Peugeot 208 GTi and GTi by Peugeot Sport review - a return to 205 GTi form? - Peugeot 208 GTi Prices, specs and rivals

The Peugeot 208 GTI trying to channel the spirit of its seminal predecessor, the original 205 GTI. Does the latest hot hatch get close?

Evo rating
Price
from £19,515
  • Best Peugeot hot hatchbacks in years; fast and involving
  • Ford Fiesta ST runs it very close

The 208 GTi starts at £19,815 in basic trim. Stepping up to 208 GTi Prestige trim lifts that cost to £20,665, while the full-fat Peugeot Sport begins at £22,665.

In other words, all are priced as you’d expect for a circa-200bhp, supermini-based hot hatchback. While cars like the Ford Fiesta ST undercut the base price of a 208 by quite a margin – the Ford starts at £17,895 in ST-1 trim – the 208 offers fairly strong levels of equipment, with a touchscreen infotainment system (nav is extra), LED indicators and DRLs, parking sensors, and leather and cloth sports seats as standard.

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Prestige trim adds satellite navigation, heated seats and a glass panoramic roof, while the Peugeot Sport throws in all the mechanical changes already mentioned, plus Peugeot Sport badging, Alcantara-trimmed seats and specific carpet mats.

Closest match for the GTi by Peugeot Sport is the recently-introduced Ford Fiesta ST200 (£22,895). It's more powerful than the standard Fiesta ST and Ford has tweaked the suspension, actually softening the springs and dampers but beefing up the rear torsion beam and front anti-roll bar - changes that have also been applied to the regular ST since we first drove that car. It's less intense than the Peugeot but a better all-rounder, and some may find the Ford's more conventional interior (while not as nicely-finished as the Peugeot's) easier to live with.

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In addition to the Fiesta ST – which is probably the Pug’s closest rival – there are several other choices in the hot hatch market. Most worth looking at are the Mini John Cooper Works and the Clio 220 Trophy, the latter of which hides an excellent chassis behind a lacklustre engine and twin-clutch gearbox.

On the fringes of the class are cars like the Vauxhall Corsa VXR (firm, aggressive), VW Polo GTI (handsome, uninvolving to drive), Audi S1 (mighty engine, expensive), SEAT Ibiza Cupra (pert styling, marginally more lively than the Polo), and Juke Nismo RS (quirky, surprising). None quite match up to the Peugeot or Ford as pure driving machines, but each has merit.

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