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Car group tests

Peugeot 208 vs Mazda 2 & Hyundai i20

We see how revised Peugeot 208 fares as it faces key supermini rivals from Mazda and Hyundai

Cut-throat competition in the supermini class means that new car buyers have never had it so good. 

Best superminis

But with a slew of fresh models launched in the past 12 months, the established players in the market need to raise their game to hold on to sales in the face of some talented competition.

And that’s exactly what Peugeot has done with the 208. It’s a former Best Supermini winner at the Auto Express New Car Awards, thanks to its combination of upmarket appeal, a spacious interior and efficient engines. 

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Best small cars

Now, the company’s seen fit to give the range a shake-up with some styling tweaks, extra personalisation options and even more efficient engines.

Is it enough for the 208 to stay at the sharp end of the supermini pack? To find out, we’ve lined up two newcomers that will provide a stern test. The Mazda 2 delivers a tempting mix of efficiency, sharp handling and standard kit, while the Hyundai i20 also majors on running costs, but combines this with an upmarket cabin and a grown-up drive. 

We tested all three cars in practical and efficient five-door diesel guise to see which is the best all-rounder.

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Peugeot 208 review

Mazda 2 review

Hyundai i20 review

Click the links above to read individual reviews, and scroll down to see which supermini comes out on top...

Head-to-head

Lighting

The 208 and i20 feature LED daytime running lights, but the 2 makes do with halogen bulbs. That’s a shame, because other Mazda models feature sharp-looking LEDs. However, this is about the only piece of kit that’s lacking on the 2, because the Sport Nav has a long list of standard equipment that justifies its higher price.

Personalisation

Aside from metallic paint, the Mazda and Hyundai don’t really go for tailored options. The Peugeot, however, offers Menthol White and Lime Yellow packs. These add coloured trim to the interior (for £350) and exterior (for £150); the latter includes door mirror inserts (above).

Emissions

With CO2 figures of 87g/km and 89g/km respectively, the 208 and 2 are closely matched for tax costs. The Hyundai trails, at 106g/km. The less powerful i20 1.1 CRDi BlueDrive model emits 84g/km, but the 208 BlueHDi 75 claims 79g/km.

Verdict

1st place: Mazda 2

We came away from this test with a clear winner in the shape of the Mazda 2. It’s well ahead of both rivals here with its combination of low running costs, generous kit and involving handling. There isn’t as much boot space as you’ll find in the Hyundai and there’s less cabin storage, but you’ll happily overlook these points whenever you get behind the wheel.

2nd place: Hyundai i20 

The i20 isn’t the most efficient car here, and it’s not particularly quick, either, but its grown-up driving dynamics, combined with its refined and spacious interior, more than make up for its higher running costs. The logical cabin layout and big boot are plus points, too, while the five-year warranty brings peace of mind for a no-nonsense supermini that will be good to own.

3rd place: Peugeot 208 

This minor update is only enough to prevent the 208 from falling further behind the class leaders. Running costs are low, and the personalisation options appeal, but the rough diesel, spongy gearbox and below-par refinement all count against it. Add a driving position that’s hard to get used to and an infotainment system that’s tricky to use, and the 208 finishes third here.

Other options in this category

Ford Fiesta 1.5 TDCi ECOnetic Zetec

Price: £16,295 Engine: 1.5-litre 4cyl, 94bhp

Ford Fiesta - static

While the Mazda 2 is fun to drive, Ford’s Fiesta is equally entertaining. The ECOnetic isn’t the fastest supermini on the block, but the handling is sharp, plus 82g/km emissions mean lower tax costs than for the Peugeot.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid 1.5 Active

Price: £15,295 Engine: 1.5-litre 4cyl, 100bhp

If costs are your main concern, the 75g/km petrol-electric Yaris Hybrid avoids the three per cent levy imposed on diesels. Its nine per cent rating and lower list price mean Benefit in Kind costs are halved. Just don’t expect a thrilling drive.

Key specs:

 Mazda 2 1.5D Sport NavHyundai i20 1.4 CRDi Premium SEPeugeot 208 BlueHDi 100 Allure
On the road price/total as tested£17,395/£18,045£17,025/£17,025£17,045/£19,220
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£8,019/46.1%£6,759/39.7%£6,903/40.5%
Depreciation£9,376£10,266£10,142
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£555/£1,110£645/£1,290£544/£1,087
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,012/£1,687£1,333/£2,221£1,137/£1,894
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost16/£336/A/£010/£304/B/£2020/£360/A/£0
Servicing costs£499 (3yrs/37,500)£449 (3yrs/30,000)£17p/m (3yrs/30,000)
    
Length/wheelbase4,060/2,570mm4,035/2,570mm3,973/2,538mm
Height/width1,495/1,695mm1,474/1,734mm1,460/1,739mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,499cc4cyl in-line/1,396cc4cyl in-line/1,560cc
Peak power/revs104/4,400 bhp/rpm89/4,000 bhp/rpm99/3,750 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs220/1,400 Nm/rpm240/1,500 Nm/rpm254/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd5-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel44 litres/foam50 litres/foam50 litres/space saver
Boot capacity280/950 litres301/1,017 litres285/1,076 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,040/485/900kg1,280/410/1,100kg1,090/590/1,150kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient9.4 metres/N/A10.2 metres/N/A10.4 metres/N/A
Basic warranty/recovery3yrs (60,000)/3yrs5yrs (unltd)/5yrs3yrs (60,000)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealers12,500 miles (1yr)/17010,000 miles (1yr)/16212,500 miles (1yr)/300
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.9th/14th*21st/13th*10th/9th*
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars86/78/84/4 (2015)85/73/79/5 (2015)88/78/61/5 (2012)
    
0-60/30-70mph10.0/9.8 secs11.8/12.6 secs10.6/10.9 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th4.8/7.4 secs4.3/5.9 secs4.9/9.5 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th12.0/16.6 secs8.7/11.0 secs12.7 secs/N/A
Top speed/rpm at 70mph111mph/1,700rpm109mph/2,000rpm116mph/1,800rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph52.6/37.8/10.1m54.0/39.9/9.3m50.1/36.3/9.8m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph43/62/61/66dB63/44/59/67dB67/46/58/67dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range64.9/14.4/628 miles49.3/11.0/542 miles57.8/12.8/636 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined74.3/88.3/83.1mpg57.6/80.7/68.9mpg74.3/88.3/83.1mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined16.3/19.4/18.3mpl12.7/17.8/15.2mpl16.3/19.4/18.3mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket117/89g/km/16%154/106g/km/19%131/87g/km/16%
    
Airbags/Isofix/parking sensors/cameraSix/yes/yes/noSix/yes/yes/noSix/yes/yes/£200
Automatic box/stability/cruise controlNo/yes/yesNo/yes/yesNo/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/no/noYes/no/yes£290/£1,100/£1,100
Metallic paint/xenon lights/keyless go£530/no/yes£515/no/no£495/no/no
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yes£675/yes/£675^/yes£400/yes/yes/yes
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