wheel and the driver’s seat need to be precisely adjusted to avoid obscuring anything on the high-mounted instrument panel.
The principle behind this ergonomic anomaly is that the driver doesn’t have to glance down — and away from the road — to check speed or engine revs. It’s a wellintentioned theory that doesn’t work well in practice.
The overall build quality can’t be faulted but some of the plastics low in the cabin still look and feel cheap.
The lack of a standard reversing camera doesn’t do Peugeot any favours.
It can be had for $300 but it is increasingly becoming an expected safety feature even in small hatches.
Having to pay $1500 for satnav only bolsters the case to use a mobile phone holder and let Google or Siri sort out the route.
Equipment apart, as an urban runabout the 208 works well enough.
In turbo form, the 1.2-litre triple belies its modest capacity by willingly hauling the 208 up to urban speeds.
It isn’t the quickest in the light-car class but it doesn’t disgrace itself, either.
Auto stop-start and a new six-speed automatic transmission pare fuel use to a claimed 4.5L/100km — expect to see up to 7.0L in peak-hour traffic.
The suspension is heavier than a typical Asian light hatch. That has the effect of keeping the 208 composed over minor ripples in the road but it can jar on sharp-edged potholes or speed humps.
ON THE ROAD
The three-cylinder is sufficiently boisterous for the 208 to sing with the best of them but the vague steering feel doesn’t encourage taking the hatch on a high-tempo dance through favourite curves, despite the fact the turning ratio approaches go-kart directness.
The lack of front-end precision is exaggerated by body roll and pitching under brakes.
Neither is terrible but they detract from what could otherwise be a sporty drive.
The engine’s willingness to rev isn’t reflected on the speedo, with a 100km/h sprint time of 10.9 seconds. Tall gearing is the major culprit here and is the price paid to achieve that frugal fuel rating.
PEUGEOT 208 ACTIVE
PRICE $21,990 WARRANTY 3 years/100,000km CAPPED SERVICING $2500 over 5 years SERVICE INTERVAL 12 months/15,000km ENGINE 1.2-litre 3-cylinder turbo, 81kW/205Nm TRANSMISSION 6-speed auto; FWD THIRST 4.5L/100km DIMENSIONS 3962mm (L), 1739mm (W), 1460mm (H), 2538mm (WB) WEIGHT 1070kg SPARE Full-size
Driven less enthusiastically, the Pug is a composed and quiet car with the interior space and ambience to be a decent daily driver.
A great new engine is let down by a chassis that can’t match the best in class for driving feedback and a driving position some won’t be able to reconcile.
At $22K, the 208 Active encounters top-end rivals from Honda to Toyota.
The numbers don’t quite add up in a segment where value for money is the key denominator.