Motoring | Test Drives

wheels car of the year 2012 best supermini: Peugeot 208

A small car doesn't have to mean compromised motoring —this compact comes loaded to the brim with equipment, and more...

  • By Imran malik, wheels
  • Published: 15:19 December 27, 2012
  • Wheels

Peugeot 208
  • Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/ANM
  • The 208 manages to combine the spirit of the 206 and the practicality of the 207.

Deciding on our favourite supermini of the year was a straightforward battle between just two cars; the Nissan Micra and the Peugeot 208. That the latter won was because, simply put, it offered a far more enjoyable driving experience than the quirky little Nissan.

For instance, the 208’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder motor produces a healthy 120bhp — that’s over 20 horses more than the Micra can muster from its 1.5-litre motor. The Peugeot also has around 30Nm more torque, meaning it pulls off the line a bit harder. The top spec Allure costs a bit more than the Micra, but for the extra Dh11,500, you get a far better all-round car.

The 208 manages to combine the spirit of the 206 and the practicality of the 207. And the five-door front-wheel drive hatch looks truly tasty to boot. Sorry, make that chic. There’s plenty of French flair, such as the cheeky little grille, large headlights, 16in Black Diamond alloys and sculptured body.

The chrome trimmings add a touch of glamour while the interior is smart and comfortable. There’s plenty of kit, such as a six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity and a 7.0in touchscreen. But back to the most important factor about the 208 — the way it drives.

Weighing just 975kg, it is nimble and remarkably chuckable and things get even better when you hit the Sport button; there’s more get up and go, however, the one thing that could be improved is the steering, which lacks in feel. It is way too soft, as is the suspension, while a fifth gear wouldn’t go amiss even though the four-speed automatic does its job just fine.

But for even greater driving fun, you’ll have to wait for the GTI. For those wanting a cute little runabout for the city, look no further than this. Practicality, comfort and nippy performance all in one attractive little package.

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