The new 2020 Peugeot 208 is a five-door hatch, but it’s a big deal. Expectations are high and not just because the competition is so good. The new Renault Clio, arriving soon in UK showrooms, does much of what the 208 promises to do; there is the appeal of the Volkswagen Polo badge, and the overall brilliance of the market leader, the Ford Fiesta. The 2020 Peugeot 208 SUV, launched three years ago, can be described as the car that started the French company’s renaissance. It showed that Peugeot had turned its back on making ugly, messy, and disappointing cars, and had instead embraced design, quality, and desirability.
The 208, however, is different. Peugeot cars and butter are the small cars and the 208 are the linchpin in the Peugeot refurbishment. Basically, if Peugeot has got it right again, the brand has really come of age.
2020 Peugeot 208 Interior
The first thing you notice is the increase in quality. The materials are a little better than the old 208. The denser plastics, stylish metal, and ‘carbon’ woven touches put anything up to Mini in this shade. Audi and VW have sacrificed a bit of comfy quality at the altar of ever-snazzier touch screens. Peugeot… explained. Yep, a normal Peugeot-Citroen grip. The touch screen where the climate control is buried is not the fastest to respond, nor the most logical to take action. Still, the touch-sensitive shortcut keys help things, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. So it’s not like you’ll ever use the built-in nav. That’s what Waze is all about.
Cabin stowage is not a strong suit – the cupholders do not support your grande latte and the door bins are not carpeted, so anything in it will rattle like, well, an old Peugeot. But we like the idea of hiding the rubberized smartphone pad – charged with wireless charging in GT line models – behind a revolving door. Anything that makes phone use behind the wheel less tempting is to be applauded. There’s also a regular USB and USB-C socket, so the 208 is in the future but doesn’t alienate most current devices.
2020 Peugeot 208 Engine
The engine is Peugeot’s familiar 1.2-liter turbocharged petrol, available in three tuning conditions from 74 to 99hp and 128bhp. We’ve driven the three and the middle is the best rounder, available with a manual gearbox and automatic so it will suit most drivers. Drop the feather-light clutch and the 208 eagerly comes off the line with the free-flowing engine thriving in the background, albeit running out of puff in the mid-range. The benchmark sprint from standstill to 62mph takes 9.9sec.
2020 Peugeot 208 Safety
The latest 208 scored four out of five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests in 2019, whereas other cars of this type like the new Renault Clio scored the full five. This will be disappointing news for Peugeot, as most cars achieve the full five-star safety rating. The new 208 scored well overall in all categories but lost points due to the lack of adequate whiplash protection for rear-facing adult passengers, something buyers considering a new 208 should think about if they are ‘ n regularly transporting adults to the back.
The lack of a fifth star does not make the 208 an unsafe car. There are a host of driving aids available, from adaptive cruise control to lane positioning assistance, traffic signal recognition to blind-spot monitoring. It also includes driver monitoring, which works at speeds over 40mph and analyzes 2020 Peugeot 208 steering wheel movements to detect buoyancy.