Used car tests

Used Peugeot 208 review

A full used buyer’s guide on the Peugeot 208 featuring the Peugeot 208 Mk1 (2012-date)

Peugeot has built some great small cars, but in recent years the company has been left behind by rivals that make better driving, more reliable, higher-quality models.

So it was great to see Peugeot fighting back when it launched the 208 in 2012. This model was so good that we crowned it Best Supermini at our 2012 New Car Awards. At the time, we said: “Peugeot is back on top of the small car class. The 208 has got it all: style, quality, space and kit, while it’s good to drive and super-efficient, too.”

With the first examples now four years old and a facelifted 208 out in 2015, this small car now makes a great second-hand buy. 

Models covered 

The Peugeot 208 hit showrooms in 2012 and has been on sale for four years. It is this first-generation model that we're focusing on here.

  • Peugeot 208 Mk1 (2012-date) - Supermini marked return to form, and looks top value used

Peugeot 208 Mk1

Prices from £5,000 


The 208 debuted in June 2012 in three and five-door hatchback forms. There were 1.0, 1.2, 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol engines, plus 1.4 or 1.6-litre diesels, with five or six-speed manual gearboxes.

The standard 1.4 HDi diesel emitted 98g/km of CO2; the e-HDi (with stop/start) emitted 87g/km. The 1.6 HDi was offered in 92bhp or 115bhp guises; only diesels came with an EGC automatic option. By April 2013 there was a 208 GTi on sale, with 200bhp.

A 30th anniversary special edition GTi appeared in November 2014, with 208bhp – just 100 came to the UK. In June this year, a revised 208 hit dealers, with even more efficient engines, extra safety options plus a tweaked exterior design. A GT Line trim has also been added, with sportier detailing.

Peugeot 208 reviews

Peugeot 208 in-depth reviewPeugeot 208 GTi in-depth reviewPeugeot 208 1.2 VTi Active reviewPeugeot 208 1.2 VTi Allure reviewPeugeot 208 1.6 VTi Allure reviewPeugeot 208 1.6 e-HDi Allure reviewPeugeot 208 1.6 BlueHDi reviewPeugeot 208 Style reviewPeugeot 208 Hybrid FE reviewPeugeot 208 XY reviewPeugeot 208 GTi reviewPeugeot 208 long-term test review

Which one should I buy?

All of the engines are perky enough, with the three-cylinder 1.0 and 1.2-litre units being more fun than you’d imagine. We’d avoid the EGC automatic gearbox, though, as it’s not very slick.

Entry-level cars are badged Access; they offer ESP, electric front windows, cruise control and remote central locking. Access+ features air-con plus electrically adjusted and heated door mirrors, while Active adds alloy wheels, touchscreen multimedia, Bluetooth and a split rear seat. The 208 Allure comes with privacy glass, extra chrome trim, automatic lights and wipers and dual-zone climate control, while the Feline gets 17-inch alloys, DAB radio, sat- nav and a panoramic roof. Buy a 208 XY and it’ll feature rear parking sensors, too.

Alternatives to the Peugeot 208 Mk1

Our favourite used buy in this class is the Ford Fiesta, with its mix of low purchase and running costs, great engines and fine driver appeal. There are loads to choose from, too.

The Kia Rio is another excellent used buy thanks to its long warranty, top value and roomy interior. Also playing the value card strongly is the Renault Clio, and if you buy a Mk4 version (from 2013), you’ll get better quality than ever, plus a huge cabin.

The Vauxhall Corsa’s strongest suit is its value as there are loads about, and if you avoid entry-level models, equipment levels are generous. If your pockets are deeper, think about the VW Polo, which is refined and comes with some excellent engines.

What to look for:


The wipers can judder across the windscreen when they’re activated. The best fix seems to be to switch to some aftermarket blades, like Bosch versions.

Media system

The touchscreen multimedia system can freeze for no apparent reason. Switching it off and then on again usually fixes things – but not always.


Some owners have found their front brake pads need to be replaced after little more than 5,000 miles; premature disc wear can be an issue, too.


Knocks can emanate from the 208’s front suspension, usually because the top mounting bush in one of the shock absorbers needs to be replaced. 


You’ll either love or hate the 208’s dash design, with a small steering wheel set below the instruments. But it’s well built and looks good – although rear access in three-door cars is tricky. Boot space is also decent, at 285 litres (or 1,076 litres with the rear seats folded), if not class-leading.

Running costs

All 208s need to be serviced annually or every 20,000 miles for petrol-engined cars; for diesels it’s 12,500 miles. Check-ups alternate between minor (£295) and major (£425), but after three years discounted servicing is available at £140 or £250 respectively using OE parts. Unusually, most Peugeot dealers also offer maintenance using pattern parts, with the services priced from £115.

Diesel engines have a timing belt that needs replacing at 10 years or 112,500 miles (£345 or £295 if pattern parts are used). Fresh brake fluid is required every two years (£49) and coolant after four years or 80,000 miles, then every 12 months or 20,000 miles (£70).


There have been seven recalls for the 208 already, which isn’t encouraging. The first was in July 2012 and affected the bonnet. Two months later came the next action as two cars were affected by braking issues.

ESP glitches led to 14 cars being recalled in December 2012, while fuel leaks brought another action in February 2014. A further recall was issued at the same time for suspension failures; the sixth came in May 2014. The last recall concerned failure of the subframe mountings.

Driver Power owner satisfaction

Having made its debut in 49th place in the 2014 Driver Power satisfaction survey, the 208 slipped to number 73 in 2015 and then 84 last year. Owners like the low running costs (48th), reliability (52nd) and ride quality (53rd), while the handling (68th) is good, too. But the car’s practicality (101st), in-car tech (104th) and ease of driving (124th) all got the thumbs down.

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