I have to say, I never really know which cars Jessica is going to like and which ones she isn’t. I didn’t hold out much hope for the 208 but it appears to be a surprise hit, in a ‘difficult second album’ type way.
I’m still not sure myself. While the GTi is an absolute joy to drive, with a sweet six-speed gearbox and taut handling, the styling of the car is not completely in proportion. It looks top heavy and a little ‘heavy’ to be endearing.
I suppose my taste is coloured by the looks and feel of the original Peugeot 205 GTI. Small, compact and in perfect proportion, it made the Golf GTI look like an ugly duckling at the time.
Our test car is in my perfect colour – grey. So the fact it doesn’t make me swoon with envy when I see it every morning might speak volumes.
The Peugeot 205 GTI was a car that always got me in to trouble. A speeding ticket and some rather scary sideway slides on the mud-splattered roads of Herefordshire were all part of my ‘growing up’ process.
They say this new 208 GTi has grown up too – that it’s not the teenager tearaway the 205 was. Well, you could have fooled me. If growing up means better brakes, lots of airbags and sports suspension then I’m an old so-and-so.
I think we’ve seen every possible tweaking of a conventional hatchback to turn it into a hot hatch but the 208 parked outside on my driveway looks full of genuine purpose.
It’s lower than the standard 208, the front grille has been revised and the side skirts and rear spoiler suggest true intent. It’s the same inside, the usual mix of harsh-edged sports seats and colour-coordinated door handles let you know this isn’t model you choose for gentle drives to the shopping centre.
I’m looking forward to the next seven days in the GTi – hopefully without the speeding ticket and slides I remember so well…