The initial hot hatch market has been flooded with choices and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to buy a solid, value for money hot hatch that has all the bells, whistles and ponies under the hood.
The interior is sporty with its smaller than average steering wheel, wrapped in lovely leather, which also features buttons for the onboard computer, audio system and cruise control. The sporty semi leather bucket seats are supportive and comfortable, which is hard to expect from a seat but this somehow pulls it off. There are also electric folding mirrors with an auto dim rear mirror and vanity mirrors on both sides of the cockpit. One touch window is only available on the driver side, though. Duel zone climate control is standard and a very nice feature that is usually only found on higher spec cars.
The engine is a pokey 1.6 l turbo charged unit producing 147 kW and 275 nm. Power is available from about 2000 rpm, which is nice and it does not feel laggy at all. The midrange is strong, but because of the quick spooling turbo, it falls a little flat in the upper rpm range. It still remains a very nippy little car out of the blocks. The six speed gearbox is a gem and gears are spaced well apart. It’s maybe a little notchy, but nothing to call the doctor about.
The fuel consumption seems to be a big plus, with it averaging a tad over 6l/100km on the open road and just under 8l/100km and, by today’s standards, very good. I can’t remember when last I drove a turbocharged hot hatch that was able to return such good economy.
The 208 features ABS with EBD and they provide good feedback, always assuring confidence. There is also a nifty auto hazard activation feature; should you have to make an emergency stop, the hazards will automatically activate. The headlights are halogen with an auto height adjustment.
The 208 is a smooth driver and sort of runs under the radar. The attractive looks and big wheels has it up there with the best of them and performance figures of 7 seconds to 100kph is up there with some of its strong contenders, but I feel that it offers you more than just being a hot hatch. It’s a perfectly sedate and normal driving car until your mood changes and you start driving it enthusiastically, and this is when you realize that you can have the best of both worlds.
The 208 GTi is priced at R291 100 and features a 3 year 100 000km warranty standard as well as a 5 year / 60 000km Premium plan.
For more info, check out www.peugeot.co.za