04 August 2013

Peugeot 208 1.6VTi Reviewed

Peugeot 208 made its debut in Malaysia last April, available in sole 1.6L powertrain option but with two bodystyles, 3 door and 5 door hatchback. It has been a long time for us in Malaysia to get a small Peugeot, as the previous smallest offering is the 308 series. If one goes back longer in time, we used to have the 206 as well, albeit later in rebadged Naza Bestari form. We skipped the 207 model that came after that.

Nasim has priced the 208 series well below its bigger 308 brother, but pricier than its booted older predecessor at RM85,888 for the 5 door and RM95,888 for the 3 door version. Both version are powered by similar 1.6L mill punching 122PS and 160Nm of power and torque respectively. It is sufficient to propel the chic hatch to 100km/h in 10.7 seconds on its way to 190km/h top speed.

In tune with the latest trend in downsizing of "stuff", the new small Peugeot is smaller and lighter than the car it replaced. Compared to the outgoing 207, Peugeot 208 is 70mm shorter, 25mm lower and whopping 110kg lighter. It now measured 3,960mm long, 1,492mm tall, 1,748mm wide and sits on 2,540mm wheelbase.

The dimensions are enough to supply a cosy cabin and 285L of boot volume. It is actually 15L more than 207 with 50mm more legroom, quite a significant feat considering the reduction in length. The interior is styled in the latest Peugeot cabin language, with prominent switch gear, stubby lever, stylistic meter binnacle, and in this case, a centralized touch screen that has a responsive touch control.

Coming to the car, the operation of the handles and door weight has a "european" heaviness to it. The door swing out with hefty of effort, so it the seat padding, gear lever slide and steering twirl resistance. While it exudes a high perceived quality impression, it could be tiresome for some.

You sit high up in the 5 door cabin. The ergonomics is good, with high gear lever and high mounted audio control, but the non-circular steering wheel takes some time to get used to. Ditto the highly-positioned meter binnacle which is meant to be read above the steering wheel. There is also an issue with the front centre arm rest because it virtually block the access to the handbrake. But since we are using it only during the the start and end of each drive, it is relegated to minor foibles. Other than that, other aspect of the car is quite sound. Space is great for small family and their belongings with decent rear legroom and boot space.

The car moves with the solid feeling you can expect with European makers, something the Japanese still need to learn. On my test route in late morning in high ambient temperature, I found that the aircond is reasonably effective to cool down the cabin although it is not arctic cold like some cars. The side mirror is close to the eye as it is positioned well back in the door but the steering wheel really takes sometime to get used to due to its abnormal shape.

On the moves, the car feels solid and heavy, with good bump tolerance to the road undulation. Pick-up and throttle responsiveness can only be described as  adequate, and so is the isolation of the engine sound from the cabin.  

A good buy? Well Peugeot 208 has a certain charm to it. This is especially true in terms of aesthetic of the new Peugeot design language. You'll get the "in-thing" at the moment like the funky LED DRL eye-brow, and elaborative body panel design features. You've get to evaluate the Euro-feeling to see if you like it. Or else, there's nothing wrong to try out the new Kia Rio and Ford Fiesta before setting your verdict.

Small gallery can be found after the jump.

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