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Peugeot 208


Kia Picanto

Summary

Peugeot 208

In a world of cheap, popular and well-specified Japanese and Korean small hatchbacks, it’s easy to forget the humble French cars that once helped define the segment.

They’re still around, though. You’ve probably seen a few Renault Clios, you might not have seen the tragically underrated new Citroen C3, and there’s at least a chance you’ve seen one of these – the Peugeot 208.

This iteration of the 208 has been around in one form or another since 2012 and is due to be replaced by a second-generation model in the near future.

So, should you consider the aging 208 in a busy market segment? I spent a week behind the wheel of the second-from-the-top GT-Line to find out.

Safety rating
Engine Type1.2L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency4.5L/100km
Seating5 seats

Kia Picanto

The Kia Picanto is not only one of the smallest brand new cars you can buy in Australia, it’s also one of the most affordable.

Despite that though, the Picanto and cars like it are becoming an increasingly rare breed in Australia.

This is partially because manufacturers are finding it increasingly hard to bring small cars to our relatively remote country with our more stringent safety requirements.

But, it’s also consistently true that what might work on the streets of Seoul or Tokyo might not necessarily translate well into the vast expanses of Australia.

But if you are just sticking to a metro capital, isn’t a car like the Picanto all you really need? To find out we’ve driven the updated-for-2021 Kia Picanto range. Read on to see what we made of it.

Safety rating
Engine Type1.2L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency5.8L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Peugeot 2087.1/10

The 208 GT-Line is hardly a car purchased on its value offering; it’s an emotional purchase. Fans of the brand know it, even Peugeot knows it.

Here’s the thing, though, the GT-Line looks the part, is true-to-its-roots in how fun it is to drive, and will surprise most with its spacious dimensions and decent spec level. So, while it might be an emotional buy, it’s not necessarily a bad one.

Have you owned a Peugeot in the past? Share your story in the comments below.


Kia Picanto7.5/10

Really when you boil everything away, the Picanto is probably all the car you need around one of Australia’s capital cities. This little car is brilliantly equipped on the multimedia front, is smartly packaged with a long warranty, and even offers a decent drive experience too.

It’s the lack of a compelling intercity drive experience that will really stop it from being the kind of car most Australians want. But as a second car or daily runabout, it’s hard to fault.

Our pick of the range is the S auto for its supreme value and better ride quality.

Design

Peugeot 2087/10

It might not be for you, but I had come around to the 208’s design by the time I handed the keys back. It’s a bit more upright and frumpy than the slick, conservative design of the Volkswagen Polo, or the swish, cutting-edge lines of the Mazda2.

It’s undeniably a European city car in its short and upright stance, but blazes its own path, even compared to French competitors. I grew quite fond of its weird, slopey bonnet, unconventional face and tough rear wheel arches. The way the rear light clusters clasp the rear to bring the design together is quite satisfying, as are the aluminium-brush alloys, recessed lights and the single chrome tailpipe.

It could be argued that this is a path well-travelled, with this 208 mirroring the design cues of the 207 that came before it, but I’d argue it holds its own, even in 2019. If you’re after something radically different, the styling on its replacement, due next year, is one to look out for.

On the inside, things are… unique.

There are cushy, deep seats for front occupants, with a super vertical dash design, leading up from the deep-set shifter (an older look) to the top-mounted media screen, which is slick, with its chrome bezel and lack of buttons.

The steering wheel is awesome. It’s tiny, strongly contoured and covered in nice leather trim. Its small, almost oval shape is super satisfying to wrangle, and enhances the way you interact with the front wheels.

What is extra strange about it is how far separated it is from the dash cluster. The dials are perched way atop the dash in a layout Peugeot refers to as the ‘iCockpit’. This is all very cool and aesthetic and French if you’re my height (182cm), but if you’re particularly short or particularly tall, the wheel begins to obscure vital information.

Other strange things about the cabin mainly involve little bits of plastic of varying quality strewn about the place. While the overall look is very cool, there are some odd bits of chrome trim and hollow black plastics about that probably don’t need to be there.


Kia Picanto

The Picanto is a fun little thing to look at. I even like how plain the base car is with its dorky 14-inch steel wheels and flat paint, but the Picanto really stands out as a true city car in a segment that barely exists anymore.

Japanese manufacturers (for safety or price reasons) don’t bother to bring cars like this to our market, so it’s unique to see something that literally exudes its practical boxy aesthetic rolling around our streets.

While you can option the S in ridiculous colours, the GT-Line really brings a bunch of attitude with its over-the-top angry face, slicker-than-they-should-be alloy wheels, and nicer interior treatment. It’s streets-of-Asia kerb appeal won’t be for everyone I suppose, but you’re left with few options in this class.

The interior is, as you might imagine, full of hard plastics. This is especially noticeable in the base S which misses out on soft surfaces for your elbows – a pain (literally) on longer journeys.

Both specs excel with that massive touchscreen and bright multi-function cluster to bring a bit of wow-factor compared to rivals.

The dash design and simple but effective steering wheel help the Picanto feel like it’s no less a part of Kia’s increasingly design-led range with tastefully applied silvers and gloss finishes.

Practicality

Peugeot 2087/10

The 208 hit me with some surprises here. Firstly, don’t drink and drive this car. And, by that I mean, don’t even begin to think you’ll find a good spot for a decently sized coffee. There are two cupholders under the dash; they are about an inch deep, and narrow enough to accommodate maybe a piccolo latte. Place anything else in there and you’re asking for a spillage.

There’s also an odd little trench there that barely fits a phone, and a top-box arm-rest thing that’s tiny and bound to the driver’s seat. The glovebox is large and also air-conditioned.

The front seats offer heaps of room, though, for arms, head and especially legs, and there is no shortage of soft surfaces for elbows.

The back seat was also a surprise. I was expecting it to be an afterthought, as it is in many cars this size, but the 208 delivers, with excellent matching seat trim and generous legroom.

Sadly, that’s where back-seat amenities end. There are tiny trenches in the door, but no air vents or cupholders. You’ll have to make do with just the pockets on the backs of the front seats.

Don’t be fooled by the 208’s cropped rear, the boot is deep and grants a surprising 311 litres to the shelf, and maxes out a 1152L with the second row folded down. Also surprising  is the inclusion of a full-size steel spare, stashed under the floor.


Kia Picanto

It should be clear from the outside that the Picanto is all about maximizing the use of its tiny footprint, and from the inside that goal has been achieved.

You’ll notice immediately from the driver’s seat how big the Picanto’s tall roof makes the interior feel. You do sit quite upright, and there’s no telescopic adjust for the steering, but I had no trouble finding a comfortable seating position regardless.

Kias generally have plenty of cabin storage, and the brand has done what it can with the space available in the Picanto. There are small binnacles in the doors with a decent bottle-holder, several small binnacles on the transmission tunnel, with a modest console box in the GT-Line, and a two-tiered shelf with neat flip-out cupholders under the air-conditioning controls.

Connectivity on offer includes a single USB port and 12-volt outlet for front passengers.

Hopping in the back seat is a much better experience for an adult than you might imagine. If you look at the Picanto in profile, it’s clear the brand has maximized the amount of aperture space for the doors, as they take up so much of the car’s diminutive length. This helps the rear seats be 90 per cent as easy to get into as the front ones.

Sitting behind my own driving position, I was pleasantly surprised to find airspace for my knees, and the same tall roofline made ensured there were no issues for my head either.

One area you will suffer in the rear row is a lack of amenities. There are no power outlets, cupholders, or adjustable vents, regardless of variant.

The boot comes in at 255 litres, which doesn’t sound like much, but is on par with the slightly larger Mazda2. I found much of that quoted number is useful, too, as the boot would eat the largest (125L) CarsGuide travel case with a little extra room to spare on either side. A space-saver spare wheel even lives under the boot floor on every grade.

Price and features

Peugeot 2086/10

This Peugeot is never going to be as cheap as a Mazda2 or Suzuki Swift. The current range spans from $21,990 for the base Active to $26,990 for the GT-Line, and that’s all before on-road costs.

Safe to say you’re looking at a $30k hatch then. For the same money you could be hopping into a decently specified Hyundai i30, Toyota Corolla or Mazda3, but Peugeot bank on the fact that this car appeals to a special kind of customer; the emotional buyer.

Perhaps they had a Peugeot in the past. Perhaps the quirky styling calls out to them. But they aren’t interested in value… per se.

So do you at least get a decent standard spec? The GT-Line comes with a 7.0-inch multimedia touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, built-in sat-nav, 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in some seriously low-profile Michelin Pilot Sport rubber, panoramic fixed glass roof, dual-zone climate control, self-parking function, front and rear parking sensors with a reversing camera, rain sensing wipers, sports bucket seats, auto folding mirrors and GT-Line specific chrome styling touches.

Not bad. The styling is certainly turned up a notch over the regular 208 range and the spec list makes it one of the better-equipped cars in the segment. However, there are some notable omissions which hurt on a car at this price. For example, there’s no option for push-start or LED headlamps.

Safety is okay, but it could use update. More on that in the safety section.


Kia Picanto

Like its size or not, the Kia Picanto is a relatively rare offering which is also great value. The base S, for example, starts from just $14,390 before on-road costs, which makes it the second cheapest brand new car on sale in Australia (pipped, just, by the soon-to-be discontinued Mitsubishi Mirage ES).

Imagine how taken aback I was to discover that this incredibly affordable little car has wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto (an Australian first) on its giant 8.0-inch touchscreen. Amazing. This is a feature we were surprised came on a $50k Audi Q3, and here it appears on what could soon be Australia’s cheapest brand-new car.

The base S also has ‘upgraded’ (but still dull) halogen headlights, and a full colour multi-function display in the dash cluster. The same cloth seats, 14-inch steel wheels, plastic steering wheel, and basic air conditioning also feature.

Next rung up is the GT-Line starting from $16,140. It gets re-designed and more aggressive styling front and rear, a set of upgraded projector headlights and LED DRLs, 16-inch alloy wheels, a better interior treatment including gloss finishes, soft-touch surfaces, as well as a leather bound wheel and leather-look seats, alloy pedals, and a centre console box.

A somewhat antiquated four-speed (torque converter) automatic transmission can be optioned to replace the standard five-speed manual at a $1600 premium on either variant.

Both cars also get a decent safety suite (with a caveat) explained later in this review, and as always this car’s lengthy seven-year warranty is a major draw.

The top-spec GT manual will also return later this year at $18,990 and will include a slightly revised 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine and five-speed manual at $18,990. Final spec hasn’t been locked in for this halo variant, so stay tuned for a single car review when it becomes available.

How does the Picanto compare to rivals other than the Mirage? You could compare it against the increasingly popular MG3 Core (auto-only from $17,190) or similarly-sized Suzuki Ignis GL (from $16,960).

Engine & trans

Peugeot 2088/10

The regular (that’s non-GTi) 208s are offered with just one engine now. A 1.2-litre turbo petrol three-cylinder, which produces 81kW/205Nm. While that doesn’t sound like an awful lot, it turns out to be plenty for the little 1070kg hatch.

Unlike some notable French manufacturers, Peugeot has seen the light and dumped single-clutch automatics (aka automated manuals) in favour of a six-speed torque converter auto, which does its best to have you not notice it.

It also has a stop-start system, which might save fuel (I couldn’t objectively prove that it did) but will definitely annoy you at the lights.


Kia Picanto

The S and GT-Line continue to be powered by the same 1.25-litre four-cylinder non-turbo petrol engine with outputs of 62kW/122Nm. While not an impressive number to quote, it’s about right for something this size and weight.

This engine can be paired to either a five-speed manual or throwback four-speed torque converter automatic.

The GT will offer more oomph with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo providing a punchier 74kW/172Nm, although it's only offered with the five-speed manual. The Picanto range is front-wheel drive only.

Fuel consumption

Peugeot 2087/10

The claimed/combined fuel number for the 208 GT-Line is a slightly unrealistic-sounding 4.5L/100km. Sure enough, after a week of city/highway combined driving, I produced a number of 7.4L/100km. So, a solid miss. Slightly less-enthusiastic driving should see that number drop, but I still don’t see how you could get it down to 4.5L/100km.

The 208 requires a minimum of 95RON mid-range fuel, and has a 50-litre tank.


Kia Picanto

Old engine tech means not particularly impressive fuel figures. At least, that’s what I found after testing the S manual and GT-line auto back-to-back over two weeks.

Official combined cycle figures have the five-speed manual S (as tested) consume 5.0L/100km, while the GT-Line auto is claimed to sip 5.8L/100km.

Our real-world figures over city, suburban, and freeway kays saw the manual S return 6.4L/100km and the auto GT-Line slip to 7.5L/100km

Those numbers are by no means a deal breaker, given they're not much higher than the claim, but hatchbacks a full size larger than this with 2.0-litre non-turbo engines can deliver equal or better real-world consumption.

The Picanto’s tiny 35-litre fuel tank needs to be called out. This car may be a fuel sipper, but you'll still be refueling with annoying regularity.

Driving

Peugeot 2088/10

The 208 is good fun, and lives up to its heritage of making the most of its lightweight dimensions and small figure to make for an agile city-slicker. The engine outputs might look like just any other hatch in this class, but the turbo comes on nice and strong in an impressively linear fashion.

It makes for reliable and strong acceleration, with the peak 205Nm of torque available at 1500rpm.

A featherweight at 1070kg, you’ll find no complaints from me about its performance. It’s no GTi, but it will still be warm enough for most.

Despite its upright figure, handling is fantastic, too. The low-profile Michelins feel planted at the front and back, and, unlike the GTi, you never really feel at risk of understeer or wheelspin.

This is all enhanced by the intense helm, with the small steering wheel giving it a thoroughly engaging feel. You can chuck this car into corners and down alleyways with enthusiasm, and it feels like it loves it as much as you do.

The suspension is stiff, especially at the rear, and the low-profile rubber makes it noisy on coarse-chip surfaces, but you’ll barely hear a peep out of the little engine. Other notable downsides include the slow-to-react stop-start system (which you can turn off) and the lack of active cruise, which would be nice at this price.


Kia Picanto

The Picanto offers a pretty straightforward driving experience, which is a plus in a car this simple.

The 62kW 1.2-litre engine in both our test cars proved peppy enough for the Picanto’s weight. It won’t set any hearts on fire, but I think it’s more than adequate for the task at hand.

The basic transmissions threw up a few typical issues. The four-speed auto is particularly transparent, lurching through each gear with little panache. The lack of ratios on offer makes accelerating in the auto a noisy, thrashy experience, and it’s evidently not the best for fuel consumption, either.

The manual meanwhile proves a bit better for keeping the revs in check with its extra gear, but has a simple and somewhat sloppy action, which makes switch cogs yourself a less than 'sporty' experience.

The ride is locally tuned, although I found it most compliant in the base S with its larger tyres. The 16-inch sporty wheels on the GT-Line increase cabin noise and ride harshness significantly.

Neither car was quiet above that 80km/h freeway mark, in terms of road and engine noise (with the 1.2 running at 3000rpm at 100km/h on the flat) making for predictably raucous inter-city drives.

I found the steering to be surprisingly direct and full of feel, giving the Picanto at least a little spark of entertainment for driving around city streets.

The Picanto also has to be one of the easiest cars in Australia to park. Visibility is fantastic all-round, and you’ll fit in pretty much any spot you can find. GT-Line owners will need to keep an eye out on those giant alloy wheels, however.

 

Safety

Peugeot 2087/10

On the topic of active cruise, this car is showing its age in the safety department. Available active safety is limited to a camera-based city-speed auto emergency braking system (AEB). The lack of a radar, even optionally, means no active cruise or freeway-speed AEB. There’s also no option for blind-spot monitoring (BSM), lane-departure warning (LDW) or lane-keep assist (LKAS).

Sure, we’re talking about a car which largely dates back to 2012, but you can get cars a full size up with all those features for close to the same money from Korea and Japan.

On the more impressive side, you get an above-average set of six airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners and rear ISOFIX child-seat mounting points, as well as the expected set of electronic braking and stability aids. A reversing camera is also now standard.

The 208 previously held a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating from 2012, but that rating is limited to four-cylinder variants, which have since been phased out. Three-cylinder cars remain un-rated.


Kia Picanto

The good news here is the Picanto impresses with standard city-speed auto emergency braking and forward collision warning regardless of variant chosen.

That’s great, and puts it ahead of its main rivals, the MG3 and Ignis but annoyingly that’s where the active items stop.

Interesting, given in its Korean home market the Picanto scores rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, and driver attention alert.

Adaptive cruise control and  blind spot monitoring aren't available anywhere in the Picanto range.

Passive items include two ISOFIX and three top-tether child-seat mounting points (good luck getting a third child seat in the rear row), six airbags, and the usual electronic stability and traction controls.

The Picanto carries a four-star (from a possible five) ANCAP safety rating as of 2017.

Ownership

Peugeot 2087/10

Peugeot offers a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty on its entire range of passenger cars, which is up-to-date and in-line with most segment competitors.

The 208 requires servicing at yearly or 15,000km intervals (whichever occurs first) and has a fixed price to the length of the warranty.

Servicing is not cheap, with yearly visits costing between $397 and $621, although there’s nothing on the optional extras list, that price is all-inclusive.

Total cost over the five-year period is $2406 for an (expensive) average of $481.20 a year.


Kia Picanto

Like all Kias the Picanto carries that famous, class-leading seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty promise, rivalled in this segment only by the MG3 which now has a warranty of the same length.

Service pricing is capped for the life of the warranty and varies from $269 to $565 per yearly (or 15,000km, which ever comes first)  interval, for a surprisingly expensive average yearly spend of $389.42.