The Peugeot 208 has been one of the absolute top sellers in the B segment for more than two years, both in the Netherlands and in Europe. That is a major achievement. But with a slanted eye on the competition and with a rational look at my list of pluses and minuses, I don’t understand why the 208 is doing so well.
Let me first say that I am not blind to the advantages of the apple of Peugeot’s eye. The design is striking and bold to say the least compared to some competitors. It is also smart that the 208 is available with both a traditional combustion engine and an electric powertrain. But when I compare the disadvantages of this car to these points, I cannot convince myself that it is right that the Peugeot 208 is the leader in the B segment.
Back seaters beware
First of all, we take in the interior space of the Frenchman. It is especially difficult in the back seat in the 208. With an average height, you will soon find yourself with your knees pressed against the driver’s seat. Why do the tall Dutch people choose this car en masse?
When you have to travel a longer distance in this way, you would almost kick the seat back in revenge. Because you wish the driver had taken more into account and opted for a more spacious car. Think, for example, of the Skoda Fabia or the Volkswagen Polo, which are designed with a lot more compassion for the back seaters.
Peugeot seems to have little confidence in the reliability of its products. At least, that is what the brand propagates with a paltry two-year manufacturer’s warranty. Competitors of the Volkswagen group do that a lot better: on the Polo, Fabia and Ibiza you get a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty plus 2 years extra warranty. Because at Volkswagen, Skoda and Seat they understand that 4 years is a nice minimum.
If you crave security, an East Asian car is the way to go. For example, the Suzuki Swift comes with a six-year factory warranty and the Kia Rio even seven years. For the absolute star, however, you have to go to Toyota, which sells all its cars, including the Yaris, with a ten-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Do you want to stay informed of the latest Peugeot news?
Sign up for our car newsletter!
Nice but clumsy
Despite the beautiful and futuristic interior, you are anything but ideal in the Peugeot 208. This is partly due to the relatively short seat. This lack of support is very noticeable on longer rides. The steering position is also far from ideal. When you have placed the seat and steering wheel in the ideal position, there is a good chance that the remarkably small steering wheel will largely block your view of the digital instruments. In addition, the hip 3D display of the screen is not to everyone’s taste.
Not a full safety score
The Euro NCAP crash test is a good indicator to gain insight into the safety of a car. Five stars is the maximum score and if a model doesn’t get that, something is wrong. The Peugeot 208 had to settle for four stars…
The pain point? According to the test, the 208 is less safe for vulnerable fellow road users. Cyclists in particular have to suffer. This is because the emergency braking system does not detect cyclists. Competitors do this better: the Seat Ibiza, Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia, Ford Fiesta, Mazda 2 and Toyota Yaris all received five stars.
Better option in-house
Buyers of the 208 should have looked down a line on the model list, we concluded in November last year. The Peugeot 308 seems to be a better buy than its smaller brother. In the 308 you have significantly more space in the back seat and in the luggage compartment. The comfort in the 308 is also a lot greater. These improvements are within reach for a small additional cost of 1680 euros.
The Peugeot 208 sells great, but it’s not great. The compact hatchback is too small for large Dutch people, the warranty period of 2 years is outdated, the safety score is not optimal and you really have to sit down to test the seating position. The rational buyer may have to think a little before ordering the popular 208.