Peugeot has launched a mid-life upgrade to its 208 hatchback that includes a mild facelift; new turbocharged petrol engine and six-speed automatic transmission; optional textured paint; two new model variants; and a sub-$16,000 entry price.

The “priced from” tag has always been a favourite marketing tool and Peugeot has made full use of it by cutting the price of its cheapest model from $18,490 for the previous 208 Active down to $15,990 for the new 208 Access.

Remarkably this is the lowest-priced Australian Peugeot model since the 1982 Peugeot 504 GLD which sold for $14,225.

The subtle use of the name suggests that Peugeot expects the Access to do just that and provide its dealers with access to potential new buyers and then to up-sell the 208 to its better-equipped, more expensive models.

Styling changes see the previous ‘floating’ grille replaced with a 3D centre inside a wider grille that’s built into the front panel and with a wider chrome surround. The front fog lights are set deeper into the body given a bolder, squatter look than before.

All models get daytime running lights, halogen in the Access, LED in all others.


The standout feature at the rear of the car is a new 3D LED taillight design featuring the traditional Peugeot three claw symbol in glowing red.

Also new is the option of two colours, Ice Grey and Ice Silver, using the textured matte paint that was featured recently in the 30th Anniversary GTi. Rather than a pure matte finish the 208 uses a paint that’s looks both matte and satin under different levels of lighting.

For those looking to add a personal touch to their car there are customisation packs available in two themes, Lime Yellow and Menthol White.

The $550 Exterior Pack include a gloss black equaliser grille; gloss black fog light finishers and side mirrors with laser engraved colour accent; and coloured Peugeot lettering at the front and rear.

The Interior Pack has sports seats with contrast stitching; coloured door handles; grained dashboard moulding; satin chrome air vent finishers; and full grain leather steering wheel with contrast stitching.


One of the highlights of the original 208 was its three-cylinder 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine. While still available in the entry level 208 Access manual it has now been joined by a turbocharged version, the PureTech e-THP, which replaces the previous naturally-aspirated 1.6-litre petrol in the automatic Access, Active, Allure and GT-Line models.

While the capacity (1199 cc) is the same in both engines, the turbo generates up to 81 kW of power compared to the 60 kW of the non-turbo and 205 Nm peak torque at 1500 rpm, well up on the 118 Nm at 2750 rpm.

Official fuel consumption and emissions are identical from both engines: 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres and 104 grams per kilometre.

The semi-performance three-door Peugeot 208 GTi retains the same 1.6-litre turbo-petrol / six-speed manual drivetrain as before but with peak power of 153 kW and torque of 300 Nm, up 6 kW and 25 Nm respectively. Fuel usage is down from 5.9 to 5.4 L/100 km.

One of the biggest criticisms of the original 208 was its old-style four-speed automatic transmission. That’s now been addressed and the new model now gets an Aisin six-speed unit that, according to Peugeot, provides 40 per cent faster and smoother gear changes and lower fuel consumption.

Not surprisingly equipment levels in the Access are limited, at least by current standards, and the 208 Access reverts to non-features such as manual mirror adjustment; wind-up rear windows; and 15-inch steel wheels.

Importantly, safety has not been compromised and the 208 Access does share the same range of features as the higher-specced models including six airbags; electronic stability program; ABS with brakeforce distribution, brake assist and auto hazard light activation under emergency braking.

Priced from $21,990 the 208 Active adds a 7-inch colour touchscreen; front fog lamps; rear parking sensors; 16-inch alloy wheels; leather steering wheel; body colour door handles; and power mirrors.

In addition to those features the next level Allure (from $25,990) gets extra chrome inside and out; satellite navigation; self-parking; fog lamps with cornering function; front parking sensors; automatic headlights and windscreen wipers; and leather steering wheel and gear lever.

The 208 GT-Line model is new and is aimed at those who want the sporty looks without the performance. Priced from $27,990 it adds a panoramic glass roof; 17-inch alloys; privacy glass; sports seats; piano black and gloss red interior highlights; chrome exhaust tips; and GT-Line badging.

In addition to the four-cylinder engine and manual gearbox the range-topping GTi comes with 17-inch Carbone alloy wheels; dual chrome exhaust tips; rear spoiler; chrome headlights with GTi lettering; and sports bucket seats in half Nappa leather and mesh cloth trim.

Active City Brake is available as an option in the Allure and GT-Line models.

Time constraints, together with Sydney traffic, limited the amount of time we had behind the wheel of the new 208 and we’ll need to await our extended test for a more comprehensive review.

We did however get the chance to do some laps on some winding rural roads and found those Peugeot characteristics that we so appreciate are as good as ever. Steering and suspension are brilliant and the feel through the small steering wheel is great. In typical Peugeot manner the ride comfort is good despite this excellent handling ability.

Although many Australians are still coming to grips with the idea of a three-cylinder engine, keen drivers are quickly adapting to them, especially when turbocharged.

In the interests of economy they’re not designed as high-performance powerplants but there’s a willingness and character to them in the way that they are happy to rev. So you do need to use lower gears on any sort of a hill and keep in mind that on level roads the fuel consumption is going to be well down.

Local sales of the 208 to date have been disappointing so Peugeot Australia has nothing to lose with its new pricing strategy. The marque has always had a loyal following but as they grow ever older it’s vital to attract younger buyers. Price is an obvious starting point but the company will be looking for the driving dynamics and economy of the 208 to keep them coming back well into the future.

The complete 2015 Peugeot 208 range is:
Access 1.2-litre 60 kW petrol: $15,990 (manual)
Access 1.2-litre 81 kW turbo-petrol: $18,990 (automatic)
Active 1.2-litre 81 kW turbo-petrol: $21,990 (automatic)
Allure 1.2-litre 81 kW turbo-petrol: $25,990 (automatic)
GT-Line 1.2-litre 81 kW turbo-petrol: $27,990 (automatic)
GTi 1.6-litre 153 kW turbo-petrol: $30,990 (manual)
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Peugeot dealer for drive-away prices.

About Alistair Kennedy

Alistair Kennedy is Automotive News Service and Marque Publishing's business manager and the company's jack-of-all-trades. An accountant by profession, he designs the Marque range of motoring book titles, operates the company's motoring bookshop on the NSW Central Coast and the associated web site, as well as its huge digital and hard copy database. Whenever we can escape from the office he does so to cover new vehicle releases and contributes news stories. Alistair's other interests include cricket and family history on which he has written three books.
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