Ok so the moment of truth guys, what’s it like to own a Peugeot 208 GTi in Malaysia? In the past, I had shared my experience on how I ended up buying the GTi, and what are the features the GTi had that made me sign the dotted line.
It’s no secret that Peugeot has been subjected to claims of their cars being less than reliable and after sales support not helping the case. I can’t say my experience is the ultimate reference to this issue either, but I believe I can shed some light on how it feels to own a high performance Peugeot as a daily ride.
Over the course of two years, I’ve used the car for my daily commute, Touge runs, road trips and more. Now, after 2 years, 70,000km, and a whole lot of Instagram uploads later, I share with you on what it feels like to own a Peugeot 208 GTi, and how it handles abuse.
It’s my daily
First up, a small background story. I lived in Pekan Batu 11 Jalan Cheras, which is near Bandar Sg Long. I worked in Glenmarie, some 45km away. That’s almost 100km worth of commute each day through some of the most congested roads in the Klang Valley. I never had an enclosed parking spot for my car at the office, nor did I park my car inside the porch at home, so it was always basking under the sun. Since I was living in Cheras and most of my friends were in the PJ and Bangsar area, even during the weekends I frequently travelled major distances.
It’s the main car for Route Hunters
Almost all of the Route Hunter runs have witnessed this car in action. It’s either the lead car or one of the marshal cars. On average each Route Hunter drives cover 120km during the Sprint events, and upwards of 500km for the Grand Tourismo events. The roads that are chosen are usually very intense on the chassis, engine and gearbox. Not to mention the brakes too. Usually these events are held on Saturdays and I’m off to work on Monday with the same car with no special repairs or maintenance checks. So long as all 4 wheels are still attached to the car, it starts and stops, I’m good to commute the next day.
A perfect pickup truck.
I’ve used this car move out from Batu 11 Jalan Cheras to Klang, and from Klang to Bandar Puteri, and then to Shah Alam. Granted, I was living alone and there was not much in the way of personal possession. But still the cargo space the car has with or without folding the rear seats is nothing short of remarkable. Not only that, I’ve helped my friend empty out his apartment when he was migrating to Canada. Also noteworthy that this car has been the support vehicles for my office events and also home events. So everything from Silent salesman, POSM displays, Gas cylinders and F n B have been transported in the car. Hilux what?
Shell shocked? The GTi may be a performance vehicle, but as Jeremy Clarkson famously said, the good mark of a hot hatch is that it could blitz a racetrack whilst carrying a chest of drawers in the back. So using it exclusively as a weekend ride seemed wasteful and barely justifying the RM139,000 price tag. With that said, this is how I found the various aspects of the car to perform over 70,000km.
The 208 GTi is an amazingly well engineered car with some really good tech on board. The 1.6 litre turbo THP200 engine is almost diesel like in its delivery, with bulk of the torque coming from a low RPM. I can short shift up the gears quickly and maintain a decent fuel consumption figure.
Driving in the city between 60kph – 110kph I can easily average about 7-7.5 litres / 100km. That’s about 13.3-14 km / litre. That’s Honda Jazz fuel consumption figures. The other GTi owners from the GTi Owners Club Malaysia claim to set even more spectacular figures, up to 20.5 km / litre! In your face Perodua Bezza!
When you do put the pedal down you will be able to hit 170kph in no time. I will admit the acceleration is strong up to 185kph, but there on it tapers off. It will reach 230kph though. There’s a nice shrill spooling sound from 2500 rpm to 4500 rpm, where the torque curve is at its best. You are one of the fastest things on Malaysian roads with this little firecracker.
The clutch is really light with the right amount of feel and its stress free to use even in bad traffic. Only in the most tragic traffic conditions going uphill do you really feel the pinch on your left foot. But then again, it’s going to be just as painful standing on the brake pedal in an automatic car too. Otherwise 90% of the time I daresay it’s as easy as any automatic to use.
The chassis and brakes
As mentioned in the previous article, the chassis of this car is gold, and very old school. No fancy torque vectoring or dynamic damping. Good old fixed rate dampers with a setup that’s prefect for Malaysian B roads.
For the daily commute though the car is super comfortable that often times my passengers doze off in the comfort. It does not have a jarring ride, you only feel the stiff damping at the harshest of ridges on the roads, and of course on KL’s notorious portholes.
The car stood up to some pretty remarkable abuse, as I ended up commuting around the Port Klang, Jalan Banting and PJ area where roadworks have left the road surfaces in appalling conditions. It’s pretty heavy duty under the skin, with suspension mounts and bushing standing up to the stress.
Brakes are strong, but I feel it could do better. I wish Peugeot would have bestowed this car with the 4 pot Brembo’s you find in the Citroen DS3 Racing. Having said that, in emergency situations the car has saved not only me but several other GTi members from danger.
There’s good and bad with this car being style centric, let’s start with the minus points first. The glass area of this car (window and windscreen size) is pretty big. In our climate, that lets in a lot of heat. The best remedy for this is good tints. Invest in something with good and proven heat rejection that will help you in leaps and bounds. Plus it’s also easy on the air condition system.
There’s a little bit of rattle from the sun roof blind when going on bumps, some squeaks or rattles from the other interior trim pieces, typically French. I do get jealous when I get behind the wheel of the current 308 as the fit and finish has been drastically improved. The way the GTi gang cures this is easy, crank up the volume, or bury the accelerator pedal.
The meter panels were a cause of concern at first, with the visibility beyond the steering wheel a little obstructive. But once I got used to the driving position, which is spot on by the way, the clusters become second nature.
The plus side of the cabin is that it’s extremely spacious. For a 2 door hatch it’s got incredible cabin space, very comfortable seats, although for my 6 ft 2 90kg frame it’s a little tinny. The racing pedals really work great for heel and toe and provides plenty of grip. The gear knob and steering wheel are both chunky and satisfying to use. One word of caution, if you parked under hot sun, careful when touching a metal gear knob, I learnt it the hard way.
The French seduction
Most of the people who take a look at the interior find it hard to believe that its all stock standard, they think it’s modified. The red into black theme of the interior is both sexy and racy at the same time. Unlike the rivals like the Fiesta ST and the Clio RS, the Peugeot pulls of the temptress card extremely well, especially with the panoramic roof and interior lighting.
The seats has the 3D GTi logo embossed on it, which echoes back to the legendary 205 GTi. All in all I think it would be one interior that will age well.
The touch screen and Bluetooth functions work really well and is extremely handy for someone who handles a fair number of calls like me. Plus in my car, the interface has this red theme going on which compliments the rest of the car’s interior. Come to think of it, it was the car’s interior that was instrumental in seducing my fiancé on our first date.
Safety, Safety, Safety
This is a controversial entry for me, I’m shooting myself in the foot. But a merit this important could mean life and death for someone, I believe I have to mention this.
There are a few GTi owners, me including, who were unfortunate enough to be involved in motoring accidents. Hit by Lorries, busses, drunk uncles, bikers running the lights, you name it, we’ve been through it.
One thing is prominent in all those incidents though. The ultra-strong safety structure of the 208, which is further reinforced in the GTi, its cleverly designed crumple zones, and myriads of safety features like the seatbelt tensioner system, curtain bags, ESP and TC all contribute to keeping you safe, and keeping you alive against odds.
I sometimes find it extremely funny how Malaysians can go for cars that have compromised safety features, all because they retain the most amount possible when selling their cars. Hypothetically speaking, should something horrible was to happen and its irreversible, is your RM5-RM10k that you were looking to save mean anything to you? Or is that the value you assigned for the safety of yourself and your loved ones?
A car is only as safe as its safety cell. So long as the energy of the crash is dissipated enough and the cell remains intact, the occupants have a chance at survival. This is provided their seatbelts are up.
Almost all GTi owners in the country will testify towards the safety features of this car. If anything it’s all the reason to buy one.
Worth the purchase?
Which brings me to the conclusion of this long winded article (its 70k km worth of feedback). Was the purchase worthwhile? Absolutely, without a shadow of doubt! As to why, here are my final conclusions
1. You get a lot for your money
You get a tonne and a half of features, a whole lot of driving performance, extreme levels of fun, amazing looks, practicality all for RM 139k. Refer to my earlier two articles for more details.
2. Does not cost a lot to run
• The fuel consumption figures are better than a Honda City / Jazz and yet as fast as the Honda Civic Type R FD (7 – 7.5 liters for 100km / 13-14km per liter)
• 17 inch tyres aren’t too expensive, about RM 320 (Bridgestone RE003) – RM 600 (ContiSportContact5) per piece depending on how fancy you want to go.
• Brake pads – RM 4XX for a set of fronts on promotions* – changed at 60,000km
*buy the essential replacement spares during Nasim’s promotion, they are an absolute bargain!
• Servicing – RM 600 – RM1200 thereabouts for normal and major services. For a more accurate breakdown speak to your nearest Peugeot dealers as they would be able to advise the latest pricing.
• 5 year warranty with unlimited mileage. Which means if anything breaks down, you don’t replace it out of your pocket, the warranty takes care of it.
I have done in my GTi
• 4 house shifting
• Multiple functions, business and personal, as support vehicle to transport items
• 2 vacation with friends and their luggage, one family vacation
• Airport runs for friends and families
• Transport 4 Europeans, all between 5ft 11’ to 6 ft 4’ with ease, and they claimed its just enough space for them.
I had two warranty claims with this car in 2 years. One was done when the service centre identified the problem before it propagated. The other I had one starting issue and it was swiftly attended to by Peugeot’s service centre.
Two warranty claims I’ve had in 70,000 km
1. Air Condition Compressor (24 hours in Service centre)
2. Alternator (half day in service centre)
Other GTi owners had issues with;
These issues were covered by the 5 year warranty (3 years manufacturers, 2 years extended – unlimited mileage). Which means the more I drive the car the more I gain as I don’t spend a dime for the parts nor the work.
And the best part is it’s not a reoccurring issue as once the parts are changed the system works fine.
I’m not sensitive on fuel either, I have used RON95, RON97, RON100 fuel on it, driven from cold, hot, high altitude, low altitude, in traffic, on highways, full load, with no load, everything!
This car had run like clockwork and stood out against all abuse. Since it’s a performance car, most of the components are heavy duty and designed to take a lot of abuse. Hence despite all the talk about Peugeot’s being a problematic cars, us GTi folks still feel that the car is bulletproof, and have no idea how this image came about.
Big shoutout for the Peugeot Tech Centre in Glenmarie (warranty claim), Peugeot Body and Paint Puchong (Accident repair, paintwork), Peugeot Setia Alam (service) and Peugeot 222 PJ (service) for keeping my car in its best shape possible!
The one thing I cannot put enough emphasis on, the one thing us GTi owners, especially me cannot fault this car for anything, is its safety feature. It’s not a question of what traction control, or how many air bags you have. It’s the overall design of the car with a high priority of safety in mind. Pretty much most Peugeots today are designed with this in mind.
With lots of compromising cars in the market, with faulty airbags and dated technology, I would stick to a Peugeot any day and not gamble with my loved ones and my life. Not to mention the dealers of the other brands less than responsive efforts to rectify or even take responsibility of people who have become victims of fault on safety systems or safety components.
French cars in general, especially Peugeot has a strong emphasis towards safety and their cars do carry Euro 5 star rating, and a visit to the Peugeot Body and Paint will prove my point. You will see a fair few badly mangled cars, and yet the passenger cell stays intact.
I believe the public needs to do more research and not just follow the trend on what they are getting as consumers on product and after sales services.
All in all, I’ve had an exciting 70,000km with this car, and with the community around it. The Route Hunters activities also changed its pace once this little monster came along. Where to after this? Another 70k km perhaps, or maybe if Nasim does see through with it, there’s the other GTi that Peugeot has at the moment, will that be this cars successor? Only time will tell……