If you can’t quite stretch to the GTi and GTi by Peugeot Sport versions of the 208 – or the performance versions of other superminis – then the basic 208 is still one of the better options available to you in the class.
It offers a fine ride and handling balance, drinks fuel at a modest rate and has one of the better cockpits among its rivals – if you can adjust to life with Peugeot’s iCockpit design, which places the instruments just below the windscreen and a smaller wheel in your hands. The 208 isn’t the last word in affordable thrills – a Fiesta or Mini is still the choice there – but it should be on your shortlist.
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The top trim line below the GTi models is GT Line, and it’s the one you’ll want to pick if you still want a semblance of sporting appeal in your 208 without a GTi-style price tag.
While sport suspension isn’t on the specification list, you do get 17-inch wheels, sports seats and some styling tweaks, as well as the punchiest engine options.
If you’re expecting GTi-like thrills from the rest of the 208 range then you’ll probably come away disappointed, a situation not helped by the disappearance of the 154bhp version of Peugeot’s 1.6-litre turbocharged engine. But there’s still fun to be had guiding the 208 down a B-road, making deft inputs through the small wheel and sailing over craggy surfaces with greater composure than many of its rivals manage.