Peugeot’s most important hot-hatch in years, the 208 GTi, will start from $29,990 plus on roads.
That puts the French brand’s sporty new three-door above most of its key rivals, including the soon to arrive Fiesta ST ($25,990), Volkswagen Polo GTi ($27,790), Skoda Fabia RS ($27,990) and Citroen DS3 Sport ($29,990)
Only the Renault Clio Sport is more expensive at $36,490.
Factor performance and equipment into the equation, though, and the 208 GTi begins to make more sense.
With 147kW/275Nm available from its 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, the 208 is one of the most powerful models in its segment, with Peugeot claiming a 0-100km/h sprint of 6.8 seconds.
Just one drivetrain option is available, with every 208 GTi mated to a six-speed manual. Fuel consumption is rated at 5.9L/100km.
But it’s the way the 208 GTi feels that’s its strongest selling point. Not as hard or as focused as a Renault RS model, the little Pug strikes a nice compromise between performance and comfort.
The ride is firm yet compliant, allowing the 208 to cope well over broken surfaces with minimal loss of traction or kickback through the wheel.
Think of it as a well-sorted road car with capable track day potential.
But it’s not all positive. Letdowns include hard interior plastics on the doors and a compromised steering wheel position, which blocks the instrument panel almost entirely.
Standard equipment includes part-leather sports seats, a 7.0-inch touch-screen media unit with dual USB ports and satnav, as well as 17-inch alloys, auto headlights and wipers plus reverse parking sensors.