Last night I travelled to Salisbury to interview the wonderfully charismatic scientist, Dame Wendy Hall. Her team invented an internet system that pre-dated the web and we sat in her garden chatting until dusk. Waving goodbye, I squeezed past her Jaguar XF and started up the 2008.
As I looked back over my shoulder, I was startled to discover the roof ‘wave’ decoration cut into the headlining was illuminated brightly by LEDs in the dark! It’s quite the most bizarre design feature I’ve encountered in any car for years. Peugeot would call it a unique selling point but I would have preferred that part of my £17,245 to have been spent on a sat nav system instead.
Equally as startling but in a rather more appealing way was the fuel economy I achieved driving back from Salisbury. Car manufacturers make claims about fuel consumption that are impossible to match but without even trying I managed a quite incredible 68.8mpg!
This figure, of course, has now given me the incentive to go for my highest mpg ever – the magic 70mpg! I have driven on several fuel economy events in the past and been pleased with 50mpg but the 2008’s consumption was in normal conditions.
Which means I didn’t have to push the door mirrors in and take off the windscreen wipers to improve aerodynamics – or remove the seats to reduce weight!
I’m not a huge fan of electronic power steering because it just doesn’t have the same ‘feel’ as a conventional set up. You lose some of the feedback between the road and the steering wheel, which is so important in a lively little car like the 208 GTi.
What it does ensure in the 208 is that the car is refined and comfortable at low speed – before you blip the accelerator and unleash 200bhp of road-going entertainment.
Then the electric power steering does kill some of the enjoyment but not so much as to prove a major disappointment. It’s that fine balance between refinement and thrills that every designer of a hot hatchback must struggle with.
Make no mistake, Peugeot’s latest GTi is an absolute joy to drive on a winding A-road. It’s agile, nimble and very quick. However, lose the electronic power steering and it could be a legendary performer, just like the original 205 it reminds me so much of.
Jeremy Even if the Cascada doesn’t lure you to a Vauxhall dealer, you can’t help but be impressed by the folding mechanism of the roof.
Bank Holidays can be a mixed bag of weather but today we were able to enjoy the last throws of the summer with the wind in our hair. The roof lowers quickly, without the need to undo any catches and folds neatly into a large slice of your boot space. Never mind.
Our 1.4 test car doesn’t have one of those annoying wind deflectors that take up all of the back seat when in place. Instead, the aerodynamics are slippery enough to direct the wind well away from the cabin area, even at motorway speed.
It’s a hairdryer job if you are sat in the back but up front, the Cascada is very refined, especially with all four windows up. Your summer hat should stay in place and you can even hear the sound system.