Peugeot 208 Allure 2012 Review

Peugeot 208 Allure 2012 Review

Peugeot’s nomenclature lets you know exactly how far up the model range you’ve bought. The 208 is down at the budget end but in terms of bang for buck, it delivers very well.

In Europe, the 208 will be the bread and butter for Peugeot, so it’s important that it provides an engaging driver experience with some well-formed Euro styling.

Gone is the

gaping maw at the front, replaced with a slick, chrome-surrounded front grille whose lines flow up into the headlights. The front bumper’s concave sides house the spot lights and there is a sharp-looking front splitter to complete the picture. Daytime LED running lights are integrated into the double optic Halogen headlights.

On the side a strong crease rises from behind the front wheel arch to run parallel with the shoulder line and merge into the rear lights. The shoulder line is accented by a chrome strip that runs the length of the side windows and flicks up at the end. The 16-inch alloys at first glance look like five spoke, but look again and you’ll see five more subtle blades, coloured darker, that bisect each gap, each one with a slight curve and a return. The alloys are wrapped in 195/55R16 tyres.

At the rear there is a subtle chrome Peugeot badge at the base of the rear window, plus lights that are sculpted like a bird of prey’s beak. This is, in my opinion, one of the best looking small cars on the market right now.

Driving the front wheels is a 1.6-litre that produces 88kW and 160Nm of torque – the same figures as the 207 (read review). The 208 is definitely underpowered and it results in a 0-100kph time of 11.9 seconds. It also causes the automatic gearbox to search in the lower gears when you hit an incline or need just a little bit of acceleration. In fact, this was something we noted in our 207 review and it’s still making the 208 difficult to drive smoothly.

It does, however, mean that you can get some good fuel economy with Peugeot quoting the combine city/highway cycle at 6.7l/100km (0.3 better than the 207), city cycle at 9.8l/100km and highway at 4.9l.100km. The engine complies with Euro V regulations and produces just 154g/km of CO2.

The driving engagement itself is good. Once up to speed the 208 changes direction easily, it’s comfortable and quiet. The steering wheel is quite small which adds a feeling of sportiness and also means it doesn’t get in the way of the instruments.

Interior features include a pollen filter (useful in NZ summers), Bluetooth phone integration, trip computer, dual climate control with air conditioned glovebox, cruise control, speed limiter (very useful, especially on holiday weekends) and a 7-inch multifunction touch screen that allows you to control vehicle settings and the stereo.

The interior is very tastefully appointed with plastics that are better quality than the price would suggest, plus a smattering of glossy piano black. The seating has excellent lateral support. The squabs and backs are finished in a mesh fabric. There’s a small storage area hidden in the armrest which can be folded backwards out of the way.

The 208 comes with six airbags (driver, passenger, front side, front and rear curtain), ABS with electronic brake force distribution, and electronic stability program.

The engine power really is the only aspect of this car I found difficult to live with. Having owned a 206GTi 180 (180bhp/134kW), I know that these small Peugeots can be highly engaging when they’ve got the right amount of power. Everything else was great, especially for the price. The interior feels solid and the driving position and ride are excellent.

Price: from $23,990 for 5-door model, $29,990 for 3-door Allure as tested.

Pros

  • One of the best looking small cars out there
  • Excellent styling and brand cachet for the price

Cons

  • Engine power lacks verve and therefore it searches in the gears too much.
  • Quirky user interface on the stereo takes some getting used to

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

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