Peugeot 208 Allure

1.2 PureTech 110

Auto

Peugeot 208, front
Peugeot 208, front
Peugeot 208, side
Peugeot 208, rear
Peugeot 208, interior
Peugeot 208, detail
Peugeot 208, interior

SMALL-capacity, three-cylinder engines are all the rage at the moment as demand for cleaner and cheaper-to-run cars continues to grow.

One of the best examples currently on the road is Peugeot's turbocharged 1.2-litre Puretech engine.

But don't just take my word for it. This engine was voted winner of the 1.0-1.4-litre class by a panel of 84 motor industry experts at the 2015 International Engine of the Year Awards - and it proves an ideal partner for the recently revamped 208 supermini.

Peugeot claims this diminutive 110bhp unit delivers the same sort of power and performance that you would previously expect from a 1.6-litre power pack - and it's hard to disagree after a week behind the wheel.

Paired to a smooth six-speed automatic transmission in a mid-range Allure spec model it feels sharp and responsive, with urgent dabs on the accelerator yielding a prompt and smooth injection of pace.

The characteristic note of all three-cylinder engines is evident under sharp acceleration but it soon calms down again when you ease off the gas pedal and pootling around town or cruising on the open road are pretty refined for a small car.

A 0-62mph sprint time of less than 10 seconds and top speed of 118mph re-iterate this 208's perky performance - and it should also come quite cheaply, with average fuel economy of more than 60 miles per gallon and carbon emissions of just 104g/km.

Accurate steering and nimble handling help to make the 208 an enjoyable little car to drive with a smaller than usual steering wheel somehow enhancing the feeling of engagement.

Peugeot's best selling car has undergone something of a summer overhaul designed to freshen up what was already one of the best looking and well-appointed cars in its class.

The most obvious change is in the styling, especially at the front end where a sharp new bumper and larger, chrome trimmed grille help to create a more assertive and distinctive look.

The profile remains largely unchanged with sculpted character lines rising along the flanks to new rear LED light clusters which have been redesigned to incorporate Peugeot's distinctive ‘claws' motif.

Interior upgrades are minimal and include full-grain leather on the steering wheel of all but entry level models while the plush, soft-touch dashboard trim gets a new graining on higher grade versions.

Such tweaks are largely cosmetic but serve to build on the high-quality look and feel that the 208's interior has had since launch - aptly demonstrating Peugeot's intent to move their range more upmarket.

It's also quite a spacious cabin for a supermini, with good head and legroom in the front and rear meaning four adults can get comfortable, while plumping for the five-door option I drove also removes the need for any embarrassing contortions trying to get into the back seats.

Personal storage is pretty generous, notwithstanding Peugeot's continued insistence on taking up half the glove compartment with the fuse box. My car even had a flip-down armrest for the driver with a cubby big enough for some loose change, keys or even your mobile phone and, at 285 litres, the boot is more than capable of coping with the weekly shop or a family weekend away.

Equipment levels are good for a supermini and, again, indicate the upmarket aspirations of Peugeot.

All but entry-level cars get a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity which now also features MirrorScreen, enabling the driver to replicate his smartphone screen on the vehicle's display and make full use of its apps.

Other kit on Allure trim cars includes air con, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, rear parking sensors and DAB radio while anti-lock brakes, stability control, six airbags and tyre pressure sensors help take care of safety.

And with individuality playing an increasing role in the appeal of small cars the new 208 is available in a number of new bright colours with a range of internal and external personalisation options.

FAST FACTS

Peugeot 208 Allure 1.2 PureTech 110 Auto

Price: £17,095

Mechanical:110bhp,1,199cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 118mph

0-62mph: 9.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 62.8

Insurance Group: 15

C02 emissions: 104g/km

Bik rating: 15%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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