Engine: 1.6-litre turbodiesel
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Power: 115bhp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 270Nm @1,750rpm
Fuel consumption (combined cycle): 74.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 99g/km
Top speed: 118mph
Acceleration (0-62 mph): 10.8 seconds
Price: from £17,945
Peugeot's new 208 is now on sale in the UK and early driving on British roads broadly confirms the favourable tenor of early coverage of the car's international launch in the spring.
UK prices start at a keen £9,995 (on the road) for the 1.0 Vti, which combines the least powerful engine, a one-litre three cylinder petrol providing 68 horsepower, with the entry-level Access trim. In order to match its competitors, Peugeot has expanded the number of trim levels from its usual three - Access, Active and Allure - to five. There is an Access +, a base Access model but with the addition of air conditioning, and a top level car badged Feline, clearly an allusion to Peugeot's famous corporate motif, even if it does sound more pussy cat than roaring lion of Belfort.
At the top of the range, a 208 Feline with the most powerful diesel engine, a 1.6-litre delivering 115 horsepower, will set you back £17,445, and what you get for that is a pretty good car but not one that provides the value for money that some of the cheaper versions, especially those fitted with the larger 1.2-litre version of the three cylinder petrol engine which I tested at the 208's international launch, deliver.
The 1.6 e-HDi Feline has what is already becoming the 208's trademark – it unusual combination of an instrument pack that is designed to be viewed over the top of, rather than through, the steering wheel, which Peugeot has kept small in order to make it easier to read the instruments and also in order to provide a more direct feel to the steering. On top of that, though, there's a lot of kit that you don't get on the cheaper cars in the range. That includes a panoramic glass roof and an electric pack that includes electric rear windows and folding door mirrors, aluminium effect sills and pedals, a rear spoiler and so on.
On the road, the e-HDi's more powerful diesel engine provides a lot more go than the 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine and it's also smooth and quiet, although the 1.2 petrol has a bit more character and still has a lively feel to it. The Feline's cabin feels a more luxurious than those of other 208s but on the other hand, none of the 208s I've been in so far feels bare. One difference between the 1.6 e-HDi Feline and the 1.2 petrol; on larger wheels and lower profile tyres, the more expensive car's ride was noticeably crashier.
Apart from that, the 1.6 e-HDi Feline shares all of the other positive traits of the 208 range – a handsome appearance, a body that is smaller and much lighter than that of its predecessor, despite being roomier inside and feeling more solid and luxurious, and it also turns in decent fuel economy as well – 74.3mpg on the combined cycle.
For anyone who finds that even the top-of-the-range Feline doesn't provide all of the comforts they require, Peugeot is also selling a limited edition launch model, the Ice Velvet, so called because of its satin paint finish, which also gives you the otherwise optional rear parking sensors and large multifunction dash screen for a price of £18,495. That price may seem steep, but Peugeot's current “Just Add Fuel” offer, which bundles favourable finance rates, insurance, servicing, tax, warranty and breakdown cover for a single monthly payment, might even make that one a surprisingly attractive option.