Peugeot released the 208 toward the end of summer last year, but it took a while for the THP (Turbo High Pressure) engine to be unleashed. After a very long wait, we finally got our hands on one! At £17,095 the 208 Feline 156 THP we tested was rather pricey, it sits in league with the new Fiesta ST. Which to be honest has more to offer on paper, and is a proper Hot Hatch! From the large 17” arch filling alloys, to the deep rear spoiler and darkened rear windows you can tell there’s something different about this 208. It looks meaner, lower, more purposeful than the run of the mill trim levels. However that said, it still looks smart and subtle. Not at all in your face or screaming boy racer, it’s somewhat of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. When you fire up the THP engine you’re met with a nice deep burble from the exhaust, this exhaust is what pushes you on, it’s a dangerous masterpiece. At normal speeds you can barely notice its noise, but as soon as you kick down a gear and floor it, your ear drums are met with this little lions roar. From 3,000 RPM right up until the red line the noise builds, its simply amazing and really makes the drive more engaging. You can sit revving the car, and feel the vibrations work through the seat and into your spine, its addictive. If you let off the throttle just after 3,000 RPM you get a dull thud of back pressure coming from the rear, I LOVE this exhaust!
Putting your foot down at any speed results in great torque and power, the little 208 just keeps on pulling. Overtaking is a breeze, no doubt you’ll be doing a lot more of that if you buy this car. 156 BHP may not sound like a lot, but when it’s in such a small light car it feels very quick. It’s more than enough power for most people.
Gear changes are smooth, even if the trim makes them sound clunky; however I would have liked the gearbox to have been a bit shorter. It feels like there’s hectares of room between the changes, hopefully they will change this for the GTI! The little 208 handles well in the corners, it feels very light, with the weight distributed well. Body roll isn’t present and the suspension is rather stiff, but it still has enough give to soak up bumps without being crashy. Oh, and don’t expect the claimed MPG figures either. You will buy this car because you enjoy driving, not because you’re a member of Friends of the Earth. We achieved 24.1 MPG over 149 miles of driving. Not all of that driving was foot to the floor, but we did give it a spirited drive now and then. Peugeot reckon the minimum urban MPG as 35.8, with a combined cycle of 48.7….yeah right! Inside the 208 Feline you are greeted with part leather seats, which hold you very snuggly. The mood lighting in the roof is a really nice touch, and adds to the premium feel, whilst the light up dial surrounds are very modern. I had the small steering wheel lowered to its proper height (so I could see the dials) rather than where I would normally have the wheel. It really doesn’t take much getting used to at all, the smallness added to the nippy, agile handling. At £17,000 I think Peugeot have sort of missed the mark with this spec 208. The GTI is priced just shy of £19k, which again compared to the Fiesta ST is pretty pricey. If the 208 THP was £15k then it would be brilliant, great value for such power! Another thing id say is I hope Peugeot have fixed the issue with the THP engine. It suffers from a timing problem which is widely documented on BMW Mini’s, as well as Peugeot 207’s. Latest news doesn’t look good as Citroen’s DS3 Racing model has had timing issues, along with the Peugeot RCZ. The timing slips due to it being floating, and not having a key to lock into place like most chain driven engines have. For this reason I can advise from personal experience, that if you want to keep one of these cars long term, purchase extended warranty.
The actual model we reviewed the 208 Feline THP has been pulled from sale, you can now only get the THP 156 engine in the XY spec. Which adds Sat Nav, DAB and wheel arch extensions, and puts the price up to £17,495.
Peugeot 208 THP – Fast, smooth, fantastic exhaust, subtle looks, great interior lighting, tad pricey.
Owner / Editor of Carwitter – French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter