“Apart from track days where do you get as much fun?” That’s kind of what my brain kept repeating each time I got behind the wheel of this sweet supermini.
And that shouldn’t be, because everything about this seemingly puny Peugeot 208 is so exciting – right from the tiny, sporty steering wheel to the grip the car has around corners.
I really feel Peugeot is back on track with its contribution to the market. Way back in the 205 GTI days the French car maker had the ‘hothatch’ sector sewn up – and the 205 was, and still is, an icon in the motoring world.
The 208 will become a legend too; no doubt about it. It has the looks, feel and performance of a true supermini as well as all the safety gadgetry you need for modern day motoring.
My test car looked superb cloaked in a satin white paint job, combined with a black and silver cloth trim. Its wheels even looked fat against its diminutive body.
On starting the engine, the 1.2 three cylinder engine, for so long a weird configuration, seems normal now – and what’s more, it sounds promising.
Once you engage first gear and take off, you know this car is not your usual little motor. For a start, the gearshifts feel precise and the car is eager – it’s like a dog straining at its leash until it can find an open stretch.
Then, when you do find a suitable uncluttered bit of road, you can set the 208 free. That’s when it sits back on its haunches for a moment before launching into a rabid attack on the asphalt.
The enigmatic three pot is as full of naughtiness at its redline as its four pot siblings are of wheeziness. It’s smooth, easy on the ear and capable of performance well beyond its seemingly humble output.
But here’s the best bit: the 1.2-litre three cylinder 208 is lighter than the 1.4-litre four, so while the 1.4 does around 50mpg, the 1.2 does over 60.
Available in both three and five door body style variants, the 208 has been the embodiment of an exciting direction for Peugeot. No surprise then that there has been an incredible and positive response to the new 208 over the last few years.
The 208 also obtained five stars from Euro NCAP, certifying its safety credentials, and was the first car in its segment to achieve this following the introduction of more demanding review criteria.
So, if you still want hatchback practicality but you are also after a uniquely intuitive and pleasurable driving experience, stop off at your local Peugeot dealer and take a test drive. You won’t be disappointed with the 208 1.2 VTi 82 Style.
Peugeot 208 1.2 VTi 82 Style 5-door
Engine: 1.2-litre 3-cylinder turbo petrol
Gearbox: 5-speed manual
Power/Torque: 81bhp; 87lb/ft
Economy/Emissions: 62.8mpg; 104g/km
0-62mph: 12.2 seconds
Top speed: 109mph