Used Peugeot 208 review

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

We’ve been fans of the 208 all along and so are you, because it continues to do pretty well in our Driver Power survey. However, reliability can be an issue, with some cars suffering an array of faults. Nevertheless, a good 208 at the right price is getting close to being a worthy modern-day 205.

The Peugeot 205 was one of the greatest cars of the 1980s, but following it up with something equally impressive was always going to be a very difficult task. Peugeot failed to do it with the 206 and 207, but the 208 is a step in the right direction. It’s smartly designed, good to drive, offered with some of the most efficient engines in its class, and it’s well equipped. There are loads of examples available, which drives down prices, so you don’t need deep pockets to buy one. The question is – should you? 

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) - The right 208 will give you an extra dash of joie de vivre.

Peugeot 208 Mk1


The 208 appeared in June 2012 in three and five-door hatchback forms. There were 1.0, 1.2, 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol engines, while diesel fans had the choice of two low-emission 1.4-litre units (98g/km HDi and 87g/km e-HDi with stop/start) or two 1.6-litre engines, with 92bhp or 115bhp. 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 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, 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 Hyundai i20 and Kia Rio both offer plenty for the money and they have longer-than-average warranties; the Kia is covered for a full seven years.

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: 

Tech glitches

The touchscreen multimedia system can freeze for no reason. Switching it off and then on again usually fixes things. 

Wiper issues

Wipers can judder across the screen when they’re activated. The best fix seems to be a switch to Bosch wiper blades.

Boot rattles

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.

Leaky pipe

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.

Running costs

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). 


A dozen recalls is poor. The first was in July 2012 due to bonnet catch problems. The most recent, in October 2016, was due to failure of the ESP and anti-lock braking. There have also been recalls because of the possibility of air in the braking system, fuel leaks, 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 are 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 be better.

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