HOLDEN Kingswood HX to HZ. Porsche 924 to 944.
Federal LNP ’13 to today.
All copped changed internals to significantly improve the breed.
After the second-gen 308’s supernova regeneration in 2014, its older 208 stablemate has now undergone a facelift (that it didn’t need) and a heart transplant (that it was crying out for) to dramatically boost the Mazda 2-sized baby’s potential.
Slightly curbed output-wise from its bigger bro, the French five-door’s 1.2-litre three-cylinder ‘Pure Tech’ scores an 81kW/205Nm turbo with idle-stop. Gone are all 88kW/160Nm 1.6-litre atmofour petrols, while the old-school four-speed automatic is replaced by a modern six-speed torqueconverter auto by Aisin.
Result? Bam – Peugeot’s petite 208 powers into contention with an eager, engaging and entertaining drivetrain. A full second faster to 100km/h (and 50kg-plus lighter), it’s the far livelier and slicker responses at speed that are appreciated, making the most of the involving steering, controlled handling and agreeable ride. Ultra-frugal, too.
Pecking orders may tumble.
Also important is the five-speed manual 60kW/118Nm 1.2 atmo triple’s price drop of $3500, to $15,990. Justifiably ignored at the old price, this featherweight sweetie now deserves a look-in for its sheer unburstable sparkle, even if its 13.9sec stroll to 100km/h won’t electrify.
Note, however, that the newly minted 208 Access is stripped back to achieve that price point – quaint manual mirror toggles, plastic steering wheel, (handsome) hubcaps, winding windows for rear doors, Auto Superstore-style head unit (though really Peugeot’s, with Bluetooth), no chrome and black handles/mirror caps scream Belmont spec.
However, the roomy and inviting cabin basics continue, the 208 Access offering comfortable front seats, elegant instruments, ergonomically sound lap-bound wheel/higheyeline dial driving position, a sizeable boot and cruise control with a speed-limiter.
We’d spend the $3K extra for the turbo-triple auto drivetrain, though – $500 cheaper than a VW Polo 66TSI DSG – or, better still, aim for the $21,990 Active (the expected best-seller) for its reinstated touchscreen, brightwork, 16-inch alloys on grippier, quieter 195/55R16 rubber, rear sensors, fog lights and leather-bound wheel.
Wildly under-rated GTi notwithstanding, the 208’s latent potential is finally being exploited by its promising turbo/auto heart transplant in the thick of the lightcar class. All Peugeot needs now is sales to match the praise. d
Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Kerb weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale Peugeot 208 Access 1199cc 3cyl, dohc, 12v, turbo 81kW @ 5500rpm 205Nm @ 1500rpm 6-speed automatic 1070kg 10.9sec (claimed) 4.5L/100km $18,990 Now
Tyre noise on 15s; no 1.2 turbo manual; base car’s manual mirrors Turbo-triple performance/economy; dynamics; classy cabin; packaging
THE 208 facelift brings a revised grille, tail-lights, trims, colours and wheels, ushers in Euro-6 emissions compliance, a 6kW gutsier (153Nm/300Nm) GTi (the sole three-door), and the GT-Line.
The latter, from $27,990, uses the punchy 81kW/205Nm 1.2 turbo triple/six-speed auto combo and GTi-like spec as a sporty alternative to the luxe-focused $25,990 Allure.
AEB and a rear camera are a $500 option on the Allure.