The Peugeot 208 GTi was the car that brought the mojo back to the French car maker after it went wandering about for over a decade. Launched in late 2013, the 208 GTi instantly put smiles on our faces the moment we got behind the wheel. It was engagingly fun to drive yet so liveable and comfortable for daily use.
Subtly updated for 2016, the 208 GTi continues to offer accessible performance in a chic and stylish package. There’re new design headlights and taillights, a new wider grille and restyled front bumper. Inside, the new 208 GTi scores new trim design and revised infotainment system.
The biggest headline in the new update, however, is the new more powerful engine. Displacing 1.6-litre and turbocharged, the four-cylinder petrol engine now rips up a potent 153kW of power and strong 300Nm of torque, 6kW and 25Nm more than before. The figures make the feisty Peugeot the most powerful in the segment, dwarfing the 147kW/240Nm Renault Clio R.S., 134kW/240Nm Ford Fiesta ST and 141kW/320Nm Volkswagen Golf GTI.
At $30,990 plus on-roads, the 2016 model is $1,000 more expensive than the pre-update model and the second priciest in its class after the Clio R.S. You do, however, get a pair of deliciously great looking sport seats with excellent support centred in an interior with enough sporty details to suggest this is not your usual city shopping cart.
There’s a usable rear bench in the back that, unlike most cars in this category, actually has some legroom. The boot isn’t too shabby either for a two-door hot hatch. At 285 litres, it matches the Ford Fiesta, and folding the split/fold rear seat liberates the cargo space to 1,076 litres.
Standard equipment is up to expectations. 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, automatic headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, parking sensors, 7-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, Bluetooth and USB are all standard fitment.
Mated to a slick six-speed manual gearbox (the only transmission on offer) and driving the front wheels, the uprated 1.6L turbo four-pot now pulls even stronger than before, with a sense of urgency that stays on until the raised 6,000rpm limiter. With maximum torque on tap from about 3,000rpm, wringing out the 208 GTi is both fun and addictive.
While soundtrack in the 2013 model felt a little muted, the noise offered in the new car is satisfyingly ballsy and enthusiastic, further adding to the driving engagement.
There’s a lot to like about its handling, too. The 208 GTi feels light, agile and composed. While it isn’t the most precise or edgy of all small hot hatches, the Peugeot impresses with smoothness and responsiveness through challenging B-roads.
Unleashed, it traces an intended line of travel with excellent grip, only showing signs of giving up at the tightest corners. The strong and progressive brakes further add to the remarkable dynamics.
Perhaps, the weakest link is the steering wheel which although obeys your every input, isn’t capable of conveying much information from the road.
With a sports-oriented suspension set up, the 208 GTi rides surprisingly well on our crumbling roads soaking up bumps and ruts nicely. It also feels sturdy and stable at high speed, despite the pint size and light kerb weight.
The 208 GTi’s combined fuel economy has improved to 5.4L/100km from the previous 5.9L/100km, in spite of increased power. On test, it averaged 6.4L/100km with an equal split of urban, freeway and sporty driving, which is amazingly efficient for a non-dual clutch set up and just a litre off the claimed figure.
Design and Comfort: 8.0/10
Performance and Handling: 8.0/10
Equipment and Features: 8.0/10
The 2016 Peugeot 208 GTi combines genuine hot hatch performance with everyday usability in a stylish package. Its appeal is now lifted with more power and improved efficiency. And we still like it. A lot.
- Powerful engine
- Attractive packaging
- Confident handling
- Rides well
- Two-door only may be a deal breaker
- Vague steering
- A little pricey
2016 Peugeot 208 GTi Price and Specification
|Price (excluding on-roads):||From $30,990|
|Country of Origin:||France|
|Service Intervals:||12 months/15,000km|
|Engine:||Turbocharged 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol (FWD) 153kW @ 6,000rpm, 300Nm @ 3,000rpm;|
|Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km):||Claimed: 5.4 / Tested: 6.4|
|Ron Rating:||95 Premium ULP|
|Fuel Capacity (L):||50|
|Body:||3 door hatch, 5 seats|
|Safety:||5-star ANCAP, 6 airbags, reverse camera, DSC, TCS, ABS, EBD, EBA|
|Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm:||3,962 / 1,739 / 1,460 / 2,538|
|Kerb Weight (kg):||1,160|
|Entertainment:||7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, satellite navigation, Bluetooth, USB, 6-speakers|