Peugeot has come storming back into the tiddler class with a great looking vehicle in the new 208. Not only that, there's a car for a wide range of budgets all offering excellent value for money with generous equipment and all with a look that sets the funky froggie apart from the rest of the crew at this end of the market.
We drove the Allure Sport recently, an impressive vehicle with more than decent performance, excellent handling/ride characteristics and stand out looks. This is the current sporty leader of the 208 pack to be followed some time soon with the 208 XY and the ultimate 208 GTi. We can't image what the GTi might be like given how good the Sport is.
It's only available in three-door configuration with a sporty body kit, 17-inch alloys, groovy looking LED daytime running lights and plenty of chrome highlights inside and out. We really like this aspect of the 208 - a return to chrome trim. The interior is a step-up on the competition dominated by a large info screen atop the centre stack and a really attractive instrument pod with blue highlight lights bordering speedo and tacho.
The wheel has to be the smallest in the game (on a production car) but is great in your hands. Access to the rear pews is a challenge but not too difficult and the boot is a decent size complete with a full-size alloy spare under the floor.
Peugeot has fitted the car with sporty seats and metal pedals as well as a range of luxury kit for the $26,490 ask. It gets climate control air, premium audio, multiple wheel controls by button and satellite wands, a fixed glass roof insert, sporty cloth upholstery, pollen filter, Bluetooth phone and audio, electro chromatic mirror, window tint, cruise and plenty more.
It's a five star car replete with stability control and six air bags as well as a number of other necessary safety features.
Power comes from a 1.6-litre turbo charged petrol four cylinder with variable valve timing on the inlet side. It achieves 115kW/240Nm, the latter at relatively low engine revs. Apart from the cramped pedal box, driveability is excellent and the six sped manual is a sweet shifter. It has a long legged feel on the highway and is nippy in the tight stuff.
The engine is also used in Mini Cooper S and other BMW products as well as other Peugeot and Citroen vehicles. Fuel economy rates a creditable 5.8-litres/100km while the engine sails into an EU5 emissions classification.
We really enjoyed driving this car that punches way above its weight in performance terms and backs it up with engaging dynamics. It cuts a 0-100kmh sprint in around 8.0 seconds and has a stirring growl from the dual outlet exhaust. What more do you need?
Peugeot 208 Allure Sport
Price: From $26,490
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
Resale: 43 per cent
Service interval: 12 months/20,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars
Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cyl turbo petrol, 115kW/240Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual; FWD
Thirst: 5.8L/100km, on test 8.1L, 135g/km CO2
Dimensions: 4m (L), 1.7m (W), 1.5m (H)
Volkswagen Polo GTI
Price: from $28,990
Engine: 1.4-litre, 4-cyl turbo/supercharged, 132kW/250Nm
Transmission: 7-speed dual clutch, front wheel drive
Thirst: 6.1L/100km, 95 RON, CO2 142g/km
Suzuki Swift Sport
Price: from $26,990
Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cyl petrol 100kW/160Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual; FWD
Thirst: 6.5L/100km; 98 RON; 153g/km CO2
Skoda Fabia RS
Price: from $27,990
Engine: 1.4-litre 4-cyl petrol 132kW/250Nm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic, FWD
Thirst: 7.7L/100km; 148g/km Co2