Review: Peugeot 208 GTI (2013 – 2019)
Big improvement on the 207 GTi. Classy interior. Fun to drive.
Lacks the handling finesse of other hot hatches. Is expensive compared to the Fiesta ST.
Peugeot 208 GTI (2013 – 2019): At A Glance
Peugeot has a Jekyll and Hyde reputation when it comes to building hot hatchbacks. Inspired by the brilliance of the 205 GTi, Peugeot ploughed significant resources into its hot hatch programme, but the resulting 206 GTi and 207 GTi left many feeling cold, with underpowered engines and stodgy handling. Now it is the turn of the 208 to get the GTi treatment, but has Peugeot finally built a worthy successor to the 205's crown?
When it comes to outright power, the new 208 is a huge improvement. In fact, the 208 GTi is the most powerful model to emerge from Peugeot’s hot hatch stable, with 200PS and a top speed of 143mph. Power comes from a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine, which is the same unit found in the RCZ. It powers the 208 GTi from 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds, yet returns a claimed 47.9mpg.
The new GTi is also lighter than the old 207 GTi, but doesn't suffer from a hard ride thanks to a softer suspension set up. This means the 208 GTi has a surprisingly comfortable ride, with the suspension soaking up lumps and bumps without fuss.
Peugeot has also sharpened the exterior, with a body kit, red brake callipers, chequered flag motif grille and a scattering of GTi logos. The sporty 208 doesn’t stand out from the crowd like a Ford Fiesta ST or RenaultSport Clio, but it is attractive enough to warrant a second glance.
Inside the cabin the Peugeot is comfortable and pleasant, with leather seats, racing steering wheel and high quality trim. Admittedly, the layout of the dashboard isn’t the best – some of the dials are difficult to read – but the 208 GTi is serine enough for running the family around in.
Overall, the 208 GTi is quick, fun to drive and extremely comfortable. We particularly like its useable nature and the fact it doubles up nicely as a family car. However, it does fall short of its chief rival - the Fiesta ST.
We found the soft set to be great for daily driving, but the lack of feel in the ride works against the GTi when it’s pushed hard. The problem is compounded by overweight power steering, which makes the car feel vauge and numb, making it difficult to judge how much grip the car has mid-corner. The Peugeot isn’t cheap either, with an entry level model costing considerably more than a comparable Fiesta ST.
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Peugeot 208 GTI (2013 – 2019): What's It Like Inside?
Peugeot has really improved the quality of its interiors in recent years and the 208 GTi is no exception. All of the cabin fixtures are well constructed, with tight fittings and flush finishes. Admittedly, some of the cover plastics feel a bit flimsy - the two-tone colour finish looks a bit tacky too – but on the whole the 208 GTi is a pleasant place to be.
Both the driver and front passenger get a set of leather sports seats, which offer plenty of back and upper leg support that make them comfortable for daily use. Sometimes sports seats can be cumbersome and uncomfortable, but Peugeot has done a good job of combating this and you don’t get the usual pinch in the shoulders that you normally get with racing inspired seating.
The 208 GTi is spacious too and the leather seats in the back provide sufficient head and leg room for all but the largest of adults. In the front there’s no lack of space and the driver gets an excellent view of the road. However, we took an instant dislike to the layout of the dials, which are placed too far back for the driver to see clearly and are prone to be obscured by the top of the steering wheel.
Like the standard 208, the GTi gets a small steering wheel that is well suited to the car's hot hatch overtures. Not only does the wheel provide a fit to the centre of your palms, but it is also covered in soft touch material that makes it pleasant to use. But we do question the decision to have a separate stalk for the cruise control and speed limiter, which is fitted to the steering column and difficult to operate. We’d have preferred an extra set of buttons on the wheel.
All of the infotainment controls are operated via a seven-inch touchscreen, which dominates the centre of the dashboard and is easy to read. The touchscreen system has a large and colourful display that gives trip information and fuel data. The screen also controls the car’s audio and navigation and it took us just a few minutes to work out the operations for the DAB radio, MP3 player and sat nav.
The GTi also has a decent sized boot with 285 litres, which makes it ideal for the weekly shop and the rear seats can be flattened to extend the loadbay to 1152 litres.
Standard equipment levels:
GTi comes with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, air con, DAB radio, leather seats and steering wheel, automatic lights and wipers, alarm, rear parking sensors, 17-inch alloy wheels, sports exhaust, chrome door mirrors and LED running lights
GTi Prestige adds heated sports seats, a panoramic glass roof with ambient lighting, sat nav and cornering assist front fog lights
Child seats that fit a Peugeot 208 GTI (2013 – 2019)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 GTI (2013 – 2019) like to drive?
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 32–46 mpg
The Peugeot 208 GTi is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine, which is the same unit found in the RCZ. The 1.6-litre engine is not short of raw pace and will power the 208 GTi from 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds, yet return a claimed 47.9mpg. Emissions are 139g/km of CO2 – 15 per cent less than the old 207 GTi.
With 275Nm of torque available from just 1700rpm, the 1.6-litre engine is extremely quick, which makes for excellent mid-range acceleration. One of the big plus points for the old 205 GTi was its top end speed and the 208 doesn’t disappoint here either, with plenty of high range acceleration to the red line in fifth and sixth gears.
The six-speed manual ‘box works really well and employs a smooth and snappy gearchange that encourages the driver to rattle up and down the ratios at will. The ‘box is also well suited to low speed driving and the 208 GTi will happily sit in third gear for the mid-afternoon pootle to the shops. On the downside, the engine is rather quiet and lacks any notable exhaust note.
The 208 GTi has had considerable weight savings and is 1160kg lighter than the old 207 GTi, which makes it a lot more nimble in in the corners. However, as commendable as the improvements in weight are, they are undermined by a soft suspension set up, with overzealous power steering and numb handling. The result is a car that never feels engaging or raw, which are key ingredients to any hot hatch.
Things do improve when you employ the 208 GTi as a daily runner, with the soft set up providing a pleasant and serine ride that makes it perfect for doubling up as transport for the school run. The 208 also excels as a motorway cruiser. with its added punch making for confident overtaking.
However, there’s no getting away from the fact that the 208 GTi is lacking in any form of driver engagement and this makes it difficult to recommend over its key rival, the Fiesta ST. On paper, the Peugeot is quicker than the Ford, but it never feels it due to its dumbed down handling and woolly ride.
We have no doubt that many older drivers – or those with family commitments – will enjoy the 208 GTi due to its soft and friendly nature, but anyone wanting a true all-round hot hatch experience will be left disappointed.
|1.6 THP||48–52 mpg||6.5–6.8 s||125–139 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Peugeot 208 GTI (2013 – 2019)
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.
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