Peugeot 208 GTI by Peugeot Sport

The 2016 Pug meets a new ST

- Stephen Dobie (@Stephen_ Dobie)

THE PEUGEOT GOT A WELL-EARNED respite recently with the brief arrival of a facelifted Ford Fiesta ST. I’m delighted to say that as much as I enjoyed a week in a Mean Green ST – relishing the slicker shift from its stubby little gearlever, in particular – I also breathed a sigh of relief when I got back into the GTI. I’m fully attached to the thing now I’m weaving more pleasurabl­e routes into the mostly business miles it seems to cover. The Bilsteins I recently had fitted can likely take some credit.

A week driving something else made me realise how accustomed I’ve become to the 208’s dinky-wheel, high-dials driving position, too. The set-up was infamous when Peugeot first steered its cars down this route, but I’ve always been a fan; I think my 5ft 9in frame makes me more sympatheti­c to its idiosyncra­sies than some of my taller peers. The first few hours in the Fiesta had me marvelling at just how oversized its wheel suddenly seemed.

Once I’d adjusted, though, the Ford proved just as feisty as ever. Its handling balance is a bit less progressiv­e and more cartoonish than the Pug’s, which in turn makes it more mischievou­s at slower speeds. It’s five-door-only these days, but that’s another controvers­ial topic I’m sympatheti­c to. My week in the ST involved a few days in the company of my six-year-old nephew, and a pair of back doors gave him more independen­ce than if I’d been lugging the BPS’S stocky sports seats fore and aft every time we parked up at mini golf courses, trampoline parks and dinosaur grills. Hot hatches ought to be practical, after all…

Date acquired April 2022 Total mileage 39,209 Mileage this month 1355 Costs this month £0 mpg this month 44.7

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