Peugeot 208 - the 100mpg

fuel sipper

FUELeconomy is improving all the time - especially with the increasing availability of hybrid cars.

Surprisingly though, even before the latest emissions scandal, no manufacturer has built a diesel-electric hybrid apart from Peugeot's 508RXH and that has gone out of production.

Of course, at the lower end of the company's range, it has a supermini that is already topping 100 miles per gallon in the government's consumption figures on the extra urban cycle.

And to my knowledge, apart from the hybrids, it's the only conventional model that can manage such an excellent figure - however unattainable it might be.

The car in question is none other than the humble 208. In 1.6 Blue HDi form, even the government average is 83mpg.

Now over many miles of fairly hard work - and I wasn't trying for economy at all - the best I got was 45.5mpg.

But out on the road in real day to day driving - and being a bit more careful - those figures would equate to a normal average of 60-plus mpg, which has to be superb.

However, all this fuel sipping doesn't mean this 208 is slow or lacking in fun out on the road - oh no.

Acceleration from rest and in the gears is good, with a smooth and responsive power delivery that also produces the goods when accelerating in the gears.

It cruises happily at motorway speeds and there is enough power for lane changing and gentle acceleration in fifthgear of five.

But at lower speeds, the long gearing to give best economy is counter productive in a way, since it won't go down to 30 miles an hour in fourthgear, never mind fifth.

The whole car's feel out the road is excellent, with brilliant taut and flat cornering, strong grip, and good feel from the steering.

It really is a joy to push through the corners and yet the ride is also very good on all road surfaces at speed. In town, things are not quite so smooth on rougher surfaces, but it's never truly uncomfortable.

Inside, there is reasonable legroom behind my six feet and a good size boot for a supermini. Equipment in GT Line spec includes part leather black seats with red stitching and the colour repeats around the dash.

The small steering wheel has to be adjusted carefully so that the dials are visible above it, but the driving position was fine for me.

FAST FACTS

Price: £18,975

Mechanical: 97bhp, 1,560cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 116mph

0-62mph: 10.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 83

Insurance Group: 21

C02 emissions: 87g/km

Bik rating: 20%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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