PEUGEOT'S 208 supermini made an excellent companion recently for a 450 mile trip to see relatives in North Wales.
I was driving the 1.6 e-HDi diesel and it did the journey in both directions very easily, returning real economy over all kinds of roads of 52mpg.
As usual I was late leaving, so did the outward leg all on the motorway and dual carriageway and it handled the high speeds with great ease.
The engine is amazingly quiet and refined for a diesel, and will pull happily from just above tickover to the top gear of five.
It had enough acceleration in fifth for motorway manoeuvres and yet also had enough to spare for safe overtaking on the return trip down through the mountains on ordinary roads.
Others have complained about the handling and roadholding but I found nothing apart from a little too much roll. It clings on like a limpet and the steering has a fair amount of feel.
The 208 is good looking outside and in, with great styling that makes it pretty from every angle.
The inside is well designed, and feels higher quality than previous small Peugeots. Equipment in included air con, stability control, traction control, six airbags, Bluetooth and 60/40 split fold rear seats.
There is good seat and column adjustment, but the gearlever is too far forward for tall drivers.
Peugeot 208 1.6 e-HDi
Mechanical: 91bhp, 1,560cc, 4 cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 115mph
0-62mph: 12.6 secs
Combined mpg: 74
Insurance group: 17
CO2 emissions: 98g/km
BIK rating: 13%
Warranty: 3 yrs/ 60,000 miles
Main rival: Vauxhall Corsa CDTi