Peugeot 208 now up to speed
A MODERN TRANSMISSION AND BETTER ENGINE MAKE THE LITTLEST PEUGEOT A VIABLE OPTION
When Peugeot launched the latest 208 in New Zealand, the car came across as a pleasant enough little vehicle, with a few glaring faults.
Chief among them was that it was not only saddled with an automatic transmission with only four gears, but that it was a French automatic transmission with only four gears. Gear shifts were awful and largely unexpected, almost never happening when you wanted them to, and, if by chance they did, it was almost certainly accidental.
Once again, an awful automatic transmission ruined an otherwise good French car.
But things have suddenly improved for the 208, as the facelift has not only brought a few exterior changes, a couple of new colours and an increase in standard specifications, it has also netted the little 208 a new engine and, rather brilliantly, a new six-speed automatic transmission.
Peugeot distributor Sime Darby Automobiles has taken the pruning shears to the 208 range on the release of the new version, cutting the number of models available to just two. Only the new engine and transmission are available.
The new engine is Peugeot’s excellent 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol turbo one that pumps out 81kW of power and 205Nm of torque. Compared to the 1.6-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine previously available in the 208, the 1.2 brings a slight 7kW decrease in power, but a fat 45Nm of extra torque. Not only does this slice a full second off the 208’s 0 to 100km/h time (now 10.9 seconds), but also drops fuel consumption to 4.1L/100km for the combined cycle.
The 208 Active opens the range at $27,990 and comes standard with 15-inch alloy wheels, a tyre pressure monitoring system, front fog lights, manual air conditioning, LED daytime running lights and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
The 208 Allure tops the range at $30,990 and adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a cornering function to the front fog lamps, cruise control and a speed limiter, electrically adjustable and heated wing mirrors, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, a leather steering wheel, satellite navigation and a reversing camera.
Autonomous city braking is an option on the Allure model and comes packaged with the mirror link function for connecting a phone. The Allure also can have an optional panoramic glass roof and 17-inch alloy wheels, and the Active can be optioned with textured matt-finish paint (ice grey or ice silver) for $750.
The matt paint finish is an interesting option that, unlike other matt paint finishes, Peugeot says requires no special maintenance. This kind of finish can look good on, say, a supercar, but on a small Peugeot it looks like they forgot to paint it.
Still, the biggest improvement to the 208 has to be the fantastic six-speed transmission. Being hooked up to a great little engine helps, but having a sensible, modern number of gears transforms the 208 into a fantastic little car, around town and on the open road.
The rev engine and slick transmission now make the most of the wonderfully agile platform the 208 sits on, making it fun to flick around a winding road, as opposed to frustrating.
The smallest Peugeot also has a refined, remarkably supple ride for such a little car. The increase in equipment the facelift has provided and the engine and transmission it deserves turn the 208 into an attractive option. Amazing what a facelift can do.