Five minutes after its arrival, it’s time for the 208 to go back to Peugeot.
Actually it has been nigh on six months, and the time seems to have flown by.
A good thing I hear you say. If the time had dragged, we would be much less likely to now be parting on good terms.
Now I’m a confident driver – I’m happy to drive around the chaos that is the centre of London, or up and down the motorways of the UK in any weather and am rarely phased.
Ruth, my other half, less so. I put this down to some past bruising of confidence in what can only be described as diabolical “first cars”, which have been somewhat older of a comparable size to the 208.
She (and I’m sure she isn’t alone) therefore associates all small cars with those early days of driving, and it was therefore with slight apprehension that she was convinced by me that the 208 would be a totally different experience, and thankfully the baby Pug did not disappoint.
The funky modern design has attracted a fair bit of attention around town. A few of the questions I’ve been asked about its size and practicality sounded like they were coming from people who were genuinely attracted to the model for themselves.
And a few niggles aside, I had plenty of positives to tell them. Despite being 22bhp off that of the flagship diesel 208, the XY, tested elsewhere in this issue, our Allure specification car is certainly what you would describe as nippy, especially around town where lots of starting and stopping is par for the course.
The 208 is even easier to park than its predecessor, the 207, thanks to a slight reduction in overall length to 3,962 millimetres, but has a similar amount of space inside.
It has achieved a more than respectable 52.1mpg, which has made stops to replenish the fuel happily infrequent, despite the 208 only having a 50 litre fuel tank, in common with most small cars.
Of course we haven’t managed to achieve anywhere near the official figures, however, we have mainly kept to city driving, which doesn’t exactly help the figures.
Undoubtedly contributing to the confidence factor is the specification of the Allure (plus a few extras specified for ours) which is extensive.
The panoramic glass roof doesn’t really add a great deal, and certainly isn’t something I would want to pay extra for, but it’s a nice touch, and gives an airy feel to the cabin.
Billie, our Labrador, likes it as she can lie across the back seat, and literally stare into space. Five doors give easy access all round, and makes it much easier to strap Billie (or human passengers) into their seats in the back.
The headroom allows for two adults in relative comfort, but it’s a tight squeeze for three, unless they’re all children.
And so finally the niggles. Cup holders. We simply didn’t have any useable cup holders. It might seem petty and insignificant, but when you take a thermos mug of boiling hot coffee to work each morning, it’s very handy to have somewhere to put it.
Unfortunately the cup holders have very little space above since they are located behind the handbrake under the centre console, and are really only good for storing loose change and a mobile phone.
And while the touch screen infotainment system is ideally positioned, and is certainly large enough, I struggled with the operation of the satellite navigation and audio system, and didn’t find it particularly intuitive to use.
For instance, cancelling a route isn’t easy to do and takes a bit of time to find the correct menu where you can choose the “end route” function.
I am happy to say the niggles are somewhat outweighed by the plus points on our 208, and so despite an active outdoor lifestyle, a dog, and the apparent need to haul copious amounts of “stuff” around wherever we go not really being conducive to having a 208-sized car, we have got on surprisingly well.
Admittedly we would struggle if we still had the Peugeot parked on our drive in the summer, when “stuff” will be joined by camping equipment, but for an everyday car with a bit of an adventure at weekends the 208 has served us well.
WHAT’S HOT: 16-inch Technical grey alloy wheels complement the Virtual Blue paintwork nicely.
WHAT’S NOT: The touchscreen satellite navigation and entertainment system is complex to use.