Peugeot 208 GTi Vs Kia Cerato Koup turbo comparison test with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.

BET YOU HAVEN’T SEEN A COMPARISON of the Peugeot 208 GTi with the Kia Cerato Koup – for some reason they just don’t seem to line up against each other in the marketplace.

But even a quick glance at the specs shows they’re a lot closer than you might imagine. Both are 1.6-litre turbo-powered, DOHC with variable valve timing; in manual form, both have a six-speed transmission; power is 147kW for the Peugeot, 150kW for the Kia, torque 275Nm and 265NM, respectively; both are front-wheel drive; and they are both priced under $30,000 ($29,990+ORC for the Peugeot, $27,990+ORC for the Kia).


Peugeot 208 GTi – 8.0/10

Kia Cerato Koup – 7.5/10

The Pugeot 208 GTi offers real hot hatch looks

It’s in the styling that the French car diverges dramatically from the Korean. The French hot hatch is typical of its breed: bold body kit, lowered suspension, very short bonnet and not much behind the B-pillar. If the Peugeot was a canine it would be a terrier – all dash and dart, no fear at all and oh-so-cute.

Kia Cerato Koup turbo sure looks good, luckily it drives pretty well too.

The Kia, on the other hand, is much less aggressive. It’s bigger and heavier, both in measurable terms and in design. It has a distinctive wedge shape in profile with a shoulder line that rises to the boot-mounted spoiler and black rear diffuser, delivering just the right degree of sporty intent. The turbo gets black side mirror caps, twin exhausts and 18-inch rims.


Peugeot 208 GTi – 8.5/10

Kia Cerato Koup – 8.5/10

The Peugeot 208 GTi offers a more expensive feeling cabin

The 208 GTi is a genuine performance car and the message is reinforced with great-looking high-back seats with plenty of red highlights and red stitching. Even the seatbelts get a red speed line! It immediately sends the message that this is going to be a lot more fun than the 208 on which it is based. As mentioned in reviews of other Peugeots, the tiny steering wheel can be annoying for some drivers. The idea behind it is the instruments are high set and closer to the driver’s eyeline (a different take on head-up display, if you like), but in order for the instruments to be visible, the steering wheel has to be set too low. It affects different drivers in different ways, so check it out when you take a test drive.

Kia Koup interior is a classy affair with room for four adults.

The Kia takes an altogether more grown-up approach. There are plenty of dark plastics and some nice trim patterns, brightened up with red illumination and a central touchscreen. One of our long-standing gripes has been addressed: the instruments and readouts now look like they belong together with a uniformity of type style and appearance. The Koup feels more special than the Cerato sedan, but without resorting to the “look-at-me” special effects of the Peugeot. It is a sporty coupe, rather than a hot hatch.


Peugeot 208 GTi – 7.0/10

Kia Cerato Koup – 8.0/10

Kia Koup Turbo offers a nice sporty ride

The Kia looks, feels and is considerably larger than the Peugeot. The Kia is 5.7cm longer and 4cm wider. Where the Peugeot’s rear seats are almost an afterthought, the back seats in the Kia are actually usable (although headroom is a little limited). Access is a lot easier too – the Pug’s door opening can make it tricky to get your feet in around the folded-forward front seat. Rear luggage space in the Peugeot is 1152-litres with the rear seats folded down, 311 litres with them in the upright position. The Koup gets a 60/40 split-fold rear seat with huge seat-up boot space of 433-litres.

Sadly the owners manual won't fit inside the glovebox

I have one real bone of contention with the Peugeot. The owner’s manual and other necessary booklets are collected in a folder that is too large to fit in the glove compartment. Sit the books in a door pocket and they slide about noisily and annoyingly every time you accelerate or brake. I finally jammed the folder between the front seat and centre console – hardly ideal, but the best solution I could find. Wouldn’t you think the car designers would make allowance for stowage of the handbook, or the designers of the handbook would ensure it fits in the glove box?


Peugeot 208 GTi – 7.5/10

Kia Cerato Koup – 8.0/10

The Peugeot 208 GTi is a real joy to drive

The baby Peugeot is a sheer delight to drive and constantly challenges the driver to go into corners just that bit harder and accelerate out of them with more verve. The power and torque are very close to those in the Kia, but the Peugeot’s lighter weight makes all the difference. Throttle response is almost instantaneous and the engine is happy to rev out to the top end of the tacho with the slightest encouragement. Torque steer is rarely a problem and understeer is kept well under control. Even at the limits, the GTi is easy to handle and well behaved. It’s a little car I’d love to take to a track day to better explore its upper limits.

Kia had to fight to bring the Koup Turbo down under. We're glad they won the argument.

The Kia shares its underpinning with the regular Cerato sedan and isn’t hugely different in its driving characteristics. The suspension has been stiffened over the standard car though is surprisingly compliant. Through dips and other irregularities, it quickly recovers its composure. The button on the steering wheel for different steering feel allows the driver to select Sport, Comfort or Normal. Sport adds weight but the feel and communication are nowhere near as involving as those in the Peugeot.

As mentioned earlier, the Kia is heavier than the Peugeot (1364kg as against 1167kg), resulting in a power to weight ratio of 110W/kg, where the Peugeot is 125.7W/kg. Counter-intuitively, the Pug is slower to 100km/h (8.1 seconds vs 7.7) but never feels it. The penalty comes with fuel consumption: the Peugeot achieves 5.9L/100km; the Kia claims 7.7L/100km. In the real world, though, the Peugeot will constantly entice you to drive it harder, while the Kia doesn’t to the same degree, so the fuel figures will be a lot closer than the raw numbers indicate.


Peugeot 208 GTi – 8.5/10

Kia Cerato Koup – 8.5/10

The Pugeot 208 GTi harks back to the early days of hot hatch Pugeots

The GTi benefits from sports-spec dampers, springs and roll bars. The front subframe and rear cross members have been stiffened, brakes upgraded and steering ratio altered. It all adds up to a more involving drive. The short wheelbase can result in a slightly choppy ride, but you’ll happily accept that for the sheer joy of nipping into corners and darting through tiny gaps in traffic.

Kia Koup Turbo Opener

The Kia Koup is a better all-rounder, set up for grand tourer style ride and handling. The local team responsible for tuning the suspension for local conditions have done an exemplary job; the Kia is relaxed, quiet and comfortable even over broken surfaces. As you’d expect, the 18-inch rims and lower profile tyres can set up noticeable but not unacceptable road noise on coarse chip bitumen.


Peugeot 208 GTi – 8.5/10

Kia Cerato Koup – 8.0/10

The Koreans have made huge strides in improving the quality in their vehicles and the Kia Cerato Koup is evidence of that. With the notable exception of the imitation leather, the interior of the Koup is a classy and stylish place to be. However, the red Koup turbo we tested had a very obvious orange peel finish to the external paintwork – it may be a fault with this particular colour, but we’d check it out before making a final colour choice.

The Peugeot feels like a more expensive car. The fashionable red-fading-to-black door pulls and high gloss red highlights are impressive, although as with all high gloss interior finishes, they may look shabby after a year or two unless treated with care. The more you investigate, the more stylish and clever little details you discover.


Peugeot 208 GTi – 9.0/10

Kia Cerato Koup – 9.0/10

Both cars are priced under $30,000, remarkable value in each case. The Kia is $2000 less than the Peugeot, making the optional $2200 Touring Pack a viable purchase since it adds real leather (I’d pay that just to get rid of the faux-leather!), dual-zone auto air conditioning, and sat nav on a larger 7-inch screen.

The paintwork on the Kia Koup we tested had an orange peel look to it. Check the quality.

The turbo Koup (Kia’s first turbocharged offering in Australia) is better equipped than the non-turbo Si. Standard equipment includes cruise control, Bluetooth, trip computer, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, 18-inch alloy wheels (including full size spare), puddle lights in the mirrors, LED tail lights, smart key entry, alloy pedals, side skirts, dual exhaust and black exterior highlights.

The Peugeot 208 GTi has a real air of quality to it

The Peugeot immediately impresses with the value it offers for $29,990. It gets the works, from leather upholstery, high spec seats, sat nav, big alloy wheels, touch screen, LED tail lights and daytime running lamps, rear parking sensor (but no camera), auto headlamps and wipers, heated mirrors and full size spare. While Peugeot can’t match the Kia’s incredible five year unlimited kilometre warranty, both offer capped price servicing


Peugeot 208 GTi – 9.0/10

Kia Cerato Koup – 9.0/10

Both cars offer excellent safety credentials, and full safety equipment including all the usual active and passive devices and six airbags. The Peugeot also features a front plastic panel to limit pedestrian leg injuries in sub-40km/h impacts. Heavy braking in the Kia will activate the hazard lights to alert other motorists. The Peugeot has a five-star ANCAP safety rating and although the official rating for the Kia was still being assessed at the time of writing, Kia reports that it anticipates “no issues” with it gaining the full five star safety rating.


Peugeot 208 GTi – 66/80

Kia Cerato Koup – 66.5/80

It’s amazing just how different two cars with such similar specifications can be in the real world. Both the Kia and the Peugeot offer tremendous value, but will appeal to quite different buyers. These two cars demonstrate how spoiled for choice the Australian car buyer is, and how it is possible to shortlist a number of cars almost tailor-made to each buyer’s personal requirements. But, we need to make a decision and, in this case it’s the Kia Cerato Koup that walks away with the win. Just.

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PRICE from $29,990 (+ORC) WARRANTY three-years/100,000 kilometres SAFETY five-star ANCAP ENGINE 1.6-litre, four-cylinder direct injection turbocharged petrol POWER 147kW at 5500rpm TORQUE 275Nm at 1700rpm TRANSMISSION six-speed manual DRIVE FWD STEERING rack and pinion WHEELS 17×7.0-inch alloy TYRES 205/45 R17 V BODY 3.96m (L); 1.74m (W); 1.46m (H) WEIGHT 1167kg TOWING 1150kg FUEL TANK 50 litres SPARE full size THIRST 5.9L/100km (combined – claimed) COMBINED Practical Motoring TEST 6.5L/100km over 316km FUEL GRADE 95 RON


PRICE from $27,990 (+ORC) WARRANTY five-years/unlimited kilometres SAFETY five-star ANCAP (anticipated) ENGINE 1.6-litre, four-cylinder direct injection turbocharged petrol POWER 150kW at 6000rpm TORQUE 265Nm at 1750-4500rpm TRANSMISSION six-speed manual DRIVE FWD STEERING rack and pinion WHEELS 18×8.5-inch alloy TYRES 225/40 R18 BODY 4.53m (L); 1.78m (W); 1.41m (H) WEIGHT 1364kg TOWING not stated FUEL TANK 50 litres SPARE full size THIRST 7.7L/100km (combined – claimed) COMBINED Practical Motoring TEST 8.3L/100km over 321km FUEL GRADE 91 RON

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The Ford Fiesta ST is a worth competitor to the Pugeot 208 GTi

FORD FIESTA ST EcoBoost (from $25,990 (+ORC). The little Fiesta gives away both power and torque against the Kia and Peugeot but still manages to deliver laugh-out-loud performance. On all the vital statistics, it’s even closer to the Peugeot than the Kia, but undercuts the price by a useful $4000.

The Skoda Fabia RS might not look as outlandish as a VW Polo GTI but it's a hoot to drive

SKODA FABIA RS 132TSI from $27,990 (+ORC). Since we’re comparing cars most people wouldn’t line up against each other, we went for the Skoda rather than the VW Polo GTI. At this price you get the DSG gearbox with steering-wheel mounted paddles, and the engine is both turbocharged and supercharged. It’s quicker to 100km/h than the Kia or the Peugeot despite its smaller 1.4-litre engine. One downside is the need to refuel with 98 RON premium unleaded.


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  1. It probably felt faster than 0-100 in 8.1 seconds because it is. The 0-100km in the version you tested is actually 6.8 seconds and the recently released face-lifted version has the same level of power and torque as the 30th Anniversary Limited Edition and has a claimed 0-100 of 6.5 seconds.

  2. I’ve recently bought a CeratoKoup Turbo Touring and I love if. I’ve been doing my ho ework and over the last 2 years looked at all sorts of CO tenders. Cars which were at the top of the list in the beginning ni g disappeared of it completely, others rose on the list. The only constant was the Koup. It”s blend of style, practicalllity and power always enticed me.I looked at all sorts of cars ranging from a Golf Wagon via a Subaru WRX and Polo GTI to Ford Focus Titanium and Holden Astra GTC Sport to Hyundai Veloster Turbo. But nine could give me this balance I sought.yes it isn’t the fastest of the lot and not the cheapest.not the gutsiest and not the most fuel economic. But it’s a Cerato Koup Turbo. There’s nothing more to say.

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