Peugeot 208 Allure Sport Review

By: Bruce Newton

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Peugeot 208 Peugeot 208 Peugeot 208
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Test: Peugeot 208. Looks cute - but does it deliver?

Peugeot 208 Allure Sport Review
Test: Peugeot 208

 

Peugeot 208 

Peugeot has woken from its slumber and sworn to roll out a swag of interesting and involving cars in the years to come.

But it seems the French company was still to have its morning coffee and baguette when it developed the 208 supermini. Hey, it's interesting to look at, but it isn't that involving to drive.

At the core of the new 208 is a modified version of the PF1 architecture that underpinned its uninspiring predecessor, the 207. But while the wheelbase is retained, the new car is shorter, narrower, lower and significantly lighter.

Technically at least, the latter is perhaps the 208's finest achievement. The 1.2-litre three-cylinder, five-speed manual base model weighs in under the tonne and from there the heaviest car in the line-up barely sneaks over 1100kg tare. The base 207 was 1224kg.

All-up, there are six models. The 60kW 1.2 Active manual and 88kW 1.6 four-speed auto, the Allure 1.6 manual and auto, the Allure Premium 1.6 auto, and the sole three-door in the lineup, the 115kW Allure Sport 1.6-litre turbo-petrol (or THP) six-speed manual. There are no diesels and there will be no wagon or CC. Pricing starts $500 cheaper than the 207 at $18,490 for the Active 1.2, while Premium and Sport top the range at $26,490.

Equipment levels are pretty strong. The cornerstone is a 7.0-inch media screen in the dashboard that looks like a computer tablet and has pretty swish graphics. Pity you can't unplug it and take it with you (a la VW Up). The other key interior design feature is a tiny steering wheel designed to make the car feel racier and more intimate to drive.

It might work for some, but it just annoyed me because the top of the rim blocked the digital speedo readout in the 'floating' instrument panel. I also found the steering wheel wouldn't rise high enough or the seat drop low enough to feel that I was riding 'in' rather than 'on' the 208.

No surprise that the Sport is the pick of the driving experiences. The 1.2 triple needs a turbo and the 1.6-litre fours are mediocre. The THP engine's mid-range makes a substantial difference to the ability to make swift forward progress.

As do 205/45R17 Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tyres, which help deliver the best body control and decent grip while ride quality remains more than acceptable. The electric rack-and-pinion steering is at its weightiest in the Sport, rarely rattling but also not offering much in the way of feel.

Manual gearboxes are a letdown across the range (we didn't get to try the autos at launch), but the Sport's narrow-gated six-speeder is an outright disappointment. Missed shifts were too common.

All that combined to make the Allure Sport a less than alluring and not particularly sporty drive. We look forward to Peugeot's next product instalment, post breakfast.

 

FAST FACTS

Peugeot 208 Allure Sport

 

ENGINE: 1598cc 4cyl, DOHC, 16v,  turbocharger

POWER: 115kW @ 6000rpm

TORQUE: 240Nm @ 1750-4000rpm

WEIGHT: 1063kg

GEARBOX: 6-speed manual

0-100KM/H: 7.3sec (claimed)

TOP SPEED: 215km/h (claimed)

PRICE: $26,490

 

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