New Peugeot 208 GT-Line first drive

Peugeot 208 GT-Line

Peugeot 208 GT-Line





The new 65 registration plate change month of September is with us and new car sales are expected to reach a record high total this year.

Demand will be driven by the introduction of new and refreshed new models, new Euro 6 lower CO2 emission engines and all backed up by low cost finance schemes.

Despite the twice a year plate change of March and September being introduced in 2001 the cachet of driving a car with the latest plate has never really gone away. Close to 426,000 new cars were sold in September last year and that figure is expected to be even higher this September with the introduction of the new 65 plate.

With the UK’s new car market now recovered from the gloomy bank crisis days of 2008 when sales fell to 1.8-million, sales have gone on rising sharply and for the first six months of this year 1,376,889 new cars were registered, an all-time record. At the last count figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show registrations for the first seven months of this year were up by another 6.5% over the same period last year. Their forecast for the whole year will be around 2,565-million sales.

The top selling sector remains ‘supermini’ with four model ranges in the UK’s top ten sales chart. These are the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, VW Polo and the Fiat 500. Other similar sized competitors include the highly rated Skoda Fabia, the DS3, Honda Jazz, Hyundai i20 and Mini Hatch 5-Door. Last year nearly 900,000 superminis, or 35.7% of the UK’s total new car market, were sold.

Although the UK is the third largest European market for Peugeot, not featuring in the UK’s top ten sales chart is their best selling model range – the 208 supermini. It offers the choice of three or five door hatchback models with petrol and diesel models at prices ranging from £11,695 for a 1.0-litre 68hp version up to £21,995 for the 1.6-litre 208hp GTi by Peugeot Sport – the flagship of the line-up.

Arriving in time for the 65 plate sales month is the refreshed, (Peugeot calls it new) 208. This range was first introduced three years ago and the latest updates include new Euro 6 engines, additional models, revised styling, more personalisation options and new colours including an n optional £150 textured matt black part body paint finish for the GTi Peugeot Sport flagship.

Peugeot 208 GT-Line Peugeot 208 GT-Line Peugeot 208 GT-Line

The specification line-up in order of prices starts with Access A/C, followed by Active, Allure, GT-Line, GTi, GTi Prestige and GTi by Peugeot Sport. The spec level will of course depend on the engine of choice. These are either new 1.0 or 1.2 PureTech petrol or 1.6-litre BlueHDi turbodiesel units. There is also the 1.6-litre THP petrol unit for the GTi versions. Petrol models have CO2 emission figures from 102g/km and all diesel units are below 95g/km with the lowest being just 79g/km.

To get the picture on who buys what from the Peugeot 208 range sales figures show 80% of customers choose a five door version, 40% have the Active trim level, 75% of 208s are petrol powered and 52% of buyers are choosing the new PureTech 1.2-litre unit, 55% of buyers are female and Shark Grey is the most popular colour taking 19% of sales. In the UK nearly 33,000 units of the 208 are sold each year – probably more this year with the latest changes.

Getting to the bones in terms of changes to the new 208, the re-style is in keeping with the brand’s move upmarket. It is claimed to be more assertive and distinctive. The new front bumper creates a sharper and more precise line with a wider grille and deeper chrome finisher. The new look is supported by new two-tone headlamps with black and chrome masks and an LED light signature. These new headlamps are fitted as standard from Active trim level and above. At the rear the full LED light clusters have been redesigned to incorporate Peugeot’s 3D ‘claws’ motif. In profile the sculpted sides and chrome window surrounds of the 208 are retained. Enhancements include exclusive new 16 and 17-inch wheel options available across the range. Chrome door mirror shells are now standard from the Allure trim upwards.

When the Peugeot 208 was launched in 2012 it was the first opportunity for customers to experience the brand’s new ‘i-Cockpit’ cabin concept which has since been adopted for the 2008 compact SUV and the larger 308 C-segment models. Consisting of a compact steering wheel, head-up instrumentation panel and large touch-screen, it has been generally been well received. Now the latest enhancements include a steering wheel trimmed in full-grain leather from Active trim onwards while the soft-touch moulded dashboard strip has new graining on higher specification models. The seven-inch touch screen remains standard from Active trim level and provides intuitive access to all systems including audio, navigation, telephone, vehicle information and internet. On-board connectivity using Bluetooth, USB and mobile applications via Peugeot Connect Apps has been upgraded to take account of the latest software improvements. Brand new to the 208 is MirrorScreen which makes it possible to transfer the screen of a smartphone to the vehicle’s display to make full use of its applications.

The 208 is also one of the rare hatchbacks in the segment to offer the option of a £300 Park Assist and added to the list of options are a £250 Active City Brake system and a £200 reversing camera.

Until the latest updates for the 208 range, the 1.0-litre 68hp and 1.2-litre 82hp PureTech three cylinder petrol engines were naturally aspirated. Now the line-up has been expanded with the 1.2-litre turbocharged PureTech petrol 110hp unit with Stop-Start. Coupled with a five-speed manual gearbox this engine achieves CO2 emissions of just 103g/km. It is also now available with a new six-speed automatic gearbox which uses Quickshift twin-clutch technology allowing for faster and smoother changes. With official CO2 emissions of 104g/km this engine and auto gearbox sets new standards for refinement and reduced emissions and improved fuel economy in the supermini sector. Peugeot claims the new 1.2-litre PureTech 110hp S&S automatic combination will be the benchmark engine/transmission in its segment.

I have just been putting the new 208 GT-Line 1.2-litre PureTech 110hp engine and auto gearbox through its road test paces and it is impressive. Despite being only a three-cylinder engine it is smooth, rarely vocal and with its high pressure turbo the acceleration and response is really sharp. There is no loss of power on steep hills and it easily cruises with power in hand at legal maximum motorway speeds. On country roads the new auto box moves smoothly between ratios keeping the engine in its sweet-spot. Much of the response comes from the impressive 205Nm of torque developed from just 1,500rpm. Remember this is a petrol engine of three cylinders, not a four cylinder turbodiesel. Top speed is 118mph and zero to 62mph takes 9.8-seconds. There is really not much more to say other than its fast, its responsive, its relatively quiet for a three-pot and it is fuel frugal.

Officially this combination will return 62.8mpg in the Combined Cycle but my week long test driving, using roads of all types, returned what I think is a very good and realistic 47mpg. With CO2 emissions of only 104g/km, VED road tax is £0 for the First Year rate and then only £20 for Year Two. Company car drivers will enjoy the tax benefits as well with a 15% Benefit-in-Kind rating which for the 20% tax payer means a cost of £44 a month and only £88 a month for the 40% tax band. Insurance is cheap as well with a 15E group rating.

The new up-market GT-Line spec level for three and five door versions is derived from the Allure trim and features an ‘Equalizer grille’ with red 3D markings, a glossy black grille and front fog lamp finishers with 17-inch Caesium diamante alloy wheels, Perla Nera black door mirror shells, chrome window surrounds and a chrome exhaust finisher. It has GT-Line badges on the grille, front wings and tailgate, plus red Peugeot lettering front and rear.

The cabin boasts attractive black and red sports seats with red stitching which is repeated on the door panels and gear lever gaiter/grip. Gloss black door handles with red line at the front, leather sports steering wheel with a flat base section, red stitching and a satin chrome insert complement black seat belts with aluminium door sill finishers and aluminium pedal trims.

Whilst the GT-Line label is more to do with visual appeal and higher spec the new turbo small capacity petrol engine adds more than a hint of sports performance. It’s not cheap to buy at £17,695 but it is cost effective to run and it looks good. Adding options will push up the price even more but the £400 sat/nav with DAB radio option is worth it so will, for some owners, the Park Assist function and the reversing camera adds another £500 to the overall price.

MILESTONES: New Peugeot 208 GT-Line, 1.2 turbo petrol PureTech 110, 5-door supermini. Price: £17,695. Engine/transmission: 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder, turbocharged petrol, 110hp, 205Nm of torque from 1,500rpm, 6-speed automatic. Performance: 118mph, 0-62mph 9.8-seconds, 62.8mpg Combined Cycle (47mpg on test), CO2 104g/km, VED road tax £0/£20, BIK tax 15%. Insurance group: 15E. Warranty: 3-years/60,000-miles. Dimensions/capacities: L 3,973, W 1,739mm, H 1,460mm, boot/load space 285 to 1,152-litres. For: Brilliant new 1.2 turbo petrol engine and 6-speed fast acting auto gearbox, good fuel economy, low cost taxes, good to drive, responsive engine, visually pleasing GT-Line sports specification. Against: Pricey, larger GT spec 17-inch wheels give a firm and noisy ride at times, not the roomiest of new generation supermini hatchbacks.  Miles Better News agency 

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