Used Peugeot 208 review
Your complete buyer’s guide to the Peugeot 208, featuring the Peugeot 208 Mk1 (2012-2019)
We’re big admirers of the Peugeot 208 and clearly you are too, as the supermini always performs well in our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. It’s true that the reliability can be a concern - with some cars developing a number of faults - but get one for a good price and you get some of the verve once associated with the classic 205 in a classy modern-day package.
As you may remember, the Peugeot 205 was one of the best cars around in the 1980s, but the French carmaker failed to hit the same heights with some disappointing descendants. The 206 and the 207 fell wide of the mark despite enjoying decent sales levels, however the 208 represented a return to form. The design is smart, the car is very good to drive, and it also boasts some of the most efficient engines money can buy. The 208 is very well equipped too.
Given its popularity there are lots of used examples available, with prices being driven down thanks to the sheer number on the market. So you won’t need to break the bank to secure one, but should you go for it?
The Peugeot 208 was released in 2012 and has been on sale for seven years before being replaced by the second-generation model, which includes an all-electric variant for the first time. It’s this first-generation car that we're focusing on here.
- • Peugeot 208 Mk1 (2012-2019) - The perfect 208 will be a great companion out on the road.
Peugeot 208 Mk1
The Peugeot 208 joined our roads in June 2012, with a choice of three- and five-door hatchbacks. Petrol engines included 1.0-, 1.2-, 1.4- and 1.6-litre variants, while diesel options included two 1.4-litre (HDi models produced 98g/km, while e-HDi with stop/start variants emitted 87g/km) options and a pair of 1.6-litre diesels with 92bhp and 115bhp respectively.
The three-door-only, 200bhp 208 GTi was launched in April 2013; a 208bhp 30th Anniversary special edition GTi appeared in November 2014, with just 100 coming to the UK. A facelifted 208 arrived in June 2015 with more efficient engines, extra safety options, and tweaked styling; a sporty GT Line trim was also added. In February 2016 a 79g/km 1.6 BlueHDi was introduced, then XS, Roland Garros, Active Design and Allure Premium special editions arrived in the following months.
Peugeot 208 reviews
- Peugeot 208 in-depth review
- Peugeot 208 GTi in-depth review
- Peugeot 208 1.2 VTi Active review
- Peugeot 208 1.2 VTi Allure review
- Peugeot 208 1.6 VTi Allure review
- Peugeot 208 1.6 e-HDi Allure review
- Peugeot 208 1.6 BlueHDi review
- Peugeot 208 Style review
- Peugeot 208 Hybrid FE review
- Peugeot 208 XY review
- Peugeot 208 GTi review
- Peugeot 208 long-term test review
Which one should I buy?
All of the engines are perky enough, and the three-cylinder 1.0- and 1.2-litre units are more enjoyable than you might expect. Only the diesels were offered with the EGC automatic gearbox; it’s not very slick, though, so we’d stick with a manual.
Entry-level Access cars feature ESP, electric front windows, cruise control and remote central locking. Access+ comes with air-con plus electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, while Active adds alloy wheels, touchscreen multimedia, Bluetooth and a split-folding rear seat. The 208 Allure has 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, half-leather trim and a panoramic roof. The XY features rear parking sensors, too.
Alternatives to the Peugeot 208 Mk1
The Ford Fiesta dominates the supermini class because it’s plentiful, cheap to buy and run, great to drive and spacious. Most of these traits also feature in the Vauxhall Corsa, and its equipment levels are decent.
The Renault Clio Mk4 was the most highly rated supermini in the 2016 Driver Power survey in 21st place, while the Skoda Fabia Mk3 was just one place below it. The Clio is spacious and very cheap to run while the Fabia’s strongest suits are its ease of driving, reliability and low running costs.
What to look for:
The touchscreen multimedia system can freeze for no reason. Switching it off and then on again usually fixes things.
Wipers can judder across the screen when they’re activated. The best fix seems to be a switch to Bosch wiper blades.
Rattles from the rear could be the boot latch, the parcel shelf or the retainer for the spare wheel, all of which can become noisy.
The pipe that feeds the rear wash/wipe has a habit of splitting, allowing water to squirt into the boot. Fixing it is a fiddly job.
High-quality materials and an appealing design make the cabin a nice place to be. The low-set and under-sized steering wheel polarises opinion, while rear-seat space is average; three-door cars have reduced rear headroom. At 285 litres (1,076 with the seats folded), boot space is average, too.
The 208 should prove to be an affordable option compared to superminis of similar age and condition. Use our valuation tool below to get a live value for a specific model and check out the latest deals on our sister site Buyacar.
Petrol-engined 208s need to be serviced annually or every 20,000 miles; for diesels it’s annually or every 12,500 miles. A first service is £162 and second is £174.
Services alternate between minor and major, and once a 208 reaches its third birthday it’s eligible for cut-price maintenance. These services are priced at £140 and £250, or £115 and £195 if using pattern parts. All engines have a timing belt that needs to be replaced at 10 years or 112,500 miles, at £345 or £295 if pattern parts are used. Brake fluid is required every two years (at £49), and fresh coolant after four years or 80,000 miles, then every 12 months or 20,000 miles (at £70).
Some 20 recalls on the Peugeot 208 is very poor. The first was in July 2012 due to bonnet catch problems, with the most in October 2019 suggesting the engine management software on some cars could produce excessive amounts of NOx. There have also been recalls because of the possibility of air in the braking system, fuel leaks, ESP and anti-lock braking system failures, the front suspension collapsing, engine oil leaks and failed tailgate struts.
Driver Power owner satisfaction
The 208 came 73rd in the 2015 Driver Power survey and 84th in the 2016 poll. Encouragingly, its highest scores were for running costs and reliability, at 48th and 52nd respectively, along with 53rd for ride comfort. Its lowest score was 124th for ease of driving, while 104th for its in-car technology could've been better.