RE: Peugeot Sport 208 GTI: PH Fleet

RE: Peugeot Sport 208 GTI: PH Fleet

Tuesday 6th February

Peugeot Sport 208 GTI: PH Fleet

With 4,000 miles under his belt, Ben reflects on his time in the 208 so far...



Now that the excitement of driving KR67 DHD on track has worn off, it's time to turn my attention to what it's actually like to drive on the road. Which, lets be honest, is where the majority of 208 GTIs will spend most if not all of their time.

I think it's worth starting by addressing concerns over the driving position, given that it seems to divide opinion. I'll admit it was a little awkward to get used to initially, but after dropping the seat to its lowest setting and the steering wheel to a similar point, I wouldn't have it any other way. Other steering wheels feel huge in comparison, and it really adds to the experience and the darty character of the car.


The 208 GTI by Peugeot Sport has been around for some time now, and in my 4,000 miles of 'ownership' so far, I've experienced the frustrations that other owners talk about. The throttle response can have a mind of its own; setting off from a standing start can take a second or two for the throttle to wake up and at lower revs it can feel hesitant to respond. But once you're moving that falls into insignificance, it's just so damn good to drive.

The greatest reward for me is ultimately in the chassis and the handling. You can brake late, throw it into a corner, plant your foot on the throttle early and feel the limited-slip differential bite and pull you out the other side without the inherent understeer that other hatches in this class would fall into. It still makes me giggle at just how capable it is. The steering response through the little wheel is fast and you can change direction quicker than a whippet, although it can feel a bit numb at times. The Michelin Pilot Super Sports are as good on the road as they are the track with bucket loads of grip, providing the level of predictability that you'd hope for.


Sitting in the car as a passenger I did notice that the damping felt a bit bouncy on uneven roads, but I don't notice it as a driver and importantly it's not crashy or too firm. The wizards at Peugeot Sport have developed a set up that perhaps disconcertingly never feels like you need to back off, you can just keep on pushing. The beefy Brembo brakes bite quickly but allow enough modulation that you're not hitting the windscreen. The gearshift is clean but it's no revelation; then again no one else is matching the crisp dreamy shifts that you'll find in a Honda Civic Type R.

Simmering down for the commute to work it's a lovely place to sit. The seats are super comfy for my 120-mile round trip, although it's a shame there's no heated seat option at this price point, especially when they're available on the standard 208 GTI. It does drone a bit at motorway speeds, but not enough to be a nuisance and barely noticeable with music playing. While I've seen some criticism of the infotainment system I actually think it's great; the nav is intuitive, the sound system is OK and Apple CarPlay is brilliant. It's a nice clean set up with the touch screen and no myriad of buttons to fumble around with. Even if the default language is French when you start a new profile and have to change it to English...


Fuel economy on my drive from Kent to Twickenham will easily return high 40s and I even managed an average of 52mpg one morning. My average over 4,000 miles so far is 39.1mpg so it's a fair way off the combined 52mpg that Peugeot claims but still pretty respectable given that it's a mix of motorway, city, track and B-road hooning.

My only real disappointment is the noise, or lack of. There's no induction roar, no turbo whistle and nothing exciting from the exhaust to match the pace of the car. It's frustrating to think it shares the same Prince engine as the previous generation Mini John Cooper Works, and that's an absolute riot in Sport Mode with its pops and bangs. Yes, these are mostly manufactured in today's pick of hot hatches, but at least there's something to listen to. Perhaps there's an aftermarket solution for my woes that provides a bit more excitement.

As an all rounder though, of the cars currently on sale in this segment I think the Peugeot Sport 208 GTI is hard to beat. Its appetite to be driven hard is bigger than Adam Richman in a burger joint, yet its sensitivity to inputs makes it a proper drivers' car that's thoroughly rewarding when you treat it with respect. On top of this it's so easy to live with every day and it looks great too with the revised design to replace the chrome finishes with black. The elephant in the room is due in the UK for first drives in early summer, so hopefully we'll get the new Ford Fiesta ST in for a twin test before KR67 DHD leaves our fleet.


There's no denying the outgoing Fiesta's success, with nearly 27,000 on the road in the UK according to howmanyleft.co.uk. Compare that to less than 5,000 for the 208 GTI, and it's understandable that the latter is a rare sight on our roads. Not that that's a bad thing though, quite the opposite. I've seen one other Orange Power'd Pug so far during my ownership, and the exclusivity has a huge appeal for me. I don't want to blend in with the rest of the crowd, I want to stand out. And that's exactly what the 208 GTI does.


FACT SHEET
Car:
Peugeot 208 GTI by Peugeot Sport
Run by: Ben
On fleet since: November 2017
Mileage: 3,945
List price new: £23,550 (As tested £24,250 comprising £250 for Peugeot Connect SOS & Assistance, £250 for Active City Brake and £200 for Reversing Camera)
Last month at a glance: It may not sound that exciting, but the little Peugeot's drive more than makes up for it!

 

 

Author
Discussion

Dale487

Original Poster:

713 posts

55 months

Tuesday 6th February
quotequote all

I have similar inconsistent throttle feel when setting off on my SEAT Leon FR 1.4ACT - sometimes it shoots off from a stand still, other times it nearly stalls (for the same amount of throttle input). And this in normal mode of Eco, normal & sport - I'm guessing its either drive by wire throttles or modern turbo engines.

3yardy3

85 posts

46 months

Tuesday 6th February
quotequote all
Seems like a great car but unfortunately until a joint test with a Fiesta ST reveals you would pick the 208 over the ST I can't see anyone buying this over the Ford...

stuart_83

289 posts

33 months

Tuesday 6th February
quotequote all
3yardy3 said:
Seems like a great car but unfortunately until a joint test with a Fiesta ST reveals you would pick the 208 over the ST I can't see anyone buying this over the Ford...
At least you could own the Peugeot without worry of it being nicked outside your house / workplace / supermarket car park.

FN2TypeR

5,461 posts

25 months

Tuesday 6th February
quotequote all
3yardy3 said:
Seems like a great car but unfortunately until a joint test with a Fiesta ST reveals you would pick the 208 over the ST I can't see anyone buying this over the Ford...
I would! biggrin

cossers

1,427 posts

72 months

Tuesday 6th February
quotequote all
I bought my r27 Clio from a guy who replaced it with one of these, think he really likes it!

Quite a nice looking car!
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dazwalsh

3,781 posts

73 months

Tuesday 6th February
quotequote all
Great little car, just the headlights annoy me, oddly shaped and a bit "cute" looking when it should have the sort of agressive nose that a VW scirocco has.

Rest of it looks rather nice for such a small car.

Abstractwings

7 posts

7 months

Tuesday 6th February
quotequote all
More than happy with my 208 Gti (I just nearly wrote 205Gti see what I did there!) It does feel very exclusive around where I live in here County Cork, Ireland
This thing is really suited to the mostly deserted, mostly well surfaced, well sighted but mostly very moist Irish country roads, the thing handles brilliantly, not sure i needed the limited slip of the by PS version to be honest as being a 'cautious ol git' I don't go that mad anymore but it does have the 'ol git' heated seats and the apple car play is really a useful tool/toy. OK the motor does not like to free rev like my previous normally aspirated MX-5 NC, & no you cant really blip the throttle at all, but the handling, braking in and acceleration out the corners would in my opinion leave my previous MX trailing. I love the comfy cockpit feel, head up instruments and the tiny wheel, albeit as already said it is a bit numb, but it does go exactly where you point it with the 'saucer in your lap', so not that bothered about steering 'feedback'. To an 'old git' like me it does hark back to my 1986 Gen 1 R5 Gt-turbo and '88 1.6 205Gti that have been magically merged together and (drastically) updated to 2018 car standards, so mission accomplished Peugeot you got me back after all these years, I am a very happy bunny. If you see a Red 208 nipping around the Cork back roads give me a wave.

3yardy3

85 posts

46 months

Tuesday 6th February
quotequote all
stuart_83 said:
3yardy3 said:
Seems like a great car but unfortunately until a joint test with a Fiesta ST reveals you would pick the 208 over the ST I can't see anyone buying this over the Ford...
At least you could own the Peugeot without worry of it being nicked outside your house / workplace / supermarket car park.
Haha Very true!!

culpz

3,893 posts

44 months

Tuesday 6th February
quotequote all
stuart_83 said:
At least you could own the Peugeot without worry of it being nicked outside your house / workplace / supermarket car park.
That's probably because the Peugeot isn't worth stealing wink

I jest, of course. It's been a shame that they're so easily pinched. I'd still rather have the Ford, knowing that it's the car i'd actually want, as apposed to settling for this and ultimately not being as happy for the sake of it potentially being nicked.

GibsonSG

152 posts

43 months

Tuesday 6th February
quotequote all
Abstractwings said:
mostly very moist Irish country roads
Why did that arouse me? The word “moist” has changed dramatically for me in recent years. Bloody kids and their Urban Dictionary

HighwayStar

1,894 posts

76 months

Tuesday 6th February
quotequote all
3yardy3 said:
Seems like a great car but unfortunately until a joint test with a Fiesta ST reveals you would pick the 208 over the ST I can't see anyone buying this over the Ford...
Clearly people will, do and buy other cars as well before the Ford, for any number of reasons. Whether they make any sense or not.
Take me. I know Ford sports jobs are pretty decent, I see that but.. I've never owned a Ford. Never will either. Makes no sense but there it is. Back in the day I a 205 GTi 1.9, a Clio 16v and a 306 GTi 6 so... If I was in the market for a hatch in this segment I'd be looking at a 208. Plus as mentioned, not being familiar on the road appeals to me.

3yardy3

85 posts

46 months

Tuesday 6th February
quotequote all
HighwayStar said:
3yardy3 said:
Seems like a great car but unfortunately until a joint test with a Fiesta ST reveals you would pick the 208 over the ST I can't see anyone buying this over the Ford...
Clearly people will, do and buy other cars as well before the Ford, for any number of reasons. Whether they make any sense or not.
Take me. I know Ford sports jobs are pretty decent, I see that but.. I've never owned a Ford. Never will either. Makes no sense but there it is. Back in the day I a 205 GTi 1.9, a Clio 16v and a 306 GTi 6 so... If I was in the market for a hatch in this segment I'd be looking at a 208. Plus as mentioned, not being familiar on the road appeals to me.
Let me rephrase... Can't see anyone buying these in great numbers!

HighwayStar

1,894 posts

76 months

Tuesday 6th February
quotequote all
3yardy3 said:
HighwayStar said:
3yardy3 said:
Seems like a great car but unfortunately until a joint test with a Fiesta ST reveals you would pick the 208 over the ST I can't see anyone buying this over the Ford...
Clearly people will, do and buy other cars as well before the Ford, for any number of reasons. Whether they make any sense or not.
Take me. I know Ford sports jobs are pretty decent, I see that but.. I've never owned a Ford. Never will either. Makes no sense but there it is. Back in the day I a 205 GTi 1.9, a Clio 16v and a 306 GTi 6 so... If I was in the market for a hatch in this segment I'd be looking at a 208. Plus as mentioned, not being familiar on the road appeals to me.
Let me rephrase... Can't see anyone buying these in great numbers!
Me neither wink
It's been that way for years so no surprise there.

LuS1fer

34,171 posts

177 months

Tuesday 6th February
quotequote all
Except it doesn't stand out. Seems a white GTi has been parked near where I park and I didn't really notice it was a GTi at all, until recently but only because I quite fancied one.

Not that the ST is overly shouty but Ford have a knack with distinctive wheels that other lack.

ZX10R NIN

11,224 posts

57 months

Tuesday 6th February
quotequote all
I've always rated these as a car but the Fiesta was just that bit better but I'll be the first to recommend one of these over a Polo GTI/Ibiza Cupra etc.

gazza5

325 posts

37 months

Wednesday 7th February
quotequote all
Peugeot has come along way imho.

My missus has a 14 plate 2008 suv pretend thing - she loves it, before she was never bothered about peugeots, but the next car for her will either be a refreshed pug 2008 with the 1.2 3 cylinder turbo engine (she has the 1.2 non turbo version 82 bhp I think) or the 3008 suv type thing.

I nearly got one of these on a cheap lease when they were out for something silly like 130 a month, but decided against it.

I now drive a golf r - which tbh is a completely different ball game, but if my missus ends up with a 3008 next, will mean I no longer need a bigger car for family stuff and the GTI from peugeot will be on my list to test.

Limpet

2,944 posts

93 months

Wednesday 7th February
quotequote all
gazza5 said:
Peugeot has come along way imho.
Seems to me they've just clawed their way back to where they were in the late 80s and throughout the 90s, by making a decent range of cars that look nice and drive well. The range of bland porridge they produced in the 00s was all the more unforgiveable because of this previous form.

The motoring world is a better place with Peugeot making decent fwd hatches, IMHO,


Edited by Limpet on Wednesday 7th February 11:05

imaginativename

54 posts

25 months

Wednesday 7th February
quotequote all
Is there much difference between earlier GTIs and this "by Peugeot Sport" one? Earlier ones are quite a lot cheaper.

cerb4.5lee

10,115 posts

112 months

Wednesday 7th February
quotequote all
Limpet said:
The motoring world is a better place with Peugeot making decent fwd hatches, IMHO,
I agree, but I find it pretty unforgivable that a manufacturer of such great hot hatches in the past...can then decide not to bother for so long and just make dross. For that they deserve to not sell in big numbers, and I can easily see why nobody takes them seriously anymore.

Tannedbaldhead

2,042 posts

64 months

Wednesday 7th February
quotequote all
3yardy3 said:
Seems like a great car but unfortunately until a joint test with a Fiesta ST reveals you would pick the 208 over the ST I can't see anyone buying this over the Ford...
I did.

Ford is the better drive but as the more refined, more comfortable, better commuter, better equipped less focused, more subtly styled less in your dace more easily lived with day to day option the Pug is the car for me.

Not saying the GTI is better than the ST. It's just better suited to my own personal desires and needs.