Long term report: Peugeot 208


Long term report: Peugeot 208

Good looks? Check. Fuel efficient? Check. Well, that's pretty much all it takes to make a good small car, isn't it?

Well, yes and no. Helping out AOL Cars for a few weeks meant some tedious train journeys, so I was happy to be handed the keys to one of the long-term fleet.

I was even happier when I realised it would be the Peugeot 208 – a car I have been dying to drive since its release last year.

The Peugeot 208 is good looking and effortlessly youthful – with a funky image too. Not many small hatchbacks look good in five-door form either – and I carried on being impressed as I blipped the key fob and the motorised wing mirrors electronically folded out. Very smart, I thought.

However after driving it around a bit, I have mixed feelings. On the plus side, the engine is so smooth on the motorway that I didn't realise it was a three-cylinder until someone told me. And it sounds sporty too, once you've turned down the powerful sound-system via the good looking touchscreen controls.

But then again, the combination of a jumpy clutch and an unpredictable throttle response means driving away from junctions makes me feel like I am 17 years old again, as I lurch away like a learner driver.

The gearbox feels about 17 years old too, and I can't figure out a way to have a comfortable driving position and see the dials at the same time.

These niggles aside, once you have the little Peugeot up and running, it is a very nice car to spend time in. Almost perfect for a young chap just out of university then – and certainly better than sitting on a train for hours on end...