By Mike Torpey on 2021-02-07 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Peugeot 208 1.2 GT
FRENCH manufacturer Peugeot is committed to making the future of motoring a little less boring.
And they have the perfect model to spearhead that strategy in 2020 European car of the Year, the Peugeot 208.
Sharp looking, neat and with a cabin that's as racy as anything around, the supermini is the company's sixth model to win Europe's most prestigious automotive award.
It is also the first car in the brand's now extensive range to be released under the new philosophy of ‘choose your Peugeot, choose your powertrain' and is available as a full electric vehicle or with petrol and diesel engines.
Dynamics, performance and efficiency apart, a key component of the 208's success is a feature that's actually been around for the last eight years, in that time benefiting no less than five million customers.
It's the Peugeot i-Cockpit, which has continually evolved while retaining the principal elements of a compact steering wheel, head-up instrument display, large HD touchscreen in the driver's line of sight and a series of toggle switches for the main comfort functions.
This environment certainly gives the 208 a technology-driven hot hatch feeling and while our tested 1.2-litre PureTech powered model, in sporty GT Line trim, isn't exactly a scorcher it's nonetheless very spirited.
It represents the mid point of the available 1,199cc three cylinder petrol engines, which develop 75, 100 or 130bhp, and was fitted with a very sweet eight-speed automatic gearbox.
A performance figure of 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds won't be breaking any acceleration records but it feels deceptively swift in a car with the dynamics of the 208 - and to describe that steering wheel as ‘compact' is an understatement, tiny would be more apt.
But if you're looking for style and panache as well as pin-sharp handling then this model could be perfect for you.
It's definitely economical, our average fuel consumption over 250 miles of mixed urban and motorway driving registering 44.5 miles per gallon.
And while winding country lanes bring out the best in the 208 it also feels at home settled at the upper speed limit on the motorway.
Space is adequate in a cabin that is thoughtfully laid out with dials positioned high on the dashboard - part of the i-Cockpit concept - and four adults can travel in comfort provided there aren't six-footers sitting behind each other, in which case knee room is tight.
As for stowage the glovebox is only small but you get a 285-litre boot which is reasonable for a car this size.
Predicting a bright future for this latest generation 208 can be made with confidence. It engages you from the get-go thanks to its dynamic profile, three-line claw effect lights and single lamp down each side of the bumper resembling sabre teeth plus 3D claw-effect lights at the rear.
Peugeot 208 1.2 GT Line
Mechanical: 99bhp, 1,199cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 109mph
0-62mph: 10.8 seconds
Combined MPG: 44.3
Insurance Group: 15
C02 emissions: 99g/km
Bik rating: 23%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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