Review of the Peugeot 208 Diesel Hatchback
- i-Cockpit standard on all models
- Height-adjustable driver’s seat also available across the range
- Textured paint available for the first ever time on a mainstream car
- Five and three-door models on offer
The new Peugeot 208 Diesel Hatchback is an edgily styled supermini that’s destined to shake things up a bit. It’s up against some tough rivals in this sector, but it’s got five doors, a characterful interior and plenty of up-to-date technology.
If you’ve already taken a look at the Ford Fiesta, the 208 is attempting to go toe-to-toe with it. Has it got what it takes?
Learn more about the rise and rise of Peugeot in our brief history of Peugeot.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Peugeot 208 Diesel Hatchback review.
Overview of the Peugeot 208 Diesel Hatchback
On the Road
If you’re on the lookout for a supermini that’s super fun to drive, you might want to look elsewhere. The 208 is thoroughly enjoyable to drive, and there’s plenty of grip on offer, but it can’t outdo the Ford Fiesta when it comes to sheer entertainment. And this is a real shame when you consider how sporty it looks.
Because while the steering is quick, it lacks feedback. This ultimately means that you can’t really take corners with any degree of confidence and enthusiasm.
On the other hand, a lack of body lean is a bonus. However, the trade-off is a harsh ride.
In terms of its engines, there’s not a huge amount of choice for diesel buyers. In fact, there’s just one diesel available – a 1.6-litre unit – although it’s offered in three separate guises.
The smallest of the trio is a BlueHDI 75 power plant. It has a 0-62 time of 13.3 seconds but it does manage to feel faster than those numbers suggest. Moreover, Peugeot have made it clear that this is the engine to go for if efficiency – and not performance – is your priority.
The BlueHDI 82 diesel is next up, and it’s our top pick. It’s just as economical as the entry-level variant but offers more pace and power.
Not that supermini buyers need all the power in the world, but a range-topping BlueHDI 118bhp diesel provides it anyway. It’s quiet, smooth, affordable to run, and it can get you from rest to 62mph in 9.4 seconds. It’s a good overtaker and makes sense if your budget stretches far enough to cover the initial outlay.
And 0-62 in 9.4 seconds in a supermini? That’s pretty exhilarating.
Peugeot 208 Diesel Hatchback Interior, Design and Build
With its height-adjustable driver’s seat, getting comfortable in the 208’s pleasant interior is easy for the driver.
On the other hand, the suspension is geared towards a sporty drive, and this results in a firm ride. As such, as far as overall comfort goes, there are rivals that do it better than the 208.
Insulation is decent, and the car does a good job of keeping diesel clatter out. That said, it’s only the 118bhp diesel that comes with the engine noise-suppressing 6-speed gearbox. The rest of the range has to settle for a louder 5-speed ‘box.
The 208’s dashboard is fairly nice to look at, but it can’t match rivals for build quality. However, there are plenty of soft-touch plastics on display, and the dashboard is smartly designed.
Ergonomically, there are one or two issues. For example, the speedometer is situated behind the steering wheels rim, which will put it out of sight at times. The steering wheel itself, meanwhile, is noticeably smaller than usual.
Is the Peugeot 208 Diesel Hatchback practical? Provided you go for the Allure or Active trim, the 208 comes with five doors and a reasonably sized boot. This boot measures 285-litres, which is competitive for this class. Fold the rear seats and it extends to an impressive 1,152-litres. The rear seats can’t be folded totally flat, however, while the presence of a lip will frustrate.
Interior space is good, with leg and headroom fine even in the rear. Visibility is aided by the height adjustable driver’s seat.
Equipment and Safety of the Peugeot 208 Diesel Hatchback
Standard kit is good across the range, with the entry-level Active model coming with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, as well as a touchscreen entertainment system, cruise control, air conditioning and LED rear lights.
Next up is the Allure model and it adds a dimming rear mirror, automatic headlights and wipers, a Visibility pack, rear parking sensors, tinted rear windows, front fog lights and 16” alloys.
It’s worth bearing in mind that both those models come with five-doors. The sportier Black Edition, on the other hand, is three-door only. It adds a digital radio, a speed limiter, cruise control, unique alloys and a sportier look.
Optional extras include textured paint (£650), which Peugeot says is used for the first ever time on a mainstream car. Sat-nav costs £450, while metallic paint is available for an extra £500.
Safety-wise, the 208 enjoys a five-star safety rating. All models come with a seatbelt reminder buzzer, airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control.
Is the Peugeot 208 Hatchback a reliable car? To find out more, you can check our Peugeot reliability page here.
Costs of the Peugeot 208 Diesel Hatchback
Prices for the new car start out from £14,654 and rise to £18,404.
In terms of its running costs, the 118bhp diesel is our top pick, and it’s super frugal. It can return as much as 78.5mpg on a good day (despite not being the entry-level engine) and emits just 94g/km of CO2.
The 75bhp variant of the same engine is less powerful but a lot more economical. It can return 94.2mpg at best and emits 79g/km of CO2.
Pros and Cons of the Peugeot 208 Diesel Hatchback
Very cheap to run
Cars are getting cheaper to run all the time, and supermini’s are leading the way. The 208 is leading the way of the superminis, with its entry-level engine able to return an astonishing 94.2mpg economy.
Striking good looks
When you’re up against the Ford Fiesta, you have to look good – and the handsome 208 has this nailed.
There are plenty of practical touches in here, such as the height adjustable driver’s seat, and all the basics are covered well, from good-sized boot to interior space.
The 208 is far from being the comfiest car in this class.
Not as much fun as the Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta is the yardstick against which all others will be judged when it comes to drivability, and the 208 falls short.
Peugeot 208 Diesel Hatchback vs Ford Fiesta vs Volkswagen Polo
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Peugeot 208 Diesel Hatchback review.
Peugeot 208 Diesel Hatchback vs Ford Fiesta
The new Ford Fiesta is here to reclaim its crown as the most fun you’ll ever have in a supermini.
On the road, it thrills and delights in equal measure, and there’s no shortage of entertainment to be had. As ever, it handles better than any of its rivals.
It looks great on the road too and is easily the most stylish Fiesta to date.
Ford have stiffened things up this time around, with the result being that it’s more stable in bends. It’s also sharper, and there’s more steering feel available. Cornering grip, meanwhile, has increased by 10%.
In terms of the engines, a 1.5-litre diesel that develops 118bhp is the most powerful Fiesta so far. It’s paired up with a 6-speed transmission and has a 0-62 time of 9.0 seconds. It’s got plenty of character but it’s also nice and quiet.
A smaller 84bhp variant of the same engine is also available. It’s a lot slower and takes 12.5 seconds to complete the standard 0-62 dash. It rarely feels out of its depth, though, although you do need to work it fairly hard.
Running costs? As it’s such a small car, you needn’t have too many worries on this front. The 84bhp diesel is the champion when it comes to fuel economy, returning as much as 88.3mpg on a good day. It emits just 82g/km of CO2, and this gives it a BiK rating of 23%.
The 118bhp variant isn’t far behind, returning 80.7mpg and qualifying for the same BiK rating.
Inside, there’s so much to like about the Fiesta’s cabin. Fit and finish is better than last time, as is ride comfort. Insulation has improved thanks to more sound-deadening materials, build quality is on par with the best in this class and it’s neatly designed.
All models come with a 4.2” colour display, which is really user-friendly.
Is the Ford Fiesta practical? It’s more of an all-rounder than ever that even fares well on this front. Visibility is good, while interior space is much improved. The Fiesta is now a genuine family car that’s spacious and airy.
Buyers can choose between a three or a five-door model, with the latter coming with wide-opening rear doors.
The boot, meanwhile, measures 292-litres. Fold the rear seats and it extends to 1,093-litres, which is a significant improvement on its predecessor.
Peugeot – £14,654 – £18,404
Ford – £13,965
Peugeot 208 Diesel Hatchback vs Volkswagen Polo
The Volkswagen Polo has always been seen as a steady option in this sector. What’s it got for 2018?
It’s a sexy, spacious car that’s great to drive. On the road is where it noticeably excels, offering as it does more agility and sharper responses than ever before. It’s still as mature as it’s ever been, but it’s now more fun.
The suspension setup is a tad firm but not overly so, and the Polo is about as close as any supermini gets right now to rivalling the Fiesta for driver involvement.
In terms of its engines, there’s just the one diesel available. This is a 1.6-litre unit that’s available with either 94 or 79bhp. It’s smooth, bigger than the 1.4-litre diesel that it replaces, and it makes overtaking a piece of cake (for a supermini anyway).
Running costs? The sole diesel is the cheapest to run in the range, with both variants able to return as much as 75mpg on a good day. However, the 79bhp variant is cheaper to insure and sits in insurance group 2.
Inside, the Polo is as impressive as it’s ever been. Build quality is excellent, but what we’re seeing is a sportier take on the family hatchback. Previous iterations of the Polo have sported mature, sensible cabins, but the new version is much more characterful and lively.
For example, the big central dashboard panel can be chosen in one of 13 different colours.
Fit and finish is overall very good, although there is evidence of scratchier plastics here and there. There’s plenty of new sophisticated tech onboard, including the brands Active Info Display, which is essentially a bunch of digital dials. Sat-nav mapping is also available.
Is the Volkswagen Polo practical? It’s considerably bigger than last time, and this means an improvement in interior space. The three-door model has now been ditched, so buyers have no choice but to go with a five-door model, but this is really no bad thing. The five-door is more usable, although it’s probably not as visually striking as a three-door.
Storage solutions are in high supply, rear seat space is excellent, and the boot measures 351-litres. That makes it 25% bigger than last time.
Volkswagen – £13,435 – £20,660
Verdict of our 2018 Peugeot 208 Diesel Hatchback Review
There’s a lot to love about this striking supermini. Although it can’t compete with the Fiesta when it comes to driving fun, it ticks most other boxes. The new Peugeot 208 Diesel Hatchback is lively, practical and it’s super affordable to run. In short, it’s a winner.
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