Our first drive template is a little restrictive in terms of space to talk about more than one specific model. While the 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine powering the 208 in this first drive is set to be the best-seller in Ireland, it's worth considering the alternatives.
On day one I drove two different cars powered by 1.6-litre units. They're available by special order only in Ireland, though should do well in other markets such as the UK. The first is the 1.6 e-HDi 115 - the latter part indicating that it produces up to 115hp. More importantly it puts out 270Nm of torque from just 1,750rpm. The 'e' part of the name signifies that it features stop-start.
This engine is the best of the turbodiesel options, as it should be given its position at the top of the line-up. It's relatively quiet and refined for the class and has decent performance in the mid-range. On the motorway it's a great cruiser, aided by the six-speed manual gearbox.
That's in total contrast to the 1.6 VTi 120 petrol engine. This is shared with the MINI Cooper, but in the Peugeot it comes with a five-speed manual gearbox, whereas the MINI has a sixth ratio. A stint on the motorway indicates that the 208 could really do with the MINI's transmission, as at 120km/h it's spinning noisily at 3,500rpm. It's much better on a twisty road where the eager engine brings the chassis alive. In town it's relatively quiet too.
On the second day I took the 1.2-litre petrol model out for a drive - you can read that full review here. A 1.0-litre version of this three-cylinder engine will also be made available, with 68hp. That'll be fine so long as you don't plan on carrying loads of people or luggage regularly.
Last of all I tried the only diesel version that'll be offered on the normal price list in Ireland, the 1.4 HDi. It can be had in standard guise with a manual gearbox or as the e-HDi with stop-start and Peugeot's EGC 'robotised manual', automatic transmission. The latter is more efficient officially, but unless you really need an automatic gearbox I'd urge you to stick with the far more satisfying manual. Either way, the 1.4-litre engine is quite noisy, though has plenty of oomph. It'll suit high mileage drivers better than the smaller petrol units will.
Other options not being offered here as yet include a 92hp version of the 1.6-litre HDi engine, a 1.4-litre VTi petrol unit with 95hp and a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol powerplant with 155hp.
We're told that the forthcoming Peugeot 208 GTi will have 'north of 200hp'.
If you'd like to know anything else specific that we've not covered go to the Ask us Anything page.