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 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.
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...
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.
Car: Peugeot 208 GTI by Peugeot Sport
Run by: Ben
On fleet since: November 2017
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)