Peugeot 208 Facelift (2015) First Drive

208 GT Line 0007

The Peugeot 208 line-up was recently given a boost with new paint options, a new engine and some other features. We attended its local launch in Johannesburg.

The Peugeot 208 is a peppy little French hatchback that pits itself against the might of the Polo, Clio and Corsa – just to name a few of the heavy hitters. Peugeot is hoping that despite pressure on global markets and the exchange rate, you’ll drive away happy with a 208 that offers something a little different from the crowd. We took the new 208 GT Line for a quick spin around Johannesburg at the local launch.

What’s different?

On the exterior, not much. There’s a slight change to the rear lights and the top model now comes with LEDs. Two new paint schemes come in a ‘texture’ colour – matte grey and matte red. Mechanically the biggest change is to be found under the bonnet where Peugeot offers a new turbocharged engine. It’s a 1.2-litre turbo petrol that pops out 81 kW and 205 Nm of torque. This engine replaces the naturally aspirated power units and offers improvements in torque and fuel consumption. The claimed consumption figure sits at 4.5L/100km for both the manual gearbox and the new six-speed automatic.

In order to try and boost sales Peugeot will also enter a model into the sub-B segment (Figo, Vivo, Sandero and Etios) with its new 208 Pop Art. It is powered by a 1-litre engine with 50 kW and 95 Nm and offers quite good spec for a not overly pricey R159 900.

Strong performer

The turbocharged engine in the new 208 is a very strong performer, with power coming in smoothly and with a hint of a three-cylinder rasp it can sound sporty, too. We drove an example fitted with Peugeot's new six-speed gearbox. It shifts quickly and without interruption. There are very few good autos in this segment but the Peugeot unit is certainly right up there in terms of quality feel. The turbocharged unit is only available in GT Line models whereas the Active 1.2 is still powered by a naturally aspirated 1.2-Litre with 60 kW and 118 Nm of torque.

Competent drive

Initial investigation into the handling of the 208 proved positive. The suspension soaks up harsh bumps well and rides without any harsh feedback. It proved its sporty credentials, especially in the cornering department as it was fun to send into bends quickly. The i-cockpit will take getting used to (small steering wheel) but it does make the little 208 feel agile and boosts confidence in its handling/steering abilities.

The finish

The interior of the top of the range GT Line is all we got to see and it’s a cheerful place to sit. There’s bits of pseudo carbon fibre, half leather seats and a full leather steering wheel. There’s the odd red streak thrown around the cabin to let you know it’s kind of sporty. The touchscreen up front handles all the media like USB and Bluetooth connectivity.


There will be four different kinds of 208 that you can buy. Already mentioned, the 208 Pop Art is the beginner and still comes quite well-equipped for this segment. The naturally aspirated 1.2 Active offers ESP, cruise control, 15-inch alloy wheels and four airbags as standard fare. The GT line (turbos) then furthers that spec with cornering lights, 17-inch wheels, six airbags, auto lights and wipers and some leather for the interior. The top GT-Line variant throws in the automatic gearbox at an extra R20k.

Peugeot 208 Price in South Africa

208 Pop Art 1.0 R159 900

208 Active 1.2 R209 900

208 GT Line 1.2T Manual  R269 900

208 GT Line 1.2T Auto R289 900