2016 Peugeot 208 GTi review
Robert Pepper’s 2016 Peugeot 208 GTi review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and rating.
In a nutshell: The latest Peugeot GTi is not the unleashed monster of old, now offering a more refined sporting experience – more subtle than sharp, and still with daily-drive practicality.
2016 Peugeot 208 GTI
PRICE : $30,990 (+ORC) WARRANTY : 3 years / 100,000 km SAFETY : 5 star (34.03 / 37, non-gti 2012-PRESENT tested EURO NCAP, gti should be similar) ENGINE : 1.6L turbo 4-CYLINDER petrol POWER : 153kW @ 6000 rpm TORQUE : 300Nm at 3000 rpm 0-100km/h : 6.5 seconds top speed : 230km/h TRANSMISSION : 6-speed Manual DRIVE : Front-wheel drive BODY : 3973 mm (L); 1739 mm (W); 1460 mm (H) TURNING CIRCLE : 10.6 m WEIGHT : 1160 kg SEATS : 5 TOWING : 930kg braked FUEL TANK : 50 litres SPARE : FULL-SIZE ALLOY THIRST : 5.4 L/100km ADR81/02 combined cycle FUEL : 95RON
Room & practicality
Bit of a mixed bag. The glovebox lid is normal-sized, but open it up and it’s disappointing to find half the space is used up. This may well be the result of poor engineering with insufficient focus on the potential for right-hand drive. There are two drinks holders, but they’re for espressos not lattes, and definitely not your average-sized drink bottle.
On the inside
The interior of the 208 GTi is a delight. It’s all nicely swooping curves, matched colours and high quality, an interior that pleases the eye. The controls are odd if you’re coming from a Japanese background, but easy to get used to. The infotainment unit is very good, quick to respond, clear, includes sat-nav and has useful functions. The steering wheel has a GTi badge, because there aren’t enough on the car already, and has the pointless flat-bottom and centre mark.
On the negative side the heat/cool controls are pointlessly fiddly, as is the cruise control. The instrument panel is further away from the steering wheel than is the norm, and as a result is sensitive to being obscured by the wheel. I did not find this a problem; others commented on it. There’s three little buttons on the panel which are too far away to be easy to reach.
At least you can change the colour of the instrument surrounds, because that’s important…
Here are some views of the infotainment unit:
Performance, ride and handling
You can drive the 208 GTi just as you would any normal hatch. It’s nimble, visibility is good (to the front, anyway), you don’t sit particularly low and the turning circle is tight. The gearchange is a delight, smooth and easy – if all manuals were this good less automatics would be sold. The engine is tractable, and will happily lope along in 5th at 50km/h and 6th at 60km/h, so you can skip shift. Clearance is reasonable so you don’t need to sweat at the sight of a speed-hump. The 208 is a great little around-town car, and fun with it. The exhaust note is richer and more burbly than a normal hatch, but subtly so and in proportion, it’s not a wolf’s howl from a small dog. You never hurt for grip, and the brakes are superb.
On the open road:
Long distance cruising
This is not always the forte of sportscars, but the GTi does cruising well. It’s not sharp or darty, wind noise is not the best but it is acceptable, and in general you could easily amble interstate. Top marks to Peuegot for including a full-size alloy spare so you can venture out to rural roads with peace of mind, and the car uses 95RON fuel not 98, giving you a greater choice of remote servos. Only the fuel tank is a little small at 50L, because you aren’t going to get close to the 5.4L/100km combined consumption figure.
Nevertheless, the 208 GTi would work well as little sports tourer. I even gave it a short try on a dirt road and the car proved to be up to the mark, with the suspension doing a great job of dismissing the bumps. It’s no WRX on the brown stuff, but it’s no delicate petal either. The GTi has an air of solidity and robustness, not something that can be said for all sportscars.
The usual 5-star ANCAP safety rating, but beyond that nothing, no active safety like AEB. There are ISOFIX child restraint points, and you do get reversing sensors which display very clearly like this:
Pricing & Equipment
Not much to say here, as there’s just one spec, the GTi, only available as a three-door. No automatic option either, and nor should there be!
Beware the usual Paint Price Trap. The GTi is available in white, red, black, orange and silver. The sticker price gets you a white car. Each of the other colours adds $990, or $1050 for the orange. Perhaps that’s why our test car is white. There’s no choice of interior trim. About the only option is a $300 reversing camera which is good value.
The GTi is the range topper, and below it is GT Line, which is obviously not sporty enough to merit the “GTi” badge, but nevertheless Peugeot say: “Appearing for the first time in the Australian 208 line-up is the sports-oriented GT-Line and, at a lowly $27,490 RRP it is sure to be a favorite for drivers wanting the look and feel of Peugeot’s iconic GTi, but without the high-performance drivetrain”.
Well, the GT Line has a 81kW and 205Nm engine vs the GTi’s 153 / 300, and it’s only a 6-speed automatic. Acceleration for the GT Line from 0-100 is in excess of ten seconds which for something with “GT” on the badge is quite frankly an embarrassment these days. Peugeot ask $27,490 plus onroads for the GT Line, so there is no question the extra $2500 for the GTi is utterly, utterly worth it.
We have covered the rest of the 208 range here.
Juliette Remfrey spent some time with the 208 GTi so here are her thoughts:
The 2016 208 GTi wasn’t a car that immediately caught my attention, but therein lies some of the appeal. The more time spent with the car, the more I began to warm to it.
The exterior GTi touches are subtle and the styling cute and soft, rather than being splattered with look-at-me faux performance add-ons. It’s a hot hatch that’s more about go than show. The interior finish is excellent and the complimentary colour schemes all tie in nicely together. Supportive comfortable seats, nice trimming and a small flat-bottomed steering wheel that fits perfectly in the hands.
There are however a few annoying quirks – the biggest and most annoying for me was the placement of the instrument cluster in relation to the steering wheel, with half of the cluster dials blocked by the steering wheel. With enough fiddling, or if you are sufficiently long in the torso one might be able to comfortably read all of the dials, but I couldn’t without a stretch to try to look over the steering wheel yet still have the steering wheel set at a height where my legs would fit underneath.
It’s a nice instrument cluster if you can read it, but I don’t believe I’m alone in scratching my head at the awful placement of it. There’s not enough in the way of in-cabin storage – minimal drinks holders, a tiny half-glovebox. There’s a bit of wind noise at freeway speeds but not enough to be annoying.
I’ll leave the quirks alone now, because the positives far outweigh the negatives. The ride is comfortable and compliant. You will occasionally get the odd thud from the rear suspension over sufficiently poor stretches of road, but the car doesn’t become unsettled. The handling is superb. This car is a fun front-wheel drive equally at home in the stop-start daily commute as it is taking your favourite twisty backroads home.
The tyres offer excellent levels of grip, body roll is kept to a minimum and the car inspires confidence far beyond what you believe it is capable of. Throw it into a corner at speed expecting understeer and it keeps it all in check with no intrusive application of the safety systems. Take off with your foot planted, there will be some wheel spin and a cheeky chirp into second gear but there isn’t the slightest hint of torque steer.
The motor delivers power and torque quickly, but without the sensation of working to achieve it. It’s certainly not a revvy motor, which for some will be a love it or hate it affair. I prefer a slightly revvier, more responsive motor and the GTi is competent, if a little bit lazy with the revs. The exhaust has some tone to it, but it’s quiet and there’s no drone in the cabin. An aftermarket exhaust could bring out a bit more of the sound that’s being contained.
The 2016 208 GTi is a car that I warmed to. More comfortable, practical and liveable as a daily driver than my 2013 BRZ. The looks don’t offend and aren’t boring, just on the cuter side rather than the racier side. That’s part of the appeal, a great handling punchy little front-driver in casual clothes.