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2022 Peugeot 208 GT rear side view
The Peugeot 208 GT lacks that proverbial bad side completely.

No matter what direction you look at it from, the Peugeot 208 GT has to be the best looking small hatch on the market today.

I mean, who pulls off great big LED claws and fangs on the front of the car and not just gets away with it but scores a design slam dunk with it?! My Peugeot 208 GT in Vertigo Blue and featuring a panoramic glass roof was a head-turner wherever I went.

That French design excellence doesn’t end when you step inside. You’re surrounded by plush Alcantara, leatherette and cloth in your heated seat and you’re greeted with a futuristic 3D i-Cockpit dash.

Your controls

It all starts with the multifunction steering wheel; it’s compact and designed to sit under the dash, which gets a little bit of getting used to. There’s a great premium feel to the steering wheel and all the key controls you expect are there.

In addition to the 3D head-up display, you get a super responsive 10” capacitive infotainment touch screen. There’s a built-in navigation system that is easy to read, although I suspect we all just plug in our phones and let Google find our way.

Reversing camera view of the 2022 Peugeot 208 GT.
Sensors-a-plenty and good visibility using the reversing camera.

Under the infotainment screen and a couple of air vents, there’s a row of 7 satin chrome piano toggle switches for those who like those old school, real, buttons, a volume dial and 3-setting heated seat control buttons. There’s a great big faux carbon fibre panel running across the dash and the striking lime green contrast stitching and 8-colour LED mood light strips finish off what is a truly upmarket, comfortable and relaxing environment to be in.

As you sit in the driver’s seat, you’ll find plenty of adjustment and movement in the seat and steering wheel to ensure drivers of all sizes find a great driving position.

Just set your heated and electric wing mirrors, adjust your auto-dimming and frameless rear view mirror and off you go. Peugeot’s proximity key is a fun little differentiator to the usual touch-based keyless entry systems, too.

Dave says it could be a small family car

Of course this isn’t the first time we’ve had the new Peugeot 208 GT at Tarmac Life; our intrepid Editor-in-Chief Dave McLeod had a Faro Yellow example to test and he wrote the 208 is “roomy enough” for a small family set up; now that’s a big claim for such a small car so let’s put that to the test, shall we?

Destination: The Mount

Small family: Mum, dad, toddler and an infant

Cargo: Pram, overnight bag, beach toys, picnic things, 2 x scooters

2 children in the back seat of a 2022 Peugeot 208 GT.
Yes – you can fit two rear-facing little darlings in the back of a Peugeot 208 GT.

Our double-pram was a non-starter, but that monstrosity barely fits into a medium SUV so no surprises or disappointments there. Our travel pram fit easily, but that’s cheating so we put our full-size Edwards & Co Oscar MX pram in the boot along with all the other stuff that a small family needs. Mum turned up with a couple of scooters as well, which we managed to fit between the kids’ safety seats and the front seats.

Pram and bags packed into the boot of a 2022 Peugeot 208 GT.
The boot of the Peugeot 208 GT is surprisingly roomy and functional.

Would I pack my family into a Peugeot 208 GT if I took enough food and nappies for a week? Not with the best will in the world, no, but an overnight trip to the beach 2 hours drive away, not a problem at all.

Also, our kids are still rear-facing and that pretty much maxes out the space at the back. If I was on the taller side, I might find it uncomfortable at the front but once the kids turn forward-facing, there’s no space issues due to the little monsters at all.

Can you fit an adult between the kids?

An adult sitting between two children in a 2022 Peugeot 208 GT
You can fit a New Zealand Ice Fernz legend between two kids in the back of a Peugeot 208 GT.

Turns out yes you can! Would you want to? Probably not. That said, we did drive around Mount Maunganui with mum wedged between the kids and she didn’t complain about life any more than she does sitting comfortably in the front seat.

How does the Peugeot 208 GT drive?

Oh it’s a nippy little thing ‘round town, that’s for sure! Neither Hamilton nor Tauranga are quite as hectic as central Paris, the Peugeot 208’s native environment, so darting from A to B in any Kiwi town is just too easy in this car. Steering is responsive and it goes when you tell it to go. Not one person in the world is surprised to read that the Peugeot 208 is a class-leading city car.

But what’s it like when you leave the city? Well, turns out it’s equally happy doing 110 km/h on the Waikato Expressway and effortlessly climbing over the Kaimais. In fact, the lack of noise on the Waikato Expressway was rather profound thanks to the surface, I’m sure, but even on the rough SH-29, it was smooth and quiet going, as one would expect in a car at this price point.

There are enough driving aids to keep things going with cruise control, automatic wipers, automatic lights, automatic high-beams and lane-keep assist. The sound system is more than adequate, even if the chosen entertainment consisted of the greatest hits from The Wiggles and Blippi.

Our drive back to Hamilton was in the dark and rain and the Peugeot 208’s systems were quite happy to keep up. Automatic high beams worked flawlessly and I didn’t have to prompt the wipers too many times to keep up.

Final Verdict

The Peugeot 208 GT is the best supermini I’ve ever driven. Whether you’re buying with your head or your heart, this is the one car that doesn’t leave either side out to dry. It’s a stunning car that does its job exceedingly well. It comes with all the features you need as standard, but if I had to suggest improvements, I’d say adaptive cruise control would make it an even better package. That said, this car will live most of its life in the city where that cruise control is probably seldom used.

You could cart your small family around in the Peugeot 208 and I’m sure many French families do, but here in New Zealand this is a great car for the city driver who wants the responsiveness to beat the traffic, navigate even the most awful multi-storey carparks with ease and when you want to make an entrance at the hottest gallery launch in town, you know all eyes are on you and your boldly designed Euro.

The Peugeot 208 is the 2020 European Car of the Year for a reason and still, in 2022, that gold is shining as bright as ever. If you are on the market for a small hatch, you need the 208 on your shortlist no matter what preconceptions you might have around French cars.

It comes with a 5-year, 100,000km warranty as you’d expect from a European model and Peugeot New Zealand also includes roadside assistance for the full 5 year term. You can get the Peugeot 208 GT from $140 per week on Peugeot’s iOWN intelligent ownership deal.

Go test drive it at Duncan & Ebbett in Hamilton or a Peugeot dealer near you.

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