Peugeot's 208 subcompact hatchback represents much that is state-of-the-art in that overcrowded segment: a balanced chassis, low kerb mass, a choice of efficient engines, and a smart interior. The new 2008 crossover is cut from the very same cloth, but adds surprising space and versatility to the formula.
There's a lot to be said for smaller, smarter cars in the modern, 21st Century motoring context. They're cleaner (read greener) and more fuel efficient, which also translates into lower running costs. But clever packaging means small can also be spacious (at least in relative terms), while high-tech construction techniques have reduced vehicle weight, in turn benefiting dynamic capability.
The Peugeot 208 is a good case in point. As an expression of contemporary French design, the subcompact stands out from a crowd that includes the prosaic VW Polo, the extrovert Ford Fiesta, and a cheerful brace of Koreans, the Kia Rio and Hyundai's i20.
The 208's attention to design detail, with a clear focus on creating a smart and sophisticated identity, makes it a real little head-turner, which is part of the reason why it's also the French marque's best seller.
Perhaps more compelling is the small Peugeot's value...