Peugeot 208 (2012 – 2019) Review

Peugeot 208 (2012 – 2019) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
Today, the 208 is an appealing hatchback. The styling has aged as well as any of its rivals, running costs should be low, and there’s a big supply of used examples to choose from.

+Efficient and punchy turbocharged engines, bold and upmarket styling, classy interior especially the higher trim levels.

-Non-turbocharged engines are best avoided, limited rear space, driving experience lacks sparkle.

Insurance Groups are between 5–26
On average it achieves 75% of the official MPG figure

The Peugeot 208 is one of the most stylish and interesting cars in the crowded small hatchback market. Launched in 2012, the 208 still looks fresh today, while the top trim models have a pleasingly upmarket feel. There’s a Peugeot 208 for everyone, from a frugal diesel to a GTI that rekindles memories of the iconic Peugeot 205 GTI. The design and layout of the cabin will frustrate and delight in equal measure, but there’s no doubt that the 208 is a chic and very French alternative to the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa.

Goodness, is that the time? It’s eight years since Peugeot launched the 208, replacing the lacklustre and dated 207. It still looks fresh today, helped in no small part by a facelift in 2015. It might not be as popular as the Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Corsa, but there’s a lot to like about the Peugeot 208.

The styling is one thing. On the right alloy wheels and in a rich metallic colour, the 208 has a surprisingly upmarket look, enabling it to rub shoulders with some of the premium players. The good vibes continue on the inside, with a cabin that’s suitably different to its rivals.

Even today, the i-Cockpit divides opinion. Some love the small steering wheel and raised instrument panel, while others find it awkward and unappealing. It means that you look over the steering wheel, rather than peering at the dials through the wheel itself. It’s like a head-up display, albeit one that’s part of the dashboard architecture.

It’s a car that’s been built for two. The design of the cabin is such that the driver and front seat passenger feel like they’re in a spacious supermini. It’s too cramped in the rear, which is awkward to climb into in three-door models. There’s a reason why carmakers are turning their backs on three-door cars – five doors are more practical.

The boot is adequate for a car of this size, but a Skoda Fabia is more spacious. Alternatively, you could do what so many other buyers have done by opting for the roomier and more flexible Peugeot 2008. The crossover is based on the 208, but benefits from more interior space, a larger boot and a general feeling of getting more for your money.

Equipment levels are good if you avoid the entry-level versions, while the higher trim levels are positively lavish. Opt for the likes of the XY, Allure, Roland Garros and GT Line models for the best feelgood factor. Alternatively, choose the 208 GTI for some hot hatchback thrills. The 208 GTI by Peugeot Sport is a modern classic.

Elsewhere, the 208 is far from memorable to drive. It lacks the comfortable ride of, say, the Citroen C3, but also the precision and polish of the Ford Fiesta. It’s a shame that Peugeot didn’t focus on ride comfort, because this could have been a small luxury car, especially the higher trim levels.

It’s not all bad news. A 208 with a small turbocharged petrol engine is light and agile in the city, while a car with a diesel engine feels grown-up and efficient on a motorway. There’s a 208 to suit most needs, so you’re sure to find something that suits you. Best of all, good examples start from around £3,000, but we’d recommend buying a post-facelift model.

Looking for the latest version? You'll want our Peugeot 208 (2022) Review

Ask Honest John

When should the cambelt be changed on my Peugeot?

"I have a Peugeot 208 1.2 petrol. I was told the cam belt life was 100,000 miles - I have only done 25,000 miles in 8 1/2 years. What is the recommended life? I have been told that later 1.2 engines have been reduced to 60,000 miles."
We would recommend that the belt be changed at 60,000 miles or 6 years, whichever comes first. Given the age of your vehicle we would get it changed now.
Answered by Alan Ross

Is there a recall on the Peugeot 1.2 PureTech engine?

"I have seen online that there was a recall of the 1.2 PureTech across Peugeot and Citroen based on the timing chain and the wrong oil casing it to disintegrate. I have looked at a couple, with the intention to buy for my son and this concerns me now. As with Covid etc there are many cars out there with missing history and I wonder whether garages would take note of using the correct oil with 100% increase in its costs over the alternative. Does anyone have experience of the recall in the UK and what a timing belt would cost?"
Peugeot and Citroen issued a recall in 2021 relating to the wet timing belt degrading and causing restricted oil flow within the engine, which could cause significant damage. Although we would expect any car affected to have had rectification work carried out, it is possible that there are cars out there that have not been using the correct oil grade. We would expect a replacement timing belt to cost between £400 and £600. You may wish to consider an alternative car, or choosing one of the other Peugeot 208 engine options.
Answered by David Ross

How long should the clutch on a Peugeot automatic last?

"My mother in law bought a Peugeot 208 a year ago and with 18,000 miles on the clock. The “clutch", which even though it is an automatic, has started going at a cost of £1700 to replace according to the Peugeot dealership. It seems very unrealistic that a clutch which you don’t even control should go after 18,000 miles. The Peugeot three-year warranty ran out in July but she extended it for another year so it is still under warranty."
This will be an automated manual, referred to as an EGS or EGC. While a driver would not be able to damage the clutch by slipping it (the most common reason for clutch failure), if she habitually sat on the brakes at traffic lights, leaving the transmission in Drive, and the engine did not automatically switch off, then that could have the effect of wearing the clutch. I think there's room for negotiation and goodwill here under the extended warranty, so that's the way to tackle it.
Answered by Honest John

My car just had the engine replaced, should the mileage go back to zero?

"I bought a secondhand Peugeot 208 on finance with 33,000 miles on it. It then blew a head gasket after five months of use. As it was under warranty, I argued that the garage should foot the bill and, after much ado and prompting by the finance company, they had no choice but to agree. To cut a long story short, the garage ended up putting a brand new engine in the car. I'm now wondering if the mileage should start from zero given that its a new engine. Also, how does this impact on the sale should I wish to keep it after paying off finance? Should my insurance decrease?"
Well done. No, the mileage stays the same. But you now have the advantage of a brand new engine in a car with 33,000 miles. That increases its value, not decreases it. The V5C will need to be amended with the new engine number. No 'modification' so no need to disclose the engine change to your insurer.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Peugeot 208 (2012 – 2019) cost?