From £11,3497
The Peugeot 208 XY is a softer take on the full-fat 208 GTI and, surprisingly, it's oddly appealing

Our Verdict

Peugeot 208

Peugeot has shown dynamic promise of late. Will the Peugeot 208 be a hit?

1 April 2013

What is it?

Peugeot has declared its intention to move its image upmarket, and this, the Peugeot 208 XY is the first attempt at something overtly 'premium'. Already shown as a concept, the XY reaches the showrooms priced from £16,545 (a 118bhp 1.6) to £18,045 (113bhp 1.6 e-HDI). The turbo petrol 1.6 THP tested here, with 154bhp, costs £17,495, which is £1400 less than a 208 GTI.

These are big tickets for plush versions of a mainstream supermini, but the rich, dark metallic paints – 'Purple Night' is the signature shade – and the lush interior trim might help justify the cost. It's also available in white.

There's also the fact that the XY shares its widened track, 17in wheels, slender wheelarch trims, rear spoiler (THP only, on account of its pace) and lower-body addenda with the 208 GTI, so it has more road presence than a humbler 208. Body style is three-door only and a panoramic glass roof is standard.

As for the name, it represents the male and female chromosomes, apparently, to make the point that this car is intended to appeal across the gender divide.

What's it like?

From the outside it looks an expensive little car with handsome wheels and metallic detailing in bright or satin chrome, even if the front end is an almost ludicrously busy collection of embellishments. Inside, the satin-chrome look continues on the door pulls, dashboard garnishes and gearlever knob, the tiny steering wheel is thickly leather-clad, the instruments are outlined by white illumination, and purple stitching edges the leather-look facings on doors, dash and elsewhere.

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The front seats are the same heftily bolstered chairs as found in the GTI, but with different coverings. Alcantara facings are standard and full 'Club Nappa' leather is optional, as is a leather version with quilted Alcantara inserts – all with purple stitching. It would be the lap of decadent luxury in here were it not for the fact that the tops of the door trims are still in hard plastic. "I lost that argument," says XY (and GTI) designer Anna Costamagna, ruefully. Too expensive, is why.

To drive, the XY THP is exactly as you'd expect: a plusher, meatier-feeling variation of the existing 208 THP Feline, or a gentler, calmer GTI, depending on your point of view. It's lively enough to give a good time, very quiet unless roused, and comfortable both in seats and suspension. It feels as sophisticated as the looks promise it to be.

And you can get used to the driving position with its high dials and low-set steering wheel beneath. As Costamagna points out, the bottom of the steering wheel is no lower than normal even when set so you can actually read the dials.

Should I buy one?

As a piece of automotive urban chic the XY works well in an understated way and it has the advantage of being less obvious than a Mini or a DS3. Or you could think of it as a softer, calmer GTI; either way it's an oddly appealing car even if the 'premiumness' is a bit superficial.

Remember the Peugeot 205 Gentry, effectively an automatic GTI with gentler suspension, more grown-up wheels, pastel colours and a luxury ambience? The GTI is back. So, it seems, is its softer sibling.

John Simister

Peugeot 208 XY THP 156

Price £17,495; 0-62mph 7.3sec; Top speed 134mph; Economy 48.7mpg; CO2 135g/km; Engine 4 cyls, 1598cc, turbocharged, petrol; Kerb weight 1090kg; Power 154bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 192lb ft at 1750-4000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate


1 April 2013

PSA needs to sort their positioning out. Citroen seems to be targetting both mainstream as well as premium (with the DS line). Where does that leave space for Peugeot? Pushing it upmarket puts it into contention with Citroen's DS line. The brand is also out of its depth in the premium space. At least, DS  offers unique alternatives to traditional premium cars. I think the best solutions are either to turn Peugeot into a budget brand (like Renault has done to itself in some parts of the world by selling rebadged Dacias), or to stay in the mainstream, and push non-DS Citroens downmarket. It seems budget brands are where all the money is at these days, and PSA really need to consider creating one. 

1 April 2013

Shouldn't it just be top of the range?,or a showcase for options,it looks nice in this color,the details are good too,the interior certainly better than what's on offer just now,the base price isn't too far off either.

Peter Cavellini.

1 April 2013

This actually has the makings of a nice little niche. It is good looking in the metal (you can currently see them in Peugeot's Champs Elysées showroom) but as somebody who downsized last year, it has a nice mix of abilities.

When you start looking around, there aren't many small 'luxury" hatchbacks with a decent amont of puff - most (like my Cooper SD) are more sporting orintated. 

Perhaps the DS3 but this obviously appeals to a different demographic.

This could work well in France. Perhaps the only thing missing could be a slightly beefier oil-burner


1 April 2013

A quiet and smooth riding supermini on 17in wheels!! If true that is quite an achievement. Wait until they run one over the moon surface roads in Britain...

1 April 2013

I still can't get over the ridiculous instrument binnacle design. Peugeot must've thought it was being innovative, but it just looks 'dumped' on the dash, like an after market addition, and is actually orgonomically poor since it is obstructed by the steering wheel.

Otherwise, this is a pretty appealing supermini.

1 April 2013

price seems very good, much less than the GTi when adjusted for kit. I can seeit doing well. (might do better still without those dark tinted rear windows)

1 April 2013

I'm surprised many other companies don't offer something similar with their perfomance models - a more focussed driver's car like the GTi and a more confortable riding model like the XY. Most marques assume that people want performance models to have a harder-edged drive to boot. 

1 April 2013

I'm reminded of the age-old saying ... "You can polish a ****, but it's still a ****" ...

1 April 2013

Suzuki QT wrote:

I'm reminded of the age-old saying ... "You can polish a ****, but it's still a ****" ...

Yes, that's an old saying, but this isn't even close to being a ****. It looks magnificent. If you really want a **** then look up some of the models from the brand Suzuki. That's some genuine **** for you.

3 April 2013

The performance and economy are sound. The interior looks high quality for the segment and if its true what Autocar states then it will be comfy and ride well. Its a good alternative to the harder riding GTi.


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