Road test: Peugeot 208 Allure Sport has punch and flair
THIS cute little package has an angry demeanor.
Sporty from every angle, the three-door derivative of the Peugeot 208 range is quick, agile and innovative.
It features a futuristic interior design, that includes a stereo which goes without a CD player - a nod to modern gadgets, relying purely on external inputs from iPods and other devices.
This model is a broad adaption of the SR1 concept car we saw a few years ago, and for less than $30 grand offers reasonable bang for your performance buck.
There's a refined presence about the styling and finish with shiny and plastic surfaces, yet climbing behind the wheel is an interesting experience.
The 208 has an ultra small, flat-bottom sports steering wheel, while the instruments are uniquely positioned.
It's not dynamically opposed to the traditional set-up, but the driver's gauges are set back further into the dash and we initially found difficulty with the steering wheel placement. On first introduction it was challenging to find a happy medium between seeing the attractive instruments pod and a comfortable spot for your hands.
Yet after a week-long test we liked the set-up and styling. The bucket seats offer excellent support and we loved the combination of materials - even though there was a reasonable amount of hard plastics.
But no Pug would be complete without some traditional French quirks. The stalks behind the steering wheel can take some analysis while stationary, the volume and station changing dials on the steering wheel need backlighting for ease of use in darkness and the centre arm rest gets in your way with regular gear changes and needs to be folded vertical.
There are also two cup holders in front of the shifter, but the area is confined and small.
On the road
While cute on the outside, this little hatch boasts some impressive anger once wound up.
We've seen this 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine previously in the likes of Citroen's DS3, Mini Cooper S and BMW 1 Series, and it's a gem. This 208 is lighter and stronger than the 207, and the four-potter's performance is a strong reflection of the engineering gains.
The little hatch pulls wonderfully from low in the rev range courtesy of peak torque at 1400rpm - even up steep inclines.
Acceleration figures of 0-100kmh in about eight seconds don't dignify the 208 Sport with its true ability. Stamp on the little froggy's right pedal and it answers with a delightful exhaust tone.
You can really throw it around, relishing changes in direction, with the small steering wheel encouraging sporty manoeuvres. Steering is sharp and direct and it lives up to its
The nimble trade-off is a suspension setting which may be too firm for some, but there are the five-door derivatives for those who want things softer.
What do you get?
There is some nice gear standard in this range-topper, including cruise control, a 17.5cm colour touch-screen, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, stereo with USB port and auxiliary jack, dual zone air con, useful trip computer, 17-inch alloys and a massive panoramic glass sunroof.
Safety is five star with six airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability control.
There are some slick rivals, including the Volkswagen Polo GTI ($27,990), Renault Clio RS200 ($36,490), Opel Corsa ($28,990), Citroen DS3 DSport ($29,740) and the Abarth Esse Esse ($34,990).
Pop the boot and there are some surprises in store courtesy of a full-size spare and an excellent boot. With the 60-40 split fold seats down the space expands to 1000 litres.
Things are confined in the back seat with space reliant on those up front. Slide too far back and leg room in the back is impeded.
It's space best left to kids and small adults, but there are three child seat hooks.
Fuel consumption of about six litres for every 100km is good going considering the performance at your disposal.
Peugeot also offers capped price servicing which is excellent peace of mind for ongoing costs - each annual service costs no more than $270.
French flair comes to the fore with the 208 Sport. Cool alloys, a body kit and dual exhaust. There is a great personality emanating from the three-door which makes this little hatch big on appeal.
What matters most
The good stuff: Small sports steering wheel is race-car like, different interior design, exterior style.
What we'd like to see: Reversing camera, better positioning and easier use of steering wheel mounted stalks.
Warranty and servicing: Three year/100,000km warranty. Servicing is capped at $270 a year for three years.
Model: Peugeot 208 Allure Sport.
Details: Three-door light-size front-wheel drive hatchback.
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol generating maximum power of 115kW @ 6000rpm and peak torque of 240Nm @ 1400rpm.
Transmission: Six-speed manual.
Consumption: 5.8 litres/100km.
Performance: 0-100kmh in 8.5 seconds.
Bottom line: $26,490.