Ford Fiesta ST coming, another Volkswagen Polo GTI, the Toyota Yaris GRMN, the Mini John Cooper Works, the Renault Sport Clio and, last but not least, the 208 GTI by Peugeot Sport. We thought the latter was an absolute riot when we first drove it, and it's currently our pick of the supermini hot hatches; with so many new rivals on the horizon, what better time to get one in the PH playground?
Some might consider the 208 GTI a bit long in the tooth now, having been on sale for three years and with those aforementioned rivals waiting in the wings. Yet we feel our mildly refreshed welterweight will stand its ground, and we'll do our best to find out how it compares with our time in KR67 DHD.
With Matt bidding farewell to the last of the naturally aspirated hot hatches earlier this year, we are well acquainted with turbocharged shopping cars by now. The little Peugeot's peppy 1.6 produces 208hp at 6,000rpm and 221lb ft at 3,000rpm, delivering 62mph in a swift 6.5 seconds. It shares the same 'Prince' engine block that we saw in the previous generation Mini John Cooper Works, so it's been a proven recipe for a while now. With a six-speed manual gearbox and standard limited-slip diff, the mechanical package is very exciting.
First impressions are really good. I think it's great to look at, especially since Peugeot de-chromed it during the refresh and changed the seats. It's a really good place to be inside with an intuitive infotainment system, decent speakers and those seats are really comfy too. The driving position was awkward at first, having to find the right height adjustment of both seat and steering wheel to look over the top of the wheel instead of through it. It's akin to the set up in a Caterham Seven, so since finding the sweet spot, it feels even better.
The first few hundred miles have been taken fairly steadily on my 100-mile round trip commute to the office to let everything settle in, so I'll report back soon on what it's actually like to drive. But I think it's fair to say, the next six months are going to be very enjoyable and I'm resenting the thought of having to give it back already.
Car: 2017 Peugeot 208 GTI by Peugeot Sport
Run by: Ben
On fleet since: November 2017
Mileage: 877 (delivered on 139)
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)