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Peugeot 208 Active 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
7.2
When the Peugeot 208 first landed in Australia four years ago it had a big job to do. The French company had been on the slide for a while, with the weak efforts of the old 308 and 207 undoing all the hard earned reputation of the cars they superseded. The 208 had a quiet start but seems to have caught on with people

When the Peugeot 208 first landed in Australia four years ago it had a big job to do. The French company had been on the slide for a while, with the weak efforts of the old 308 and 207 undoing all the hard earned reputation of the cars they superseded.

The 208 had a quiet start but seems to have caught on with people looking for a credible alternative to the Japanese and German light hatches.

Peugeot 208 2016: Active
Safety rating
Engine Type1.2L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency4.5L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$9,300

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

In 2015, the Peugeot 208 range got an update in the form of a new entry-level Access trim level and an all-new 1.2-litre engine. The five-door range starts at $15,990 for the (ahem) five-speed manual Access, through the $21,990 Active, the $25,990 Allure, the other new model, the GT Line ($27,490) and finally the three-door GTi at $30,990.

Our car was the 81kW Active. At this level, you get Peugeot’s seven-inch screen powering a six-speaker stereo with USB and Bluetooth, air conditioning, power windows and mirrors, leather steering wheel, rear parking sensors, central locking, cruise control with braking function, cloth trim and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Satellite navigation is an option.

Unusually, there’s the option of textured matte paint which Peugeot says is low-maintenance. Check it out and come up with your own ideas.

The first Peugeot 208 dropped with an awful multimedia system, with a baffling control system that made almost no sense. The update brings a much-needed series of tweaks to make it a lot more intuitive and it is an improvement. The seven-inch screen is bright and clear but is still slow to respond to your inputs.

The six-speaker stereo delivers reasonable sound and the USB or Bluetooth connectivity is straightforward.

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

The recent design refresh was little more than a rejig of plastic and chrome trim bits and new lights front and rear. Peugeot 208 is a chunky little thing that almost looks like a single piece spat out of a 3D printer.

Inside space is impressive for such a small car, with a decent-sized boot at 311 litres.

The huge windscreen swoops up almost behind your head to a high roof that delivers tons of headroom but it never looks top heavy. Inside space is impressive for such a small car, with a decent-sized boot at 311 litres.

The 208 introduced Peugeot’s mildly zany i-Cockpit, which features a high-set instrument panel and a lower-set teeny-tiny steering wheel. It remains unchanged in the update and is an acquired taste. The upside is that both seats and wheel have excellent adjustment ranges.

The seats are comfortable front and rear, predictably the rear seat is tight for leg, knee and shoulder room. Storage options are a bit thin on the ground, too, with just a pair of cupholders up front (up from one previously, which is a start) and skinny door pockets.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   7/10

Six airbags, ABS, brake assist, brake force distribution, stability and traction controls and load-limited front seat-belts add up to five ANCAP stars.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / 100,000 km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

Verdict

The only real problem the 208 has is the price of entry – the $21,990 headline figure is before on-roads and the same as the larger 308 Active (which has more power and space, if less gear). 

Its Japanese and European rivals, Renault excepted, are cheaper. A few more standard inclusions wouldn’t go astray at this price point.

Having said that, the extra outlay buys you an interesting car that stands out from the others with good ride and handling and dealers who aren’t averse to a bit of arm-twisting. If you care about a good chassis and a bit of Euro-style, the 208 is right up there.

Does the 208 bring enough to the table to deserve your hard-earned? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2016 Peugeot 208 pricing and spec info.

Pricing guides

$17,055
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$6,500
Highest Price
$27,610

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Access 1.2L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $6,500 – 10,120 2016 Peugeot 208 2016 Access Pricing and Specs
Active 1.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $9,300 – 13,970 2016 Peugeot 208 2016 Active Pricing and Specs
Allure 1.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $10,100 – 15,290 2016 Peugeot 208 2016 Allure Pricing and Specs
GT-Line 1.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $11,100 – 16,280 2016 Peugeot 208 2016 GT-Line Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.2
Price and features7
Design8
Engine & trans7
Safety7
Driving7
Peter Anderson
Contributing journalist

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