Simon Lai jumps into the new 2015 Peugeot 208 at its Australian launch.
The new 2015 Peugeot 208 is not a new compact model in the French maker’s 20# series, but more of a reworking of the existing one.
In fact Peugeot have expanded the range making more variants available to a wider market while altering the engine and of course the styling.
The Active, Allure and the star, the 208 GTi, all make a reappearance in the line-up. Joining them are the GT-Line, which sits between the Allure and the top of the range model, and the new entry level Access.
For only $15,990, the Access allow buyers with a limited budget to get behind the wheel of a Peugeot. Mind you, this is for the manual version with the 60kW/180Nm 3-cylinder 1.2L engine.
At that price though, you do go without in some areas. The Access lacks parking sensors, the 7” touch screen, electric windows in the back, electric mirrors or leather trim steering wheel with controls.
Overall the car is lighter and has a less than solid build quality though you still get to enjoy the internal styling found in the higher models with the trendy lines and raised instrument panel and touch screen.
The good news is the auto version ($18,990) has the more powerful, 1.2L engine that deals out 81kW/205Nm which is also found under the bonnet of the Active, Allure and GT-Line.
It’s a vast improvement on the previous, yet larger, 1.6L powerplant with more immediate power and responsiveness. On the test track it made the old 208 look sluggish.
Meanwhile, the GT-Line is powered by the same engine but handles better with lower 17” alloys.
It has more sporty styling parading off a different grille design with red highlights, red Peugeot logos, GT-Line badging, glossy black interior door handles with red stripe, and a red stripe also adorns the seat belts.
But it’s the GTi where the 208 really shines. A bigger 1.6L engine coupled with a turbocharger, it delivers up to 153kW and 300Nm - priced from $30,990.
This is the same engine as is found in the limited edition 30th Anniversary GTi, but the new GTi seems a lot more feisty.
Acceleration was punchy making full use of its power to weight ratio, and the handling was something else! It clung to the corners and was a breeze to handle with easy gear changes and plenty of ticker to push out of corners.
The experience was enhanced by the compact, flat-bottom steering wheel, bucket seats and alloy pedals.
Park assist is standard in grades from Allure upwards plus electrochromic mirror, dual zone climate control, auto lights and wipers and centre armrest.
Some features which you’d expect, like reversing camera, don’t come standard but are optional for $300 in all models except the Access which you can also get with Active City Brake that responds to potential low speed collisions.
A range of metallic and textured paints are also available for around a thousand dollars and fortunately all safety and security features are available across the board.
Having five models in the 208 range is a great selling point, giving customers a great deal of choice. However, it left me wondering if it was necessary having so many variants spaced so close together.
It’s takes only an upgrade of only a few grand more to jump up to the next specification which isn’t a lot more to pay to get more features or performance. This may lead to confusion or a bigger spend with an upsell at the dealership.
Although, that doesn’t take away from Peugeot’s attempt at capturing more of the market and the leap they’ve made with the superior engine and overall drive and comfort.
You can now have the choice of driving an auto 208 Access for under $20,000 or if you have more dosh to splurge and want some excitement, hop into a blood-pumping 208 GTi.
Either way, you’ll still be in a 2015 Peugeot 208.
Pricing for the Peugeot 208 range starts from:
$15,990 Access manual
$18,990 Access auto
NUTS and BOLTS – 2015 Peugeot 208
Engine: 1.2L petrol engine producing 60kW and 180Nm
1.2L producing 81kW and 205Nm
1.6L turbo petrol producing 153kW and 300Nm
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Warranty: 3 Year/100,000km
Safety: Not tested
Price: From $15,990