or electric
The new 208 is available with a choice of diesel, petrol or electric

The new 208 is a fantastic piece of bold design. It has a strong image from the front with new Peugeot ‘face’ characterised by a distinct headlamp and LED light signature. At the rear, there is real design flair with the black band stretching the full width of the boot lid, P E U G E O T typed out across the boot lid, and ‘3-claw’ LED rear light signature. The GT Line gets charismatic black wheel arches, a nice retro touch inspired by the legendary 205 GTi. There is also GT Line badging in the C pillar and on the rear of the car. Peugeot Ireland is offering Faro Yellow as a no cost option. It gives the car a really special vibe that turns heads wherever it goes!

Inside the 2020 Peugeot 208

Inside, the 208 has a brand new interior inspired by the brand’s larger models. The new generation cockpit sits very well here, translating perfectly to a small car. It feels very premium and stylish with a nice mix of materials. GT Line models have contrasting vibrant green stitching to add energy to the cabin. All new 208s get the Peugeot i-Cockpit arrangement – digital instrument panel, touchscreen with elegant piano key short cut buttons, and a compact steering wheel. We still lament the ventilation controls being wrapped up and controlled via the touchscreen but it’s a minor annoyance in a cabin this glam.

But even more impressive is the 3D digital instrument cluster standard from Allure and above, where some information appears closer to you. It is an incredible piece of design and technology to find in a small car. Peugeot is really pulling out all the stops in their bid to move their brand upmarket, With this interior you don’t question it at all.

The 2020 Peugeot 208 is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor. Yet this is still a small car in the traditional sense and all the better for it. Proportions are perfect on the outside. Inside cabin space is competitive for the small car class. It’s not the biggest inside but guess what – it’s a small car! It doesn’t have to be. The rear bench is probably best left to two people. The boot is 311 litres with considerable depth. Irish buyers get a spare wheel, which is becoming a rarity these days. But always very reassuring!

Inside the new Peugeot 208
Inside the new Peugeot 208

What’s the new 208 range like in Ireland?

In Ireland you can choose from three trim levels – Active (from €18,300), Allure (from €21,450) and GT Line (from €23,595). The e-208 is available in all three levels too, but also as a top of the range GT model (from €32,980).

If you want a combustion engine in your 208, you have good choice. There is a 1.2-litre entry level model with 75 hp and five speed manual gearbox. For a bit more power, enjoy the 1.2-litre turbo petrol with 100 hp (6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic) or 130 hp (8-speed automatic). There’s also a 1.5-litre diesel manual available with 100 hp and returning fuel consumption of 4.2 l/100 km (WLTP). The e-208 is powered by a 50 kWh battery with 136 hp and a WLTP range of 350 km.

The range kicks off at €18,300 for the 208 in Active trim with a 1.2-litre petrol engine (75 hp). The 1.2-litre turbo petrol with more power (100 hp) starts from €19,550. Diesels start from €21,750, while the electric range starts from €27,334, including VRT relief and Government grants.

Standard equipment includes 16” alloy wheels, spare wheel, multifunctional leather steering wheel, hands free start, air conditioning, cruise control, traffic sign recognition, auto headlamps, rear parking sensors and 7” touchscreen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto.

My 208 GT Line test car in Faro Yellow with a 1.2-litre 100 hp engine retails from €23,595. Equipment highlights include 17” alloys, frameless electro-chrome rear view mirror, full LED headlamps, LED side indicators, high beam assist, reverse camera with Visiopark 180, ambient lighting, GT Line badge and styling, automatic climate control, automatic lights and wipers, electric parking brake, and electric folding mirrors.

The 2020 Peugeot 208 is available from €18,300 in Ireland
The 2020 Peugeot 208 is available from €18,300 in Ireland

Driving the Peugeot 208

Built on the latest generation CMP platform, the new Peugeot 208 is 30 kg lighter than the car it replaces and comes with improved aerodynamics and reduced roll resistance. On the road, the new 208 feels tighter and more driver focused. The small, compact steering wheel lends a sporty feel but there are few sensations reaching the rim – instead moments of pleasure on a twisty road are delivered by a grippy front end. Refinement is very good for a small car and the 208 will take you from town to motorway with ease. Comfort is a little compromised by the GT Line model but it is the sacrifice you make for good looks!

The 1.2-litre petrol engine deserves a special mention because it is a delight to drive in the 208. It’s smooth and lovely, delivering 0 – 100 km h acceleration in 9.9 seconds. It feels lively and feisty, without ever getting too noisy while you’re chasing revs. Over a week of driving, my average fuel consumption was 6.0 l/100 km, so it delivers good small car economy and running costs too.

Did you like it?

The new 208 has already won internationally for its bold design and innovation. Here it will stand out for the breadth of the range and value to be had. With so many options including petrol, diesel and electric, automatic and manual gearboxes, buyers will find the right balance for their budget and needs.

For the first time ever, there is an all electric 208 available. the new Peugeot e-208
For the first time ever, there is an all electric 208 available. the new Peugeot e-208

The Active models are the most affordable in the range, with a good standard specification and smart engines available. Going up the trim levels adds more stand out style and equipment. Particularly the GT Line model on test sits comfortably on par against premium rivals like the Audi A1. There is a market for posh superminis and the 208 is a sporty, stylish and individual contender.

On the road the 208 has been sharpened up, but the interior is the most outstanding feature of this car. The detail and arrangement is so modern and not like anything we’ve seen before in the small car class. The super glam look won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it does grab your attention.

The 208 has stayed a small car in the race to be bigger. So if you’re after the most comfortable supermini for rear passengers, this isn’t it. But if you just want a cool small car, this is it.

2020 has also seen pace gathering in Peugeot’s move to electrification. Not only has the brand launched the first ever electric compact 208, but there are also more hybrids coming to market including the 508 and 3008 plug-in hybrids. The new Peugeot 2008 SUV range in dealers now will also add momentum.

The new Peugeot 208, designed to add energy to the B segment, marks a turning point for Peugeot once again.

The new 208 raises the bar for design in the B segment
The new 208 raises the bar for design in the B segment

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Peugeot 208 GT Line 1.2 Puretech 100 hp
Price: 
€23,595 (from €18,300)
Engine: 1.2-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
100 hp
Torque: 205 Nm
0-100km/h:  
9.9 seconds
Top speed: 188 km/h
Fuel economy (WLTP): 5.5-5/6 l/100km
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 124-126g/100km
Motor Tax: €180 per year