Review: Peugeot 208 (2012)
Lighter than the 207. Interesting dash layout. Small steering wheel. Available with economical new three-cylinder petrol engines. Luxurious XY model.
Gear change action isn't great. Lower trim level models feel less polished and less well made than higher spec cars. Strangely disconnected feel between the steering, accelerator and braking.
Recently Added To This Review
Report of failure of clutch of Peugeot 208 ETG at 18,000 miles. Repair cost £1,700. Read more
Report of catalogue of problems with 2015 Peugeot 208 1.2 Puretech 110 Allure, bought used (didn't say when). L ong list of issues include Engine Management lights, brakes, discs, A/C, dampers. The... Read more
Report of engine failure of Peugeot 2012 208 1.2 Puretech at 55,800 miles. In February 2019 low oil pressure warning light came on when driving, oil level checked to find no oil. No evidence of oil... Read more
Peugeot 208 (2012): At A Glance
- New prices start from £14,654, brokers can source from £8,059
- Contract hire deals from £168.29 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 5–26
- On average it achieves 76% of the official MPG figure
Peugeot’s previous effort at a small car didn’t really cut the mustard. The 207 wasn’t exactly stylish or particularly well priced. It was also disappointing on the road and beset with electrical faults. However, with the 208, Peugeot has gone back to the drawing board and created a car it says will stack up well against its rivals – with the bonus of a bit of Gallic charm.
That charm comes from the interior layout, which is completely unique. The steering wheel is tiny and you look over it, rather than through it, to see the instrument binnacle. There have been some criticisms about the wheel blocking the instruments, but that will only affect a very small number of drivers with unusual driving positions.
Interior quality is a great improvement over the old 207, comparing well with most rivals. There’s a nicely put together dashboard layout with soft-touch covering, and while the low down plastics aren’t quite as plush as those higher up, that’s pretty typical of cars this size, plus they’re hardwearing enough to stand the test of time.
One thing that stands out is the touch screen system at the top of the centre stack; it looks pretty swanky but it’s not the most responsive or user friendly system we've experienced. You do get used to it fairly quickly though. There are some further niggles in the cabin, too, like a tiny glovebox and cup holders that are too small to carry anything larger than a 330ml can of pop.
The aforementioned miniature steering wheel makes for an interesting driving experience – go karts have wheels of a similar size, so you end up gripping it in the same way through corners. Unfortunately, the size of the steering wheel doesn’t make the drive the very best – the handling is neither joyfully precise nor is the ride particularly comfortable, while the gear change is sloppy and clunky. Ford does it better with the Fiesta.
On the plus side, running costs should be low thanks to a broad offering of frugal petrol and diesel engines, including e-HDI diesels which successfully blend useful performance with good economy – you’ll beat 50mpg in real world driving without even trying. There’s also a 1.0-litre three-cylinder that starts at less than £10,000 and a full-fat, 200PS GTI.
Furthermore, Peugeot’s ‘Just Add Fuel’ lease option bundles up all motoring costs including the monthly lease amount, tax discs, maintenance costs and insurance into one amount. That means one headache free car bill each month – the only other cost under most circumstances is fuel.
What does a Peugeot 208 (2012) cost?
Peugeot 208 (2012): What's It Like Inside?
Peugeot has tried to break the mould with the 208’s cabin, which has a unique, tiny steering wheel. You look over the top of it, rather than through it, to see the stylish instrument binnacle. It’s a novel arrangement which you’ll either really love or really hate. The same goes for the centre stack, which features a touch screen system on most trim levels and does away with a CD player.
It’s not the nicest touch screen system to use but it certainly looks high tech – and it’s big, too. It features controls for navigation and audio, with iPod compatibility, and gives trip information and fuel economy. Meanwhile, controls for air conditioning are lower down and use physical buttons, rather than hiding away in a sub menu in the touchscreen. That makes them easy to reach without taking eyes off the road.
Material quality is better than it was on the old 207, with a soft touch dashboard covering and a neat, attractive layout. Lower down you’ll find harder plastics but they’re no worse than those you’d find in similarly priced cars and they should stand the test of time – or the test of children. Unfortunately it’s not all good news in the cabin.
Anyone who has owned a Peugeot or Citroen will be familiar with the fingertip audio and cruise control stalks mounted on the steering column – because they haven’t been changed since the 1990s. They’re not very nice to use and they really do feel out of date. Similarly, Peugeot hasn’t resolved some other typical French car bugbears – the glove compartment is too small to even fit the car’s handbook and the cupholders are too small.
Space isn’t too bad though. You’ll fit adults in the back if they’re not too tall and the boot is a good size, although it does have a pretty big load lip, which means heavy items can be a pain to get in and out – but chances are that most people won’t buy a little hatchback if they’re planning on starting a removals firm. For most, the boot will be fine.
Standard equipment on the base model car is okay, but you miss out on the touch screen system. However, going for a mid-spec car gets you most of the gear you’ll need. Upper trim levels are a bit on the expensive side based on list prices, but Peugeot is pushing its Just Add Fuel lease offer, which makes most vehicles in the range more affordable.
Access trim comes with:
- Steel wheels
- Electric front windows
- Remote controlled central locking
- Cruise control with speed limiter
- Radio / CD player with steering column mounted controls
- 3.5mm Jack for external audio device
Access+ trim gains over Active:
- Colour coded door mirrors and door handles
- Electric and heated door mirrors
- Manual air conditioning with refrigerated glove box
Active trim gains over Active+:
- 15" Azote alloy wheel
- Front fog lights
- Multifunction colour Touchscreen
- USB input
- Bluetooth connectivity
- DAB Digital radio
- Split/fold rear seats
Allure trim gains over Active:
- 16" Helium alloy wheel
- Dark tinted rear windows
- LED Daytime Running Lights
- Chrome trim details
- Sports seats
- Passenger seat height adjustment
- Leather Steering Wheel with satin chrome decoration
- Visibility pack (automatic headlights, windscreen wipers & electrochrome rear view mirror)
- Automatic Dual Zone Air Conditioning
Feline models are five-door only and gain the following over Allure trim:
- 17’’ Oxygen technical grey alloy wheel
- Satellite Navigation
- Cornering assist fog lights
- Black Ice Half Leather Trim
- Centre armrest
- Cielo panoramic glass roof with ambient lighting
XY models are three-door only and gain the following over Allure trim:
- 17’’ Mercure anthra alloy wheel
- Unique 'XY' grille in piano black with chrome inserts
- Sports rear spoiler (THP156 models only)
- Rear parking aid
- LED indicators
- Leather steering wheel & gearknob
- Sports seats finished in Mithy premium trim
- White LED instrument dial surround
Child seats that fit a Peugeot 208 (2012)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Peugeot 208 (2012) like to drive?
The engines offered by Peugeot generally emphasise fuel economy and low emissions over high performance, but there are two higher powered engines - a 156PS THP and a 200PS THP, the latter of which is only available in the GTI hot hatch version of the 208. Most buyers will go for a more run-of-the-mill model, though.
The entry level 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre VTI petrol engines are a bit lacklustre for motorway use, but are fine around town. If you want a petrol model then you’re better off with a 1.4-litre or 1.6-litre VTI, which are better performers. The best balance of performance and economy comes from the e-HDI diesels – there’s a 1.4 with 68PS and a 1.6 with 92PS.
They’re reasonably refined at low revs, produce enough torque for overtaking and motorway driving and give genuinely impressive fuel economy - you’ll get 55mpg even if you drive like a hooligan. Both the 1.4 and 1.6 e-HDI engines drop below the magic 100g/km emissions level, so they’re free to tax every year, but bear in mind that they do cost more than petrol models to buy.
Whatever engine you choose, the 208 is reasonable to drive, but it has a few flaws that hold it back. It’s good fun on a country road, but the suspension sometimes feels old fashioned and unsettled over the broken and rough road surfaces so common in the UK. It’s not as much of a problem around town, though, so if that’s where you tend to drive there’s not much to worry about.
You will probably be frustrated by the gear change on manual models though, which isn’t exactly pleasurable. It’s notchy and imprecise, with the lever often demanding a second shove to get it properly into gear. Thankfully the steering is accurate and is reasonably well weighted, and thanks to the car’s small size it’s nice and easy to park, even though over shoulder visibility isn’t great.
Despite the 208’s shortcomings it’s not a bad car to drive, it’s just not quite as polished as the likes of the Ford Fiesta, which is more fun, or the Volkswagen Polo, which feels more mature and drives like a larger car. If an enjoyable drive is less important to you than styling or running costs then the 208 should be fine.
|1.0 Puretech||66 mpg||14.0 s||99 g/km|
|1.0 Puretech 68||64 mpg||14.0 s||102 g/km|
|1.2 e-Puretech 82 EGC||69 mpg||14.5 s||95 g/km|
|1.2 Puretech 110||61–66 mpg||9.6 s||103–106 g/km|
|1.2 Puretech 110 Automatic||55–63 mpg||9.8 s||104–116 g/km|
|1.2 Puretech 68||60 mpg||13.8 s||108 g/km|
|1.2 Puretech 82||59–66 mpg||9.6–13.5 s||99–109 g/km|
|1.2 Puretech 82 Automatic||67 mpg||14.5 s||97 g/km|
|1.2 Puretech 82 EGC||69 mpg||14.5 s||95 g/km|
|1.4 e-HDi EGC||83 mpg||16.2 s||87 g/km|
|1.4 HDi||74 mpg||13.5 s||98 g/km|
|1.4 Puretech||50 mpg||11.7 s||129 g/km|
|1.5 BlueHDi 100||61–76 mpg||10.2–13.3 s||90–97 g/km|
|1.6 BlueHDi||79 mpg||9.4 s||94 g/km|
|1.6 BlueHDi 100||81–94 mpg||10.7 s||79–91 g/km|
|1.6 BlueHDi 120||79 mpg||9.4 s||94 g/km|
|1.6 BlueHDi 75||81–94 mpg||13.3 s||79–90 g/km|
|1.6 e-HDi||74–79 mpg||9.7–10.9 s||95–99 g/km|
|1.6 e-HDi 115||74 mpg||9.7 s||99 g/km|
|1.6 e-HDi 92||79 mpg||10.9 s||95 g/km|
|1.6 e-HDi EGC||74 mpg||11.8 s||98 g/km|
|1.6 Puretech||49–50 mpg||8.9–10.9 s||129–134 g/km|
|1.6 Puretech Automatic||44 mpg||10.7 s||149 g/km|
|1.6 THP||49–50 mpg||7.3–7.4 s||129–135 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Peugeot 208 (2012)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the Peugeot 208 (2012)?
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